The Significance Of Fermentation Essay

1686 words - 7 pages

Most people know of foods like bread and cheese, but many, however, do not know how they are created. The processes they are created through, as well as many other products, are done through the method known as fermentation. Fermentation creates many of the foods and beverages that we all come to regularly eat and drink. Such examples include dairy and yogurt which is created through lactic acid fermentation. Alcoholic drinks are done through a process called ethanol fermentation. The use of fermentation was an important tool for ancient societies in the past that gave way to the development of staple crops that governed their lives such as wheat and grapes. It gave rise to new techniques in ...view middle of the document...

There were many scientists who successfully uncovered the unknown attributes of fermentation. Louis Pasteur was one such scientist who was the first to show that fermented drinks are the product of live yeast turning glucose into ethanol. His discovery led to the conclusion that fermentation in general was caused by living yeast. William Shurtleff states, “he demonstrated that bacteria cause souring in milk, a process formerly thought to be merely a chemical change.” (“A Brief History of Fermentation, East and West”). This was a significant discovery because this then led to the world having a new look on this unique process and then gave way to the new fields in science, for example, biochemistry which combined the attributes of chemistry and biology into one field (Shurtleff and Aoyagi). This also meant that fermentation, which was thought to be a purely chemical process, was actually a bio-process, meaning that it was a process run by living organisms. Early accounts of fermentation were mainly used to make desirable food products with the use of fermentation and brought about many types of food created through the method today.
There are many types of food that are produced through fermentation. A much known food for example, bread, has been around since the first farming societies popped up in history. Bread cannot be made with just the dough itself; it requires the aid of many parts, most importantly, yeast, which is the staple ingredient to the fermentation process in bread and fermentation in general. The earliest form of bread was leavened bread that was made with the use of yeasts. Leavened bread is a bread type that is created through leavening, or the insertion of gas before baking that makes the bread lighter. Soon after bread and other early fermented foods began to develop in the west, areas in the east like Japan and China began to produce fermented foods such as wines made with rice and fermented soy foods like soybeans and soy sauce (Shurtleff and Aoyagi). In South Korea, the national food of the country is kimchi, a fermented dish of various vegetables and different types of seasonings that has flavors that range from being sour to spicy (Helmenstine). Other recognizable foods made with fermentation are several dairy products that are not pure raw milk, for example, cheese and yogurt. The process used to make them is called lactic acid fermentation which the Shmoop Editorial Team explains as when “the pyruvate molecules are reduced to lactate” (Fermentation and Anaerobic Respiration). Fermented foods are quite popular as shown through the centuries with the new range of flavors that people began to experience that were only found in fermented foods. Without the use of fermentation, many of these types of foods would not have been possible to make, as well as the creation of drinks that eventually led to the creation of alcoholic beverages.
Alcoholic beverages like beer and wine could not be made without the aid of...

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