Role of Yeast in Baking

Yeast is a single-celled microorganism that is used as a leavening agent in baking. It is a type of fungus that can be found in the environment, but commercial yeast is typically grown and sold as a dry or wet product for use in baking.

When yeast is added to dough or batter, it consumes the sugars present in the flour and releases carbon dioxide gas as a byproduct. The carbon dioxide gas gets trapped in the gluten structure of the dough, causing it to rise and become airy and light. Yeast also adds a distinct flavor to baked goods and can contribute to their texture.

There are two main types of yeast used in baking: fresh (also known as compressed) yeast and dry yeast. Fresh yeast is a moist, cake-like yeast that needs to be kept refrigerated and has a relatively short shelf life. Dry yeast is a dehydrated form of yeast that can be stored at room temperature for a longer period of time.

Yeast is commonly used in bread baking, but it can also be used in other baked goods such as pizza dough, sweet rolls, and cinnamon buns. Yeast can be used alone or in combination with other leavening agents such as baking powder or baking soda, depending on the desired results.

Yeast can also be used in the production of alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine, where it is responsible for converting the sugars in the fruit or grain into alcohol. Additionally, yeast is used in the production of certain fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut.

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