In 1868, Charles Fleischmann revolutionized the baking industry when he began to market compressed yeast produced by a mixture of boiled corn, rye and barley malt that was transformed into brewers’ yeast. During the 48-hour processing period, the heavy froth was skimmed off the top of the brew, placed in a silk bag and submerged in cold water. The residue was then cleaned. Enclosed in a cotton bag and compressed into a block using hydraulic pressure. Initially, public acceptance proved elusive as Charles Fleischmann distributed his yeast cakes from house to house.
In 1876, the Fleischmann Company participated in the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia where it was hoped to educate both the homemaker and commercial baker on the benefits of compressed yeast. Their efforts proved so successful that they eventually created a nationwide network of sales agencies, using horse-drawn carriages and would win commercial bakers approval by providing prompt, reliable delivery service. By 1879 they had over 1000 bakeries as clients. When refrigerated rail cars were invented in the 1880’s, Fleischmann’s Yeast could be shipped anywhere in the county, allowing delivery to rural bakers and grocers.
Fleischmann would continue to build his empire by expanding his controlled fermentation process into the distillery market producing America’s first distilled gin under the Fleischmann Distilling Company name and for the next sixty years the Fleischmann name would become synonymous with baking, brewing and entrepreneurial success.
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