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Test Driving the new Pizza Crust Yeast

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sortachef's picture
sortachef

Test Driving the new Pizza Crust Yeast

Pizza with quick-rise dough


 


A newly minted yeast showed up on my grocer's shelves last week. Made specifically for pizza crust by Fleischmann's, a venerable yeast company now owned by Associated British Foods, Pizza Crust Yeast promises a fully risen crust in just 30 minutes. Turbo-charged in other words. I just had to give it a spin.


Before I get too specific, let me tell you this: the yeast performed admirably. We made test runs with two different doughs using the specialized yeast, both in the conventional oven and in the woodfired oven, and every pizza came out beautifully. The crusts were puffy and mature despite the brief rise. My favorite was made with half caputo flour and had a longer rise time than the promised 30 minutes, while the meat-lovers in my family gave two thumbs up to the fast rising pepperoni pizza made with a crust recipe very similar to the one on the package. (The pizza in the photo above is in the oven after only 27 minutes!)


What's different about this yeast? Besides dry yeast granules, the package contains a cocktail of emulsifiers, antioxidants and enzymes that speed the growth of the yeast. You also add water that is 10 or 20 degrees warmer than normal - in the 125º range - that gets the process off to a very fast start. Turbo charged, indeed!


If you're familiar with yeast doughs, you will notice a difference as soon as the hot water is mixed with the dry ingredients. Because of the boosted heat and the emulsifiers involved, the gluten in the dough forms quickly, adding a spring to the dough that you wouldn't feel for 20 minutes or more if using conventional yeast. With the pizza crust yeast, the dough after a few minutes puts out an earthy smell, almost as if it is cooking. This smell alarmed me a little at first, but did not linger throughout the forming and baking processes, and was not apparent at all in the finished pizzas.


 


So here's the skinny:



  • If you want the fastest yeast crust pizza available, use the dough recipe in my 40 Minute Pepperoni Pizza. The 30-minute dough (plus about 10 minutes of baking) held together better than any quick dough I've ever made. For best results, bake the pizza directly on quarry tiles on the center rack of your preheated oven.

  • If you want a more mature crust that tastes like a high-quality pizzeria pizza, in the same recipe use caputo flour for half the flour and cut the amount of yeast in half. Knead well and let dough sit for an hour before forming your pizza. This 90-minute dough will rival an artisan crust, although it will lack the nutty flavor that comes with an overnight rise.


 


Meanwhile, before you rush to the store to get some of this whiz bang pizza crust yeast, you might want to know what the added ingredients are and what they do. As far as I can tell, these are well-accepted additives in the food world; you can google any one of them for more info.


Sorbitan Monostearate - a waxy derivative of sorbitol that aids yeast cells in their ability to absorb water. This one is found in active dry yeast as well.


Ascorbic acid - an antioxidant food additive group that contains as one of its members vitamin C. This is an accepted dough enhancer which I have used in small quantities to nourish and freshen the flavor of breads. Fruit Fresh is one brand, available as an additive to preserve color in canned fruits and vegetables.


L-cysteine - a nonessential amino acid that has antioxidant properties.


Enzymes - proteins that speed the rate of chemical reactions.


 


Conclusion: If you're in a hurry for a good homemade crust, this yeast will do the job of speeding things up. And since it does that in about the time it would take to bake a frozen pizza, I say the decision is a no-brainer. After all, the best pizza is the one you make yourself!


So go on. Give it your own test drive. I think you'll agree at the finish line that pizza crust yeast is a real winner!


For original post, see www.woodfiredkitchen.com

Comments

wally's picture
wally

I've seen the new Fleischmann's yeast, and I decided to avoid it.  Why?  Well, in my book, pizza is ALL about the dough.  The toppings are not the main event, the quality and flavor of the baked dough ARE.


You can't create a quality dough in terms of flavor in 30 minutes.  Period.  The laws of chemistry - and especially bread chemistry - just don't allow it.


So, to me, if you want a pizza dough ready to go in 30 minutes, you might just as well buy a frozen one at your local supermarket and thaw it.  Or just order from Dominos. 


Larry


 

SylviaH's picture
SylviaH

...but I really am picky about the sauce, cheeses and any toppings too : )Sylvia

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

Since most people plan their meals at least a day in advance (who spontaneously decides to bake pizza?), I suggest just making up a batch of pizza dough from Reinhart's BBA.  You make the dough the night before, a process taking all of 15-20 minutes (I usually do it before I go to bed), bag it, and stick it in the fridge, where it can stay for up to 3 days. 


When you're planning to make pizza, take the dough out a good 45 minutes before baking so it has a chance to warm up (which gives you lots of time to get some sauce made up (you *do* make your sauce from scratch, right?), and your toppings prepped), and voila, you have a wonderful, flavourful pizza crust, ready to roll, without compromising convenience or flavour.

LindyD's picture
LindyD

I'll pass, too.


Fast bread is not good bread.

sortachef's picture
sortachef

No worries here; normally I'd agree with you. You can see my advocacy of long rise dough at http://www.woodfiredkitchen.com/?p=126.


In the meantime, I was curious, which is why I tried the quick yeast out. It won't ever take the place of my normal recipe, but it was interesting to try.


BTW: I notice that even Peter Rheinhart reaches for rapid rise yeast instead of the regular garden variety. Does that make him any less of a purist?


 

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

Reinhart uses *instant* yeast, which is just regular ol' yeast with a finer granule.  It rises no faster or slower than traditional active dry.  It's primary advantage is that the fine granule means you can incorporate it straight into your dry ingredients without having to worry about whether it'll fully dissolve.

copyu's picture
copyu

that SAF also has a 'dedicated' Pizza Yeast. I saw it and picked it up, trying to work out what a "pizza yeast" was. Someone else said it before me—yeast is yeast!


I read the package info, but I didn't notice if it claimed to have any particular speedy rise properties.


Personally, I think it's just the 'sucker effect' designed by the marketing people, to attract the uninitiated, but I can't say for sure...I left it on the shelf. I don't make pizza often enough to worry about what yeast should go into it.


Has anyone else heard of it, or tried it? Please let us know. I'm willing to learn new things (...but to be quite honest, I'm betting that I won't learn much on this issue.)


Cheers,


copyu


 

LindyD's picture
LindyD



 I notice that even Peter Rheinhart reaches for rapid rise yeast instead of the regular garden variety. Does that make him any less of a purist?


 



While I've not seen that in the Reinhart books I have, rapid yeast is designed to accelerate fermentation.   Its only purpose is to save time - and presumably money for commercial bakers.


My take is that when you do that, you sacrifice quality.   If any baker is going to toss out the development of good flavor for the sake of speed, that baker is selling out to the I-want-instant-gratification-now crowd and purity goes out the window.

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

I totally get why people want speed and convenience.  I mean, who wants to spend hours and hours planning and executing an everyday meal?  It's totally impractical for a regular, week-day supper.


But that's why PR's pizza dough recipe is so awesome.  It takes basically no time to initially prepare (you just need a spare 15-20 minutes a night or two before), and then when you're ready to make pizza, it's just a matter of pulling out the dough a little bit ahead of time, and you're good to go.  So you get all the speed and convenience that would be achieved with a rapid-rise yeast or a pre-purchased pizza dough, but with the flavour development contributed by a nice, long, slow rise.


The real problem is that people aren't aware that such an option is even available.  Heck, I *never* would've thought you could prepare pizza dough days ahead of time, and have it be okay in the fridge.  It really was a complete revolution for me, and turned pizza from a special-occasion-type dish to an everyday thing (well, not *every* day... that's a lot of cheese :).

sortachef's picture
sortachef

Thanks for all your comments. I'll be posting two pizza recipes utilizing the new yeast on my website, but based on your feedback I'll be including a caveat.


Just so you know, I've always been a purist about these things. I've been baking bread now for  40 years (since I was 10). As my family can tell you, there is always a dough sitting around somewhere, a starter in the fridge, or whatever. I love to experiment, and I love bread and pizza made with long-rising dough.


My motivation for a test drive like this springs from teaching young people like my teenagers to bake. If just one of the young people I talk to picks up a measuring cup and a mixing bowl and makes a pepperoni pizza from scratch instead of pulling it out of a box, I will have succeeded.


Thanks again, and happy baking!


P.S.- Today's post is Great Pepperoni Pizza in 40 Minutes @ http://www.woodfiredkitchen.com/?p=1156

EvaB's picture
EvaB

sentiments about the pure and better tasting long rise breads and pizza dough, there are some people who would spontainously make pizza. My family being one, we have a sort of baking powder biscuit dough we use for it, and its not a puffy crust, which by the way I hate! I like the thin crust with lots of crispy crunchy well done bread. I abhor thick puffy and half done bread.


The quick yeast would be a benifit for those who decide when suddenly faced with a lot of drop in guests to make pizza, and why not, they would certainly be a fun additive to a summer evening when people are visiting and definitely cheaper than ordering in.


If people find this yeast and use it, and become hooked on baking their own pizza, it might lead to them exploring the bread world, and becoming a baker of Artisan breads, but if someone who is just starting out reads this post where everyone is saying its NOT PURE so its NOT GOOD they will be turned off and never read the wonderful posts and recipes here, therefore depriving themselves of learning to bake bread.


While I appreciate it being your choice I find a lot of you are snobs, YES SNOBS about bread, bread is bread, and if the back door is a specialty yeast that lets someone who would never consider making pizza from scratch start doing it, and then allows that person to explore the world of baking, its another one of us in the making. STOP BEING SO PURE! While its a ludable goal, its not the only way to go!

fancypantalons's picture
fancypantalons

"sentiments about the pure and better tasting long rise breads and pizza dough, there are some people who would spontainously make pizza."



I find that statement a little bizarre, TBH.  You just happen to have sauce, cheese, and other toppings lying around, and not expired, so that you can throw a pizza together at the last minute?  Really?


I just find that strange.  I guess that's just me. :)



"but if someone who is just starting out reads this post where everyone is saying its NOT PURE so its NOT GOOD they will be turned off"


I totally disagree.  If someone starting off reads this thread, they'll see people saying "I dunno, I wouldn't make pizza like this", and they would make a choice whether or not to try it for themselves.  No one here has been mean, cruel, or demeaning.  I'd say it's been a very civil conversation (well, until someone started throwing the name "snob" around).  If someone finds this comment thread so intimidating that it turns them off baking pizza, I'd say they have bigger problems. :)


That said, I actually agree that lowering the barriers to baking is a good thing, and sometimes that barrier is time.  But anyone reading this should understand that any shortcut products like this *will* compromise the end product.  Will it still produce an acceptable result?  Sure.  But the statement "bread is bread" is simply false.  There's "good enough" and there's "wow".  A quick-rise yeast will produce "good enough" pizza, but if you really want to blow someone's socks off with great pizza, take the little (and I really mean little) time it takes to prepare ahead of time and do it right.  We already have a culture deeply focused on instant gratification and reward without effort... but baking bread is *all about* slow food, and doing things right (well, at least, it is for me).


 

LindyD's picture
LindyD

Eva, you have a real problem when people express opinions that you do not agree with.  


I suggest you step back, take a break, and stop the name calling.  


Frankly, it's very boorish behavior.

Faith in Virginia's picture
Faith in Virginia

Is snob a bad thing?  Perhaps, perhaps not.


I am a bread snob.   I am very picky about the bread I eat.  I'm so bad that I can't eat at fast food burger joints because the buns are so sub standard.  I also don't use a mixer and my dough bowl by hand works great...even when the power is out.


The problem is most people don't know what's good...they go buy a frozen dinner and pop it in the oven and think it's great that they cooked dinner for the family.  The way I see it all that does is "make a turd" and makes it fast.  If that makes them happy then so be it.


I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't take offense to being called a snob...I kinda like it. Then again I never claimed to be normal.  I will say though if you are a snob ...do it right and take pride in your snobbery.

EvaB's picture
EvaB

Takes one to know one my mother always said.

BreadHeads's picture
BreadHeads

I think some of you are overlooking a few really important things about this yeast.

the ingredients added are there to presumably make it rise faster than a normal yeast so that you could presumably make the dough rise in 30 minutes (i know it says fast and easy on the package and that there is "no rise time or proofing needed"). but i think that's the wrong approach to use...

you shouldn't be buying this yeast in order to make the pizza rise faster or to skimp out on the process when it comes to allowing the dough to rise.

the real reason why you would buy this yeast is because it will have less spring back because of the enzymes. For anyone who has worked in a pizza restaurant you'll know what i'm talking about when i say that regular dough you make at home (without the enzymes and such) will have a different feel/texture/response to it than what you would normally use in a restaurant. and the difference is the enzymes you would normally want to add (if you owned a restaurant) are not present when you make the dough at home with just flour and yeast/sugar. I tried and tried for years to figure out how i could make it respond the correct way at home, because it just isn't the same. The trick to a good crust is to toss it the right way... with your hands. This can become really complicated to get the desired effect when you have the dough that isn't elastic enough. 

SO!

it's basically regular yeast. which is supposed to rise faster than normal yeast ( i suppose that part was out of convenience for people who most likely wouldn't know much about making pizza. ) which i'm not against in the least, but the reason i have been using it is because it has reduced spring-back and actually responds correctly! every time i've used it i allowed it to proof for an extended period of time or at least 4 or 5 hours, like you normally would, no skimping out on that aspect. But i've gotten some really great results from this yeast if you allow it to sit for a while...

things i've noticed about it that improve from just standard yeast:
-elastic, non-springy dough, easy to stretch and achieve a desired thin-ness (the correct amount of elasticity)
-flavor is better and less bland without flavoring (tastes more like a dough should taste)
-rises less and thus cooks better. 

wouldn't use it for things other than pizza because the ingredients that are added were added to make it stretch more easily and correctly, and there is no need for those things in a regular type of bread because you wouldn't need to stretch regular bread like that. I mean, there's no other thing you would make with bread that you really need to throw in the air like that. And that's really the purpose of this flour in my opinion. You could call it whatever purpose you think but i've used it and compared it to regular yeast and i think there's certainly an improvement to the way it stretches and rises. 

so my advice would be:
Don't buy into the whole fast and easy thing, but try it and use it like you would any other yeast. 
if you don't throw your pies by hand then you probably wouldn't notice any difference.