Jäst - Fundamentalt och viktigt att få rätt

Yeast - Fundamental and important to get right.

Yeast is something most people use; at least those who tackle their own baking. In this article, we will go through basic yeast knowledge, including exactly what it does, which type of yeast you should choose, and the most common mistakes to avoid. Plus, you'll find out why Lilla Napoli does not sell yeast.

The indispensable role of yeast

Most people know that yeast is needed for baking, but what does it do? Simply put, yeast is a microorganism that makes the dough increase in volume. This is made possible by the yeast producing carbon dioxide (gas) when it breaks down sugar molecules, filling the dough's existing air pockets. And the more carbon dioxide, the bigger the dough.

However, it's not just carbon dioxide that's formed, but also other flavorful byproducts like alcohol. Generally, the taste differences between different types of yeast are very small when it comes to pizza, unlike beer for instance.

Why Lilla Napoli doesn't sell yeast

After a quick look at our webshop, one might think that we sell everything you need for a pizza. That's mostly true, but we don't actually sell yeast.

Unlike some other countries, including parts of Italy, in Sweden there is fresh yeast of good quality in all grocery stores.

It might seem reasonable that we would sell some good Italian dry yeast, but we simply feel that it isn't needed.

Fresh yeast or dry yeast?

Fresh yeast is much more common than dry yeast in Sweden. You can make really good pizza and many other bread things with both, but often it's said that fresh yeast can give a somewhat nicer and more complex taste. In Naples, they traditionally use fresh yeast, but there are those who use dry too.

One advantage of dry yeast is that it essentially has no expiration date. To activate the yeast cells, all you need to do is mix it with body temperature water. You need significantly less dry yeast than fresh yeast for a dough: about four times less.

Regular yeast or sourdough for the pizza?

Sourdough is something that has increased in popularity over the last decade; not least when it comes to pizza.

When you use a sourdough base in the pizza dough, it's the one that stands for the fermentation. This not only produces carbon dioxide and the other usual by-products but also lactic and acetic acid. It's the latter that accounts for the difference in taste and texture.

Sourdough pizza is more complex in taste with its unique sourdough aroma along with a certain acidity. In comparison, a regular dough is neutral in taste. You can liken the taste of sourdough pizza to ordinary sourdough bread, and it can be very good, even if it's not for everyone.

In terms of texture, sourdough pizza is often a bit crispier with a more "compact" feel. Also, all kinds of sourdough bread are chewier. Regular dough is undoubtedly softer and usually has more swoosh.

Using sourdough instead of regular yeast is definitely trickier, but we encourage anyone who dares to try it!

Getting the fermentation right - Common mistakes to avoid

It may seem obvious how to use yeast, but time and time again we see common mistakes that are easy to avoid. Here we have gathered the most common mistakes about yeast that can ruin any baking:

Too much yeast

If you use too much yeast, it can lead to a fast and aggressive fermentation. This results in over-fluffy dough with poor structure and an unpleasant yeast taste. This is the case for all types of dough, but perhaps especially pizza.

Instead, you should use yeast sparingly, and when it comes to Neapolitan pizza, relatively small amounts of yeast are used. This allows the dough to mature properly and achieve the right flavor. That's why it's also important to let the fermentation take its time.

Wrong water temperature

Incorrect water temperature can significantly affect the dough's fermentation process. Water that is too hot can kill the yeast and hinder its ability to produce carbon dioxide, leading to a flat and heavy dough.

Water that is too cold slows down the fermentation process. This results in a compact and chewy consistency with inferior taste.

Optimal water temperature is therefore crucial, and the right temperature is our body temperature - about 37 degrees. However, it can be misleading to just touch the water until it feels lukewarm, as it often leads to too cold water.

Instead, the water should often feel slightly warm, but definitely not super hot. If you want to be on the safe side, you can use a thermometer, and it's also a good way to learn what the water should actually feel like.

Incorrect storage or old yeast

Many probably know that yeast should be in the fridge, as it is damaged by exposure to heat and/or moisture. Then good fermentation can no longer be guaranteed.

Back to blog