Fermentation: it's the Culture

[Graduate student Harper Hall checking a yeast culture]

Story by Peg Herring | Photo by Lynn Ketchum | Oregon Agricultural Progress Fall 2011

As we celebrate Oregon's finest wine, beer, bread, and cheese we raise a toast to all the people who create this exceptional northwest cuisine.

But the unsung heroes of this great bounty are easily overlooked. Although they are swirling in and around us, we ignore the legions of yeasts, mold, and bacteria that have been harnessed to make some of our finest foods possible. If we think of microbes at all, we think of them in terms of dread and disease. Think again. Without microbes, and the orderly transmogrification that they create, we wouldn't have wine to raise in toast. (We wouldn't even have toast.)

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