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Yeast is an eukaryotic microorganism classified in the kingdom Fungi, with 1,500 species currently described. Yeasts are unicellular, although some species with yeast forms may become multicellular through the formation of strings of connected budding cells known as pseudohyphae, or false hyphae, as seen in most molds.

In the food context, yeast is a type of fungus that is commonly used as a leavening agent in baking. Yeast helps bread dough rise by converting the sugars in the dough into carbon dioxide gas and alcohol, which causes the dough to expand and become fluffy.

Some examples of foods that are commonly made with yeast include:

  • Bread: Yeast is a key ingredient in many types of bread, from sandwich bread to sourdough.
  • Pizza dough: Yeast is often used to make pizza dough rise and become fluffy.
  • Rolls: Yeast is often used to make dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, and other types of rolls.
  • Beer: Yeast is used in the fermentation process to create alcohol and carbon dioxide in beer.
  • Wine: Yeast is also used in the fermentation process to create alcohol in wine.

Similar ingredients to yeast include:

  • Baking powder: A leavening agent that is a mixture of baking soda, cream of tartar, and sometimes cornstarch.
  • Baking soda: A leavening agent that is often used in combination with an acidic ingredient, such as buttermilk or lemon juice, to create carbon dioxide gas and make baked goods rise.
  • Sourdough starter: A mixture of flour and water that has been fermented with wild yeast and bacteria, and is used to leaven sourdough bread.


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