The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

yeast and gas

norco1's picture
norco1

yeast and gas

bread baking videos always show risen dough with relatively large gas pockets. I believe my dry yeast is fresh, yet I'm unable to acquire the formidable gas display I notice on the demos. What might I be overlooking in my proofing?


wally's picture
wally

I'm assuming when you refer to these videos they are of relatively high proportion white dough breads.  You won't find that large, open crumb structure in high percentage ryes, for instance, or in breads like brioche with a significant amount of fats.


So, assuming we're on the same page, there are a lot of factors beyond the state of your yeast (which is important) that will affect the openess of your crumb.  Four that jump to mind immediately are: 1- degree of hydration, 2- method of degassing during fermentation, 3- shaping technique, and 4- final proofing.  All of these - individually or in tandem - will impact the crumb structure of your bread.  To an extent, the more hydrated your dough, the more open its structure (but there are limits to this).  Your method of degassing - punching the dough down will result in a tighter crumb, gentle stretch and folds in a more open one- is important as well.  Shaping is critical: you need to achieve enough surface tension so that the loaf holds its shape, yet not degass the dough so completely that even after final proofing it will have a tight crumb.  And then knowing when the bread is proofed and ready for baking is also critical. An overproofed loaf is liable to collapse, and even if this doesn't occur, you will get very little if any oven spring resulting, again, in a tight crumb.


So the short - and long - answer is that many factors go into determining the openness of your crumb.  The freshness of your yeast is only one.


Larry