Introduction: Proofing Your Yeast
Proofing, or giving yeast time to verify fermentation activity, is a huge part of bread making. When you see this as a step, we as bakers are making sure our yeasts can 'prove' their activity and alive-ness, signifying the beginning of fermentation. This process is occasionally called out as 'blooming the yeast' in certain recipes.
For this first loaf, we will be proofing our yeast in 110-115 degree water. I don't have a microwave so I heat on the stove, but microwaves make quick work of this task - heat your water on medium power for 15-second increments and check the temp between reheating.
Note: When the water is too warm, we risk killing the yeast or over-activating it so that it begins to multiply too immediately. When liquids are too cold, the yeast will never properly activate. This means your dough will rise extremely slowly and unevenly, or even worse, not at all.
Now it's time for you to proof the yeast for our first loaf. Begin with 325 grams of 110 degree water in a bowl, then add a half tablespoon of sugar to the water and mix it in. (I use coconut sugar because it dissolves really quickly) Sprinkle yeast over top and quickly stir to hydrate all the yeast.
Allow the mixture to sit for 10-15 minutes until there is a big frothy layer of foam on the surface. It is then that you have 'proved' your yeasts' activity.