Better Bread-Making: The Proof is in the Bloom
Welcome Back to the Better Bread-Making Series!
In bread-making, there is there is a lot of hurry up and wait. Proof the yeast and wait. Mix the dough and wait. Wait for the dough to rise and wait. Waiting can be good if you want to get some other things done. Like work on other projects, take that zoom meeting, or organize that pesky closet that no one dares open. We all have one, I’m sure.
Here’s the drill. Mix ingredients. Wait for the dough to rise once, and sometimes a second or third time before you bake. In between each rise, it can be at least an hour. One of the ways you can save time in the overall process is by using fresh yeast.If you know your yeast is fresh, you actually don’t have to do the proofing/blooming step. I’ve found that this saves the 10-15 minutes usually required for proofing. And the best part? It hasn’t made a noticeable difference in the final product.
A quick glossary of terms
Proofing is the simple process you do to test if the yeast is going to work. You start the fermentation process before mixing the yeast in with the other ingredients.
Blooming is what happens, or not, during the process. I’ll cover how to do that later in this post.
How do I know if yeast is fresh? Before the expiration date on the package or jar? Or sooner than that? Rule of thumb: Yeast is good unrefrigerated for up to 2 weeks, in the fridge for up to 6 months, and in the freezer, the yeast is good up to one year.
As you can see, it stays fresh quite a long time. When in doubt or when you know the yeast is older, definitely take the time to make sure it will bloom properly so your bread reaches its potential.
- Add the yeast to warm water (or milk if that’s what the recipe calls for) no hotter than 115° F. Follow your recipe for the amounts of each. Also, sometimes it may ask you to add sugar. the addition of sugar like giving it a snack or waking up to breakfast in bed. It makes yeast happy and therefore more active.
- Blooming takes about 10 minutes. How do you know it’s working? The top of the water gets foamy as the yeast begins to release carbon dioxide. That’s a good sign. If you don’t get the foam on top, the yeast is no longer active.
- If I’ve kept it in the freezer, or I can’t remember how long I’ve had it, I will do the blooming process
Blooming isn’t difficult. But it does take time.
Need a good measuring cup to proof your yeast? Check out our recommended baking products HERE!
Sarah, The Bread Lady