April 22, 2013 at 3:04pm

Question about the number of rises. I see this recipe and a similar one by CI let's the dough rise the first time then punches down shapes and bakes. I saw a similar recipe at Serious Eats where after the first rise and punch down, they shape into ball, let rise 2nd time in oiled skillet then shape and bake. What does one v two rises do to the dough? The rises allow the yeast to become more active, but only up to a certain point. Because the yeast feed on the sugars in the dough (from the starches in the flour and any added sugar), they will only remain active while they are fed: if you allow the dough to continually rise repeatedly, the yeast will eventually run out of food and start to die off, resulting in unleavened bread. The other part of this--deflating the dough--means the gases produced by the yeast are expelled until you want to bake the dough. Degassing the dough is important because yeast find the gases toxic and they can hinder their activity. Also, when a dough has too much air in it, it will collapse on itself when baked, resulting in a flatter loaf/crust/roll. Also, if the yeast are allowed to nibble on all the sugars in the dough, the crust will bake up pale in color, so you do not want to do too many rises. However, three shorter rises vs. two normal ones will have similar results, so just be aware of how long each recipe states to allow the dough to rise. I hope this helps clear things up a bit! Best, Kim@KAF
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