A team of physicists from University of Naples has developed an interesting mechanism for cooking pizza mass without needing Yeast. You might think that you don’t have to be a physicist to know how to do it. Simply, the base of the pizza would be more compact. But who wants to eat one like that while being able to enjoy another much softer one? What these scientists have achieved goes much further, since the result is just as smooth and puffy, but without the need to fermentation exerted by yeast.
As described in the study just published in Fluid physicsthis procedure aims to cook pizzas suitable for people suffering from yeast allergy. However, it doesn’t hurt to do so in case another apocalypse attempt comes along and we find ourselves cooped up at home again and baking bread beyond our means.
In fact, although they were able to puff pizza dough with typical lab instruments, they think the process could be done with a lot more everyday equipment. Even with a single Coffee machine! There’s still a bit of a way to go, but they think it could show in pizzerias.
Why does pizza puff up with yeast?
Before introducing ourselves to the process of these Italian physicists, it is appropriate to recall how the Yeast.
This can be of two types, microbial or chemical. The first takes advantage of the fermentation process carried out by certain micro-organisms, in this case yeasts. These use the sugars from the starch breakdown to obtain energy, in a process called fermentation, which generates, among other compounds, carbon dioxide. It is a gas, so it helps the dough to rise and become frothy. In addition, other compounds are produced which are involved in the texture, aroma and flavor of the bread.
Baking powder, as its name suggests, takes advantage of a chemical reaction involving sodium bicarbonate and a little sour salt. In this case, carbon dioxide is also generated. However, in bakeries and pizzerias, the first option is usually used, since the result with fermentation is usually better for the preparation of this type of product.
The problem is that some people have yeast allergy, so they cannot consume alcoholic beverages or baked goods, such as bread, pastries or pizza dough. In these cases, it is necessary to look for alternatives and this is where the research that has just been published comes in.
In search of bubbles without resorting to fermentation
People allergic to yeast can take products containing yeast. baking powder. However, as we have already seen, for the preparation of bakery products, the result of the fermentation. For this reason, these scientists sought to reproduce the effects of fermentation, but without any microorganisms intervening.
To do this, they used a procedure similar to that used to carbonate soda. What is done in these cases is play with pressure and temperature. For this reason, they placed the dough made with flour, water and salt in a autoclave. It is a device commonly used in laboratories to perform functions such as sterilization.
This is so because such high pressures are generated there that they allow water vapor to exceed 100°C, reaching 121ºC. Being placed at such high temperatures kills even the most heat-resistant microorganisms. But in this case, they did not use the autoclave because of its role in sterilization. They used it precisely because it allowed them to easily play with pizza dough pressure and temperature.
By generating very high pressures, the gas present in the autoclave dissolves in the mass. However, during the food this pressure is released slowly, generating bubbles In the process.
When this process is used to produce soft drinks, nothing happens if this pressure is suddenly released. However, pizza dough is much more sensitive, so this is where these scientists found the main challenge to their procedure. However, they managed to overcome it based on trial and error. they cooked various doughs with and without yeast, varying different parameters, until they find the appropriate values of pressure and temperature that should be used at each instant to obtain the same result. They were able to find this exact point thanks to a study of rheologywhich measures the flow and deformation of a material.
They also performed several taste tests, although these were not part of the study. Yet, as one of the survey’s authors explained in a statement, Rossana Pasquinoit was very nice to leave the plastics they normally work with for a while and focus on much tastier materials.
Could this process be used beyond laboratories?
An autoclave is not a cheap device that everyone could have at home. And in a big pizzeria they might be able to afford it, but it wouldn’t be worth it. However, these scientists believe that the values of pressure and temperature obtained could even be achieved with a coffee maker.
Of course, with such a daily instrument, perhaps they couldn’t adjust it so precisely to relieve the pressure so that the fair and necessary bubbles. Therefore, it would be necessary to develop machines suitable for use in pizzerias. But we’re not there yet, so these establishments will still have to use yeast to bake their pizza dough. Now, if science can make it so that people who are allergic to this microorganism can taste such a delicious delicacy, it’s worth putting some energy into it.
I am Bhumi Shah, a highly skilled digital marketer with over 11 years of experience in digital marketing and content writing in the tech industry.