Not everyone knows that lactic-acid bacteria are an excellent raising agent for bakery products and many places have started using them instead of yeast. Using cultures for bakery products has a dual action: they can be used to replace baker’s yeast entirely while providing bakery products with a characteristic “old-fashioned bread” flavour.
It has been claimed that the first kind of raising agent in ancient times was mother yeast. Apparently, the Egyptians used to produce it and use it to make foodstuffs such as bread.
All you need to make it is water and flour: the natural microbial population mainly made up of cultures and yeast in the flour, water and air gives rise to an extraordinary ingredient which contributes to the creation of highly digestible and tasty bakery products.
However, the composition of mother yeast is difficult to standardise, includes yeast and needs to be refreshed all the time. This makes it difficult to manage both for household and industrial purposes.
The use of lactic-acid bacteria as a raising agent offers a series of advantages. First of all, unlike yeast, it has no allergens and therefore will not cause food intolerance regardless of the amount consumed. An acid fermentation process is developed that is different to the one triggered by brewer’s yeast which is alcoholic. This leads to the production of gas (CO2) and the ionisation of some mineral salts, thus improving bioavailability and, consequently, the absorption of essential micronutrients like magnesium, iron, zinc and calcium by our body.
What is more, some strains of lactic-acid bacteria are able to generate antimicrobial substances resistant to high temperatures which improve product salubrity and increaseshelf life.
Last but not least, as lactic-acid bacteria exert an enzymatic and fermentation action on the dough, consumers can rely on a product which is healthier and easier to digest, while also being suited to people of all ages.
It will therefore be apparent by now that we can either reduce or completely do away with brewer’s yeast as a raising agent by using lactic-acid bacteria instead. If we entirely replace it with lactic-acid bacteria, our product will have the added advantage of being safe for those who are intolerant to yeast or anyone suffering from gout, and in this case we can also use the advertising claim “no added yeast”.
Bear in mind that lactic-acid bacteria enhances the product in terms of sensory appeal. It gives the unmistakable flavour and scent of “old-fashioned bread”, as well as improving the colour of the outer crust and inner crumb. All these properties will positively impact the product, and adjustments can be easily made by simply selecting different strains of bacteria.
Sacco System has chosen the best lactic-acid bacteria from mother yeast for us, creating a special product called Father Culture which lends itself perfectly to breadmaking and can entirely replace brewer’s yeast. These cultures are an excellent option for bakery products such as pizza, bread and cakes, but they can also be used for the fermentation of gluten-free products.
Powdered Father Culture is incredibly easy to use. You can simply add it during of the bread-making phase, just like instant yeast. Then, you leave the dough to ferment for a few hours. It is the ultimate solution for anyone who is intolerant to yeast as well, and will bring the best out of many household ingredients.
What is more, not only can you bake using the straight-dough method, but the product will also turn stale less quickly. The organic acids it contains improve its preservability by preventing the development of moulds and extending itsshelf life.
To sum up, it can be safely said that Father Culture is a game-changer in the bakery sector because it brings us innovative baked goods with all the flavour of yesteryear!
Ms Cecilia Dieci
Biologist and nutritionist
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