Those who love to cook and dedicate a few minutes to relaxing hands-on contact, instead of going to the baker under the house to buy ready-made pasta or relying on the bread machine, knows very well that kneading requires love, patience and dedication, starting with the choice of simple basic ingredients such as water, flour and, last but not least, the yeast.
"What you put into it, you find us", is an ancient Apulian saying about food, to make it clear how much the ingredients must be carefully chosen for the recipes, be in season, fresh, healthy and at the right ripeness.
And the lady who prepares the classic pazerotti is well aware of which yeast to use! Here is a roundup of yeasts with their respective characteristics.
Classic brewer's yeast
Sold fresh, often in the form of blocks or dry freeze-dried, it is a single type of yeast, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae, and is called this way because at the beginning it was obtained from fermentation of beer, while today it is practically produced by molasses of beet from sugar. If you use the dry one you have to let it soak in just warm water (no more than 40 °) with sugar.
Advantages: brewer's yeast is convenient, to use for bread, pizzas, focaccia and also sweets and if it is left to rise in the right way, using the right amount and respecting the correct maturation times it is not indigestible.
disadvantages: fresh yeast does not last long in the refrigerator, in a few days molds form on the surface. The flavor and aroma are less intense than doughs made with sourdough. Some find leavening with the freeze-dried one less satisfactory. If you don't take care of the dosage and resting times, it can be hard on digestion.
Natural sourdough yeast
It is also called sourdough and natural yeast, it is a yeast "slow food", which you can do yourself: in fifteen days it is ready to make bread or pizza, starting from simple ingredients: 250 grams of Manitoba flour (but there are also those who use other flours) and 250 ml of low-fat yogurt (replaceable with honey or fruit sugars, such as an apple).
Mix the two ingredients until you get a smooth ball that you will leave to rest for 48 hours, at a temperature no higher than 28 °, in a bowl covered with film, on which 4 or 5 holes are made with a toothpick. After 48 hours we proceed to the first refreshment, taking 200 grams of the pasta, 200 of flour manitoba and 100 grams of water. After this first refreshment, the new dough is placed in a tall and narrow glass jar, still covered with some pitted film, and left to rest for another 48 hours.
Refreshments are carried out for 14 days, every day. The fifteenth day is ready to be used at 30% of the quantity of your dough. What remains is kept in the refrigerator and refreshed every week, always with the same method, otherwise it dies.
Advantages: it is a natural yeast, ancient, easily digestible; unlike leavened doughs with only one selected microorganism (brewer's yeast), those made with sourdough contain many bacteria: each contributes differently to the final flavors and aromas. These bacteria predigest bread, making starches, proteins and all other nutrients more assimilable and increases tolerance. The scent of products based on this yeast is incomparable!
disadvantages: the initial disadvantage can be "gestation", that is the preparatory phase for the birth of the yeast, which requires time and attention. Another disadvantage is perhaps the taste that some define as slightly more acidic, but it is only a matter of training with the dosages and getting used to a completely natural product.
Yeast substitutes for those who are vegan or intolerant
Dried sourdough yeast and dried sourdough
They are two different things. The first also contains a percentage of brewer's yeast, so it can also be used alone for bread making, without adding other yeasts at 7% of the weight of the flour (35 grams on half a kilo to be clear).
The second instead, which is also called dried sourdough, is used from 2% to 4% in combination with brewer's yeast for the preparation of bakery products such as bread, pizza, focaccia and leavened pastry products. It is a combined mixture of dried sourdough and different types of flour (kamut, wheat, rye).
Advantages: these two dried products, used in baked products, give a better flavor and aroma to the product, increase the strength and stability of the dough, as well as the color of the coast, the crunchiness and conservation. They do not require refreshments and special care and once the package is opened, the products can be stored sealed in a cool and dry place.
disadvantages: it is a product whose name on the shelves can be misleading, as it can suggest the result obtained with natural sourdough, but we are completely on another planet! Using it, however, one can notice greater lightness and digestibility, perfume and fragrance, compared to the use of brewer's yeast alone.
It is an acid salt, also called tartaric acid, which has natural leavening properties; it can be used alone or activated thanks to sodium bicarbonate and is essential for the preparation of leavened products intended for intolerant to yeast. It is generally found in sachets very similar to those of the chemical yeast for sweets in which often the cream of tartar it is already added with the right amount of bicarbonate; cream of tartar is also very useful for vegetarians who prefer it to chemical yeast, which contains E470a, a stabilizer of animal origin which, depending on the batch, can be a bovine or pork derivative.
Advantages: the flavors of the flours are not covered, it is good for those suffering from food allergies and intolerances.
disadvantages: it is not always easy to balance the dosage, depending on the recipes; the leavening is less spectacular and gives less satisfaction, the dough a little more difficult to roll out, but the result is good.