Proofing Booze and Bread.

While writing the review about the restaurant “Proof” it occurred to me that the word might have some inside industry meaning. While I am familiar with the use of the term to describe a test used to prove the alcohol level of distilled spirits, I suspected that there might be some other meaning. I was right. In baking, proof can mean the final dough-rise during the fermentation process. I guess if the bread does not rise or stops, then it didn’t work. It can also mean the process of dissolving yeast in warm water if dry yeast is used.

The word “proof” in the distillation industry means that a spirit passes a certain test. Sailors were partly paid in rum rations and to make sure that the captain was not cheating the sailors by excessively diluting the rum, a proof test was developed. This test involved dousing the rum in gunpowder and then trying to light it on fire. Too much water, and the gunpowder was ruined and failed the explode. If it blew up, then everyone was satisfied that the rum was worth the ration and mutiny was avoided.

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