In this video, the cook blooms the yeast, which I always thought made no real difference except ensuring that your yeast is still active. The part that intrigues me is that he adds olive oil to the blooming yeast. I have never seen that before and was wondering what effect that would have on your bread dough.

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It doesn't do anything, really, or it has a slight negative effect. The video just doesn't show a good technique.

Blooming the yeast

It's actually best practice to not do it. Fresh yeast needs it, but active dry yeast is better off without, although it has been engineered to tolerate it. It should only be bloomed if there is a high chance it may be dead. I can't say if bakers in South Africa have to always assume that, due to climate and worse logistics, but in temperate Western countries, I'd only do it if I wanted to use yeast that is past its expiration date.


What the yeast needs is water, with a moderate amount of sugar. The oil is just a physical barrier between the yeast and the water. For the yeast granules which hit the water and dissolve in it, there is no difference. The yeast granules which hit an oil bubble can get enclosed by it, prevented from contact with water, and never dissolve and start working. So, the effect of adding the oil before blooming is to slightly reduce the amount of usable yeast.

There is also the question of mixing order. The way shown in the video is the second-worst - so you could argue that he's avoiding the worst method, which would involve dumping oil directly onto the flour and shortening it. But I see no need to settle for second-worst instead of picking a good one.


The guy in the video says to put all the sugar into the sponge. This is very counterproductive. Yeast needs a modest amount of nutrients in its water, and too much sugar interferes with its growth. If you're going to add sugar to a sponge (you don't have to, because yeast is packed in nutritional medium), a teaspoon is enough.


This is simply not a good recipe. It uses a combination of obsolete and uninformed methods. Luckily, baking is tolerant enough that it likely still works, so I don't see a problem with making the recipe if you want to. But it's by no means a good example to learn technique from.

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