Yeast is a living organism that converts sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The fermentation process produces ethanol, which is then distilled to create beer. Baking uses yeast to produce breads, cakes, and other baked goods.
What are the different types of yeasts?
There are two main strains of yeast: Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Saccharomyces exiguus.
S. cerevisiae is most commonly found in winemaking because it ferments grape juice. It also can be used for bread making or as an additive to sourdough starters.
S. exiguus is more common than S. cerevisiae when fermenting fruit juices such as apple cider or pear juice.
This type of yeast has been shown to have health benefits including reducing cholesterol levels and improving immune function.
How do I use yeast?
You will need to purchase commercial yeast from your local grocery store.
You should not buy any kind of dried yeast unless you know what brand you want.
Dried yeast does not contain enough moisture to activate properly.
If you see “active” on the package, this means that the yeast contains sufficient water so that it can begin its life cycle. Active dry yeast must be stored at room temperature away from direct sunlight.
Once opened, keep the container tightly sealed until ready to use.
To make sure there’s no mold growing inside the container, open the lid slightly and check every few days.
When using fresh yeast, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding how much yeast to add per batch.
For example, if the recipe calls for 1/4 cup of yeast, you would only need about 2 teaspoons. Yeast needs time to work before adding it to the dough. So don’t rush through mixing!
Why is yeast important?
The primary reason why we use yeast is to convert sugar into alcohol and CO2 gas.
These gases expand during cooking, creating bubbles in our food. In addition, they give foods their characteristic flavor. Without these gasses, many dishes wouldn’t taste right.
Can I substitute one type of yeast with another?
Yes, but you may notice some differences between them.
Some people prefer the flavor of one over the others. However, all three types of yeast are interchangeable. They just won’t perform exactly the same way.
Is yeast safe to eat?
Yes, although eating too much could cause stomach upset. Most recipes call for small amounts of yeast.
But remember, even though yeast isn’t alive, it still requires nutrients like protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, etc., to grow.
Therefore, it’s best to consume whole grains instead of refined flour products. Whole grain flours provide fiber, proteins, and essential micronutrients needed by yeast cells.
Where did yeast come from?
It was first discovered around 5000 BC in China where it was used to brew rice wine. Since then, scientists have studied yeast extensively.
Today, researchers continue to study yeast to learn more about its role in human nutrition.
What other uses besides beer and breadmaking?
Yeast is a very versatile microorganism. Scientists have isolated strains of yeast which produce enzymes that break down cellulose into sugars. The resulting sugars can be fermented into ethanol.
Ethanol is widely used today as fuel for cars and airplanes. Other applications include production of antibiotics, cosmetics, detergents, plastics, pharmaceuticals, animal feed supplements, and biofuels.
Yeast in bread making
Bread-making involves combining ingredients such as wheat flour, salt, leavening agents, and sometimes eggs or milk.
In order to get good results, you’ll need to mix your ingredients well. This will ensure that each ingredient gets evenly distributed throughout the mixture.
Mixing also helps prevent lumps from forming. Lumpy mixtures aren’t pleasant to chew.
After mixing, knead the dough gently several times.