“Proofing” is a term in baking used to describe the fermentation process of active yeast. Proofing is the true test of whether your bread will be a success or failure — if it will rise or if it will fall.
I’ve been patiently waiting and watching for the last year and half to see how I proof at the bakery.
There have been moments where everything seems to be working splendidly – all the ingredients appear to be mixed in just right, the environment looks perfect for a full bloom, and in every way the expectation is that all will rise just as we thought. But sometimes that’s not the case.
Sometimes the yeast is no good from the beginning. And it’s only by several failed batches that you realize this. Sometimes you forget an ingredient, or the temperature of the ingredients are just not quite right. It’s not until the proofing stage that any missteps, flaws, or deficiencies are really known. Sometimes it’s the environment. That Oklahoma humidity which can be stifling and will cause your bread to rise too quickly and enthusiastically, killing it before you even have a chance to put it in the oven. Or the chill of a cold kitchen where no matter what you do to bring light or heat into it, remains stubbornly cold and refuses to aid your efforts in making bread. Sometimes all of these things converge at once and you realize, this dough is never going to rise. You can remake and reshape and redo the dough again and again, but sometimes it’s best just to wash your hands, wipe down the mixer, sweep the floor, and walk away.
It has been my joy and my privilege to start this bakery. To watch a thing grow from nothing but dreams into a reality I walk into every day has opened my heart in ways I never thought possible. But at the end of the day today, I am walking out of those doors, realizing I was not meant to rise here.