I wrote about yeast and leaven a few days ago. Here are two of my favorite recipes using yeast. They take a little while, but are so worth it if you don’t kill the yeast in the process. Beware not to make your liquid too hot, or not hot enough. And make sure your yeast is fresh. If it is old, the dough won’t rise. I once made the pizza recipe below for guests and the dough didn’t rise so the crust was a bit flat and didn’t taste so good. Our guests were good sports, but I was annoyed.
Buy small amounts of yeast at a time so you always have a fresh batch on hand. When you mix your yeast with your warm water, if it doesn’t bubble and look “active” then that is a good sign you should throw it out and get new yeast. Trust me on this. My most recent bad yeast was last Christmas. I asked all the kids what was one recipe they really wanted me to cook for Christmas dinner. Jonathan chose One Hour Rolls. I was so excited to make them since it had been a long time since we last had them. The yeast didn’t bubble in the water so well, or maybe I killed the yeast with water that was too hot-I can’t remember now, but I was busy with so many things and plowed ahead with the recipe anyway. They barely rose at all and did not taste good. Must try again soon.
This first recipe comes from The Mississippi Cookbook which was a wedding gift and I still have it-yellowed, stained, cover torn off- but I still use it. Mississippians are wonderful cooks and they grow the best gardens in the summer time.
One Hour Rolls
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening
1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup buttermilk
Sift dry ingredients together. Cut in shortening until fine. Dissolve yeast in warm water; let it sit for about 5 minutes. Add to the buttermilk and mix well. Stir yeast mixture into dry ingredients. Turn out dough on a floured board, and knead until smooth and blistered. Roll 1/4 inch thick and cut with a biscuit cutter. Spread with melted butter and fold double. Place on ungreased baking sheet and let rise one hour. Bake in 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Yields 2 dozen rolls.
Note: We didn’t have buttermilk in Manila way back when, so you can make a substitute by adding 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to 1 cup of whole milk. Stir it and let it sit for a few minutes.
The following recipe was given to me by a missionary friend in Manila when the boys were little. At that time, we didn’t have very good pizza in Manila so this recipe became a favorite and I made it very often for many years. It is still my very favorite pizza crust.
2 packages dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 cups flour plus more for your kneading board
Dissolve yeast in water and add sugar. Combine oil, salt and flour in a large bowl. Add yeast mixture and stir hard to combine all ingredients. Knead until smooth and satiny on a floured board. Place in a greased bowl, cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk-about one hour. Punch dough down and knead again lightly. Divide into two pieces, roll out dough and fit into two 14 inch pizza pans.
Top with your favorite pizza sauce, cheese and toppings.
Notes: If you are making the dough in advance, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate after the first kneading. When ready to use, roll out on a lightly floured board. Pizza screens make for a much better crust as the holes in the screen make the crust brown more evenly.
Happy Cooking and I hope your yeast rises!