How to Make Yeast from Scratch

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How to Make Yeast from Scratch

Yeast is what makes bread and other baked goods fluffy and light and so delicious! And I was completely caught off guard when I learned that yeast is actually a fungus that thrives on sugar. Then, when it is mixed with the right baking ingredients, the yeast will create carbon dioxide that makes the dough expand and rise. It also adds flavor.

You can purchase Baker's Yeast at the grocery store in small packets or jars. But what happens when you don't have yeast or you can't find it at the store? Surprisingly, you can cultivate it yourself!

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Can You Make Your Own Yeast?

YEAST BUBBLINGG

You can easily cultivate your own yeast with just two ingredients – flour and water. The fungus that creates yeast is everywhere – on your skin, in the air, and in flour. With just a little time and the right ‘feeding' schedule, you can cultivate your own yeast that we know as sourdough starter.

What is Sourdough?

SOURDOUGH BREAD

Although baker's yeast looks like dry pellets, a sourdough starter looks more like a batter. And as you cultivate and feed your yeast, it will bubble and expand. This is sometimes called a SCOBY – a symbiotic colony of yeast and bacteria. Technically, it's alive! The culture will inhibit bacteria and grow natural yeast that you can bake with.

How to Make Your Own Yeast Starter

There are a variety of ways to make your own yeast starter, but we're going to focus on the simplest. You need just two ingredients – flour and water and a couple of days' worth of time.

Each day, you'll ‘feed' your yeast starter with flour and water. By day 5, your yeast should be ready to use. You can set a little bit aside and continue to feed it so that you have a never-ending supply of yeast. Here's what you need:

What You Need to Cultivate Yeast

FLOUR AND WATER ON SCALE
  • Glass jar with a loose-fitting lid
  • Scale
  • Spoon
  • Fork
  • Flour
  • Water

Day 1

On the first day, you're going to mix 50 grams of flour with 550 grams of warm water in a glass jar. Stir the mixture until it'spretty smooth. Then, you'll loosely cover it – I like to use a glass mason jar and loosely twist on a plastic lid. Set it in a warm place for 24 hours, out of the way of direct sunlight.

FLOUR IN JAR

If you want to measure how much your starter is expanding, you can place a rubber band around your jar at the top of the starter mixture. Each day, you can add a new rubber band if you want to keep track of how much bigger your culture gets. Or you can keep an eye on the measurements on the side of your mason jar.

Day 2

FLOUR WATER MIX

You'll need to feed your culture. Mix together another 50 grams of water and 50grams of flour. Then, gently stir the fresh mixture into your started culture. Loosely cover it and set it aside for another 24 hours.

Day 3

YEAST GROWING

By day 3, you should start to see little bubbles starting to form in your mixture, and it may begin to expand. It should have a slightly sweet smell, but if it smells rancid,you'll want to dump it and start over.

YEAST MIX ON SCALE

Again, you need to feed your culture. Mix together50 grams of flour and 50 grams of warm water. Then gently stir into your culture, cover, and set aside. Don't forget to add a rubber band to your jar if you want.

Day 4

FINISHED SOURRDOUGH YEAST

By day 4, your culture should be showing more bubbles, and it may need a larger jar if you started with a very small one. Feed your culture by mixing 50g each of flour and water, and stirring it into your culture. Cover loosely and set aside for 24 hours.

Day 5

YEAST MATURING

By day 5, you should have a light and bubbly starter that has doubled in size. At this point, you can bake with your starter if you want to. If you decide to bake with your starter, set some aside for future use.

Whether you use part or none of your culture, you'll need to keep feeding it each day. Every day you keep your culture, you'll want to feed it 50g each of flour and warm water.

FINISHED DIY YEAST

If you put your culture in the fridge, you can slow down the feedings to every 4 to 5 days, but it won't multiply very much at all.

How to Cook with Yeast Starter

You can't just swap out your homemade starter culture with a recipe designed for store-boughtbaker's yeast. However, there are plenty of sourdough recipes available. You can make:

  • Bread
  • Pancakes
  • Pizza crust
  • Cinnamon rolls
  • Donuts
  • Biscuits
  • Bagels
  • Waffles

Tips

It's okay if your starter culture smells cheesy, sweet, or ripe. But if it smells putrid or rancid or is slimy,you'll probably want to throw it out and try again. This is rare, though!

Don't panic if you forget to feed your starter! Just feed it as soon as you remember. If it isn't growing well, you can feed it every 12 hours for a couple of days to give it a good ‘boost.'

If you forget to feed your starter, it may develop a dark colored liquid on top. You can pour it off or stir it back and then give your starter an extra feeding. However, if this happens repeatedly it could change the flavor of your finished baked goods. If you start to notice they don’t taste right or they taste bitter, you’ll probably want to start a new culture.

Tinges of orange or red can indicate bacteria that will make you sick – throw it out and start again.

Mold will look dark and fuzzy – again, throw it out and start again.

It’s best to use a shallower, wide mouth jar so that you can pour in your ‘feedings’ without getting them on the sides of the jar. This will cut down the chances of mold growing. 

Final Thoughts

Culturing your own wild yeast is a fun and easy way to create your own yeast for baking. While it may taste and bake a little bit differently than standard baker’s yeast, you’ll still find plenty of recipes that will give you delicious baked goods for your family.

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Sourdough Yeast Starter

Yeast is what makes bread and other baked goods fluffy and light Yeast is actually a fungus that thrives on sugar. Then, when it is mixed with the right baking ingredients, the yeast will create carbon dioxide that makes the dough expand and rise. It also adds flavor.
You can easily cultivate your own yeast with just two ingredients – flour and water. The fungus that creates yeast is everywhere – on your skin, in the air, and in flour. With just a little time and the right 'feeding' schedule, you can cultivate your own yeast that we know as sourdough starter.

Equipment

  • 1 Glass Jar with loose fitting lid
  • 1 Digital scale
  • 1 spoon and fork

Ingredients
  

  • 50 grams flour
  • 550 grams water

Instructions
 

Day 1

  • On the first day, you're going to mix 50 grams of flour with550 grams of warm water in a glass jar. Stir the mixture until it's pretty smooth. Then, you'll loosely cover it – I like to use a glass mason jar and loosely twist on a plastic lid. Set it in a warm place for 24 hours, out of the way of direct sunlight.
    If you want to measure how much your starter is expanding, you can place a rubber band around your jar at the top of the starter mixture. Each day, you can add a new rubber band if you want to keep track of how much bigger your culture gets. Or you can keep an eye on the measurements on the side of your mason jar.

Day 2

  • You'll need to feed your culture. Mix together another 50grams of water and 50grams of flour. Then, gently stir the fresh mixture into your started culture. Loosely cover it and set it aside for another 24 hours.

Day 3

  • By day 3, you should start to see little bubbles starting to form in your mixture, and it may begin to expand. It should have a slightly sweet smell, but if it smells rancid, you'll want to dump it and start over.
    Again, you need to feed your culture. Mix together50 grams of flour and 50 grams of warm water. Then gently stir into your culture, cover, and set aside. Don't forget to add a rubber band to your jar if you want.

Day 4

  • By day 4, your culture should be showing more bubbles, and it may need a larger jar if you started with a very small one. Feed your culture by mixing 50g each of flour and water, and stirring it into your culture. Cover loosely and set aside for 24 hours.

Day 5

  • By day 5, you should have a light and bubbly starter that has doubled in size. At this point, you can bake with your starter if you want to. If you decide to bake with your starter, set some aside for future use.
    Whether you use part or none of your culture, you'll need to keep feeding it each day. Every day you keep your culture, you'll want to feed it 50g each of flour and warm water.
    If you put your culture in the fridge, you can slow down the feedings to every 4 to 5 days, but it won't multiply very much at all.

Tips

  • It's okay if your starter culture smells cheesy, sweet, or ripe. But if it smells putrid or rancid or is slimy, you'll probably want to throw it out and try again. This is rare, though!
    Don't panic if you forget to feed your starter! Just feed it as soon as you remember. If it isn't growing well, you can feed it every 12hours for a couple of days to give it a good 'boost.'
    If you forget to feed your starter, it may develop a dark colored liquid on top. You can pour it off or stir it back and then give your starter an extra feeding. However, if this happens repeatedly it could change the flavor of your finished baked goods. If you start to notice they don’t taste right or they taste bitter, you’ll probably want to start a new culture.
    Tinges of orange or red can indicate bacteria that will make you sick – throw it out and start again.
    Mold will look dark and fuzzy – again, throw it out and start again.
    It’s best to use a shallower, wide mouth jar so that you can pour in your ‘feedings’ without getting them on the sides of the jar. This will cut down the chances of mold growing. 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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