July 23, 2019

Making Bread from 5,000-Year-Old Yeast

“A sour, unfamiliar, and not particularly pleasant smell began to waft through the house, not what you would expect from bread that was fresh out of the oven. But this wasn’t ordinary bread, it had risen thanks to some exceptional yeast that had been through a long and arduous journey before arriving in my home. We sliced it, ate it, and survived to describe the taste of bread made from 5,000-year-old yeast.

Yeasts are single-celled fungi that are found more or less everywhere. The baking yeast that can be purchased in supermarkets is a version that has been improved throughout history, but along the way there have been many other types of yeasts, some of which returned to life in an unusual study that was published last month.

In the study, researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, Bar-Ilan University and the Israel Antiquities Authority, managed to make beer from yeast cells that had survived in clay vessels that had stored beer thousands of years ago. To prove that these weren’t just wild yeasts that can be found anywhere, the researchers sampled dozens of other vessels that weren’t used to store beer, along with the ground and rock at the archeological sites. Only in one clay lamp was any yeast found, and this was unusable for beer making. Moreover, yeasts similar to the ones found are used in traditional African breweries.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Picks

"The rebuff from Berlin may have been rough, but at least it marked a new age of clarity. Not only did the German government decline a recent American request to send ground troops to Syria to fight the remnants of ISIS, but it didn’t even..."

"The president has nothing to fear from the testimony from Robert Mueller because nothing Mueller could possibly say will change the result of the report he delivered. He conclusively found that there was no collusion with the Russians by the..."

"A huge happiness and positive thinking industry, estimated to be worth US$11 billion a year, has helped to create the fantasy that happiness is a realistic goal. Chasing the happiness dream is a very American concept, exported to the rest of the..."

"A predictable sequence of events nearly always ensues after I mention to someone that I’m adopted. First, people blink, then quickly apologize for whatever assumption forced the clarification—that it must be my dad who’s tall, or that it must be..."

"Have you heard the news? Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has a plan. No, not that plan, nor that one, but another plan: this one. She says the U.S. is on the verge of a terrible recession, one which she has a plan to beat. So far so..."

"The president has nothing to fear from the testimony from Robert Mueller because nothing Mueller could possibly say will change the result of the report he delivered. He conclusively found that there was no collusion with the Russians by the..."

"I had not expected that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would comment to US President Donald Trump on his inserting Israel’s name into his tweets, this time, to disparage Democratic congresswomen whom he accused July 14 of attacking..."

"Web browsers have become the equivalent of safe deposit boxes, digital spaces where we stuff our personal information and expect it to be kept safe. While the websites that harbor sensitive data generally swear that this information is private..."