Interesting Yeast Facts To Know How They Make Bread Fluffier

Joan Agie
Nov 03, 2023 By Joan Agie
Originally Published on Mar 22, 2022
Interesting Yeast Facts To Know How They Make Bread Fluffier
Age: 3-18
Read time: 3.7 Min

The origin of yeast dates back to hundreds of million years ago.

Despite its ancient existence, humans started using it much later. At present, there are 1500 recognized species of yeast.

Yeast is a single-celled organism. However, they originated from multicellular organisms. At present, among all the different species of yeast, the baker's and brewer's yeast are the most common ones. These produce carbon dioxide that helps in fermentation.

History Of Yeast

Yeast is one of the earliest micro-organisms used by humans. Some speculations suggest that the history of yeast dates back to a time before the advent of the written language. Keep reading to know more about the history of yeast.

Hieroglyphics point out that more than 5000 years ago, yeast was used by the people of the Egyptian civilization in the fermentation process.

They fermented yeast cells to produce alcohol. Leaven bread was also made using the same process.

The Bible also has mentions leaven bread. Leaven was a soft type of bread dough and was used to continue baking sessions by setting aside small quantities of the dough.

The word 'yeast' is derived from the word 'gyst' or 'gist' in Old English. The word also has its source in the Indo-European root word 'yes-' which means bubble, boil, or foam.

Role Of Yeast

Yeast cells are widely used all over the world in the process of fermentation. Here are some roles and functions of yeast.

In a moist environment, yeasts reproduce. This requires a temperature of 105-110 F (40.5-43 C) and a food source like sugar or starch.

Baking bread with yeast produces carbon dioxide, making the dough rise.

Saccharomyces cerevisiae, a species of yeast, is used in baking.

Different species of yeast are also used in making alcoholic beverages.

Nutritional yeast has a flavor that is sweeter than other yeast.

Types Of Yeast

There are five main types of yeast. These are active dry yeast, rapid rise yeast, instant yeast, bread machine yeast, and fresh yeast. Let us learn a little more about these different yeasts.

Active dry yeast is the most traditional category of yeast. This dry yeast requires to be activated in warm water.

Rapid rise yeast has added enhancers that help in quick activation. Instant yeast is just active dry yeast that lacks a protective coating.

The bread machine used is best suited for making pizza dough.

Professionals mainly use fresh yeast.

Benefits And Cautions

Like every other thing, yeast also has its pros and cons. Here are some of the advantages and side effects of yeast.

Yeast helps in maintaining the balance and health of your digestive system. It gives protection against health damage from carbon dioxide. It also boosts immunity and takes down the level of cholesterol.

Yeast can sometimes cause a headache or worsen migraine. It can lead to facial flushing.

You should always consume baked bread and never raw yeast because the latter has active fungi.


Q: What is the yeast used for?

A: Yeast is used for making the dough of bread rise. It is also used to make alcoholic beverages using the method of fermentation.

Q: Can yeast be killed?

A: Yes, yeast can be killed while activating it. While activating the yeast in boiling water, a temperature above 140 F (60 C) kills the yeast.

Q: How was yeast first discovered?

A: A scientist named Leeuwenhoek first discovered yeast in 1680. For the first time, he put beer yeast globules under the microscope.

Q: What country does yeast come from?

A: All the different types of yeast existing in the world are believed to have originated in China. This includes the brewer's yeast, baker's yeast, and other types of yeast.

Q: Is yeast a plant or an animal?

A: Yeast is a fungus that has a single cell. It grows on plants and soil. It is a micro-organism. Hence, yeast is neither an animal nor a plant. It is only a single-celled micro-organism.

Q: How are yeast made?

A: Yeast is dependent on sugar and starch for its growth. For commercial use, yeast is grown in industrial tanks. These tanks contain oxygen and sugary water.

Q: How long does a yeast cell live?

A: Normal species of yeast live for about a week. This can hold for baker's yeast. However, under the ideal conditions, yeast can be immortal.

Q: What is the scientific name of yeast?

A: There are different species of yeast. All of these have different scientific names. For instance, the baker's yeast is known as Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Written by Joan Agie

Bachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

Joan Agie picture

Joan AgieBachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.

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