The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

a question about yeast

pattyfermenty's picture

a question about yeast

i have been under the impression that the less yeast, the better. i have read it many times and thought that using the least yeast was a virtue.

but i have also read about yeast creating flavor (not the yeasty flavor of course) -- good flavor. when i read this i was confused. then yesterday, i read that yeast feeding create esters which contribute to flavor! and now i am really confused. can someone here sort it out? thanks..

halfrice's picture

As I understand, the amount of yeast in a recipe is directly proportional (inversely) to the time it takes for your dough to rise. If you are in a rush, you could put in a double measure and it will rise quicker. However, quick breads are usually less flavoursome than bread that has been allowed to rise for a longer period. The amount of yeast you use is really a tradeoff between time and flavour.

will slick's picture
will slick

is that once the dry yeast is reactivated they are a living organism that begin to feed on the sugars in the flour and multiply. So In my humble opinion starting with to much yeast would result in to large a colony of yeasty beasties that devour the nutrients in the flour much to quickly. This would result in

1. Not enough time for the esters/ flavor to develop

2. The yeasty beasties begin to die off before you put your bread in the oven

3. a yeasty flavor

On the other hand if you were to use say a 1/2 of a tea spoon less yeast. You could adjust the fermentation time / temperature and still get a good or even better result than if you used to much yeast. It would also hold true that if you for whatever reason put to much yeast to start you could lower the temp ( refrigerate) to slow down or completely arrest the yeasty beasties for a longer ferment time and a more flavorful loaf.

tgnytg's picture

Not being a professional yeast rancher, my guess is that yeast replicate (via a process called budding) at a pretty slow pace in bread dough, so a small amount of yeast even in a multiple day fermentation will not become a large enough population to provide a yeasty flavor.  Now yeast in beer replicate like mad, but I am guessing there is less yeast kanoodling going on in bread dough.

The good flavors from yeast include alcohols and esters, but in a long fermentation there are other factors at work. Natural enzymes break down the proteins into amino acids each with their own taste, and starches are split into sugars to create sweetness and yeast food.  Also naturally occurring bacteria produce lactic and acetic acids resulting in various sour flavors.

A small yeast population will cause a long slow rise, and during that time all of the vast variety of fermentation agents will be producing their own flavors which end up in a delicious biological cocktail.