Sunday, March 18, 2012

Autolyzed Yeast Extract

The general method for making yeast extract for food products on a commercial scale is to add sodium chloride (salt) to a suspension of yeast, making the solution hypertonic, which leads to the cells shrivelling up; this triggers autolysis, in which the yeast self-destructs. The dying yeast cells are then heated to complete their breakdown, after which the husks (yeast with thick cell walls) are separated. Removing the cell walls concentrates the flavors and changes the texture.


Hypertonic:  Any solution with a higher salt concentration than normal body cells so that the water is drawn out of the cells by osmosis; any solution with a higher osmotic pressure than another solution.


Autolysis:  The breakdown of plant or animal tissue by the action of enzymes contained in the tissue affected; self-digestion.


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