Proofing yeast longer to increase yield
I recently read somewhere (maybe in a post here?) somebody claiming they get better results adding their yeast to water rather than to the flour, using instant yeast. Up until now, I've always done it the other way, adding my yeast to the flour, but since reading that post I've been experimenting with the yeast in the water method. To be honest, I haven't noticed any real difference. But along the way a thought occurred to me. When you do this, You're effectively growing more yeast, and as I understand it, the yeast grows very quickly in a wet environment like that, provided enough food (I've been also putting some flour and sugar or honey in the proofing mix). So I thought I could probably use much less yeast that way, if I had some way of approximating the rate of growth.
I've been trying it out the last couple batches with decent results. Today's batch was 1800 grams of flour and I used only a teaspoonful of yeast, but let it proof for about 15 minutes, I also autolysed with all of the liquid and about half of the flour for another 10 minutes before adding the salt. It rose a little more slowly than I wanted, but I think that can be adjusted.
Has anyone experimented with this? Any thoughts or input?