Saturday, September 24, 2011

The New Yeast

These two birds bake quick breads, rather than yeast breads.  Quick breads are baked goods leavened with an agent other than the micro-organism yeast.  

A quick aside on the word "quick" and my adoration for it.  Say this word a few times in a row and enjoy the "O" shaped form by your lips and the whispered click that settles in the back of your throat.  "Quick" is a good word in the mouth.  But, if you are close to my age, then the word "quick" brings back fond memories of listening to Two Beats Off by Fugazi, and cutting the nail to the quick.  Formally referred to as the hypnychium, the quick of the nail is sensitive and should be handled gently, or nibbled tenderly.  

Meg and I don't discriminate against yeast, and we don't apotheosize the quick breads, it just panned out this way.  Yeast leavened breads are romantic though.  Yeast, according to Wikipedia, ". . . are probably one of the earliest domesticated organisms." It's sweet to think of the capitulation of yeast to mankind, as if they relinquished their wild nature to our desire for the way they expand dough with a breath of carbon dioxide.  Yeast inflates breads with a pneuma that confirms their spirit; their alive nature.  

Yeast, however, are receiving a synthetic makeover as researchers recently replaced yeast chromosomes with artificial DNA.  Scientific American and New Scientist provide intriguing detail and potential consequences of this breakthrough.  

Do you think the future holds breads baked with artificial yeast, and if so will we feel and taste the difference on our tongues?  Will our souls know the pneuma is now artificial, or will our bellies win out and choose to consume and digest no matter the origin?  I don't know, but I'm looking forward to what's to come.   

~ Trilety

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