Enough bad attempts - need some help.
I've been pretty impressed with the knowledge of people on these boards here. I've been reading them for about a week taking in new information.
Here is where I stand though. I haven't done much baking, but what I have done have all been pretty much failures. I was researching why my dough wasn't rising an ended up here. Well, much has been learned, but still a couple things I'm a little confused on.
I'll be the first to fess up, I had NO idea that there were even 2 different kinds of yeast (active/instant). I never looked much beyond a recipe, until I got fed up one day (after a total of 10 no rising breads). Well, I have a couple packets of active (red package) yeast left. I want to learn it right.
I noticed that the first thing I should be doing is activating the yeast in warm water, never done that before, but will do now. *The recipe on the back of a package doesn't mention this and it's the active yeast package.
Also, the recipe on the back mentions about 4 cups of flour, salt, sugar, etc. But it also mentions "2" whole packages of the yeast. 2? Whole packages? Every recipe I read up until now always stated between 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 teaspoons of yeast? I know nothing about "hydration" of dough yet.
I don't like following recipes and like doing my own things, so I've been toying with this:
3 cups flour (I think all purpose - it's what I have already at the house)
^ Usually about 1/2 cup more plus a little for kneading
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup honey (somewhat melted to be more liquified)
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon yeast
Mixed all together, kneaded until stretchy but not breaking, let rise to double (never rises any at all), shape and rise (still nothing), bake anyways. The results, well, I don't think it deserves to have a result.
Please don't just give me blunt directions. I'd like to learn as well. If you are re-writing the recipe/ingredients/directions, can you please explain why so I can truly understand once and for all!
Does it hurt to overyeast something, too make sure it rises? I don't like the idea of underyeasting, working more in, waiting. I'm rather time contsrained already so the 1 - 1 1/2 hours of a first double rise, shape and rise/proof, bake is a perfect time table for me.
*This wasn't meant to be a rant/complaint thread. I really do want to learn, and just trying to be thourogh on what I'm doing already.