WHAT IS YEAST?
Believe it or not, it’s a type of fungus closely related to mushrooms! Their scientific name basically translates as “sugar-eating fungus.” After consuming the sugar, the yeast then excretes carbon dioxide and ethyl alcohol back into the dough a.k.a. fermentation. This is crucial to the rising of the bread. The gas that is produced is trapped within the dough whose gluten bonds stretch under the gaseous pressure. Alcohol while a by-product also has an important impact on the flavor of the bread being baked.
WHERE IS THE BEST YEAST MADE?
This is such a commercial product now that it’s now commercially available and consistently dependable. However if you want to experience a wider and more unpredictable range of flavors, the spores floating around in the air of your kitchen will work just fine.
WHAT KIND OF FLOUR AND STARTER WORK BEST WITH YEAST?
By definition a starter is a solution that encourages this fungus to multiply. While grain-based flours have been favored since before the written word, they aren’t crucial to the process. Yeast is a simple organism. Given the right environment (water, sugar and a pH between 4.0 to 4.5 – water is 7.0) it will thrive. The bigger question is how yeast’s contribution will positively impact the rest of your recipe!
HOW SHOULD YEAST BE STORED?
For a long shelf life freeze it or keep unopened packets in a cool, dry and dark place. If you’ve already opened the packet, there’s nothing to stop you from introducing it to a mixture of flour and water. This start to the bread making process save you time and then you just freeze the dough!
DID A WOMAN REALLY USE HER YEAST INFECTION TO MAKE SOURDOUGH BREAD?
So in 2015 Women’s Health Magazine published an article about a “feminist hero” who used her own yeast infection to bake sourdough bread. As shocking articles go (up there with the chef that used his wife’s breast milk to make cannibalistic cheese) this ranks right up there. However in terms of scientific accuracy, not so much. There is so much yeast already floating around in the air that the use of a parasitic yeast-like fungus isn’t needed.