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Sweet Yeasts

Yeast is an amazing thing.  You take this dried stuff, add some liquid and other "food," and it puffs up unbelievably! I have a star pan from King Arthur Flour that I bought a few years ago. I don't think they carry it anymore but it is a great pan for brioche or just any sort of sweet yeast. A variation of this recipe came with the pan.

When I say variation, it's basically the same recipe but they give different fillings and toppings ideas. I decided to make it with an almond filling and
that it didn't really need a topping. I opted for the lemon zest, also opted for the vanilla, and used regular yeast instead of "instant" (more on than in a sec). I opted out of the dried fruit and nuts.  I thought since I was using a filling the added bits would be a little too much.

You might have noticed that I put the dough to rise on my radiator. Supposedly this is a big no-no in the bread making world but I always put a towel beneath the bowl and it is fine.

 Almond filling - looking pretty skimpy (should have known better)

 I generally don't buy rapid rise or instant yeast. I like just regular yeast.  I always do a sort of insurance policy sort of thing to make sure that the yeast is still active. I measure whatever liquid is being used in the recipe (warm to touch - ahhh not ouch temperature), add a pinch of sugar (or the amount the recipe calls for) and the yeast.  I let it sit for a few minutes to make sure that it starts bubbling up.  If it does, then you know the yeast is active. This ensures that your yeast is active and/or that you didn't kill it by using too hot of liquid. Although I've never had yeast that was totally dead, I have had yeast that was maybe not as active as it should have been.  I was then able to add a little more yeast to counteract it's sluggishness. The only reason to use instant or rapid rise is you don't have to go through this "proofing" stage. You usually just mix the instant yeast with the flour. I think it is worth the extra step of proofing the yeast instead of wasting all the ingredients if you make a mistake with the yeast.  Plus - do I really need to store two types of yeast and am I really that pressed for time and if I am then I probably shouldn't be making something with yeast! Supposedly the rise time is a little quicker but I haven't really noticed much of a difference. OK so much for my tirade on rapid rise yeast...
Yeah I know there's another pesky problem with the recipe - it gives me extra egg whites. UGH - just after I used up those extra egg yolks the other day from the cake! Well I have a stash of egg whites in the freezer.  These two now make it 8 stored up.  Once I hit 12, I'll be able to defrost them and make an angelfood cake. Problem solved.

 Yup definitely skimpy filling:

Lastly the problem of the filling. The recipe for the filling was:

1 c almond flour (ground almonds)
1/4 t almond extract
1/4 t salt
3 T sugar
1/2 c fresh bread crumbs
1 large egg

You were supposed to spread this filling on the dough.  There was no way that this was going to spread. It was very clumpy.I'm not really sure what purpose the bread crumbs served?? Making it clumpy? I think if I were to make this again, I would either double the filling recipe or take the easy route and just use Nutella. How can you go wrong with Nutella?


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