Amazing things discovered by accident, microbiology.

Since earlier microrganisms, such as yeasts for fermenting cereals and fruits to make beer and wine, were mentioned, I thought it would make sense to mention Antonie van Leeuwenhoek.

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Many know him as the father of microbiology. However, did you know that this was discovered, by accident? Leeuwenhoek was a draper, that is he dealt in cloth goods, mainly for clothing and curtains and furniture covers. He was interested in making very fine designs and viewing the quality of cloth on a very small scale. So he developed lenses for magnifying cloth to see its quality. In the process he saw small organisms (which he called “animalcules, as they appeared like little animals to him). Over time his studies would reveal single celled organisms like the ones used to make beer, bread, and wine.

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Albeit the production of beer, bread, and wine was well known by the 1600s when Leeuwenhoek discovered this. Nonetheless he was able to add to this discovery.

Would you like to do some cell culturing of your own?

Learn to make your own beer! (Try your own recipes)

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

I may even post a few recipes in the future.

Pepper, why do we call them that anyways?

So you might ask yourself, why do we call this vegetable (actually it is a “fruit” depending on the definition you use, mentioned before) a “pepper” when we also sprinkle this spice called “pepper” unto our food as well? You don’t chop up the “fruit” of a “pepper” (a bell pepper) into little sprinklets and put it on food to give it a spicy taste do you? Well, sort of, not really.

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The word “pepper” comes from an Old English mispronunciation of the latin word “piper.” That is actually what the name of the biological family from which many plants called “pepper” come from (Piperaceae). Other related “peppers” often come from the Capsicum sub family of Solanaceae (deriving their name from a concentration of capsicnoid chemicals mentioned before with reference to the Scoville scale). Though not belonging to the Capscium sub family (not even all that closely related actually), plants of the Piperaceae may also have a concentrated quantity of capsaicin and grows into small immature corns. Those picked corns are boiled and dried and ground into what you might think of as pepper such as Black pepper (Piper nigrum).

Interested in growing your own peppers?

Check out this book Growing your own vegetables

As always if you just like what you learned appeciation

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So what is this “Yeast” thing anyway?

So what is this “yeast” thing anyway? Yes that stuff that is used to make bread and beer. It is actually a living cell, a single celled organism actually. Yeasts are actually a type of very small fungus. The type used in bread and beer and wine has a genus and species name, namely saccharomyces cerevisiae. The breakdown of sugars into carbon dioxide and ethanol (for our bread and beer) is part of its natural metabolism. Of course, we have learned to grow it in other media, which allows us to purify it and put in into packets that you can pick up to bake bread of make beer.

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Now just to worn you, other fungi can cause problems. Saccharomyces cerevisiae probably won’t infect you like other fungus/mold could.

Having problems with yeast? Cures for a yeast infection

If you like what you have learned, I could also use a small bit of thanks.

A Dozen, is it really twelve?

While discussing the baking of bread, I thought of a dozen rolls (a common serving for rolls). So you may have heard that a dozen is the number 12. The etymology (history of the word) indicates that (the English word “dozen” coming from the french “douzaine,” meaning group of twelve). However, ultimately a dozen can refer to any standardized grouping of things by a certain numbers. Balloonists are rumored to carry 18 balloons (for those who have seen King of the Hill), so 18 is a “Balloonist’s dozen.”

You may have also heard of a baker’s dozen, or 12 + 1 = 13. There are many different hypotheses behind this. Wikipedia has an article that suggests baker’s would need to weigh their rolls and in the event one was a tad light for customers they would add an extra roll (a type of insurance).

Bakers-Dozen

As yeast was used to leaven bread as mentioned in a previous post, prior to the ability to grow yeast independently through cell culturing, yeast was obtained from skimming the head of beer (as mentioned) or from taking a small uncooked portion of bread from a previous dough. Some hypotheses exist that the extra bit of dough to be used in making the next bread roll was added to the dozen rolls made from dough (this is still done in making sourdough bread). So perhaps this was the origin of a baker’s dozen.

Interested in learning about baking a dozen? How about a cake making course that I am sure you would enjoy! Cake making.

If you like the bit that you learned I could also use a small bit of thanks.

Yeast, the same kind used in bread?

So from a previous post I mentioned microorganisms like yeast used to break down sugars to create ethanol, the alcohol found in beverages like beer. Now you might be thinking to yourself, yeast, the stuff used in bread?

Yes that is right, yeast which is used to leaven certain types of bread can also be used to make beer and wine. Bread has a long history (look up some good stuff on wikipedia) which relates to the making and production of beer. I have even heard beer called “liquid bread.” To some degree this makes sense as many of the same ingredients are involved. Foam was sometimes skimmed off the top of beer for use in making bread or small rolls of kneaded uncooked bread were used in beer and wine production (or to make more bread).

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Interested in learning how to make your own bread at home? Go here and check it out! Bread can be lots of fun to make and there are some great types.

If you like the bit that you learned I could also use a small bit of thanks.