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Let's Experiment
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Last week I made a loaf of bread from a mix - I think it was Bob's Red Mill multigrain gluten-free or something - lots of seeds. When I put the yeast into the water it was very unenthusiastic and showed little sign of growth, but I went ahead and used it anyway. The bread came out normal height (for wheat bread), and hardly collapsed at all, and wasn't full of holes and tunnels. It even held up for sandwiches. Could it be that non-gluten bread works better with less yeast? Without as much force from the yeast growth pushing the bread to ridiculous heights once it hits the oven, there might be fewer large cavities inside and less pressure breaking apart the xanthan gum/gelatin/protein connections inside. Or maybe it's just that particular bread mix was good.

At any rate, I tried baking a loaf of Bette Hagman's four flour bean bread today and I used 1 teaspoon of yeast instead of 2-1/4 (which is the amount in a packet). This is a recipe where the yeast is added to the dry ingredients so you don't get to see the yeast growing and foaming before you add it. It seemed to help - the bread still rose to stupid heights, but not as much as usual. I baked it an extra 10 minutes to try to prevent the usual collapse, and between the lower yeast and the extra time, it held its shape pretty well. When I finally cut it, it had a very regular crumb with only a few oversize holes, compared to my usual mess.

Give it a try and let's hear what you find. I think I'm going to do this on a regular basis with my scratch recipes and see if it makes a difference. It doesn't seem to hurt and it might help. Tell us, bakers - does it work for your recipes?

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Hmm, I am trying to get my bread to raise more, LOL!

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An interesting theory. I'm willing to give it a try.

I did reduced the yeast slightly in a bread recipe that calls for 1 Tablespoon of yeast - I used one packet, which is slightly less. I saw no difference in the dough's ability to rise.

BUT.... the flavor was slightly off. I expect that, if your recipe is relying on the yeast to give it a bread-like flavor, then less yeast would affect the taste.

Still, I'd be interested to see just how much yeast is actually needed for the rising.

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...I'd be interested to see just how much yeast is actually needed for the rising.

As I recall with wheat breads, the dough is allowed to rise for awhile, even overnight. Then the dough is "punched down", kneeded a little, put into the baking pan and allowed to rise again for a short time, then baked. It's foggy memory, so sorry if that's not accurate...

Anyway, given this, I would expect the amount of yeast to use would depend to some degree on how long you allow it to rise. The yeast, after all, grows. So the longer it rises, the more yeast there is, right? So I guess that's what the punching down bit is all about - to get the large pockets out, further blend in the yeast, and then the resting period allows it to rise the right amount. Perhaps the overnight rising is used when there is less yeast to start off with. I don't recall how much that was, but I do recall it was put in a cup of warm water, often with a pinch of sugar to feed the yeast.

Just what the benefits might be to starting with less, and letting it rise overnight, I don't claim to know. If I were to guess, I'd say maybe the yeast grows larger, creating more structural integrity, thereby making the bread hold it's shape better after baking. Then it wouldn't fall so easily, and also have a stretchier, more traditional texture.

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I used to make kneaded wheat bread on a regular basis. The only time I saw instructions for overnight rising was from very old recipes (where you might have been using a sourdough starter of unknown potency in a house without central heating) or for a breakfast bread where you let it rise in the fridge overnight. Generally it was an hour or so for the first rising, punch down, then put in the pan and let rise again until it was where you wanted it.

Yes, the yeast is doubling over and over and over, and so eventually after enough time you will get it to the point where there are the same number of yeast cells as if you started with more in the first place. Kneading and punching down wheat bread allows the gluten to develop and maxes the amount of yeast in your bread by reducing the gas volume and allowing growth to continue without the dough running over the edge of the pan. However, the gluten in those breads allows the gas pockets created by the yeast to stretch to large volumes without the walls of that gas pocket coming apart. The sides of my gluten-free loaves always look like the top pulled apart from the side during that first 10 minutes in the oven, which doesn't happen so dramatically with wheat breads. I suspect that the xanthan gum and proteins we add aren't as strong and stretchy as gluten, so when the gas bubbles form in our bread they don't stay in neat small bubbles, but break and merge to form larger bubbles that end up as holes and tunnels. At least in my disappointing breads. So maybe by starting with less yeast the gas pockets will be smaller and won't be able to merge into giant bubbles. It's worth checking out. I am a scientist so my training is to experiment to find out if my theory is correct or bogus. That's where all of you come in. I'm sure many of you have more experience with these breads than I do, and it could be I'm wrong, or I'm right but for the wrong reasons, or that it only works in my kitchen. I figure the worst that happens is I waste a little time and generate another bag of bread crumbs or croutons if the bread is no better than usual. I wonder what would happen if we let our bread rise, then beat it down with a wooden spoon and let it rise again? Experiment number 2.

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I wonder what would happen if we let our bread rise, then beat it down with a wooden spoon and let it rise again? Experiment number 2.

I've wondered this, too. But it makes for expensive experiments, doesn't it, when you experiment with gluten-free flours? Surely, a Bette Hagman or Annalise Roberts has tried this . . . we just don't know what happened.

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I read somewhere that gluten-free grains are more delicate than gluten grains, and even for yeast breads, you shouldnt mix them much once the liquid is added - like quick breads. This is very confusing to a wheat-bread baker, because wheat-bread gets better and better the longer you knead it. But when/if I ever try to make another loaf of gluten-free bread (right now i'm off of rice and yeast), I will try to be very gentle with the mixing.

I only made 2 loaves before I quit rice. One of them was a focaccia from Annalise Robert's Gluten Free Baking Classics. The other was the miracle multi-grain flax bread, which was linked in this forum recently. Both breads failed to rise in the oven at all and fell and shrunk after being removed from the oven. I believe i let them rise too much b4 baking, but i'm not sure. The flax bread tasted awful to me . . .i'm suprised that everyone else said it tastes just like real bread. I have no idea what i did wrong, there. The focaccia tasted fantastic to me, totally like real bread - but of course that was before i realized that I cant tolerate tapioca, so maybe tapioca is the key in making decent breads.

Keep experimenting for me . .. I'm hoping to get back to it myself!

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I read somewhere that gluten-free grains are more delicate than gluten grains, and even for yeast breads, you shouldnt mix them much once the liquid is added - like quick breads. This is very confusing to a wheat-bread baker, because wheat-bread gets better and better the longer you knead it. But when/if I ever try to make another loaf of gluten-free bread (right now i'm off of rice and yeast), I will try to be very gentle with the mixing.

It is true that over-mixing quickbreads will reduce the rising big time. As for rice flours; I never use them. Not since I tried millet, sorghum, buckwheat, and just about every other flour I've tried. By comparison, rice flours are gritty, though I hadn't noticed much if at all until I tried the others.

I didn't get good results from tapioca, so I stopped using that. Of course, I like the whole grain types of breads, not the white "sandwich" type. There are a number of starchy flours that may yield a texture you like, so experiment.

To save money on experimenting, I do that in small amounts - like just enough to make a muffin or something. Just enough so there's something to cut with a knife and see the texture. Generally these turn out the size of an English muffin or bagel.

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As Lee pointed out, it is the gluten that gives wheat breads their structure. Mixing/kneading develops the gluten, making it stronger and stretchier. That's why quick breads should be mixed minimally - if you overhandle it, the gluten develops too much and you get a tough product.

Gluten-free grains are not, in themselves, somehow delicate, but they do produce a very delicate dough because they lack the strength of structure that the gluten provides. Xanthan gum is a helpful substitute, but it definitely does not behave just like gluten does, nor is it nearly as sturdy. A thorough initial mixing of a gluten-free dough will not harm it, because the air pockets have not begun to form yet. Once it starts rising, however, it needs to handled very carefully to prevent collapse. And everything I've read would seem to indicate that once it collapses it is not, like wheat bread, going to resurrect itself. It seems clear that once it's over, it's over. I'll be delighted if I get proven wrong on that, by the way. Long, slow rises give such character to the flavor of regular breads.

The idea of using less yeast is an intriguing one; I'll be playing around with that, too, and looking forward to hearing everyone else's results.

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The only time I saw instructions for overnight rising was from very old recipes...

Yeah, I think that's right, as my mother had a very old cookbook which was handed down a few times. I think yeast came in "cakes" or something, like little bars. Now the packets are like "triple active" or something, right? Not sure, as I don't use any yeast.

Yes, the yeast is doubling over and over and over, and so eventually after enough time you will get it to the point where there are the same number of yeast cells as if you started with more in the first place.

It occurs to me, that if you start with less yeast, and allow it to grow more, it would mean that the cells are connected together, and might therefore add some structure/strength to the bread. Whereas starting with more yeast, but not letting it grow as much would mean that the cells are less connected. So even though the total number of cells, and thus the amount of gas produced might be comparable, interconnected cells would provide additional strength, helping the bread stay risen. Does this sound right?

So maybe by starting with less yeast the gas pockets will be smaller and won't be able to merge into giant bubbles. It's worth checking out. I am a scientist so my training is to experiment to find out if my theory is correct or bogus.

Not sure, but I'm now thinking that if the dough is kneaded too much after the first rising, the yeast cell "links" might be pulled apart. I do try to think like a scientist too, and of course, cooking and baking is really a sort of chemistry. Only we get to eat the results.

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Somewhat related - the very first loaf of gluten free bread I baked was taken from Carol Fenster's "Gluten Free 101" cookbook (you can visit her website at glutenfree101.com). In that book she has recipes for all sorts of basic bread, along with instructions for doubling the recipe.

Whenever she doubles the recipe for bread, the amount of yeast stays the same (as in the amount of yeast in the recipe for one loaf is the very same as the amount of yeast in the recipe for two loaves). I used to add raisins and cinnamon to the second loaf for a little variety and it never affected or changed the rise of the bread.

I asked a question about this on this board about a year ago but no one seemed to know what I was talking about.

I must try that bread again. It was actually quite good, especially the fennel seed option - toasted with butter.

mamatide

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I have been experimenting a lot with bread recipes lately. This is a recipe I found on the Delphi forums that sounds very interesting. It is on my list to try, but it will be a week or more before I will have a chance to try it. If you try it, let me know what you think.

It uses a scant 1/4 tsp of yeast, but is allowed to rise 12 - 18 hours. There are a lot of posts about this bread on Delphi - here is the link to one of them : Artisan Bread discussion thread

Gluten Free Artisan Loaf Bread Posted by Misha at Delphi Forums

2 cups gluten-free Flour Mix (I used:

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Yes, it's been my understanding that a thorough mixing is a must. The first loaf of gluten-free bread I made, I made from a recipe and I did not use a mixer. No one told me. I'd been making wheat bread for years and had no idea. gluten-free bread has a different texture when you're mixing it. When I didn't use a mixer I got almost a monkey puzzle type texture to the dough which trasnalted when it baked. The second loaf I made was from a mix and it clearly stated in the directions USE A MIXER. I used a mixer and got a decent consistency to the bread, though it still tasted like crap, LOL.

By the way someone on another board asked about a yeast and gluten free bread. Is there a recipe out there I wonder? Something other than a flat bread?

As Lee pointed out, it is the gluten that gives wheat breads their structure. Mixing/kneading develops the gluten, making it stronger and stretchier. That's why quick breads should be mixed minimally - if you overhandle it, the gluten develops too much and you get a tough product.

Gluten-free grains are not, in themselves, somehow delicate, but they do produce a very delicate dough because they lack the strength of structure that the gluten provides. Xanthan gum is a helpful substitute, but it definitely does not behave just like gluten does, nor is it nearly as sturdy. A thorough initial mixing of a gluten-free dough will not harm it, because the air pockets have not begun to form yet. Once it starts rising, however, it needs to handled very carefully to prevent collapse. And everything I've read would seem to indicate that once it collapses it is not, like wheat bread, going to resurrect itself. It seems clear that once it's over, it's over. I'll be delighted if I get proven wrong on that, by the way. Long, slow rises give such character to the flavor of regular breads.

The idea of using less yeast is an intriguing one; I'll be playing around with that, too, and looking forward to hearing everyone else's results.

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By the way someone on another board asked about a yeast and gluten free bread. Is there a recipe out there I wonder? Something other than a flat bread?

Sure. The menu on the left side of the page has some quickbread recipes. I'd take a look at both the bread section, and the muffin section.

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Sure. The menu on the left side of the page has some quickbread recipes. I'd take a look at both the bread section, and the muffin section.

Where?? This list is so hard to read and all items seem to link to the Gluten-Free-Mall site. Once upon a time I was able to find the recipes through the "site index" but I don't see that now.

Edit

Okay - a little more searching and I discovered I had to exit the forum and enter the celiac.com home page and there, on the left-hand bar, I did find a link to recipes.

Here's the recipe index page:

Index of recipes

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The long overnight (or in the case of Ciabata 48 hours) is for flavour development. For her gluten free breads she doesn't really need very much yeast because there is only the one short raise then in the oven. If you were to punch down, regular bread that is, more than the two times the yeast can actually get used up (they run out of a sugar source to feed on).

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I just wanted to follow up on this and see if anybody else has tried it. I have been having good results using less yeast - the bread doesn't seem to over-rise any more and doesn't collapse as it cools. I have also been giving it an extra 10 minutes in the oven to help with the final cooking in the center, but I think it helps a lot that it didn't go overboard rising. I use 1t where 2-1/4 t is called for. Today I used 1 t instead of 1 T, and it still worked. It doesn't seem to take longer to rise to the top of the pan, either.

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Thanks for reporting in! I just checked the thread earlier today, as I've been wondering...

I wish I'd reduced the yeast in the bread I made today. I didn't even let it rise as high as the directions said (to the top of the pan) before I put it in the oven, but it rose like the bread that ate New York in the oven. And then, of course, it fell before I could even snap a picture.

What was really funny was that the first slice came out shaped exactly like a little bunny rabbit! I'll see if I can get hubby to post a picture in a bit. All in all, the bread's pretty good, but I could do without the dramatic rise and squash and the resulting bizarre shape.

This kind of thing makes me want to move directly on to my next loaf, but, alas, my family can't live on bread alone, and they insist on having clean clothes now and then, so my next attempt will have to wait.

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Families can be so demanding lol, Imagine, expecting clean clothes, food on the table, being driven to events... All this when bread needs to be made and experimented with.

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Argh. Tried again today. Used one tsp. yeast instead of the recipe's 2 1/2 tsps. Stuck the bread in the oven after only about 15 min. resting/rising time, and it hadn't visibly risen at all.

Once again it rose to freakish heights in the oven, splitting every which where and finally collapsing - this time before I even got it out of the oven. (After checking it at 40 minutes, I left it for another 10 to see if it might set up better.)

I do NOT get this at all!

I'm using Lorka's famous Gluten Free Flax Bread recipe, this time w/o the flax, as I was hoping that it was the flax that gave the bread it's funny flavor. Nope; it's the bean flour, which is a pity because I know the bean flour does great things for the texture of the bread.

Not sure what I'll try next...

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Argh. Tried again today. Used one tsp. yeast instead of the recipe's 2 1/2 tsps. Stuck the bread in the oven after only about 15 min. resting/rising time, and it hadn't visibly risen at all.

Once again it rose to freakish heights in the oven, splitting every which where and finally collapsing - this time before I even got it out of the oven. (After checking it at 40 minutes, I left it for another 10 to see if it might set up better.)

I do NOT get this at all!

I'm using Lorka's famous Gluten Free Flax Bread recipe, this time w/o the flax, as I was hoping that it was the flax that gave the bread it's funny flavor. Nope; it's the bean flour, which is a pity because I know the bean flour does great things for the texture of the bread.

Not sure what I'll try next...

Perhaps you need a larger bread pan. I have two sizes. I have to use my larger bread pan for my gluten-free bread.

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Perhaps you need a larger bread pan. I have two sizes. I have to use my larger bread pan for my gluten-free bread.

No, I'm sure the pan isn't too small; it's barely half full when I put the dough in. It's just rising way too much in the oven, and when it rises that much, it's guaranteed to collapse.

I think next time I'll try a higher oven temp. This recipe calls for 350, but I've noticed that most other recipes say 375 or 400. Maybe the higher temp would kill the yeast before it had time to make a hot-air balloon out the of the loaf.

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Someone suggested that the yeast should do most of its growth before it hits the oven. Try letting it rise longer, until the center of the dough is about level with the top of the pan, and bake at 400. I just let it rise at room temp on the counter, covered with a clean dish towel. Lately it takes about 30-40 minutes to rise that much on the counter, and about an hour and 10 minutes total in the oven. When I put it out to rise I set a timer for 30 minutes, then come back to check on it and heat the oven when it goes off. Also try preheating your oven about 10 minutes longer because when that little bell goes off to tell you it's ready, the air inside is heated, but the walls aren't fully heated yet. Giving it more time allows for more even consistent heating, which might kill the yeast quicker and stop the over-rising. I always put foil over it after 10 minutes in the oven, which theoretically keeps it from overbrowning, and by then it seems to have hit maximum height.

This is for a recipe with 2 cups of flour total in an 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 pan. I find if the recipe calls for 3 cups of flour you need a bigger pan (9 or 9-1/2 x 5 or 5-1/2) or a small pan with some buns on a separate tray or muffin tin. I have to say I also tried that famous flax bread that everyone raves about, and had no better luck with it than with anything else. But I'm going to keep using smaller amounts of yeast because it seems to be working for me.

Man, I thought making regular bread with all that kneading was an art! It had nothin' on the peculiarities and eccentricities of gluten-free bread. <_<

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Argh. Tried again today. Used one tsp. yeast instead of the recipe's 2 1/2 tsps. Stuck the bread in the oven after only about 15 min. resting/rising time, and it hadn't visibly risen at all.

Once again it rose to freakish heights in the oven, splitting every which where and finally collapsing - this time before I even got it out of the oven. (After checking it at 40 minutes, I left it for another 10 to see if it might set up better.)

I do NOT get this at all!

I'm using Lorka's famous Gluten Free Flax Bread recipe, this time w/o the flax, as I was hoping that it was the flax that gave the bread it's funny flavor. Nope; it's the bean flour, which is a pity because I know the bean flour does great things for the texture of the bread.

Not sure what I'll try next...

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Lets try again....

This is a great discussion! I've considered using yeast, but too afraid to vary from a recipe.

One thing I was taught as a new Celiac was don't vary from the recipe and bake during weather conditions that were not humid. I don't know exactly how humid it can not be (percentage wise). I was told that it would effect baking (I forget who did the seminar). It's something to think about.

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