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Why Make Yeast a
Forbidden Pleasure?

by Nigella Lawson

I know that baking with yeast can set even the experienced everyday cook running to the hills. Even the word itself is unattractive. So you're going to need to trust me on this: baking yeasty things is one of the great kitchen pleasures.

The feel of a smooth, springy dough bouncing to life under your fingers is both exciting and relaxing at the same time. Like a poet, a loaf of bread is somehow born, not made, and your part in that genesis is both satisfyingly practical and almost mystically collaborative.

Moreover, the whole process is seductive, even addictive.

Perhaps you feel that baking with yeast has no part in your culinary repertory or, indeed, your life. I felt like that once, too. Don't worry, don't agonize, don't prejudge; just make life easier for yourself, and bake. The barriers may be largely psychological, but the way to lower them is practical: use instant yeast, sometimes labeled rapid-rise or bread-machine yeast.

Even if the step of frothing up dried yeast in a separate bowl before you mix it into your flour is a small one, an extra procedure can still be off-putting. Dispense with it. With instant yeast, you just open the little envelope, and mix it straight in with the flour. Tell yourself you're using baking powder, and any residual fear of alien strangeness will disappear for good. Why should one rising agent be any more frightening than another?

That's the how. Now for the why. More ... Cooking Articles


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