In the old days, yeast was made by capturing wild yeast from the air or from natural sources like grapes or grain, and then cultivating it in a mixture of flour and water.
How was ancient yeast made? Ancient yeast production remains a bit of a mystery. However, records from Ancient Egypt suggest that a mix of flour meal and water might’ve been left longer than usual on a warm day. This prolonged exposure potentially led to natural contaminants in the flour causing fermentation before baking, inadvertently creating yeast.
Yeast: The Baking & Brewing Superhero
Yeast, the tiny superhero behind fluffy bread and bubbly beer! It’s all about that dough rise and fizzy goodness from turning sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
Old School Yeast DIY: Catching and Growing
- Catching Wild Yeast
Imagine this: wild yeast hangs out on fruits, grains, and everything in between. People would set out a mix of flour and water, letting it hang in the air. Eventually, wild yeast buddies would swoop in, do their fermenting thing, and bam! Ready for bread rise.
Where does yeast come from naturally? Yeast can naturally occur on various fruits. Most commercial bread yeasts are manufactured, but saccharomyces cerevisiae, the common bread yeast, can also grow simply by combining flour and water.
- Growing Yeast
Another way was like being a mad scientist with grapes or grains. They’d mush ’em up with water and let the mix ferment. The yeast would go wild, making alcohol and carbon dioxide that wiped out other microorganisms. Then, they’d use the leftovers for bread magic.
How did they make yeast in the 1800s? Yeast in the 1800s was primarily a byproduct of beer brewing or winemaking. Around the mid-1800s, Louis Pasteur, using a microscope, revealed that yeast was a living organism and could be cultivated in its pure form.
Crafting a Sourdough Starter: The Bubbly Mix
Ever heard of a sourdough starter? It’s like a potion made of flour, water, wild yeast, and friendly bacteria. Mix flour and water, let it chill for days, and voila! Bubbly mix for the perfect bread rise.
What did old timers use for yeast? Old-timers likely used a form of sourdough starter for bread baking, incorporating old dough into fresh to leaven and add flavor. Additionally, beer served as a source of yeast, sparking debates about its relationship with leavened bread.
The Game-Changing Industrial Revolution
Then, the Industrial Revolution swooped in like a hero. Scientists cracked the code on making yeast in large quantities. That’s when commercial yeast burst onto the scene, making life way simpler than DIY yeast.
How did Vikings get yeast? Before modern yeast production, Vikings likely relied on wild yeasts found in their environment, which varied in their ability to create different alcohol levels.
Commercial Yeast Takes Charge
People went bananas for commercial yeast—affordable, hassle-free, and reliable. So, those old-school ways of yeast-making got tossed aside.
How did peasants get yeast? Peasants often obtained yeast from beer, utilizing liquid and yeast from brewing batches, whether from their own production or their neighbors’. This yeast-laden liquid would then be used in dough-making transactions.
The Modern Yeast Factory: Cranking Out Yeast
Nowadays, most yeast comes from fancy factories. They whip it up in a super clean setup, stopping any unwanted guests with a technique called pure culture fermentation. After that, they dry it out into a powder.
Where did ancients get yeast? Ancient Egyptians might’ve unwittingly created yeast through a mix of flour meal and water left out longer than usual, allowing natural contaminants in the flour to ferment before baking.
Different Types of Commercial Yeast
Guess what? Commercial yeast comes in different flavors—well, not really, but different types! There’s dry yeast, the basic and easy one. Active dry yeast, the powerhouse that needs warm water to start partying. Then there’s instant yeast, the superstar that can dive straight into dough without any prep.
How did pioneers make yeast? Beyond brewer’s yeast, pioneers used specially brewed ferments from grain, flour, or boiled potatoes. Hops were often added to prevent sourness, while salt-rising bread involved starters made from milk, cornmeal, and occasionally potatoes.
Yeast’s a big deal for baking and brewing. Back then, making it was a whole production. But thanks to the Industrial Revolution, we’ve got it easy peasy with the store-bought stuff!