The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

First Loaf of Yeast Bread ever made - today

Bread Baker 101's picture
Bread Baker 101

First Loaf of Yeast Bread ever made - today

Ok, so I really enjoy cooking and love to bake cakes, and I've been wanting to try baking some breads and try to start baking my own loaves for my family (without the perservatives and such of the super market breads), so I thought I'd try my hand at my first loaf of active yeast bread today - the culprit....a loaf of seeminly easy, beautiful, delicious looking Homemade Cinnamon Bread.

Score: Bread - 1, Me - 0.

I followed directions on the recipe as I thought I was following to a "T"; however, did have some silent doubts along the way as this is the very first time I have EVER tried making a loaf of any type of bread using active dry yeast. I have been reading other blogs, tips and tricks and all of the such and I'm sure the following are the reasons for my bread making failure:

1. I'm afraid I let the liquid get too hot and did not let it cool enough before adding the yeast.
2. When I added the yeast, I stirred the mixture with the knife I had laying nearby that I cut my hunk of butter off with.
3. My proofing mixture did not have any real noticeable CO2 bubbles.
4. I live in AZ and thought that a good place for my bread to rise for the first rising was in my warmed glass bowl, loosely covered with plastic wrap, on my patio chair in my back yard in the AZ sun (it was a beautiful 90 or so out when it was out there during the 2 hours).
5. I don't have a fancy mixer so I kneaded by hand (in the bowl) - I was so nervous, I didn't take the dough out of the bowl...
6.My dough didn't rise that much, so when I formed it into the roll and placed it in the pan, for the second rising I turned my oven on and placed the pan (again covered with plastic wrap) in my microwave that is directly above/on top of my built-in oven - thinking the microwave would get  enough heat from the oven for rising. Not much happened after over 2 hours.
7. So then, my 87 year old aunt who lives with us suggested placing the pan on the open oven door - so I did this for about another 45 min and still not a lot of activity - so I just decided to bake the loaf.

What a disaster - my loaf is soooo dense and dry - with a pretty good flavor - but who wants to eat dry dense bread? What a long day - felt kind of gratifying during the process, but after nearly the whole entire day, and ending with a loaf of bread nearly inedible, it was a huge let down and disappointment.

So, I've come to one conclusion - there is definitley room for improvement! Today is the beginning of a new life challenge - try to master the art and science of active yeast bread baking. Please wish me luck! Hope to be able to gather a lot of different tips from this site and ultimately end up making delicious, weekly bread for my family - without so much as a grimace on my face (except while kneading the dough).

Take care fellow bakers!
Erin aka Bread Baker 101 


Salilah's picture

One thing I have read is that cinnamon is not particularly easy to work with, and it can reduce the effect of the yeast, so you might want to try to begin with with just a white or part-wholewheat loaf? 

Whatever you do - don't give up!

good luck

Bread Baker 101's picture
Bread Baker 101

Thank you for your words of encouragmentment Salilah! I am definitely not going to give up - and am going to heed your advice on trying a little more basic loaf. Thanks again!

RobynNZ's picture

Hi Erin

Floyd, who runs this wonderful website, has prepared an e-book, to help newcomers to bread-baking, you'll find a link on the top left of this page. You might find it helpful to work with it while you get used to handling bread dough. Learning how to handle the dough and how to recognize when it is ready to move on to the next stage is also important.

Cinnamon does indeed affect the action of yeast, this may well have been the problem.  Or as yeast likes warmth, at the high temperatures you used out in the sun, the yeast may in fact have been very active and could have used up all the food available to it, so it was no longer producing gas, by the time you moved on to the shaping/proofing.  We tend to use temperatures somewhere round 75°F-80°F for the bulk fermentation, so that the yeast works at a 'steady' pace and also slowly develops flavour in the dough. It is indeed a good idea to make some basic bread to learn the techniques, so that when you start experimenting you will know when something is 'odd'.

I do wish you well and encourage you to come back and let us know how you are getting on and to ask more questions if you need to.  Bricks are almost like a rite of passsage! Don't give up.

Cheers, Robyn