Author Topic: Organisms in sauce?  (Read 2437 times)

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Offline DNA Dan

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Organisms in sauce?
« on: October 27, 2006, 05:45:19 PM »
A local pizza joint near me has an awesome sauce. The thing has me going nuts on trying to come even CLOSE to recreating it. Here's the deal, this thing tastes like %$# raw. It has a very yeasty smell to it and the tomatoes are quite bitter.

So I managed to get some of their sauce raw and I kept it in the sealed little container in my fridge. Wouldn't you know the next day this thing was under pressure. I thought gee, something is producing gas in there. Do people put yeast or something to that effect in their sauce? It smells like beer or wine but I can't quite figure it out. Will just simple effervescence put this thing under pressure? or is something possibly growing in there? Your thoughts?


Offline November

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Re: Organisms in sauce?
« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2006, 05:58:33 PM »
There are people who add brewers yeast to tomato based vegetable soups, so it's not beyond the realm of possibility.  Some are adding it for the protein, others add it to ferment the tomato into a tomato wine for extra flavor.  Of course it's also possible that this place doesn't have a handle on its sanitation or food supply management.

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Organisms in sauce?
« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2006, 06:50:44 PM »
There are people who add brewers yeast to tomato based vegetable soups, so it's not beyond the realm of possibility.  Some are adding it for the protein, others add it to ferment the tomato into a tomato wine for extra flavor.  Of course it's also possible that this place doesn't have a handle on its sanitation or food supply management.

 :-D Why do the dirtiest places make the best food!! Dammit. Brewers yeast eh? Is that a foodservice item? or can I buy online?

That may be it because it has a fermented smell to it and the tomatoes are bitter like a wine with tons of tannin in it.

Offline November

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Re: Organisms in sauce?
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2006, 07:58:48 PM »
Some grocery stores carry it.  Most health food and vitamin supply shops carry it.  You can find many places online.  However, if you buy it from a retailer selling it as a nutrient supplement, make sure to find out if they are selling dead or live yeast.  In most cases it's probably already dead.  There is a slight chance this what the pizza joint is using, but wherever they get their brewers yeast from the yeast is not being exterminated 100%.  If you buy it from a brewery supply retailer, you're guaranteed it's live yeast.  You might want to pick up both for experimentation.

I'm not a brewers yeast aficionado, so I can't recommend a brand that might be better than another.  I've had brewers yeast before from different places and they all taste pretty much the same to me.  I noticed that White Labs seems to be very popular, but they have so many choices that you could spend a lot of time going through them all.

- red.november

EDIT: It just occurred to me that since you described the sauce as bitter and horrible tasting before baking, there is also the possibility that the pizza joint is using Vegemite in the sauce.  A lot of people think Vegemite is disgusting because of how bitter is, but it also has a yeast flavor to it because it's made from brewers yeast extract after the yeast is used to ferment beer.  Vegemite isn't likely to have any active yeast in it though.  A lot of salt is added that would kill the yeast.  I think brewers yeast is your white rabbit.
« Last Edit: October 27, 2006, 08:19:10 PM by November »

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Organisms in sauce?
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2006, 08:33:14 PM »

EDIT: It just occurred to me that since you described the sauce as bitter and horrible tasting before baking, there is also the possibility that the pizza joint is using Vegemite in the sauce.

FWIW, Vegemite is illegal in the U.S: http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,20623973-2,00.html. Hide your stash!  :)

Bill/SFNM

Offline tonymark

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Re: Organisms in sauce?
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2006, 08:46:17 PM »
The health food store variety of brewer's yeast is mostly known as nutritional yeast.  A quick glance at wikipedia states:

It(nutritional yeast) is a deactivated yeast, usually Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

Brewer's yeast from White Labs is not what you really want here.  Beer yeast (at least with ales) is Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is exactly what IDY is.  IDY is a different variety of Saccharomyces cerevisiae that ferments more quickly than your traditional ale yeast from White Labs or other commercial source.

Experiment by adding a pinch of IDY to your next sauce and let it sit in fridge for 3-4 days.  The same as you would for pizza dough.  You may be on to something here!

TM
Making Pizza is not cooking, it is Performance Art!

Offline November

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Re: Organisms in sauce?
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2006, 09:28:39 PM »
Bill/SFNM,

No, it isn't.  That was a false claim.  FDA bans folate in non-bread products which Kraft UK puts in their Vegemite.  You can see the specific ban for just Kraft's product at the second link:

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,20641599-1702,00.html
http://www.fda.gov/ora/oasis/1/ora_oasis_c_gb.html

tonymark,

White Labs sells both wine and beer yeast.  I was thinking more along the lines of the wine yeast.

http://www.whitelabs.com/wine/basic_information.html

Saccharomyces cerevisiae is just the species.  There are several different yeast within the species bred for different purposes (e.g. beer, wine, bread), of which some are top-fermenting, bottom fermenting, fruit loving, grain loving, etc.  Since tomato is a fruit, I would recommend a wine yeast, but since he probably has IDY already on hand, he can also try that.

Offline Bill/SFNM

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Re: Organisms in sauce?
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2006, 09:34:18 PM »
No, it isn't.  That was a false claim. .

Sorry, my bad.

Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Organisms in sauce?
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2006, 11:38:51 PM »
I tried IDY and the buggers are not digging on the tomato sauce! I reconstituted them in a little warm water then dumped it into my sauce. So far after ~24 hours there doesn't seem to be any noticable activity.

Wine yeast... Now there's a thought. Their sauce smells like a cross between beer and wine, but there isn't really an alcohol smell to it.  So I wonder if it's living to begin with, because with any live yeast the waste products would be ethanol, and I can't say I smell ethanol in the sauce.

There is a local fermentation store near me that sells that stuff. I can also ask my co-worker, he has about 50 liters of wine fermenting inside his house right now!

Offline November

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Re: Organisms in sauce?
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2006, 01:39:37 AM »
As I suspected, IDY is not bred to feed in an acidic/fruit environment.  Wine yeast is your best bet.

"Wouldn't you know the next day this thing was under pressure.", "So I wonder if it's living to begin with"

Unless you sealed the container while it was still hot, I don't see how this can be anything but live microorganisms.  You will rarely smell ethanol in the presence of so much acid.  Tomatoes contain citric acid, malic acid, acetic acid, lactic acid, isocitric acid, salicylic acid, ascorbic acid, cyclopiazonic acid, and formic acid.  Any number of those carboxyl acids could have an equilibrium reaction with ethanol and undergo esterification, which will have more of an aromatic solvent odor rather than an ethanol odor.  Of course, sometimes ethanol is just an intermediate to the production of more acetic acid from oxidation.  Sorry if that's overly technical, but it's not as simple as being able to smell alcohol.

Just try the wine yeast.  Even if it turns out it isn't exactly what the pizza joint uses, you might like it anyway.

- red.november


Offline DNA Dan

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Re: Organisms in sauce?
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2006, 03:32:20 PM »
No it makes perfect sense. I am a molecular biologist BTW, so your post was in a language I undestand! ;)