Anyone else having issues with getting their yeast-water combo to foam? I used the right temperature of water (within a degree or two), used fresh...

... active dry yeast (worked well with my last loaf of a different type) and wisked like a madman. I'm moving forward without the foam and crossing my fingers

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Dan Leader's 4-Hour Baguette
Recipe question for: Dan Leader's 4-Hour Baguette

4 Comments

Bombadil February 8, 2018
Thank you for your insights, Antonia.

In the end, I think that I diverged significantly from the original recipe, but that the final product was more than satisfactory. I tried your yeast slurry after rising the dough and before dividing it. It was fairly sticky after adding the extra water, and I had to be pretty generous with the flour as I worked the dough into the larger pre-fold shape. I'm not sure if it rose more because of the added yeast (which did foam with the added sugar) or because I was patient and allowed extra time before handling it again. I also used an egg wash before baking, as well as a modest sprinkling of coarse salt on the tops. The result was very tasty, though the loaves were uncharacteristically dense in the middle. I wouldn't proudly proclaim that I'd made baguettes in the traditional sense. I'll try the recipe again (practice makes perfect!), using a pinch of sugar at the start, hoping to get that airy interior with a thick crust. Overall, I'm happy with the formula and the additional advice. I'll check in again if I need help with the next batch. Thank you!

Joy,
Joe
 

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AntoniaJames February 8, 2018
Yikes, no foam is not a good sign, but it might not be fatal. I'd put a pinch of sugar in it and let it sit a few more minutes. If the room is cold, that could be slowing things down a bit. Let us know, please, what happens! ;o)
 
Bombadil February 8, 2018
Thanks for the quick response, Antonia. Unfortunately, I got it after I'd already added flour. I did add a pinch of salt (not the same as sugar, I know, but I've always added salt to the initial water and yeast for other breads), to no avail. The room is about 65 degrees, but I had put the bowl in the oven with the light on (maybe a few degrees warmer; certainly has helped my dough rise with other projects). I'll let you know how it turns out, foam-free.
 
AntoniaJames February 8, 2018
Salt actually inhibits yeast growth. Much better not to add salt until after the flour has been mixed into the water and yeast mixture.

If the dough is just not rising at all after 45 minutes or so, you could make a paste with some more yeast, just a touch of water, and sugar, and let it sit long enough to test whether the yeast is alive. You could then knead that back into the bread. I've done that when I've actually forgotten to add yeast to the dough. (I use instant yeast, which doesn't need to be softened in water first.) It works like a charm. ;o)
 
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