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Active Dry Yeast

Ok so I am still struggling with pizza dough. I'm using the BGE recipe found in the cookbook. I use active dry yeast. To activate I'm putting in warm water with a smidge of sugar. Admittedly I have not mixed the yeast in the warm water before I just let em float on top.

Now the problem I'm having (that I blame yeast for) is that my dough is not doubling in size when I let rest and it isn't nice n stretchy like it ought to be. I let rest over night and just stretched after allowing it to warm. The dough was too elastic and kept snapping back into place.

Am I not activating the yeast properly? Am I not kneading long enough (2-3 min max)? Any help would be appreciated. I keep messing up what ought to be an easier process. Thanks all.


  • TjcoleyTjcoley Posts: 3,528
    edited February 2014
    Make sure your water is not too hot.  Around 110 F is where you want to be.  Over 130 or so and the yeast dies, too cold and it won't activate.  And go ahead and mix the yeast, sugar and water.

    Sounds like you are overnighting in the fridge - take it out sooner to warm up.  After a couple hours, stretch the dough, then let it rest again.  As it warms up it will be less elastic.  Be patient, stretch and rest a few times and it will hold shape.
    It's not a science, it's an art. And it's flawed.
    - Camp Hill, PA
  • BotchBotch Posts: 6,331
    edited February 2014
    I'm not familiar with the BGE recipe, does it require "punching down" the dough and letting it rise a second time?  This, I've found, was the biggest mistake I was making; if I kneaded the dough, let it rise in the frig, let it warm completely (and rise some more), then form your pie then, without any kind of second kneading, that seemed to make the difference for me.
    I've also found that yeast doesn't last as long as the label states; I bought a jar of it and it didn't last the year that it was supposed to, even refrigerated.  I buy it in the individual envelopes anymore.  
    Live fast, die young, and leave a well-marbled corpse.  
    Ogden, Utard.  
  • MO_EgginMO_Eggin Posts: 186
    The advice above is good.  Also, if you are doing a cold ferment (overnight in fridge), you can try skipping the proofing step for ADY - basically treat it like instant yeast, just mix in with the other dough ingredients - if you know the yeast itself is good (recently worked for another cook).  Or you can just use instant yeast, my recollection is you use about 1/3 more ADY than IDY. 

    When allowing the dough to rest during the stretching as suggested above, cover it with a damp cloth.

    LBGE, St. Louis, MO
  • henapplehenapple Posts: 15,986
    I rise mine in a bowl on the counter. ..covered
    Green egg, dead animal and alcohol. The "Boro".. TN 
  • RRPRRP Posts: 22,042
    Guess I'm odd man out here, but none of my pizza dough recipes ever call for just a smidge of sugar to activate the yeast! All of mine call for at least a teaspoon or more. Between the sugar and warm water my yeast gets to rockin' within 6 to 8 minutes!
    L, M, S, &  Mini
    And oh yes...also a 17" BlackStone gas fired griddle! 
    Dunlap, IL
    Re- gasketing AMERICA one yard at a time!
  • I'm with @RRP: sugar, yeast and warm water into the mixer, let her go for maybe 3 or four minutes, then slowly add 1/2 the flour and salt. Change to dough hook and add rest of flour and let it run for 5 minutes, rest for 5 minutes and then 5 more mixing. 
    Delta B.C. - Move over coffee, this is job for alcohol!
  • CookinbobCookinbob Posts: 1,690
    edited February 2014
    My dough recipe is from Artisan Bread in 5 and dose not call for sugar, but I use it anyways.  About a teaspoon (never measured)  in 100-105 deg water while the yeast hydrates.  do mix it in, it needs to hydrate unlike the instant stuff which supposedly does not.   Then into the flour/salt mix.   This dough is fairly wet, supposedly kneads itself as it rises for the first couple of hours - it normally triples or quadruples in size.  Then into the fridge where it rests from hours to days until i am ready to make a pie.

    I don't want the dough to be too elastic.  I find it is easy to work with this dough and I like the way it cooks and tastes.  Recipe has been posted elswhere on this forum, a number of folks use the same one.
    XLBGE, Small BGE, Homebrew and Guitars
    Rochester, NY

    My pizza crust recipe is listed in here, which is actually an Alton Brown recipe. I have never gone wrong with it.

    I recommend switching to instant yeast, as no proofing is necessary. An overnight rise is fine as is the standard rise, but I find you really need a good long time to let the dough warm up.

    Watch any of Alton Brown's pizza shows to get the technique down. AB is my hero and a smart man, I was sad to see his show end.
    Pittsburgh, PA - 1 LBGE
  • stantrbstantrb Posts: 156
    ADY sucks. Switch to instant and never look back. Seriously. Instant is far more predictable and stable.

    Use less yeast and more time to develop better flavor and texture, or use a preferment. More water and either a longer rise or more mechanical kneading will yield a dough that handles better. Also, keep it warm (72*ish). Cold dough doesn't stretch.

    With all for respect to the artisan bread recipe crowd, you've just got to make a lot of doughs over time to get an appreciation for what certain variables do to the final product. A single recipe is never going to be enough to cover everybody's environmental factors.

    But for pete's sake, switch to IDY an get instantly lighter results. ADY is for people who only bake a couple of times per year.
    Minimax and a wood-fired oven.
  • CookinbobCookinbob Posts: 1,690
    stantrb said:
    ADY sucks. Switch to instant and never look back. Seriously. Instant is far more predictable and stable. 

    Stan, I would disagree with that part of your post.  From all I have read, the yeast is exactly the same whether instant or ADY, just prepped a little different, The instant is preferable in a bread machine.  The type of flour, water/flour percentages, temperature, how the dough is handled, aount of yeast, and environmental factors all have more to do with the outcome than the type of yeast does.  The only exception is a recipe that was designed specifically for instant yeast, though with proper attention, they can be used interchangeably.

    I have nothing against instant yeast.  I happen to use ADY because I can buy a 1 lb bag that lasts more than a year, and it always works for me.  Making yeast dough just takes a little more practice for some than others.
    XLBGE, Small BGE, Homebrew and Guitars
    Rochester, NY
  • Thanks for the tips all. I've book marked this and plan on giving it a try again after all this dumb snow melts.
  • stantrbstantrb Posts: 156
    @Bob: The stasis process is different. There are more live yeast in IDY than ADY.

    Yeast action does make a difference in dough characteristics. Yeast metabolic action changes the ph and starch properties of the dough. IDY accelerates and enhances those changes because there are more live yeast in the initial inoculation. The citric acid usually found in IDY acts as a dough conditioner too. It's not as profound a difference two different types of flour, but it is a difference and it does mess with your reproducibility.
    Minimax and a wood-fired oven.
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