Agrano Organic Yeast
This yeast is suitable for fermenting bread doughs of all kinds, especially those using the long fermentation processes that bring out the best in bread in terms of flavour, digestibility and nutrition.
Baker’s yeast, either dried or fresh, turns sugars (released from starches by naturally-occurring enzymes) in the flour into carbon dioxide (CO2) gas and alcohol. The CO2 inflates the dough structure, making it light and open. The alcohol is evaporated during baking.
This organic yeast is a strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae that produces gas more slowly, but over a longer period, than non-organic ‘fast-acting’ yeasts.
If kept in a cool dry place (not the fridge) and as airtight as possible, this dried yeast actually retains its vitality long after its nominal expiry date, as Bread Matters regularly demonstrates on its courses.
How to use it
This yeast comes in the form of fine granules and can be added directly to flour before any water is used. However, many bakers prefer to dissolve the yeast in some of the water first, just to make sure that it gets evenly dispersed throughout the dough.
Why pay more for a slower-acting organic yeast?
Not all yeasts are created equal. This one is ‘grown’ in a warm broth of organic wheat flour and water, nothing else. The only ‘processing aid’ used is a very small amount of organic vegetable oil that is sometimes used to control excessive frothing of the yeast brew in the fermenter. The new yeast cells are piped off and ‘spun dry’ to remove the water, which itself becomes the feedstock for a further fermentation process. So – no waste.
By contrast, non-organic yeast is grown in fermenters filled with sugar molasses. Sugar, unless grown organically, is a crop associated with copious amounts of fertiliser and pesticide, with all the attendant environmental problems that these can create. Before being used as a yeast food, the molasses has to be cleaned with caustic soda. Then, as the yeast is multiplying up, other chemicals are used to suppress the frothing. All these chemicals must be washed out of the yeast before it is compressed and dried, with the result that every kilo of non-organic yeast produces a third of a kilo of polluted waste water.
Further information on the benfits of organic yeast production can be found on the BioReal website here.