In Lehmann's terms: mix-ins

QUESTION:

We recently changed over to using activedry yeast when making our dough.We hydrate it in 100°F water for 10minutes, but we are unsure if we canadd it to the remainder of the water,which is 65°F, or if we should keep itseparate from the cold water.

ANSWER:

Once you have hydrated the active dryyeast (ADY), you can add it to the colderdough water without any problem. WhatI normally do is pour the hydrated yeastsuspension into the mixing bowl; then,as I add the colder dough water, I pourit into the container in which I hydratedthe ADY to rinse it out. This gets all ofthe yeast into the mixing bowl and helpsclean the yeast bowl at the same time.

QUESTION:

We use fresh yeast in making ourdough. There has been some discussionas to how long we should leave theyeast in the water before we add it tothe dough.

ANSWER:

There seems to be a common misconceptionthat fresh yeast/compressedyeast/block yeast needs to be suspendedin water before it can be added to thedough. This is not the case at all. Thebest way to add compressed yeast to thedough is to crumble it into pieces as youadd it to the mixing bowl. The yeast canbe added directly to the flour just beforeyou begin mixing. The normal mixingaction will be more than sufficient tothoroughly disperse the yeast throughoutthe dough mass.

There is one exception to this—if youhappen to be using a vertical cuttermixer (VCM). In this case, you willneed to suspend the yeast in the waterprior to adding the flour. This is bestaccomplished by first adding the waterto the mixer bowl, then adding the compressedyeast, and running the mixerfor several seconds to suspend the yeastin the water; then add the flour andremaining ingredients, and mix in yournormal manner. This is required due tothe extremely short mixing time of 70 to90 seconds when using a VCM.

QUESTION:

What effect will adding baking powderhave on my pizza dough?

ANSWER:

Baking powder is a complete chemicalleavening system: Just add water andheat, and you can get a rise. Bakingpowder is comprised of both soda andacid components that, when hydratedand heated, will fully react, leaving aneutral pH (7.0) after generating all ofits carbon dioxide. Its effect on flavorin non-yeast-leavened products, suchas cakes and cookies, can be anythingfrom minimal to characterizing. Inyeast-leavened systems, the act of yeastfermentation creates certain acids as aby-product, and these acids will reactwith the soda portion of the bakingpowder. This results in an early releaseof carbon dioxide, so the full effectof the baking powder is not realized;but, even more importantly, the acidpart of the baking powder is now leftas a by-product that affects the taste,aroma and sometimes even the colorof the finished crust. Typically, theresulting flavor is characterized likethat of a baking powder biscuit with aslightly sharp or bitter aftertaste. To getaround these issues, and still be able touse baking powder in yeast-leavenedproducts, fat-encapsulated chemicalleavening systems have been developed.These are complete leavening systems,meaning that upon complete reactionthere is neither an acid nor alkali residual,so there is minimal impact uponthe flavor or color characteristics of thefinished crust.

Tom Lehmann is the directorof bakery assistance for theAmerican Institute of Baking(AIB). Need more dough advice?Visit the Dough InformationCenter at PMQ.com/dough.