Reader Cassie wants to know why, if sugar kills yeast, how the yeast manages to survive in the chocolate crotin recipe I’m doing this week. That’s an excellent question and the answer is that it doesn’t. Notice in the recipe below that crotins have two stages, a sponge stage and a mixing/baking stage. The sponge is cultured with just yeast, flour, water and a small amount of sugar. Once it’s inflated, full of little yeast-created pockets of CO2, it’s quickly mixed with the sugary dry ingredient mixture and eggs. At that point it’s immediately panned and baked, so if the yeast start to die off in the mixing step it’s no big deal. They’ve done their job, which means from here on out they’re, well…you know.
Sadly that’s our relationship with yeast in a nutshell. We go to great pains to take care of them, at least until it’s time for dinner. Our repayment for all their hard labor: deadly heat, then down the hatch! Life is tough, brutish and short for the unicellular.