Instant or dry yeast causes dough to rise and leaven. If your dough isn't allowed to rise correctly, you can ruin your bread.
Step 1: Make a ball, oil it, put in a bowl Round off your dough -- form it into a ball -- and place the ball in an oiled bowl. Then oil the dough ball and cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
TIP: Spray the inside of the plastic wrap with nonstick cooking spray or oil before covering the bowl.
Step 2: Wait for first rise Place the bowl in a warm, draft-free location -- between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal. Wait for the dough to double in size, about an hour to an hour and a half. Test it for doneness by using 2 fingers to poke the ball. If the indentation sticks, the dough is ready.
Step 3: Punch it down Punch the dough down: Use your hands to push all of the air out of the dough. This lets out some of the carbon dioxide made by the yeast, relaxes the gluten, and equalizes the temperature.
Step 4: Allow a second proof Sprinkle flour over your work surface and gently knead the dough. Then shape it and place it on a baking sheet, letting it rise again until it nearly doubles in size again. It won't take as long the second time, and the dough may not fully double in size.
Step 5: Bake the dough Bake your dough following your recipe instructions. You'll know it's done when the crust is golden brown and, when you tap on it, the tap sounds hollow.
FACT: Yeast are unicellular fungi that produce carbon dioxide by fermenting sugars present in flour or added to dough.