How To Proof Yeast

I ran into some mental and emotional issues this year. Several times, I tried to make a recipe that included yeast. Each time I tried to make a “sponge,” the yeast wouldn’t proof. Even though I was using fresh yeast!

Proofing your yeast is a way to make sure that your yeast still lives and that it will work in whatever recipe you are using. A good sponge is, indeed, the proof of this.

Anyway, I was real frustrated and, needless to say, sad that my yeast was failing me. I was missing out on delicious goodies like cinnamon rolls and braided lemon breads and brioches. Hello.

Now, I could have been failing for a number of reasons. Mostly to do with the temperature of the water being perfectly correct. But! I recently read an article that talked about how in order for yeast to properly form a sponge, it needs to have sugars to feed on. The sugars make it grow–just another way yeast and I are so similar.

I feel like milk should have enough sugar in it to help the yeast proof? But don’t quote me on that, because I’ve tried it a few times. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. But water definitely does not have sugar in it, so if that is the base of your proof, then you’ll need to add sugar.

This is what proofing yeast looks like.

Step One: Heat water until it is lukewarm. It should not be cold, but not hot. ‘Warm’ is maybe a better word thank ‘lukewarm’ to describe the correct temperature, but I don’t want you to get ideas and go on thinking you can use really warm water. It should be just warm.

Step Two: Stir in your sugar of choice according to the recipe until dissolved.

Step Three: Sprinkle yeast over the surface of the water. Some recipes call for it to be stirred in. Try and be as even as possible with your sprinkling.

Step Four: Wait 5-10 minutes until the sponge is foamy. Now you’re good to go!

You can succeed! The benefits far outweigh the three minutes of mental anguish you may have to endure as you wait for your yeast to proof. CINNAMON ROLLS.
L

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5 Responses to “How To Proof Yeast”


  1. 1 Terri January 18, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Great explanation and picture. I waited and waited and for the first time in my life (and I’m old) got a “sponge” ! Can’t wait for the bread to come out of the oven.

  2. 2 Lauren January 18, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    Wow! So great. I am so happy the post was helpful! What kind of bread did you make?

  3. 3 Terri January 18, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    French! It is tasty, I’m munching right now.

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