The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

trouble with fresh yeast?

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Bikerbaker26's picture
Bikerbaker26

trouble with fresh yeast?

Hey All,

I'm a newbie here and have a couple questions for the more experienced bread bakers here.  I have been baking bread for a few years now but I just started using fresh yeast and have encountered a small problem.  I let my bread rise for the first time, then punched down and let rise again.  My problem came in yesterday when I was ready to put my dough in the oven....as soon as I touched it to move it away from the other loaf on my peel, it deflated and was flat!  It never rose while baking and I really don't know what I did.  I'm sure somebody here can tell me what I did wrong, but I'm at a loss.  This never happened before.  Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Thx,

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Sounds like waiting too long before popping it into the oven.   The best thing to do is to take the deflated dough and fold it back into a dough ball.  Rest 10 minutes until it relaxes and reshape and let it rise again.  Being careful not to let it rise too long or too high.  You need to test your dough when it gets close to baking with a "poke test" or something similar to test for springiness in the dough.  The dough should be a little resistant to your poking.  It's good to poke it often when you're learning.  You will see that the dough gets softer as it rises and the dent from your finger is more apt to stay.  If you poke about half an inch into the dough with a wet or floured finger and it fills in about half way, time to get that dough into the oven.  If you poke it and it deflates as you describe, then the dough will not support itself long enough to be baked.  Results... brick.    

Do we have a video link around here guys?

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

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Carol Stevens's picture
Carol Stevens

I agree with 'mini oven' that the dough was over-proofed.  Use the 'ripe test' to determine when the dough has risen enough.  Links to the test below.

first rise - http://www.redstaryeast.com/lessons/baking_steps_guide/rise__rest_period.php

second rise - http://www.redstaryeast.com/lessons/baking_steps_guide/proofing.php

 

Bikerbaker26's picture
Bikerbaker26

Hmm, well I certainly appreciate the comments/suggestions....I've never really had this problem before but I will definitely shorten my second rise and try again.  Are there any changes I should make when working with fresh yeast as opposed to the dry?  This problem starting occuring when I switched to the frsh yeast.  Thanks again for the information....

Chuck's picture
Chuck

Having your dough rise so much faster that it's too easy to over-proof may indicate there was too much yeast. (There's no substitute for "watch the dough not the clock" [especially when changing yeast] - nevertheless it would help to get the amount of yeast about right.)

Conversion factors vary more than I'm comfortable with. A common conversion (by weight of course) from active-dry/instant to fresh/cake is 4 times  ...but I frequently see the opinion that's really too much. A conservative conversion from active-dry/instant to fresh/cake is only 2 times  ...but there seems to be general agreement that's really too little. That leaves an awfully big range though:-) To make it even more confusing, an equal weight of instant is actually slightly (5/4?) yeastier than active-dry, and the conversion to fresh/cake should really take that into account too.

But rather than trying to pin down all this theory and math, I'd suggest just trying things to zoom in on what works for you. The conversion factor you used last time seemed to lead to over-yeasting/over-proofing. So try a little less fresh/cake yeast next time. When you find the "sweet spot" that works for you, write it down (on the back page of one of your cookbooks?) for future reference.

Bikerbaker26's picture
Bikerbaker26

Geez Chuck, this is all getting so complicated... :-)  I actually thought there could be too much yeast.  The one book said 1/4 oz of dry was equal to 1 oz of fresh, and then on the fresh yeast it said 2 oz was equal to 3 pkg of dry, so much for consistency! LOL  Anyway, I think the overyeasting is more than likely my biggest problem right now.  I appreciate the info and I will try again.  My "double batch" consisted of 3-1/2 cups water, 2 oz fresh yeast, a bit of sugar and olive oil, then (to start) 8 cups whole wheat flour and salt.  I always try to change up a bit to see how the texture and flavor varies....still searching for my "sweet spot"!  Thx again, and as always, any/all comments are greatly appreciated.

Carol Stevens's picture
Carol Stevens

Divide your 2 oz. cake into thirds (three equal pieces).  Each 'third' will rise up to 4 cups of flour.  Use two thirds in your recipe with 8 cups of flour.  We have a handy conversion chart for future reference:  http://www.redstaryeast.com/lessons/yeast_conversion_table/.   Hope this helps!

foodslut's picture
foodslut
Bikerbaker26's picture
Bikerbaker26

Thank you Carol and FS for the charts, they will come in handy.  I did manage to speak to a friend who used to be a pastry chef and I may have other issues as well as what was mentioned here.  Another issue being using all whole wheat flour instead of mixing with bread flour, not enough gluten to hold the shape and inflation.....Ahhh back to the drawing board.  Thank you all again for the help.  I willl hopefully post again with better results....