Microbial Leavening

Microbial (also called “biological”) leavening is the grandaddy of all leavening techniques. It dates back to when the first human mistakenly left his bowl of gruel sitting out while he rushed off to join the village mastodon hunt. The result was what we now call a “starter”. And while the biology of microbial leavening can be a bit complex, mechanics are pretty simple: yeasts, as a by-product of their consumption of sugar, create bubbles of carbon dioxide in a dough. Those bubbles fill with steam in the oven, expanding the loaf and lightening its texture. Elementary, my dear Watson.

For more much more on microbial leavening have a look at the yeast section under Baking Ingredients > Leavening Agents, and especially the entries on starters. (Note: much more information that these links can be found using the left-side menus). 

8 thoughts on “Microbial Leavening”

  1. Hi Joe
    How are you…please I need some clarification with regards to yeast products…on grocery shelfs I notice yeast label as : Fermipan 2 in 1 soft with bread improver…Fermipan 2 in 1 super with bread improver , what are your views as to which one to use when it comes to making crossaints/danish etc. as compare to making bread.

    1. Hi June! The “soft” is going to be more for sweet yeast doughs. So if your Danish formulation has a lot of sugar go with that. Otherwise the Super will work just fine!

      – Joe

  2. What an informative and awesome site…. I stumbled onto it quite by accident….. but so excited to read and learn here, it is so interesting. I am 68 years old, and I love to bake and am learning so much that will help me to do an even better job! thanks so much for posting all of this info! Kitty

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