How to Proof Yeast

by My Persian Kitchen on May 11, 2010

On Sunday when I was getting ready to prepare Pirashki I realized that the yeast package that I had in our pantry was only 3 months away from expiring.  I had bought it a while back so I had first and foremost check to see if it was still good.

I had to do a little homework on how to proof yeast. I am not much of a bread baker so yeast and I don’t usually work together.

All you need is the following:

1 package of yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 cup water

Baking and I don’t particularly get along because it is all about chemistry. I dodged taking a chemistry class in college because I was not remotely interested in being a science major.  This whole proofing thing was a reminder that you just don’t throw things together!!

The first time I tried proofing I just boiled some water.  I mixed the sugar and yeast and then poured the water over it.  Yeah I totally killed the yeast. It didn’t rise, it didn’t do anything! Then I remembered reading that the water had to be “warm.”  So the second time around I did some research and low and behold the water has to be 100°! So I took my trusted food thermometer out and went to work.

Then you must mix the water and sugar first.

THEN add the yeast and mix well together.  Let is rest for about 5 to 10 minutes.

And the yeast should then foam. This means that your yeast is good and ready to bake!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Mika May 12, 2010 at 7:40 am

I killed the yeast so many times!!!!!
Maybe it’s for this reason I don’t like making leavened stuff… ^_^

Mary May 12, 2010 at 9:06 am

Good! Your next installment should be on when to add salt — another chemistry thing. You add it in order to slow down the rising process. Too early, you kill the yeast; too late and you may have yeasty overflow! You will learn. Baking with yeast is sooooooo easy. Smells good, too.

Jana May 12, 2010 at 10:51 am

This will sound dumb, but when you’re ready to start baking, would you use this yeast-mixture that you just “proofed”, or the second, un-opened package that was purchased at the same time?

My Persian Kitchen May 12, 2010 at 6:17 pm

@ Mary, WHAT? There is a specific time when the salt needs to be added??? Who knew!!! Thanks for letting me know!

@ Jana, I used the same yeast that I proofed. The recipe did say to wait five minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients. I am assuming that the wait time is for the yeast to start its magic.

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