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Monday, 30 December 2013

4 Benefits of Vanilla

Our flavor of the month is Vanilla, we decided to see if Vanilla has any health benefits at all. Here are a few interesting things we found out.



1.    Vanilla has antioxidants
Vanilla contains antioxidants, which are natural substances that prevent or delay some types of cell damage in your body. It also contains chemicals called vanilloids that activate receptors to reduce inflammation and improve mental performance. 
(Courtesy: thevemmasolution.com)

2.    Vanilla is used for digestion ailments and stress reduction
Vanilla is used to calm stomach pains, reduce hunger pangs and even to aid in digestion and reduce joint pain. It is also used to help reduce stress and also to reduce nausea with pregnant women who have morning sickness.

3.    Used in making fragrances
Vanilla is used in making floral and powerful premium perfumes. It contains powerful chemicals that are high in flavor and fragrance. 
Vanilla Perfume (Courtesy: www.perfume-home.com)

4.    Used as an aphrodisiac
In aromatherapy, it is believed that the vanilla fragrance can be used to gain aphrodisiac effects. It is also reported by some German researchers that vanilla helped restore sexual function to impotent men. So it definitely sets the mood ^_^

If you know of any other benefits of vanilla, please share with us. 
Hope you found these benefits as interesting as we did ^_^ Ciao!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

5 Important things to know about yeast

For the last few months, we have started offering yeast products, so we’ve decided to start sharing bread product tips and recipes. Hope this is helpful.
Bread (Courtesy: trialx.org)
Yeast is the mixing agent used in the bread making process. Here are some interesting things to know about yeast while planning your next bread making project.
1.    Yeast is Alive
Yeast is a single-celled micro-organism that can multiply at extremely rapid rates; it can double in as few as 2 hours depending on how it is activated (see below).  When you mix the yeast into your bread dough after activation, it feeds on sugar and creates gas hence the “rising” of the dough.
2.     Yeast needs to be activated before use
Yeast is a single-celled micro-organism that can multiply at extremely rapid rates. This all depends on how you activate your yeast before use. While baking bread, to get the most out of your yeast, activation is required before mixing it into the flour or dough.
To activate the yeast; put the yeast in lukewarm water and let it sit for at least 10 minutes; you will notice the yeast will bubble, sludge and start doubling. You can also add a bit of sugar into the yeast water, it activates the yeast faster. This is because the yeast feeds on the sugar and multiplies at a faster rate.
Activated Yeast (Courtesy: llemonade.com)
3.     There are different kinds of yeast
There are different kinds of yeast for baking and they are prepared and activated in different ways. There is (a) Fresh Yeast (b) Active Dry Yeast (c) Instant or ‘Easy Bake’ Yeast. Visit this post on the descriptions and how to activate the different kinds of yeast. 
4.    Yeast is good for your health
There are certain kinds of yeast that are nutritional. There is one known as Brewer’s Yeast that’s grown on hops and is good for nutritional use. Another kind of nutritional yeast known as Torula Yeast grown on blackstrap molasses or wood pulp, is also good for your health. These yeasts may be consumed in water or juice. Nutritional yeast is a good energy booster. It also helps in sugar metabolism and is good for eczema, heart disease, gout and fatigue. Do not use the baker’s yeast for nutritional purposes.
Brewers Yeast (Courtesy: iherb.com)
5.    Store yeast properly
Yeast should be stored in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place. Yeast loses its strength when exposed to a warm or hot temperature. It also loses its strength if left uncovered and therefore exposed. When you purchase yeast, it should come vacuum packed in its package. Once you open and use it, find a clean, dry container to put the yeast in for future use. Make sure once the container is closed, it’s air-tight. Then always make sure you store it in a cool, dry area. If yeast loses its strength, when mixed in with dough, it does not activate properly and therefore your dough will not rise properly. If you’re not sure of the quality or strength of yeast; just put the yeast in lukewarm water. If it does not bubble and sludge, it is inactive and should be discarded. 
Hopefully you have now gained some new insights on yeast ^_^. 
If you have any other suggestions or tips on yeast, feel free to comment below. Thanks!

Monday, 16 December 2013

3 Different kinds of yeasts and how to use them

When baking bread products, you have a choice of three kinds of yeasts to use.

Different bakers have their own preferences and no one choice is better than the other. 

White Bread (Courtesy: timetocleanse.com)


Bakers can also use what is easily available, for example, in Nairobi; Active Dry yeast & Instant yeast are more easily available than fresh yeast. Here are explanations on how to use the three bakers’ yeast.

1.    Fresh Yeast
Fresh yeast is preferred by professional bakers due to its quality and short shelf life. However it can be quite rare to find locally. Fresh yeast comes in a solid chunk or cake and is the color of ivory, make sure it has no spots or discolorations. The texture should be crumbly and moist, make sure there are no hard spots. If you find any hard spots or discoloration, the yeast is not fresh and should be discarded.
Fresh yeast is activated by crumbling the required amount for baking, then putting it in lukewarm water, add some sugar to speed up the activation process which should take about 5 to 10 minutes. It should get bubbly and sludgy in no time. 
Fresh Yeast Cake (Courtesy: foodsubs.com)
2.    Active Dry Yeast
Dry yeast is more available locally and looks like round pellets, some supermarkets sell them in sachets (50gms for about Kshs. 50 -60). Active dry yeast requires activation before use in your bread dough for it to work. Activation also lets you know if the dry yeast is of good quality. It is activated the same as the fresh yeast above.
Active dry yeast (Courtesy: bulkbarn.ca)

3.    Instant Dry Yeast
Instant dry yeast is dry and is made of smaller granules. The reason it’s called instant is because you can mix it into the dry ingredients while mixing and use lukewarm liquid to mix the dough. It does not require activation, however, you can activate it if you’re not sure of the quality. It is the most available yeast variety locally, in supermarkets or wholesale distributors (500gms pkt for about Kshs. 275 or 100gms pkt for about Kshs. 85). 
Instant Dry Yeast (Courtesy of: e-xinghe.com)

That’s all about yeast for now folks ^_^ hope that was helpful. 
For any suggestions, feel free to comment below as always.

If you would like to learn how to bake bread and pastry yeast products, book a spot in our next Bread making & Pastries short course. Learn how to bake today with a charcoal oven. 
Click here for details on what's covered in the baking class
Click here to see the next scheduled classes.

You can also email us: info@amaribakery.com or Call/Text/WhatsApp: 0701796688