A mason jar, a pressure cooker, and a fresh bag of yeast walked into our kitchen. It seems the start of a bad joke and it is a commonplace occurrence in our world. We have caramelized some fantastic ingredients in mason jars in the pressure cooker: milk solids and candied ginger were highlights. We were looking at the flavors of yeast and wanted to exploit its funky notes combined with the aromatics of toasted bread, only without making the bread. We wanted to amplify the flavor of the yeast. It dawned on us that we could toast the yeast in the pressure cooker and then use it as a flavorful ingredient. So we did. We put the yeast in the jar, lightly sealed the lid, put 2 inches of water in the pressure cooker and cooked the yeast for 90 minutes at high pressure.
The result was evenly caramelized, foxy brown yeast. It has the wonderful aroma of freshly baked bread. The pressure toasted yeast has tremendous potential in our kitchen. Finely ground with salt--think yeast gomasio, infused into dairy for ice cream, and or blended with cream to season butter. We could fold it into a bread dough for an intense yeast flavor without the functional properties of yeast. Cookies too, ideally shortbread to get started. And of course we could put it in noodles. There will certainly be more ideas to explore. These will get us started.