Yeast Baking

Learn how to make yeast bread with these easy yeast baking tips and yeast bread recipes.

How to Make Yeast Bread

How to Make Yeast Bread

A step-by-step guide to kneading, shaping and baking yeast bread.

Yeast Bread Recipes

Find yeast bread recipes including wheat bread recipes, bread roll recipes and more.

Yeast Bread Recipes»

Traditional Mixing Method for Yeast Breads

Step 1

Heat liquid to 110° to 115° F, using a thermometer. Measure liquid and place in a large mixing bowl. Add active dry yeast; stir until dissolved.

Step 2

Add sugar, salt, fat, eggs (if using) and about half of the flour. Beat with an electric mixer or by hand until smooth.

Step 3

Gradually stir in enough of the remaining flour by hand to form a dough of consistency stated in the recipe.

Rapid Mixing Method for Yeast Breads

Step 1

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, active dry or quick-rise yeast, salt and any seasonings.

Step 2

In a saucepan, heat liquid ingredients (water, milk, honey, molasses and butter or oil) to 120° to 130° F. Add to dry ingredients; beat just until moistened.

Step 3

Add any eggs; beat until smooth. Gradually stir in enough of the remaining flour to form a dough of the desired consistency.

Problem-Solving Pointers for Yeast Bread

Bread did not rise well or did not rise at all:

  • Yeast was not fresh. Next time, proof the yeast.
  • Liquid was too hot and killed the yeast.
  • Dough was kneaded too much or not enough.
  • Oven temperature was too low.

Bread is heavy and coarse:

  • There’s too much liquid or not enough flour in dough.
  • Next time, use a lower-gluten flour such as whole wheat, rye or oat.
  • Dough was allowed to rise too long.
  • Oven temperature was too low.

Bread is dry and crumbly:

  • Too much flour was used.
  • Dough was allowed to rise too long.

Bread is doughy on the bottom or has a slightly gummy texture:

  • Bread was underbaked.
  • Bread stayed in the pan too long after baking.

Loaf sinks in the center:

  • Dough rose too long during the second rise time in the pan.

Bread has large holes:

  • Dough was not kneaded enough.
  • Air was not compressed out of the dough during shaping.

Bread crumbles when cut:

  • Too much flour was used.
  • Dough was kneaded too much or not enough.
  • Dough was allowed to rise too long or not long enough.
  • Oven temperature was too high.

Bread has a yeasty taste:

  • Dough had too much yeast or rose too long.

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Yeast Bread Ingredients

The ingredients used in bread making will affect the texture, density and crust. Lean breads (like French bread) are made with yeast, flour, water, salt and a minimal amount of sugar to produce a dense, chewy bread with a crisp crust. Rich or short breads (like Brioche) are made with fat such as butter or shortening, eggs and/or milk to produce a tender bread with a soft crust.

Fats and Eggs: They tenderize, add moisture, carry flavors and give a richness to the bread.

Flours: Wheat flour, the most commonly used flour, contains gluten—an elastic protein. Kneading the dough develops the gluten. During the rise time, the yeast produces carbon dioxide gas, which becomes trapped in the dough. As the gases push against the protein, the dough rises. During baking, the protein is set by the heat and gives the baked good its structure.

The terms soft and hard wheat refer to the amount of protein (gluten) in the flour—soft has less and hard has more. The amount of gluten will affect the texture of the bread.

High-gluten flours, such as all-purpose or bread flour, are used for the best yeast bread results. Whole wheat and rye flours contain less gluten, and the bread would be heavy and dense without the addition of all-purpose or bread flour.

Liquids: Most breads are prepared with water, milk or water reserved from cooking potatoes. Breads prepared with water will yield a crunchy crust, and milk will produce a softer crust and a tender crumb. All liquids need to be warmed to the temperature required by the yeast and mixing method.

Salt: Helps round out flavors and controls the growth of the yeast. Too much salt or too little salt will affect the final product. For best results, use the amount listed in the recipe and never omit the salt.

Sugars and Other Sweeteners: Used in small amounts, sugars feed the yeast when making bread. Sugars and other sweeteners tenderize, add sweetness and flavor, promote browning and enhance the keeping quality. Depending on the recipe, you may use white or brown sugar, molasses or honey to sweeten and flavor your bread.

Yeast: This microorganism becomes activated when combined with warm water and sugar. It consumes the sugars in sweeteners and flours and produces carbon dioxide gas that helps give bread its light airy texture. There are several different types of yeast, which are all handled differently. Check the expiration date on the package before using, and discard yeast if it is past the date.

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Yeast Bread Baking Tips

  • Use butter, stick margarine (with at least 80% oil) or shortening. Do not use light or whipped butter, diet spread or tub margarine. Measure ingredients accurately. Check the temperature of liquid ingredients with an instant-read thermometer.
  • Arrange the oven racks so that the bread will bake in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven for 10 to 15 minutes before baking.
  • When mixing dough, always start with a minimum amount of flour until dough reaches desired consistency (soft, sticky, stiff or firm). Knead dough only until it does not tear easily when stretched. Let the dough rise in a warm (80° F to 85° F), draft-free area. Proper rising helps in the development of the bread texture.
  • Use aluminum pans with a dull rather than shiny or dark finish. Glass baking dishes and dark finishes will produce darker crusts. To allow for good air circulation while baking, leave at least 1 in. of space between pans and between pans and sides of oven.
  • Use a kitchen timer and test for doneness at the minimum recommended baking time. Bread is done when it is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Or, insert an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the loaf. The bread is done when the thermometer reads 200° F.
  • Remove breads from pans and cool on wire racks. Let breads cool for at least 20 minutes before slicing. Use a serrated knife and a sawing motion when cutting.

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