Y is for ……yeast


Yeast is a fungi widely used in baking and brewing. We mostly link it with bread and pastry baking but it has a long history as a leavening agent in cakes. Yeast leavened cakes (still popular in mainland Europe) even featured as one of the bakes in last year’s Great British Bake Off.

Nowadays it’s quite hard in some areas to source fresh bakers yeast ( the demise of the bakery that actually makes its own bread on the premises being one reason for this), so rapid rise dried yeast is widely used as an effective substitute. You do need to read the pack on these yeasts, though – not all are created equal! Some require you to mix with a little sugar and tepid water beforehand to activate. One other point to remember is that even dried yeast loses its potency. 7g packs are indeed handy and should remain fresh if unopened but if you don’t use yeast regularly you do need to note the use by date. It would be such a waste of ingredients if the yeast was ‘shot’ and you didn’t know until there was no rise.

The sour dough movement has driven the popularity of not only eating flavoursome breads but also the art of producing and feeding a sour dough starter.

There are other raising agents around, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. A debate flared up a few years ago about the aluminium/aluminum ( NB Americans say aluminum because that’s how they spell it) being a component in baking powder so now you can find aluminum free baking powder- just read the label.

Cakes containing an acidic component like buttermilk or sour cream (much more common in American recipes that British) only need to include the ‘sweet’ part of baking powder – bicarbonate of soda. That’s why you’ll see baking soda much more frequently in American recipes.

So no pictures of bubbling sour dough starter, ( that little baby is in my guernsey fridge), just some sticky yeasted buns 🙂 the link is here for the recipe if you are tempted Fruit and seed Chelsea buns

Posted In response to Blogging from A to Z April Challenge

Last day of the challenge tomorrow – and a Z beauty it is!

Have a great day




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