Does Alcohol Kill Yeast In Bread?

If a person is baking bread at home they may try to add different things to the mixture to help the bread rise quickly. People have heard that alcohol can have an impact on the flavor of the bread.

This brings up the question does alcohol kill yeast in the bread?  The alcohol will help the bread rise and it will not kill the yeast.

Alcohol and Yeast

There are some scientific reasons why alcohol will help the bread rise. Carbon dioxide is one of the gases that is used when baking loaves of bread and other products that need to rise. Alcohol contains a high amount of sugar and this is something that is needed by the yeast.

The yeast will eat the sugars and they will release carbon dioxide. If there is no sugar the yeast will not be able to feed. The dough will rise as carbon dioxide is increased. This will give the dough the volume and will allow it to as much as double in size.

When the bread is then put into the oven the carbon dioxide will move through the dough.

Alcohol and Bread Rising

Many bakers think that it is the carbon dioxide in the bread that will lead it to rise. Some of the bakers use alcohol to give the bread flavor. Several recipes use beer to flavor the bread and it does come out tasting nice without the hint of alcohol.

When the yeast is breaking down the sugars in the bread and turning them into carbon dioxide as well as ethanol they are being formed in equal parts. For every molecule of sugar in the bread, there are two molecules of carbon dioxide and two molecules of ethanol.

When the alcohol is a liquid in normal room temperature it will not affect the rising of the bread. While the bread is baking the alcohol will evaporate due to the heat. As it evaporates gas bubbles will be released. This will allow the bread to rise.

All Bread Contains Alcohol

All bread that is made using yeast has some level of alcohol in it when it is rising and even when it is baking. The alcohol will not kill the yeast or stop the bread from rising.

While the dough is rising some people can even smell the alcohol that is in the bread. Those that study the bread have found that it can contain up to 1.9 percent of residual alcohol even when it has finished baking.

If the bread is allowed to rise for too long not all of the alcohol will evaporate during the baking process. This can make the bread have an added taste to it so it is important to pay close attention to the amount of time the bread is allowed to rise.

Similarities Between Alcoholic Beverages and Bread

There is a similar process used to make alcohol such as beer as there is to bake a loaf of bread. Both processes begin with the yeast. The yeast that is used in breads and beers is from the Saccharomyces genus.

This is used to make beer and will automatically form in bread. The cells of the yeast can convert the sugars and oxygen to make carbon dioxide. When the oxygen runs out of this process it leads to the fermentation of alcohol.

If there is sugar added to the recipe of the bread or the alcohol recipe than there is a slightly different yet still scientific process that happens. The Saccharomyces yeast is surrounded by sugar and the amount of air does not have an impact on it.

There is where the ethanol is formed. This is called the Crabtree effect.

Making Alcohol

Alcohol is made by yeast. A piece of white bread can be fermented to make alcohol. There are yeast starter kits that can be used to help develop alcohol and begin the fermentation process.

Bread yeast can be used to make ale, wine, or even beer. This may have some people wondering which was made first, alcohol or bread? Bakers and brewers keep going back and forth on this issue.

It was discovered that over 6,000 years ago the first beer was made by the Sumerian people. They had their recipe to make beer and included in this recipe was bread. It was also said that the Egyptians would use their bread so they can make beer.

Science and Bread

Making bread is a lot more scientific than most people would think. The average baker does not think about the chemical reactions that go into bread. They may not know that alcohol is made naturally from the yeast that is used in the bread. It will not kill them yet or prevent the bread from rising. The natural alcohol will help the bread rise.

Even when already made alcohol such as beer is used in the baking process, it will not kill the yeast. This will also help the bread rise.

As the bread bakes the alcohol will evaporate and that is why people will not feel the effects of the alcohol when they go to eat the bread. They will not get drunk from eating the bread.

If flavored alcohol such as ale is used in the bread recipe the flavor will be left behind but the alcohol will have evaporated. The bread will rise like a normal loaf and will come out of the oven with that puffy look to it.

Alcohol does not kill the yeast in bread. The opposite is true. Alcohol will help the bread rise. As the bread bakes it will release the gas bubble which will help the bread continue to rise.

Alcohol is a necessary part of the chemistry behind the food for the bread to rise properly.