Huffpost Taste

So What The Hell Is Yeast, Anyway, And How Does It Work?

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PAYl Espen Olsen via Getty Images
PAYl Espen Olsen via Getty Images

You probably think of yeast as the thing that comes in these little packets and "magically" makes your bread rise. Or, more likely, you probably don't think about yeast at all -- we don't blame you. But people, you should give yeast a moment's thought because yeast is a really amazing thing. These tiny cells (that some consider to be man's oldest industrial microorganism) makes us delicious bread, wine and beer. These guys are hard at work making all of our favorite things.

If you think we're exaggerating, or are chocking up our excitement to the fact that we are just generally into food, take a look at this beer brewing time lapse video and you will soon be a believer like us. Or just think about how absolutely amazing sourdough bread tastes, and wrap your mind around the fact that yeast made it taste that good.

Yeast is amazing guys, and here's why:

  • 1
    Yeast is ALIVE.
    Science Photo Library - STEVE GSCHMEISSNER via Getty Images
    Yep. Yeast is a living single-cell organism that multiplies extremely quickly when feeding off sugar in a moist environment.
  • 2
    One package of yeast contains 140 billion yeast cells.
    Will Heap via Getty Images
    This is not a lie. And all those cells go right to work eating sugars and making breads rise.
  • 3
    If it weren't for yeast, we'd have no wine, beer or booze.
    William Reavell via Getty Images
    We are forever grateful. In the absence of air, yeast turns sugars into carbon dioxide and ALCOHOL. Basically, the yeast eats the sugars and the end product gets us tipsy.
  • 4
    Yeast doesn't just give us booze, but bread too.
    Wallace and Wyant via Getty Images
    THANK YOU FOR ALL THE SOURDOUGH! Many breads are made with yeast added to it, but sourdough relies on naturally occurring yeast which is given time to ferment and adds to its AH-mazing flavor.
  • 5
    Not all yeast is created equal.
    Luis Veiga via Getty Images
    Different yeast is used to make wine, beer, booze, bread, etc. because different yeasts reveal different flavors. In Beaujolais, yeast brings out a banana flavor. And in grapes like Chardonnay and Sauvignon it enhances the grape's natural flavor.
  • 6
    Yeast does more than wine and dine us, it's being used to make biofuels too.
    Tom Merton via Getty Images
    What can't this oldest of microorganisms do?
  • 7
    Some people say that a dose of yeast before a night out can help you not get wasted.
    Image Source via Getty Images
    It's the co-founder of Sam Adams who swears by this trick, and we think he might know a thing or two about drinking.


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