“If flour is the body of the pizza, yeast is the soul,” says Paul Bright, innovation manager at St. Louis-based AB Mauri North America. Who knew humble yeast could be
described so poetically? But there are several reasons for its crucial place in dough making—and several different types available, from instant dry yeast (IDY) and active dry yeast (ADY) to
lovingly tended mother and starter types. Here, experts answer
your most pressing questions on the nature of the yeast.
Q: WHAT EXACTLY DOES YEAST DO?
A: You can’t see all the critical things yeast does to help make a
great-tasting pizza, but, according to Bright, its workings are paramount: It feeds on the sugars naturally present in flour and, as
a by-product of this feeding (fermentation), produces carbon gas,
alcohols and organic acids. “The invisible gas produced by the yeast
acts to raise or leaven the dough, which leads to the production of
a tender pizza crust,” Bright explains. “The alcohols and organic
acids produced by the yeast, also invisible to the eye, contribute
to the overall desired flavor profile and processing characteristics.”
Experts detail the ins and outs of yeast: how it works, what
type to choose, plus one innovation that may transform
dough management as we know it. By Tracy Morin