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Among other food innovations was a German way of making yeast in almost limitless quantities. The waste sulfite liquor from the beechwood used to manufacture cellulose was treated with an organism known to bacteriologists as candida arborea at temperatures higher than ever used in yeast manufacture before. The finished product served as both animal and human food. Its caloric value is four times that of lean meat, and it contains twice as much protein.
There are many different types of yeast in the environment, from those that cause fungal infection such as Candida to others that are used in the brewing industry and in wine-making. As we shall see there is a strong connection between bread and alcohol production.
Sourdough is the oldest form of leavened (or ‘risen’) bread. Baking presumably existed for a long time before that, mixing a paste of dried ground grains with water, and then baking it. However at some point someone must have discovered that if the paste or dough was left overnight, or for a couple of days, it started to change in appearance and odour, and that the bread when baked was lighter in texture, easier to digest, and stronger in flavour.
The oldest form of leavening was almost certainly due to this sort of accidental development of a starter, with small amounts of dough/paste being kept aside from one batch to leaven the next. At some point residues from fermented grapes or hops were used to provide an alternative source of yeast. Of course nowadays most baking is done with commercially isolated yeast.
Originally posted by grey580
Be very careful with breads made from Rye.
There is a fungus called Ergot that can poison you.
Human poisoning due to the consumption of rye bread made from ergot-infected grain was common in Europe in the Middle Ages.