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Beginner’s Guide: Baking with Yeast Bread

Tips baking with yeast


  • Make sure the water is lukewarm before putting in the yeast. If it’s too hot the yeast will die. If it’s cold, the yeast will not activate.
  • If you want to make sure that the water is at the right temperature, use a kitchen thermometer. The temperature of the water should be between 30c/86f to 40c/104f.
  • Add a teaspoon of sugar to the water before stirring in the yeast. This will help easily activate it.
  • Activate the yeast in a bowl even if it’s instant yeast. This ensures that the yeast is fresh and alive.


  • Do not let the dough warm rise for too long. The maximum should be at least 1 to 1 1/2 hour. Otherwise, the bread will end up having a yeasty (sour) taste. The trick is (according to professional bakers) is to let it rise until it doubles in size and volume.
  • Knead dough until smooth and elastic, it should spring back when poked. Add more flour only when the dough is too wet and clings heavily to the sides of the bowl.
  • Don’t add too much flour. Add additional add about 1/4 cup at a time until the dough is slightly sticky and pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Knead the dough with the stand mixer after every addition and then feel and test the texture after.
  • Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and seal the edges. I find that the yeast activates more quickly when moisture is locked-in in the bowl.
  • For colder months, I use the oven to prove the dough. Place a glass baking dish on the bottom rack of the oven and fill it with boiling water. Put your dough on the middle or top rack and shut the door. The steam and heat from the boiling water will create a warm environment to help the dough rise.


  • Make the dough ahead of time then place it in the fridge. The dough will slowly rise and double in size overnight. On the day of baking, remove from the refrigerator 30 mins before you’re going to shape them into rolls.
  • Another option is to make the dough and finish the first rise on the same day. Shape them into rolls then do the second or final rise in the fridge. Bake them the next day and you’re done! Bake them the next day and you’re done!
  • Once the shaped dough rolls have proved, you can’t remove or touch it in the pan. Otherwise, it will lose its shape.


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