Yogurt Bread: Baking Healthy with Commercial Yeast

picmonkey yogurtbread-11         If you’ve read my book The Art of Baking With Natural Yeast, you know that not all whole wheat baking is good for you. If you haven’t read my book, let’s just summarize and say that for 6,000 years people made wheat bread by fermentation (natural yeast) FOR A REASON. The reason wasn’t that it is faster (it isn’t) or that it is easier (it’s not) than just throwing dough into the oven, but because it was necessary for their survival. In a nutshell, wheat is a seed built to protect itself from grazing mammals (you). Natural Yeast fermentation tears down those defenses and arms your body with a few of its own.

Natural Yeast is the blanket solution to a variety of wheat-related problems we face in our society today. But lets be honest. Sometimes your life just isn’t ready to take on a project of that magnitude. My baking journey began with commercially yeasted white loaves. From there I moved to commercially yeasted whole wheat, commercially yeasted whole wheat yogurt bread, and finally Naturally Yeasted Whole Wheat bread.

While Yogurt Bread still lacks that key ingredient (natural yeast) to make it a perfect nutritional package, it goes 80% of the way. Let’s get technical for a sec so you can understand the science of how this works.

Your standard Naturally Yeasted loaf ferments wheat using two symbiotic organisms. One is a Lactic Acid Bacteria called Lactobacillus Sanfranciscensis. The other is a yeast called Saccharomyces Cerevisiae. These can be kept alive like pets-in-a-jar for use in baking. This requires a certain level of care and feeding (totally worth it!).

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In Yogurt Bread, we do our best to imitate what nature does best with some man-made, commercially available products. Like I said, this will only take us about 80% of the way there.

We use the Lactic Acid Bacteria in Yogurt (Lactobacillus Acidophilus and others) and a small portion of commercially available yeast, and allow the dough a long rise period to let the fermentation deactivate the anti-nutrients in the wheat.

So before we dive in to the recipe itself, let’s look over a few quick pros and cons:

yogurt bread pros cons Basically, I truly hope that if you’ve never baked with Natural Yeast, this recipe will be for you what it was for me: a stepping stone to bigger and better things. It can also be a safe harbor when the seas of life get rough and starter baking isn’t feasible. 

For example: I recently moved across the country with my family. Peeta (my natural yeast starter) was well-fed and in cold storage for the trip (see this post for info on travel/vacation), but the bread I had pre-baked to get us through Peeta’s “waking up” days in our new home accidentally got left behind in Utah. Yogurt Bread saved the day when I didn’t have a starter to bake with, but refused to buy bread from the store.

Do you feel properly bread-ucated? Good! On to the Recipe!

Whole Wheat Yogurt Bread 

(commercial yeast recipe)

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Ingredients:

¼ tsp active dry commercial yeast

½ cup lukewarm water

 

1 ½ cups lukewarm water

½ cup yogurt (plain is best)

2 tsp salt

1 tbsp coconut oil

¼ cup honey

5-6 cups whole wheat flour

 

Setting up the dough: (At least 10 hours before baking)

Combine ½ cup lukewarm water and yeast in a small bowl or cup, and set aside to allow the yeast to “activate”.

In your mixer, add remaining water, yogurt, coconut oil, honey and salt. Add activated yeast mixture.

Add flour 2 cups at a time, allowing mixer to incorporate flour before adding more.Continue adding flour until dough “cleans” the sides of your mixer bowl.(There may be residual bits near the top, and here and there along the sides, but the lower half of the bowl should be clean)

Once the sides have cleaned, allow the dough to knead for 10 minutes.

Dampen a large work surface with water and pull the dough out of the mixer bowl onto your work surface. (You want just enough water to keep the dough from sticking, but not enough to water-log your dough)

Wet your hands with water, and knead the dough a few times, until the texture is uniform.

Place dough smooth side up into a pre-greased bowl or container (remember to choose a container that allows your dough room to double in size.  You can also split your dough and use two smaller bowls)

Cover your bowl with greased plastic wrap or with a thick, damp kitchen towel (thin towels dry out too quickly and stick to the dough).

Place on countertop to rise overnight, (or all day) for 6-14 hours.

Note: Even with such a tiny amount of yeast, this dough will rise quickly. If possible, try to “punch down” the dough at least once during this rise (maybe twice!) to prevent the elasticity of the dough being lost to over-proofing. Proofing in a cooler location helps with this too.

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Shaping and Final Rise

After a minimum of 6 hours, turn dough out of bowl onto wet work surface. yogurtbread-7

Wet hands and use dough scraper or sharp serrated bread knife to cut the dough into 2 equal pieces.

Set pieces aside on a damp surface and grease your pans. (This gives your dough time to “relax” before shaping)

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Take one dough section and pat it out on your damp work surface.

Shape each piece individually into sandwich loaves, artisan boules or rolls.

Allow the loaves to rise in a warm place for 1-1 ½ hours, or until the dough slowly returns a gentle fingerprint.

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Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Bake for 30 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the bottom of the loaf reads at least 180 degrees.

Remove from pans and allow to cool completely before cutting.

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Yogurt Bread: Baking Healthy with Commercial Yeast
 
Author: 
Recipe type: Bread
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Not all whole wheat baking is good for you. For 6,000 years people made bread by fermentation to tear down wheat's aggressive defenses and make it healthy. In this recipe we use yogurt to ferment this bread, making it a healthy whole wheat choice.
Ingredients
  • ¼ tsp active dry commercial yeast
  • ½ cup lukewarm water
  • 1 ½ cups lukewarm water
  • ½ cup yogurt (plain is best)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 5-6 cups whole wheat flour
Instructions
  1. Setting up the dough: (At least 10 hours before baking)
  2. Activate yeast in ½ cup lukewarm water
  3. In your mixer, add remaining water, yogurt, coconut oil, honey and salt. Add activated yeast mixture.
  4. Add flour 2 cups at a time, allowing mixer to incorporate flour before adding more.
  5. Continue adding flour until dough “cleans” the sides of your mixer bowl.
  6. Knead for 10 minutes.
  7. Place dough smooth side up into a pre-greased bowl or container (remember to choose a container that allows your dough room to double in size.)
  8. Cover your bowl with greased plastic wrap.
  9. Place on countertop to rise overnight, (or all day) for 6-14 hours.
  10. Note: Even with such a tiny amount of yeast, this dough will rise quickly. If possible, try to “punch down” the dough at least once during this rise (maybe twice!) to prevent the elasticity of the dough being lost to over-proofing. Proofing in a cooler location helps with this too.
  11. Shaping and Final Rise
  12. After a minimum of 6 hours, turn dough out of bowl onto wet work surface.
  13. Wet hands and use dough scraper or sharp serrated bread knife to cut the dough into 2 equal pieces.
  14. Set pieces aside on a damp surface and grease your pans. (This gives your dough time to “relax” before shaping)
  15. Take one dough section and pat it out on your damp work surface.
  16. Shape each piece individually into sandwich loaves, artisan boules or rolls.
  17. Allow the loaves to rise in a warm place for 1-1 ½ hours, or until the dough slowly returns a gentle fingerprint.
  18. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  19. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted into the bottom of the loaf reads at least 180 degrees.
  20. Remove from pans and allow to cool completely before cutting.

 

 

Comments

  1. Monica says

    Hi! I’m not able to handle foods made from cow’s milk (including yogurt), are there alternatives that would still work with this recipe? Also, if using a food processor instead of a mixer, how long would I need to knead? I typically only have to let it run for about 30-45 seconds after it cleans the sides of the bowl when I make our bread; not sure if the 10 min. you mention is required because of the ww flour, slower mixer speed, something else? I hope I can try your bread, it sounds fabulous!!

    • thebreadgeek says

      Monica that is great question! The best choice for substitute would be something fermented, like a coconut yogurt or water kefir or something of the sort. In the absence of these things, anything acidic will do. 1/2 cup applesauce, for example will help break down the wheat, although you loose the probiotic benefit. Raw apple-cider vinegar would work too (up to 1 tablespoon might also do the trick) since it has live cultures, and in which case you would simply add more water in place of the yogurt content. 30-40 seconds after cleaning the bowl seems like a very short time span for developing the gluten into a smooth, strong dough, unless you are doing stretch-and-folds with the dough throughout the rise. If you are happy with the texture of your bread with the method you use though, keep on keepin’ on. I simply find my bread to be of spongier, better quality with a long mix.

      • Danielle says

        Hello, I wanted to know where can I get a starter? I am currently trying the raisins in a jar starter is this comparable to what you have, that is passed down through the generations as a bread starter? Or will it lack certain nutrients like the yogurt replacement?

  2. says

    What a coincidence. My family also just relocated from the Rocky Mountains to the East Coast, and I’ve been wondering where to find answers about natural yeast in my new climate. My start (Ernie) is so much more “stringy” since I reconstituted it; almost as if the gluten is already developing. Is this normal?

    • thebreadgeek says

      It is not uncommon for starter to take on different consistencies or flavors when adapting to a new area. In Kansas my starter smells much fruitier than it did in Utah. Sometimes things like this can just happen because the organisms in your starter are doing things a little differently but this is usually just a phase. If your starter starts getting mold or becoming inactive, let me know.

  3. Roxann says

    Is it healthy or not to use starter made with potato flakes and sugar my husband is diabetic and I’m not sure if this is beneficial versus using the starter dad made with flour

    • thebreadgeek says

      For diabetics I would definitely shy away from anything that puts potatoes and sugar together :). Those starters can often be more difficult to care for in the long run so I would stick with a traditional starter (unless you’re from New Zealand, in which case the potato starter would be traditional, but still not advised for diabetics, lol!)

      • Roxann says

        Also if my starter is bubbly but not growing between feelings does that mean that the yeast will not predigest the sugars in my bread even if I proof the dough overnight and use additional instant yeast to get the rise needed?

    • thebreadgeek says

      Abbie you can absolutely use sprouted flour for all naturally yeasted recipes. I find it to be an added/unnecessary expense (financial and time) since the natural yeast does a similar job with the wheat.

  4. Lindsey says

    Thank you! I tried to grow a starter and made a batch of bread and it was truly awful. I have been making homemade whole wheat bread for years (we hate store bought) and have always been famous for my yummy bread. Oh sad day to see those bricks come out of my oven. They were white capped and just nasty. I need to get my hands on a starter I guess instead of make one. So while I’m figuring the starter out I will try the yogurt method.

    Question- Can I use Canola oil instead of coconut?

    another question- Have you found a difference between Greek and normal yogurt in this recipe?

    Thanks!

    • thebreadgeek says

      I haven’t noticed a difference with the yogurt, and I have used both greek and home made. Sorry about your loaves! It is kind of a badge of honor for natural yeast bakers 🙂 Only those who dare try this renegade bread making get the brick badge! Way to go! Lindsey where do you live?

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