What is yeast?
Technically, yeast is a fungus. It’s found in humans, animals, soil, plant surfaces and even water. When it comes to the kitchen, yeast is a key ingredient when it comes to making bread alcohol and other fermented foods. Yeast is also commonly used in baking as a leavening agent – which is the substance that makes dough rise).
What kinds of yeast are used for baking?
Did you know there are many different types of yeast? There are! But when it comes to baking, baker’s yeast is the most common. Let’s take a closer look:
Baker’s yeast: This is a live, single-celled organism which feeds on sugar. It produces carbon dioxide gas an alcohol. The two main types of baker’s yeast are active dry yeast and fresh yeast. When added to dough while baking, each of these baker’s yeasts cause the dough to rise and gives it a slightly sweet flavor. Now, let’s break them each down:
Active dry yeast: Active dry yeast is typically sold in a packet that keeps it dry (duh!). It’s made during a process which dries out the fresh yeast with heat and adds an inert stabilizer. Dry yeast is popular because it’s self-stable and stays ‘good’ longer than fresh yeast does. Active yeast is easily found in any grocery store.
Fresh yeast: Fresh yeast is cultivated yeast that is live in water, molasses or flour. It contains a higher water content than dry yeast, thus it doesn’t need to be rehydrated before using. The downside is that fresh yeast is not as stable as dry yeast. It’s also not as commonly found in grocery chains throughout the U.S.
What is nutritional yeast?
Although nutritional yeast has become a popular food additive for vegans, there’s a decent chance you still may not be aware of it.
Nutritional yeast is often added to prepared foods because it’s a rich source of vitamins, minerals, protein and fiber. Nutritional yeast is a quick and easy way to add nutritional value to nearly any recipe you make.
But nutritional yeast doesn’t just add nutritional value to your food – it can also add flavor. Often times, nutritional yeast is used as a seasoning in savory dishes such as soups.
What is instant yeast?
Instant yeast is a dry yeast that is commonly used in baking. Unlike dry yeast, instant yeast doesn’t need to be rehydrated or activated. Most instant yeasts are sold in jars or tubes that contain yeast in a liquid form. And while some grocery stores may not carry instant yeast, they can commonly be found in local baking stores.
Is yeast a fungi or bacteria?
Yeast is a microorganism that’s classified as a fungus. And although yeast is commonly associated with bread and alcohol, there is actually yeast all around us. Yeast lives in the guts of humans and animals but is also commonly found on the surface of plants.
Is yeast vegan?
Yes! Yeast is commonly accepted as a vegan ingredient.
Does yeast have DNA?
The question of whether yeast has DNA can be a bit tricky – because there’s no way to extract and analyze DNA from yeast cells. Some scientists do believe that yeast likely have DNA because it’s an eukaryotic organism, which generally have DNA. But that is merely an educated guess and as of today, there’s just no way to know definitively.
How is yeast made?
Yeast isn’t really “made” it’s usually either caught or cultivated. Yeast is a single-celled microorganism that commonly occurs in the natural environment, but it is commonly cultivated for use in baking and alcohol making.
The most common way to catch yeast is to trap it in a starter culture. A starter culture is what provides the perfect environment for yeast to grow and thrive. It’s generally a mixture of flour and water or juice. When yeast is introduced to the starter culture, it begins to reproduce and grow.
But one thing is for sure, whether your yeast is cultivated or caught – it would be impossible to bake breads or brew alcohol without it.
Does yeast expire?
As long as yeast is stored under the proper conditions, it doesn’t expire. Yeast will continue to grow and reproduce in the right environment. And while yeast doesn’t technically “expire,” the storage conditions and the age of the yeast will affect the yeast’s potency and ability to rise.
How does yeast grow?
Yeast can either grow in the single cell form or in colonies. As long as there is a warm environment with moisture and a food source, yeast will be able to grow. And when yeast grow, they multiply very rapidly.
What makes yeast go dormant?
Essentially, yeast enter a dormant state when they are deprived of food. When yeast are in a dormant state, they are unable to divide and grow. But it takes a while for yeast to naturally enter a dormant state. And when a food source becomes available and conditions become favorable again, the yeast will resume their normal activity and begin to grow.
What is the best temperature for yeast?
The ideal temperature range can vary, depending on the type of yeast you’re using. But in general, the ideal temperature for yeast is somewhere between 80°F and 95°F.
If the temperature isn’t warm enough, yeast will be less active and may not perform properly when baking. But on the flip side, if the temperature is too warm, the yeast will be overactive and produce too quickly. So, it’s important to maintain yeast within the ideal temperature range when baking.
Now, how do you ensure that the yeast remains within the ideal temperature range? The most common way is to use a proofing basket or bowl. These devices have thermostats built in, which allows you to quickly and easily monitor and adjust the temperature as required.
Vegan recipes that use yeast
Tofu scramble recipe: This scramble recipe definitely doesn’t lack protein or flavor – you’ll want to try this one!
Tropical pizza recipe: Everyone loves pizza, right? This recipe makes personal pizzas for the entire family – top them however you want!