Here’s a great little piece of history “undusted”: Have you ever wondered what came before sourdough bread, or why it works? Yeast. And the history behind the symbiotic relationship between humans and that little single-celled microorganism is fascinating.
Likely one of the first organisms domesticated by man, yeast was kept at the ready using many different storage techniques throughout history. One of the oldest such known practices are the Ancient Egyptian yeast breads: delicately baked little loaves of yeasty goodness which, when crumbled into sweet liquid, would create a new yeast starter – for beer, or to leaven bread. For most of man & yeast’s history, bread yeast and beer yeast were the same. The user often had a clear preference, either for keeping the top yeast (barm) or the bottom yeast (lees). But this preference seems more random than geographic, as one farmer would prefer the top, his neighbor the bottom and some would save both – and the yeast would be used for anything that needed fermentation.
A yeast ring made out of sheep vertebrae, Gjærkrans HF-00244 (left photo: Hadeland Folkemuseum) and a teethy straw…
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6 responses to “Scandinavian ‘magic sticks’ – yeast logs & yeast rings”
That was very interesting. I wouldn’t have found it anywhere else.
Nutritional yeast is good on popcorn.
I’ve heard of that, but I have no idea what it’s called in Swiss German, or even if I could get it…
I love finding these little bit of history to share. 🙂
History can be excellent in small doses. We tend to get the full sweep in our house, because John was a history major.