Fermentation: From the Latin word fermentare, meaning ‘to leaven.’ Fermentation is the process in which a substance breaks down into a simpler substance. Microorganisms like yeast and bacteria usually play a role in the fermentation process, creating beer, wine, bread, kimchi, yogurt and other foods. Examples of fermentation include:
- To make bread rise, you use a leavening agent to ‘wake up’ dry yeast by mixing it with water. The yeast then starts ‘eating’ the sugar in the dough and off-gassing alcohol; that’s fermentation.
- Grape juice becomes wine as the fermentation process is complete.
- Cacao beans need to be fermented in order to develop the chocolate flavour.
- Mead is an alcoholic beverage created by fermenting honey with water.
- Sauerkraut is finely cut cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria. It has a long shelf life and a distinctive sour flavour, both of which result from the lactic acid that forms when the bacteria ferment the sugars in the cabbage.