Slow-rising dough

Peter Reinhart, a chef-instructor for Johnson & Wales University, explains the difference between regular and quick-rising or instant yeast.

"Instant yeast doesn't need to be dissolved in advance in warm water," he says. "Active dry yeast requires blooming it first in warm water to dissolve the crystals." That saves a step, making it quicker and simplifies mixing a dough.

But Reinhart wasn't familiar with pizza dough yeast, which is fairly new. While some pizza fans say it yields faster results, it may be shorter on flavor.

Allowing dough to rise slowly allows fermentation, which gives better flavor.

Cereal news

Not just a new flavor of an existing product, two new entries from Post's Honey Bunches of Oats are somewhat groundbreaking: Each of the two new Honey Bunches of Oats Fruit Blends is actually two new flavors: There's Banana Blueberry ("crispy banana flavored flakes" and "crunchy blueberry flavored granola clusters") and Peach Raspberry ("crispy peach flavored flakes" and "crunchy raspberry flavored granola clusters").

On the shelf

Barilla introduces five shelf-stable microwave meals, with names such as "Fusilli Integrali alle Verdure" (in smaller type "whole grain fusilli with vegetable marinara sauce"). Somewhat more interesting are Barilla's new shelf-stable bags of tortellini. The 8-ounce bags of three-cheese or ricotta-and-spinach tortellini look like fish out of water on the dry pasta shelf, but back in a pot of boiling water, they cook in 10 minutes.

Wine of the Week

2009 Delas Freres Crozes-Hermitage 'Le Clos'

Region: Rhone Valley, France

Price: $40 to $60

Style: Full-bodied

What It Goes With: Game, roast beef, duck

This 2009 Crozes-Hermitage has a true northern Rhone character. Wonderfully wild and fragrant, the syrah is inky dark, tannic, but modulated. It tastes of plums, blackberries, dried leaves and earth.