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  • FIRST POST
    paddy's mum
    Grow-your-own fresh yeast?
    • #1
    • 30th Jan 08, 9:23 PM
    Grow-your-own fresh yeast? 30th Jan 08 at 9:23 PM
    For some days, I've been mulling over whether or not it is possible to grow your own yeast. It occurred to me that if yeast is an organism that with the right growing conditions will multiply, it should be possible to do so. Has anybody else tried this?

    With a cracking good woodburner (so therefore a constantly warm kitchen or alternatively the airing cupboard) nugget of fresh yeast to start, warm water and food (ie sugar) I might be able to keep a culture going well enough to avoid having to buy dried yeast, which I think is relatively expensive since much of the product is packaging.

    I clearly remember an American friend once telling me that her g-g-grandmother had crossed the prairies as a pioneer and those women kept their 'starter' alive and prospering by stuffing the culture in a jar down their bodices! Certainly, bread has been a British staple for centuries, long before shops were invented, so how did our foremothers obtain yeast for baking?

    Well .. I'm going to try it and let you know (you would like to know, wouldn't you?!) how I get on.

    PS You guys would be brave/kind/foolish enough to tell me, if you think this is taking OS too far !
Page 1
  • squeaky
    • #2
    • 30th Jan 08, 9:27 PM
    • #2
    • 30th Jan 08, 9:27 PM
    This might be helpful then...

    http://waltonfeed.com/old/yeast.html
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  • Jolaaled
    • #3
    • 30th Jan 08, 9:31 PM
    • #3
    • 30th Jan 08, 9:31 PM
    For some days, I've been mulling over whether or not it is possible to grow your own yeast. It occurred to me that if yeast is an organism that with the right growing conditions will multiply, it should be possible to do so. Has anybody else tried this?

    With a cracking good woodburner (so therefore a constantly warm kitchen or alternatively the airing cupboard) nugget of fresh yeast to start, warm water and food (ie sugar) I might be able to keep a culture going well enough to avoid having to buy dried yeast, which I think is relatively expensive since much of the product is packaging.

    I clearly remember an American friend once telling me that her g-g-grandmother had crossed the prairies as a pioneer and those women kept their 'starter' alive and prospering by stuffing the culture in a jar down their bodices! Certainly, bread has been a British staple for centuries, long before shops were invented, so how did our foremothers obtain yeast for baking?

    Well .. I'm going to try it and let you know (you would like to know, wouldn't you?!) how I get on.

    PS You guys would be brave/kind/foolish enough to tell me, if you think this is taking OS too far !
    Originally posted by paddy's mum
    sounds an interesting project..good luck...i'll be watching out for news on how you go.
    Don't forget, that you can get free yeast at tesco bakery, by just asking for some fresh yeast, from the staff at the bakery section. They usually give me loads.
  • Angelina-M
    • #4
    • 30th Jan 08, 9:35 PM
    • #4
    • 30th Jan 08, 9:35 PM
    I used to keep a sourdough starter going for breadmaking. I had to feed it flour and stir in water to keep it growing. The idea was you took some out to use in your bread and then fed the rest of it so it kept growing in your jam jar.

    Nice idea but it stank so bad that I darent use it and eventually I killed it by stopping its supply of fresh flour..... sorry but it was for the best
  • paddy's mum
    • #5
    • 30th Jan 08, 9:59 PM
    • #5
    • 30th Jan 08, 9:59 PM
    Jehosophat - it's already going great guns!

    About two minutes before I typed up the op, I put 14 fl ozs warm water in an empty six pinter plastic milk bottle (my favourite, and free, containers) added a generous two large tablespoons of sugar, two scant tablespoons of Allisons dried yeast, stirred until smooth. Popped a piece of kitchen towel over the opening, secured with an elastic band. The kitchen is currently at 78 degrees.

    The thing is going like a time bomb! Some is froth but unless I've had too much vino with my supper or I need another specsavers appointment, the level of base fluid has already risen substantially.

    I realise that I can use a miniscule amount when hand baking and just leave to fully prove, even if that is some hours. Next test - how much to use in my new (thanks to all you Panasonic devotees) breadmaker. That might be a bit hit-and-miss. Watch this space for my references to unleavened dropscones, pitta bread or "burbling out the top" ultra light and aerated bread
    recipes!!!

    Wish there was a way to talk to my own g-g-g-g grandmother. Those women must have so much to teach us that has been forgotten over the years.
  • Gingernutmeg
    • #6
    • 30th Jan 08, 10:10 PM
    • #6
    • 30th Jan 08, 10:10 PM
    I don't think that you'll be able to grow yeast that'll be the same as the commercial stuff you buy in a block. In effect, what you'll be doing is starting a yeast based sourdough culture which you'll need to divide and feed, and watch to make sure that it doesn't go off (you'll know by the smell, it should smell pleasantly sour, not make you gasp vinegary ). However I have heard of cultures like these going on for YEARS - I think there's one bakery in Switzerland somewhere that's using a culture that's descended from an original one started over a hundred years ago ... I hope you like lots of bread

    I'm not sure either that this kind of culture will work *that* well in a breadmaker. I've had a go at a few and they're tricky to manage, they need careful handling in terms of temperature/amount of flour/amount of water etc and I've never had much luck using them 'mechanically'.

  • annaangeluk
    • #7
    • 30th Jan 08, 10:18 PM
    • #7
    • 30th Jan 08, 10:18 PM
    However I have heard of cultures like these going on for YEARS - I think there's one bakery in Switzerland somewhere that's using a culture that's descended from an original one started over a hundred years ago ... .
    Originally posted by Gingernutmeg
    God, can you imagine the b*llocking a member of staff would get for letting that die!! Bet there is no school leaver/apprentice allowed anywhere near it!!
    Joined SW 24/02/2011 71lb/28.5lb
    -6, -2.5, -2, -1, -2 -, -2 sow, +3 (holiday), -5.5 (*) +0.5, +1, -4, -0.5(*), -3(10%!!) +0.5, -3, -1, -1(2st)
  • paddy's mum
    • #8
    • 30th Jan 08, 10:23 PM
    • #8
    • 30th Jan 08, 10:23 PM
    Well, I'm going to give it a go. If nothing else, my tribe of pet dogs like anything even remotely 'human grub' in their food bowls, and will thank me for a change of flavour. While they're eating that, I'm not paying out for expensive all-in-one commercial dried food.

    I can see that it would be difficult to measure how much when using a breadmaker so thanks for that input, Gingernutmeg.

    If nothing else, my 'biology' experiment may help someone else who is as tightfi .. sorry, as frugally minded as I am!
  • Gingernutmeg
    • #9
    • 30th Jan 08, 10:25 PM
    • #9
    • 30th Jan 08, 10:25 PM
    God, can you imagine the b*llocking a member of staff would get for letting that die!! Bet there is no school leaver/apprentice allowed anywhere near it!!
    Originally posted by annaangeluk
    I can just imagine!

    Makes me laugh imagining the British Environmental Health Officer who would let that happen ... 'So when did you make this culture?' 'Oh, 1908ish' ...

  • annaangeluk
    I can just imagine!

    Makes me laugh imagining the British Environmental Health Officer who would let that happen ... 'So when did you make this culture?' 'Oh, 1908ish' ...
    Originally posted by Gingernutmeg
    You can imagine the spotty 16 year old on work experience that just tipped it in the bin!! Realising what it was, nipping to Tesco to replace it!!
    Joined SW 24/02/2011 71lb/28.5lb
    -6, -2.5, -2, -1, -2 -, -2 sow, +3 (holiday), -5.5 (*) +0.5, +1, -4, -0.5(*), -3(10%!!) +0.5, -3, -1, -1(2st)
  • Gingernutmeg
    Well, I'm going to give it a go. If nothing else, my tribe of pet dogs like anything even remotely 'human grub' in their food bowls, and will thank me for a change of flavour. While they're eating that, I'm not paying out for expensive all-in-one commercial dried food.

    I can see that it would be difficult to measure how much when using a breadmaker so thanks for that input, Gingernutmeg.

    If nothing else, my 'biology' experiment may help someone else who is as tightfi .. sorry, as frugally minded as I am!
    Originally posted by paddy's mum
    If you can get it going well then I'm sure it'll be lovely. Breads made with these cultures tend to have lovely chewy crusts and great flavour that you just don't get much nowadays. There are some great websites for this kind of thing, and loads of tips - I was told that if you use mineral water it makes a better culture, as the chlorine in tap water can kill the yeasts, and apparently a proportion of rye flour mixed in when you refresh it gives a good flavour and can perk up a culture that's looking a bit tired. Organic flours are supposed to work well too, again because of the chemical issues. I gave mine up because it all gets too time consuming (and you have to make bread with it really regularly) but all this has made me think about starting one up again Apparently where you are can make a difference too, that's why San Francisco sourdough is so famous, because it's particular to that area because of the weather conditions etc.

  • sticher
    Nice idea but it stank so bad that I darent use it and eventually I killed it by stopping its supply of fresh flour..... sorry but it was for the best

    That really made me laugh.

    I look forward to hearing how your bread turns out.
  • paddy's mum
    It pongs already! Don't know what went wrong but I don't like the look of it. Might stick to the fast action dried in future so that at least when the Police come knocking, I know it's not me that poisoned hubby!

    Thanks for all your comments. It was worth a try but think I'll have to admit defeat on this one.
  • Angelina-M
    It pongs already! Don't know what went wrong but I don't like the look of it. Might stick to the fast action dried in future so that at least when the Police come knocking, I know it's not me that poisoned hubby!

    Thanks for all your comments. It was worth a try but think I'll have to admit defeat on this one.
    Originally posted by paddy's mum
    No dont chuck it. It does stink... its supposed to!!

    You could always try it with one loaf. Make a nice sourdough bread and report back?
  • 123-artee
    If you feed sugar or starch to yeast all you get is ethanol and CO2, and when the level of ethanol is high enough the yeast is killed - this is what brewers of wine and beer do. To multiply your yeast what you need to do is supply it with food and keep out oxygen (which encourages the smelly sourdough type bacteria to grow) .. yeast is a fungus like plant that likes Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus plus a trace of Magnesium and Sulphur ... professional brewers and bakers supply their yeasts with tiny amounts of simple inorganic fertilizers - Ammonium Phosphate, Potassium Phosphate, Magnesium Sulphate plus a few trace vitamins - if you cannot source these you could substitute any mix of fertilizer compounds that are also permissible food additives such as Potassium Nitrate ... but the simplest is to buy a $1 packet of yeast nutrient from a home brew shop which will keep you going for years if you also add a small amount of sugar to the mix - this kills off some of the yeasts ... which the other yeasts then consume as food ... and the layer of CO2 above the mix keeps out the oxygen which the bacteria need.
  • Scrimgeour
    Some in this thread were asking how our ggg... grandmothers got yeast to make bread. I read a book a few months ago called Roughing it in the Bush or Forest Life in Canada by Susanna Moodie, written around 1825. The following is what she wrote about making “bran emptyings” to leaven bread:

    put a double handful of bran into a small pot, or kettle, but a jug will do, and a teaspoon of salt; but mind you don't kill it with salt, for if you do, it won't rise. I then add as much warm water, at blood heat, as will mix it into a stiff batter. I then put the jug into a pan of warm water, and set it on the hearth near the fire, and keep it at the same heat until it rises, which it generally will do, if you attend to it, in two or three hours' time. When the bran cracks at the top, and you see white bubbles rising through it, you may strain it into your flour, and lay your bread. It makes good bread.


    She mentioned “milk emptyings” can give a sour taste to the bread. She didn't describe how to make them though, other than by mixing milk and flour. I gather from these descriptions that the “emptyings” were colonised by wild yeasts. Not all wild yeasts will raise bread though, so I would follow the earlier recommendations for growing store bought yeasts.

    Some people were also asking how much fresh yeast to use in bread. I found a breadmaker recipe which uses fresh yeast (and gives an amount!) here: www(dot)Suite101(dot)com/content/easy-and-healthy-bread-maker-recipe-using-fresh-yeast-a274370. I just registered to post this reply, so I can't post a proper link yet.

    Good luck!
  • tryingtoruletheworld
    I like to make rye sour dough bread and the sour does keep forever! I guess that is one of the original ways of making your own yeast. You just have to keep renewing it by putting it all into your next fresh production sour, then remove some to keep on again before you make the final loaf. You can also keep it in the freezer, it loses a little potentcy but a quick refreshment usually does the trick.
  • bellabee
    What happened I am on the edge of my seat, considering growing yeast myself. x
  • neesha64
    If you feed sugar or starch to yeast all you get is ethanol and CO2, and when the level of ethanol is high enough the yeast is killed - this is what brewers of wine and beer do. To multiply your yeast what you need to do is supply it with food and keep out oxygen (which encourages the smelly sourdough type bacteria to grow) .. yeast is a fungus like plant that likes Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus plus a trace of Magnesium and Sulphur ... professional brewers and bakers supply their yeasts with tiny amounts of simple inorganic fertilizers - Ammonium Phosphate, Potassium Phosphate, Magnesium Sulphate plus a few trace vitamins - if you cannot source these you could substitute any mix of fertilizer compounds that are also permissible food additives such as Potassium Nitrate ... but the simplest is to buy a $1 packet of yeast nutrient from a home brew shop which will keep you going for years if you also add a small amount of sugar to the mix - this kills off some of the yeasts ... which the other yeasts then consume as food ... and the layer of CO2 above the mix keeps out the oxygen which the bacteria need.
    Originally posted by 123-artee
    Just thought I should add some corrections here from my knowledge of biology. Yeast can respire aerobically (with oxygen) or anaerobically (without oxygen). In the presence of oxgen, aerobic respiration will breakdown glucose into carbon dioxide and water. This is the more efficient process and will lead to yeast cell growth and reproduction if other conditions are also favourable. If you want to grow yeast, then provide it with oxygen. Anaerobic respiration produces ethanol and carbon dioxide and is only viable for the yeast for short time. Look up the Pasteur effect if you're interested.
    I keep a starter for bread-making in a small bowl in the fridge made from packet dried yeast, white flour and water. Just put half in each batch of bread and make up the starter volume with more flour and water. Lasts indefinitely if used two or three times a week. I add a little dried yeast to the batch too (about half the usual amount). Saves on yeast and improves the texture of the bread.
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