We use yeast to make a lot of different foods. Wine, beer and a lot of breads wouldn’t exist without yeast. Yeast can convert sugars into alcohol through a process called fermentation. Yeast can also produce carbon dioxide which ensures that your bread rises while proofing.
There are a lot of different yeast species. The yeast species that you use to make bread, baker’s yeast, is called Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Nowadays manufacturers can grow this yeast species in a very controlled manner, giving you easy access to the useful ingredient.
Active Dry Yeast,
Active dry yeast needs to be activated before you can use it. You do this by dissolving some of it in luke warm water. The yeast rehydrates and starts bubbling, which means it’s ready for use.
The major reason for rehydrating active yeast is its large granule size. Those large pieces make it harder for the yeast to fully rehydrate and absorb enough water. By placing it in some water in advance, it easy access to enough moisture.
Active dry yeast is less stable than more modern varieties. As such, proofing the yeast on forehand is a good test to see whether it still is sufficiently active. If it doesn’t bubble up, it isn't anymore.
Even though this is the general advice given when using active dry yeast, several of the current active dry yeast varieties work perfectly fine without any pre-hydration. You can use them in the same way as you would instant yeast.
Instant Dry Yeast
Over the years drying technologies for yeast have improved a lot. This is what enabled the production of instant yeast. It is similar to active dry yeast, however, it does not have to be activated on forehand. Instead, you can just add it to the rest of your ingredients.
Yeasts all have their own ideal growing conditions. Some yeasts don’t grow well when there’s a lot of sugar, whereas others, called osmotolerant yeasts, don’t mind the sugar at all. It is why you might find different types of instant yeasts being sold. Generally speaking, only specialized (online) stores have these varieties in stock. When scaling up having different types of yeast may be helpful. At a small scale you can often fix the issue by extending leavening time or adding more yeast.
Nutritional yeast doesn’t really belong in this list, but we’re adding it just to be clear. This type of yeast is no longer active and alive. It has been deactivated on purpose. As such, you cannot use it for proofing breads, etc. Instead, you use nutritional yeast to add flavour to your food. It provides depth by adding umami to your food.
Feature of Dry Yeast--Rapid rise
An even more recent development is that of Rapidrise or Quickrise yeasts. These yeasts are very active, as the name says. As such, they can rise a product pretty quickly, but, they really only work well for one rise. So, if you’re baking a bread that needs to proof twice, this yeast won’t be suitable. It won’t be able to get that second rise going.
Using Baker's Yeast
Yeast is a live microorganism. In order to ensure is actually leavens your breads or cakes you need to treat it well.
Temperature: baker’s yeast grows best at temperatures around 30-35°C. It’s why recipes tell you to put your dough in a warm spot to proof. However, don’t become too enthusiastic. At temperatures above roughly 40°C starts dying off. It’s why recipes will never ask to add hot water to a dough that needs proofing, it would kill off the yeast.
At temperatures below the optimum, yeast will still grow. However, it will just grow more slowly. For some recipes this is actually desirable, the slower longer process also results in the formation of more flavour, made by the yeast cells.
Salt: yeast doesn’t grow well in the presence of a lot of salt. As you can see in the image above, salt slows down growth considerably. You will need to balance the need for flavour from the salt with the need for a fast (or slow) rise.
Sugar: sugar is a great food source for yeasts. Yeasts can grow from carbohydrates present in wheat flour, but pure sugar is more easily accessible and can really accelerate growth.
Concentration: if you start with more yeast, you will get a large volume of yeast more quickly. Also, larger volumes produce more gases, which leaven your bread. However, add too much and the yeast runs out of food too quickly and with a bread that’s easily over proofed.
Whether it’s your sourdough starter, fresh or dried yeast. In all cases you’re dealing with a live microorganism that helps you make great food (and drinks). Treat it well and it will treat you well, which should be easier now that you know where it comes from.
About Bailin Group:
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