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>>I read a reference to "proofing" yeast with sugar before using on
another list a while back. Could someone tell me what this is, why it's
done, and how to do it?<<
My guess is that the only reason would be to give the colony a jump
start. That's why bakers and homebrewers will "proof." The sugar is
the yeast's food source. For homebrewing, I'll start my yeast up at least
12 hours prior to brewing. Most of the time I'll start it out the night before.
Note that this is different than simply hyrdrating dry yeast in warm water
before using. That's just to suspend the yeast cells in solution to aid in
distributing in the wort or the dough, or the culture in your case.