What is Yeast?

Romance Writer Weekly Welcome to Tuesday. The question asked this week was, “Besides the usual baking of cookies or treats, has anyone baked a really good loaf of bread.”

It’s been years — literally years — since I attempted to bake bread. (Banana bread does not count, as that’s really more cake in loaf form.) Growing up, there were days when I’d come home from school and as I headed up the driveway to the back door, there would come the delicious smell of fresh baked bread, with two loves cooling on the back porch, covered with a dish towel. Mom always cooled them on the back porch because we had a marauding Siamese who a) loved bread and b) was clever enough to get at cooling loaves if she left them on the stove or counter. This was the same Siamese cat who would lick the honey off toast, and then start nibbling on the slice. But, as I said when I posted about my Instant Pot, until this spring I hadn’t been baking or cooking for some time. 

That’s starting to change. The larder is being refilled with essentials, and I’m ready to start moving beyond the three Instant Pot recipes I’ve mastered. It doesn’t hurt we just got a new toaster over/air fryer which is large enough to roast a 4lb. chicken in. I’ve been binging on Binging with Babish the past two weeks, and General Tso’s Chicken (Air Frying edition) is definitely in our future. 

But I want more. I want that smell of a home baked loaf to permeate the house. I want to try and master the perfect crumb and provide a tasty alternative to a store-bought loaf. A friend who has a bread machine dropped a loaf off at the end of March, and it was a delight to tap the bottom and hear that hollow sound. I immediately checked the prices of bread machines online and found my outlet of choice would be happy to ship one to me … in May. (The current date is now September.)

So we’ll be going old school on this, and with my new kitchen “island” that has a butcher block top, I have a surface on which to knead away. Flour I’ve got. Yeast, well, that’s still proving a bit hard to come by, though I’ve managed to acquire a few packets. The title of this post comes from the early days of lockdown, when a rather frustrated young grocery worker replied to my inquiry if they had any yeast, “What is yeast, anyway?” Poor thing. I’m betting he might have known if he thought about it, but those were crazy days. 

I’ve got my cookbooks, my butcher block, my flour and my precious packets of yeast. Now I just need to decide what type of loaf I’m going to make. Did I mention my new toaster oven has a convection baking setting?

What about you? What’s your favorite type of bread? Let me know in the comments, then pop on over to Jenna Da Sie to see what she’s baking. Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy.