What every new baker should know about the yeast all around us

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What every new baker should know about the yeast all around us - The Conversation

A little cell with a lot of power


Yeasts are single-celled organisms in the fungus family. There are more than 1,500 species of them on Earth. While each individual yeast is only one cell, they are surprisingly complex and contain a nucleus, DNA and many other cellular parts found in more complicated organisms.

Yeasts break down complex molecules into simpler molecules to produce the energy they live on. They can be found on most plants, floating around in the air and in soils across the globe. There are 250 or so of these yeast species that can convert sugar into carbon dioxide and alcohol – valuable skills that humans have used for millennia. Twenty-four of these make foods that actually taste good.

Among these 24 species is one called Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which means “sugar-eating fungus.” This is bread yeast, the yeast we humans know and love most dearly for the food and drinks it helps us make.
 
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