Yeast Breads: Not Scary!

I’ve heard some people say that they won’t make anything with yeast in the ingredient list. I don’t know why, really. It’s so easy!

There are two major things to know about: proofing and salt.

The one thing I always, always do with my yeast: I proof it. Proofing yeast is very simple. Combine the water, yeast, and whatever sweetener the recipe calls for, then let it sit and foam. It isn’t necessary to use all of the sweetener; a tablespoon or two will do.

Wisk until it just starts to show bubbles, then allow to sit for a while.

When the yeast mixture has a “foam” layer on top, it’s ready to use! Sometimes this takes one minute; sometimes it takes ten. The main reason for proofing is to make sure the yeast isn’t dead. I have had dead yeast before; I would rather take the extra ten minutes of waiting time to proof my yeast than to go through the whole process of making the dough only to find that the yeast isn’t alive.

Another thing to remember when making yeast breads, NEVER add the salt to the proofed yeast. Salt kills yeast. I stir my salt into flour before the yeast mixture is added to the flour.

For a good whole wheat bread recipe, see “Soaked Flour Whole Wheat Bread.” If you’d like to know how to knead bread, read “How to Knead Bread Dough.”

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