Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Random facts about Yeast

One of my New Year's resolutions was to write one report or make one poster a month on any random topic.  That random topic that I chose was yeast.  I've always been fascinated by what yeast actually does.  Here I'll give you a couple of facts.  Yeast is a single celled fungus that is 50% protein and has a rich source of vitamin B (mainly niacin and folic acid.)Yeast is always floating around the air but way too small for the human eye to see.  Yeasts favorite food on the menu is usually starches or stuff with a lot of sugar.  For example yeast love fruit.  When they eat the sugar in the fruit they actually release carbon dioxide.  Thats what makes champagne fizzy and thats what makes bread rise because there is so much carbon dioxide gas in it.  The word yeast comes from an old Indo-European word meaning bubble or foam.  This is my favorite but most strange fact of them all.  Who actually discovered that yeast makes bread rise?  Well about 6000 years ago an unknown Egyptian baker took a tip from wine makers and tried using his feet instead of his hands to do the kneading of the bread.  Surprisingly that worked very well for him.  Heres how. After the baker took the bread out of the oven he realized the bread was fluffy and chewy not crispy and crunchy.  The accidental byproduct of using his feet was that the bread dough got a good dose of yeast that grows naturally between people's toes.  Gross right??  But the practice quickly spread to other bakers because they liked the chewy taste.  Luckily they don't do that kind of stuff now. I hope.....


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