UNIFERM: the know-how of fermentation
Fermentation, also known as proving, plays a key role in the baking process because it adds the necessary life to the dough. This process is a very sensitive one: fermentation requires not only a lot of experience and knowledge of dough processing and ripening, it also relies heavily on safe ingredients.
As the leading fermentation specialist, we provide the entire range from manufacturing fresh baking yeast and refined fermentation products to high-quality baking agents and advice on best ingredient selection. We are pleased to help you in achieving best fermentation results in your production process.
That’s what the bakeries – our customers – rely on day by day.
Learn more about the exciting world of fermentation.
Fermentation: a success story
It presumably all started around 8,000 years ago, when fermentation was discovered for the brewing of beer. Around 6,000 years ago, the Chinese discovered how to make yoghurt using fermentation, and for approx. 3,000 years fermentation has been used to aerate baked goods.
Since then, nearly every nation has found its own ways to preserve food and add taste to it by means of fermentation: whether Kimchi in Korea or German sauerkraut, miso in Japan or chutneys in India, American cocoa or Arabic wine: they all rely on principles of fermentation.
This process helps to create numerous tasty and digestible kinds of food that have enriched our menu for many years.
One third of our food is fermented
The production and processing of food is one of the first technological processes deliberately undertaken by humankind. The more advanced the level of civilisation and development, the more intensive and sophisticated the processing.
The instant consumption of food is opposed by the fact that most food is generated in excess amounts in certain periods.
The best-known fermented types of food include bread and other baked goods as well as fermented milk and meat products, pickled vegetables and alcoholic drinks. Around one third of our food consumed today is fermented while most consumers are not aware of it.
Yeast: the moter of fermentation
What is yeast?
Baking yeast [Lat.= saccharomyces cerevisiae] is a living micro-organism that contains valuable substances: vitamins of the B group, high-quality amino acids, mineral nutrients and traces. Baking yeast, being one of the most important raw materials in the baking industry, enables the natural, organic aeration of bread, bread rolls and pastries. Although it is used in comparatively small amounts, it meets an extensive profile of requirements and decisively influences the baking result.
Baking yeast is a high-performance product
As early as the middle of the 19th century, Louis Pasteur discovered that it is yeast that aerates the dough and provides its texture. Since then, specific fresh baking yeasts have been cultivated. Decades of research, development and optimisation have created a high-performance product for the baking process: an essential raw material that meets the professional requirements of the baking industry.
Baking yeasts need reliable specific properties for leavening power, leavening endurance and flavour which are achieved during the manufacturing process. A good baking yeast guarantees continuous quality until it reaches its use-by date – provided optimal storage is given. Likewise, the quality must be the same in every supply to avoid changes in recipes.
Baking yeast production at UNIFERM
As a living organism, UNIFERM baking yeast is grown in large fermenters applying a biotechnological procedure. The aerobic fermentation is the heart of our baking yeast production.
It all starts with a small amount of yeast – the inoculum. This pure culture of yeast stem cells has to be provided with all the nutrients needed for growing in an optimal way. This supply of nutrients is one of the decisive factors when it comes to the properties of the ready-to-use baking yeast.
Molasses are the main raw material – and natural growth medium – used for fermenting of baking yeast; they are a by-product of sugar production and are the brown, viscose syrup left over after the final crystallisation process. 50% of the molasses are still sugar plus the concentrated vegetable ingredients of sugar beets. On the one hand, this composition ensures that molasses provide energy that the yeast cells require in the form of carbohydrates; on the other hand, it also provides elementary nutrients such as potassium, calcium, magnesium and important traces and vitamins. There is no other growth medium that provides this nutrient combination to achieve a perfect level of yeast cell activity.
The quality of the baking yeast depends on the selection of raw materials, but equally on the conditions of the fermentation process. Large amounts of air are supplied to the fermenter at different stages of the process. The oxygen contained in air is dissolved by the yeast wort, the content of one fermenter, and thus made available to the yeast cells. By doing so, the metabolism can proceed in aerobic conditions and the yeast cells produce significantly more energy from the available nutrients. This additional energy is used by the cells for growth and reproduction – the so-called germination.
Yeast production preserves resources
UNIFERM baking yeasts are produced in our Monheim plant. This production site is located right next to the river Rhine and one of the most modern of its kind in Europe. The central element of baking yeast production is the closed raw-material cycle that helps to preserve resources and protect the environment. The computer-aided process control enables highly precise nutrient dosing to meet the demand of the yeast cells – thus molasses as the raw material can optimally be used as early as the fermentation stage.
In addition, the emerging by-products of fermentation, i.e. vinasse and vinasse salt, are reasonably used and returned to the natural cycle of raw materials: the wort separated in the separator tanks, known as de-yeasted wort, contains large amounts of valuable organic material. Vaporising turns the de-yeasted wort into raw vinasse which is further processed as animal feed and fertiliser.
Amounts of residue water are cleaned in UNIFERM’s own water treatment plant located on the site. The biogas that is generated during this process is transported to the plant’s own combined heat-power plant and thus supplies a considerable part of the electric power generated at the site.
A yeast for every application
UNIFERM baking yeasts are produced in different shapes and sizes. The smallest amount is the yeast cube of 42g, also known as household yeast. Like the block yeast sizes which are available as bars and pounds, and the yeast granulates, the process is the same: the washed yeast milk is removed from the fermenters; then, water is extracted from the yeast by means of vacuum rotation filters; after that, the yeast is pressed into the different shapes by means of extruders.
Here, UNIFERM yeast granulates are produced with a high content of dry substance to preserve its granules and allow a free flow at any time. The defined grain size is optimised for perfect dissolution response.
To industrial customers, baking yeast is also supplied as liquid yeast. For this, different types of yeast are available which are shipped either in road tankers or containers. Liquid yeast processing plants on the sites allow for fully automated processing.
All UNIFERM baking yeasts consist 100 per cent of yeast cells. Container yeasts are offered in a stabilised variation where a minimum addition of xanthan prevents a settling of the yeast cells.
Fermentation adds flavour
However, fermentation does not just add life and volume to the dough: during the important stage of dough proofing the unique aroma components are formed. Only those components produce the characteristic structure and typical taste of the baked goods.
For the new fresh products, natural ingredients are gently fermented. The ingredients are given plenty of time for their specific ripening. Thus, a specific range of aromas is given time to develop which help to create a genuine profile flavour in the finished baked goods.
Taking into account defined parameters such as
baking ingredients are created that have a particular profile of freshness and flavour.
FermFresh® made by UNIFERM enrich bread and baked goods with the art of good crafts
Our UNIFERM yeast promise
We at UNIFERM look back at the longest tradition which we combine with state-of-the-art production methods when producing fresh baking yeast. This method is the key to the safety and reliability of your baking process.
Thus, we promise our customers three things regarding our baking yeasts:
Standardised high leavening power for consistent baked goods quality all year round.
State-of-the-art production methods to ensure best endurance of leavening power.
Selected yeast cell stem that provides a high and balanced flavour profile in the baked goods.