Brev. Brig. Gen'l
- Feb 14, 2012
- Central Pennsylvania
One of the earthenware pots in this crowded, early kitchen, maybe on a shelf far removed from the oven's heat, would have been contained that household's indespensible yeast.
Yeast, so it's an erroneous title, really. No yeast, no bread. Or beer, mead, wine, bitters or anything fermented accidentally or on purpose.
What is really is, is " a microscopic fungus consisting of single oval cells that reproduce by budding, and are capable of converting sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide ". Yum. Scientific America states fire was the first force of nature harnessed by man, yeast the second.
Probably without knowing the exact extent of what they were dealing dealing with, our great great great's back to whenever did know how important it was to make and keep their yeast cultures. Bread was more than a staple. It formed a base that fed families. There were no refrigerated sections in supermarkets where you bought packets of granulated yeast or handy little loafs- recipes proliferated. Potatoes seem to have been used most commonly ( browsing era recipes in periodicals and newspapers ), which sure puts more emphasis on those, too. Hops ( but you knew that ), sugar and wheat flour ( which was new to me ), also used!
Love to hear other sources, please? Big bread maker here- era recipes are awesome. They're amazing using yeast-from-scratch.