You are seeing Active dry yeast packets that are sold here in the U.S. in most grocery stores. Nothing wrong with it, it is Active Dry so if you bake breads you know that this one needs to be bloomed in warm water or plain tap water with a pinch of sugar. Problem is, since i have for the past ten years been using Instant Yeast such as SAF back home, i let myself slip just a couple of times and forgot to proof this one. Big mistake ever!!!!
So normally you take the yeast out of the packet and you place it in a measuring glass, add water and mix. I forgot the most important ingredient in baking, something you and I should always carry with us when we bake. Nah, not sugar. You have an option to add sugar if you want to check if the yeast is alive, remember? Definitely not salt! (read more about the function and handling of ingredients in my ebook)So what is it then?
Patience! Not waiting to allow the yeast granules to fully get soaked in the water, get well hydrated and all is an anomaly. So watch out. It could happen to you.
I am so used to dumping the Instant Yeast into my flour when i bake almost every other day for the past ten or so years (that long, tells you how old i am really)that i forgot i am using a different type of yeast now that i am in a different time zone. The Northeast. Right, where most of the brands are new to me.
So here we have the yeast bubbling just a tad bit. Do not hold your breath. Wait for a little while longer and finish up that weighing or grease the pans etc., Just do not use this yeast yet.
Why? Because undissolved active dry yeast will NEVER, AS IN NEVER DISSOLVE during mixing, while you are proofing and even after baking.
What it does is this, and i am feeling pretty good after SPAIN WON!, THAT I AM GIVING THIS VALUABLE TIP OF THE CENTURY. So back to the yeast. Once it happens, the yeast level of the recipe or formula is greatly reduced. If this happened to you, you now know why the dough took a lifetime to rise! What used to be your 1.8% yeast level, enough to give you a good 1 1/2 hours of proofing time at say, 82 F proofing temperature will now be cut to a low .5-.8 %. I am being generous here, i mean it would take at least 4 -5 hours and sometimes even 8 hours for this dough to finally see the inside of the oven, if you prayed enough. That bad.
So what do you do then? As i have always emphasized in my Ebook, troubleshooting in baking takes all the sciences together plus your instinct, experience and knowledge of your ingredients. During the course of your baking career you will be able to come up with a solution to every problem. First, learn how to compute the BAKER'S PERCENT. Why? Because once you made the mistake, you need to add the required amount of yeast in the dough so it will proof in time, so it can make the production deadline.
If you find out your mistake before the you added the full amount of water and before the gluten is fully developed, then you have an easier task of simply adding the bloomed yeast into the dough, praying that the dough hopefully still needs this extra hydration. End of story.
If the dough is already nearing the end of its mixing stage, and you have already used up all the water (enough to set you on panic mode) then compute a smaller batch of say 100 - 200 grams (base flour), with all the percentages unchanged (sugar, salt etc.) except for the yeast. You will use 1.8%, the whole amount needed for the botched batch, add it to the flour and mix this, then add to the larger batch on LOW SPEED . Remember, you are trying not to over mix the dough, you just want to add the smaller batch into the whole mix, so use a lower speed.
Why can't you just add the bloomed yeast directly? Well, because my dear you need WATER TO BLOOM THE YEAST, and even if you will use instant yeast this time, you still need water to activate the yeast. If you add the yeast with the extra water, then you will be flooding your dough and it will be too sticky to work with. You need extra flour to remove the stickiness, but adding more flour will change the whole formula, so you go back to the drawing board, compute the same formula all over again, calculate the batch you will need and make sure this never happens to you again.
Shown here is what the bloomed yeast should look like, mushrooming on your glass cup. Have i forgotten something? You can apply the same troubleshooting technique when you forgot to add the shortening, salt etc., in your dough.