If there is any doubt about whether or not
the yeast is still alive, it should be "proofed" before it is added to the
other ingredients. Proofing is accomplished as follows -
Combine the yeast with warm liquid and a
small amount of flour or sugar.
Let the mixture rest at room temperature
until a thick surface foam forms.
The foam indicates that the yeast is alive
and can be used. If there is no foam, the yeast is dead and should be
Sourdough starters are used to leaven a
variety of country-style breads, biscuits and even pancakes. Sourdough
starters are essentially cultures produced by blending flour and water.
This mixture is then inoculated with an existing yeast, or is left exposed
so that wild yeast, naturally present in the air, will begin the process
Starters can be kept alive for extended
periods, by replenishing the flour and water as some of the starter is
removed to prepare baked goods, This long life has become the stuff of
legend in some bakeries where the culture has been kept alive for years,
Different parts of the world have different
types of wild yeasts, which lend a particular flavor to the sourdough
starter. In addition, the degree of sourness considered appropriate varies
from one region or country to another. San Francisco sourdough is
different from that produced in France.