This section is from the book "A Treatise On Flour, Yeast, Fermentation And Baking Together With RecipesFor Bread And Cakes", by Julius Emil Wihlfahrt. Also available from Amazon: A treatise on flour, yeast, fermentation and baking, together with recipes for bread and cakes.
The first and most important factor, to create a good and healthy fermentation, is, of course, good yeast.
But the question now arises, which is the best and most reliable, as well as most universally adopted yeast?
The intelligent baker knows that compressed yeast is the most uniform article in this line, and also that Fleischmann's Compressed Yeast is always found reliable. There are other brands on the market; but, generally speaking, the surest is the best and the cheapest in the end.
Most experiments of a scientific nature, where compressed yeasts were employed have been made with Fleisch-mann's Compressed Yeast, and, therefore, I wish to remind the reader that I base my statements on the use of this well-known product.
Some bakers buy low priced yeast in wrong economy; others make stock yeast or buy the same; again, others make potato ferments, using either stock or compressed yeast for stocking.
Certainly a nice bloom and flavor can be given to bread by the use of any of these yeasts, but the consideration of which is the best, most economical and most nutritive bread will teach that a good brand of compressed yeast has everything in its favor. The strength and quality of the yeast depends upon the care with which it is made. The yeast itself is divided into two distinct classes, namely, cultivated and wild yeast.
Cultivated yeast is represented in the form of a good compressed yeast, while stock yeast contains wild yeasts.
Yeast represents millions upon millions of small microscopic plants, of which the air itself is full. Therefore, if the yeast does not possess an overwhelming percentage of the right kind of these microscopic plants, the wrong fermentation will set in too soon. This causes a loss in yield, a different flavor and destroys the nutritive value of the bread to a certain extent. This occurs exactly in proportion with the quality of the yeast used.
The concern that makes compressed yeast a specialty, wherein its production is of the first consideration, aims always to manufacture goods of a superior class. Having, as the originators and leaders in its business, a reputation to maintain, the best wages are paid in order to obtain the most skilled and experienced help. The best grain that the market affords is used in the manufacture of its yeast. Every batch is thoroughly tested. It must come up to a certain fixed standard of excellence or it is not sent out to the trade. The output of the compressed yeast factory of that class may be depended upon in all seasons of the year as being the best which money and science can produce.
Unreliability is the ever-present evil besetting cheap yeast; lack of uniformity is its chief characteristic. When yeast is a by-product and the manufacturer figures from a diversified standpoint, greatly inferior grain can be used, and is used. Low-priced and inexperienced help is employed, thus greatly lowering the cost price at which yeast can be turned out. When the grade of grain is fair and other conditions exceptionally favorable, yeast of that sort answers the baker's purpose for the time being and ostensibly saves him money, but this favorable state of affairs is inevitably short-lived. In a factory where the product of compressed yeast is a secondary consideration, grain is purchased in small quantities, and consequently often of an inferior quality. Yeast manufactured as a by-product is invariably and always the cause of trouble sooner or later for the baker who uses it. He will lose more money in a few days through the failure of cheap yeast than he could save in a year by the difference in price which he pays for cheap yeast and that which first-class yeast commands. That is but a simple statement of an incontrovertible fact.
The wise baker knows that it is not an easy matter to regain trade lost through the medium of inferior bread. Poor bread is the natural offspring of cheap yeast. The unwise discovers too late, to his sorrow, that it is false economy to use any other than the very best compressed yeast. In no other commodity does the old adage that the "best is always the cheapest" so fittingly apply as it does to first-class yeast in the baker's craft.
Considering the amount of work that a baker has to do today to bring his business to a paying basis, and then the amount of extra work he would have in making his own malt or stock yeast, it is plainly shown that good compressed yeast, ever ready for use, has everything in its favor.
The difference in yield between a good compressed yeast and lower grades of compressed yeasts is from 2% to 7%, and if stock yeast is used alone the loss of ingredients during fermentation will be as high as 15%. Considering that the loss in fermentation consists of the most nourishing properties of the flour, it is very easy to form an opinion as to which is the best and most inexpensive yeast to use for the manufacture of bread.