FROM THE TEST KITCHEN

We went to cook­ing school so you don’t have to.

Rachael Ray Every Day - - Contents -

How to mas­ter mac and cheese; our fa­vorite Dutch ovens; and yeast ex­plained

Myth: Yeast is tricky to work with. Re­al­ity: It’s vir­tu­ally fool­proof. Here’s what you need to know to rock some rolls (or bread, or pizza dough). THERE ARE TWO MAIN TYPES OF YEAST

OK, there are way more than two kinds of yeast. But the ones you’re most likely to find in the bak­ing sec­tion of the su­per­mar­ket are in­stant yeast and ac­tive dry yeast. Both types are made for home cooks and are su­per easy to use. Any packet that’s marked as fast-ris­ing (Rapidrise, Quick-rise, ands af-in­stanta ret hem ain brands) con­tains in­stant yeast, which works quickly and can be mixed di­rectly into dry in­gre­di­ents. Ac­tive dry yeast, which should be dis­solved in warm wa­ter be­fore us­ing, is slightly slower-act­ing, pro­vides more fla­vor, and cre­ates baked goods with a softer tex­ture. Some recipes will spec­ify the type of yeast, but they’re ba­si­cally in­ter­change­able.

YEAST DOESN’T LIKE TO BE HOT

Yeast thrives in a warm, but not too warm, en­vi­ron­ment. If you’re adding yeast to warm wa­ter or milk, it should be around 110° to 115°. Any hot­ter than 140° can kill the yeast, which means loaves with no loft.

YEAST GETS OLD

Un­opened pack­ets of yeast will keep for a year or more. But if you don’t bake with it very of­ten, the ex­pi­ra­tion date may have passed. To check if your yeast is still alive, dis­solve 1 tsp. sugar in 1∕2 cup warm wa­ter, then stir in a 1∕4-oz. packet of yeast. If the yeast foams up, you’re good. ( Then sub­tract 1∕2 cup of the liq­uid in your recipe when you use that dis­solved yeast.) No foam? It’s time to head to the store.

— HAN­NAH HOWARD

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