Yeast Facts and History

History of Yeast
Yeast can be considered man’s oldest industrial microorganism. It’s likely that man used yeast before the development of a written language. Hieroglyphics suggest that the ancient Egyptian civilizations were using yeast and the process of fermentation to produce alcoholic beverages and to leaven bread over 5,000 years ago.
 Leaven, mentioned in the Bible, was a soft, dough-type medium kept from one bread baking session to another. A small portion of this dough was used to start or leaven each new lot of bread dough. What we call sourdough today.
Yeast Today
With the invention of the microscope, followed by the pioneering scientific work of Louis Pasteur in the late 1860’s, yeast was identified as a living organism and the agent responsible for alcoholic fermentation and dough leavening. The stage was set for commercial production of baker’s yeast that began around the turn of the 20th century.
 The Fleischmann brothers built a yeast plant in Cincinnati, Ohio,  Here they produced and patented a compressed yeast cake that revolutionized home and commercial baking in the United States. That cake type of yeast was what I grew up using. The yeasts of today are so much better! The cakes were touchy to activate and you could easily kill the yeast. They also took longer to activate. You can still buy them in some specialty shops but as they need to be refrigerated most chain markets don’t have it in stock. Amazon does carry it a pack of eight 2 ounce cakes for $50.25.
  Later, when America entered World War II, Fleischmann Laboratories developed and manufactured Active Dry Yeast®, specifically to ensure GIs could enjoy home-baked bread. Unlike their original compressed yeast cake, the new Fleischmann’s® Yeast did not require refrigeration and was activated quickly with warm water.
Sue loves the newer instant yeasts: instant, rapidmix and bread machine yeasts...they can be mixed right into the dry ingredients, don't need proofing, and have a good yeasty flavor too.

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful thing to honor . . . YEAST!!! Such a simple microorganism, such a boon to mankind! This was a very interesting article! Thank you, Myrna, for enlightening us on the most basic, common sense subjects!!! A pleasure to read! - Marcia


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