The ability to cook food is one of the basic survival skills. While not everyone is a prepper or a homesteader, simple people rely more and more on shopping or food delivery. This is the blessing of civilization, but in the meantime, we are losing the skill of cooking the simplest basic dishes.
Even in the times of TEOTWAWKI, bread is the basis of food. It saturates well, is easy to use, tasty, and suitable for various variations, which means it does not get boring. But do you know how to make your own bread instead of buying it in the grocery store? How to make your own yeast? It’s time to learn or remind yourself how to do it.
Bread is made up of simple ingredients that you can make yourself (if we speak about homemade ones, as commercial bread may also contain a bunch of unnecessary additives to enhance the taste). And you also don’t need any extra gear to make it work. Flour and yeast affect its flavor and texture. In this article, we will tell you the secrets of making your own yeast.
Why is Yeast Good for You?
The advantage of yeast is that it can be consumed even by people with lactose intolerance. Yeast is high in beta-glucan, making it an excellent immune system booster and probiotic source.
It is especially beneficial for women who are pregnant or preparing for pregnancy to eat yeast (consult your doctor). This product is rich in B vitamins, antioxidants, and protein, which will have a good effect on the development of the fetus.
And it is a really good option for economical preppers, too.
Yeast is rich in selenium and therefore has antioxidant properties. Selenium helps the body defend against heart disease and even cancer by protecting the body from free radical damage.
2. B Vitamins
Useful B vitamins, also contained in yeast, can protect you from colds and flu. They also support your nervous system, liver, and overall health.
Healthy muscle tissue, and bones are strengthened thanks to the protein found in yeast. This is a great way to increase your protein intake if you need to build muscle healthily.
What Diseases Can Yeast Help Against?
It is worth mentioning that yeast itself is not a medicine and should be taken in addition to medicines if you are being treated for any disease.
Yeast is useful for treating:
- Chronic Fatigue Syndromes — Yeast improves cognitive function of the central nervous system
- Irritable bowel syndromes (Crohn’s disease and chronic diarrhea) — Regular consumption reduces the likelihood of illness or recurrence; yeast enzymes work against toxins, the accumulation of which affects bloating and general discomfort.
- Type 2 diabetes — Yeast regulates blood sugar levels by stabilizing glycogen, thereby improving the well-being of people who are insulin sensitive.
How To Use
Yeast is widely used in many fields. Therefore, for survivalists, the ability to get their own yeast is very useful. The most common uses are:
- In beer brewing or making other alcohol — Yeast starts the fermentation process
- To create fuel — As It converts sugar into ethanol
- For fertilizing plants in aquariums — Beneficial is the ability to produce carbon dioxide
- As an ingredient in bread or other baked goods — Yeast makes the dough rise
Various Types of Starters
1. Potato Starter
To prepare one of the most popular yeast starters for bread recipes, you will need the water leftover from boiling the potatoes (potato water). What usually goes into the slop can be used for a delicious bread recipe.
So, you will need:
- One and a half glasses of potato water
- A tablespoon of sugar
Mix the two ingredients until the mixture begins to thicken. Then cover and place in a warm place overnight. Check your starter in the morning. If it looks nice and slightly bubbly, then the yeast is done. If something goes wrong, you have to start over.
There is another potato method, how to cook yeast, a more tricky way. Take one tablespoon of yeast and add a glass of water. Add half a glass of sugar and three tablespoons of instant potato flakes to the mixture. After the mixture was infused in a warm place for 24 hours, put it in the refrigerator and begin feeding it every four days. For feeding, use water and potato flakes in the amount in which you first used them.
How to Use Potato Yeast
Everything is very easy! One tablespoon of potato yeast equals one tablespoon of regular dry yeast.
How to Store and Refresh It
Store this yeast in the refrigerator.
Use the feeding method to increase the amount. To do this, add flour, water, and sugar and stir the mixture well. First, let the starter sit at room temperature for 2-3 days. Then it can be used.
2. Grape Starter
A grape yeast starter is often used for bread baking because of its interesting, sophisticated flavor. Grapes contain a lot of natural yeast in their skins. To produce yeast from it, you don’t have to wash it. Therefore, it is highly recommended to take wild fruits or your own grown ones. There are too much wax and pesticides in the shops. Or buy on the market from local farmers you can trust.
So, take your unwashed grapes and crush them by hand. Place the crushed grapes in a container and cover it with a cheesecloth (you can take a coffee filter). Leave it in this state for three days. Bubbles that appear are a good sign. This means that yeast began to appear and grow.
Then strain the liquid and use one cup of whole-grain or rye flour. Mix the remaining liquid with flour. You will have a starter culture that needs to be set aside again for a day at room temperature.
From the resulting amount, you only need to take 1 cup of the mixture. Add one glass of water and one more glass of flour to it. Feed the starter culture with the same amount once in 1-2 days. Then you can repeat the feeding process or store the yeast starter in a fridge.
3. Sourdough Starter Yeast
It s also a good option for baking bread. Just be careful when using it for sweet-baked recipes. This sourdough starter is a little sour but works great for sourdough bread.
You will need:
- One tablespoon of active dry yeast
- 2 cups of water
- One tablespoon of sugar
- 3.5 cups of all-purpose flour
Making sourdough starter yeast is easy. Start by dissolving the store-bought yeast in warm water and letting it stand (5 minutes is enough). Then add sugar and flour to them and mix thoroughly. You may get lumps, but don’t worry. During fermentation, they will surely dissolve.
Then cover the mixture with plastic wrap. Do not try to close tightly, and the air should be able to leave. Put the mixture at room temperature for five days. Check the mixture once a day and stir it to form the yeast evenly.
All this time, the mixture will behave as if it were alive. It can go up and down. Bubbles at the top will tell you that yeast production is complete.
4. Fruit Yeast
You do not have to use only grapes. You can take any fruit you like to make your own yeast. Moreover, making yeast is also possible from dried fruit. This type of yeast is great for making bread and other baked goods. It is also a good way to experiment with family recipes. Try homemade yeast from grapefruits, apples, oranges. Or you can go even further and try cooking with tomatoes (remember that this is a berry). Experts advise against trying to make pineapple and kiwi yeast, as they give a very unpleasant result.
You will need:
- few tablespoons of dried fruit or fresh fruit
- 8 ounces of filtered water (bottled spring water will also work, but do not take tap water as it contains the yeast killer chlorine)
- Two tablespoons of sugar
- 24-ounce jar (well washed and sterilized)
The entire procedure
Let’s describe the whole process in steps:
- Put fruits in the jar
- Sprinkle all the sugar on top to speed up the fermentation process
- Pour water into a jar to cover about 3/4 of it. Do not overfill, or it will fail
- Close the jar, but not tightly to allow air to escape
- Leave the jar at room temperature for a few days
- Stir your mixture once a day (but not necessary)
Next, you need to monitor the results. Check your starter daily. You will know that your yeast is ready when you have a slight winey smell. This will also create bubbles on top of the mixture.
What is Yeast Anyway?
This may be a revelation to many, but yeast is just a single-celled fungus. Wild yeast is very widespread in nature and has a huge number of species. What you use it for and what flavor you want to achieve will determine which yeast is best for you. Interestingly, fresh yeast is gluten-free.
You can get store-bought yeast or make it yourself. Pay attention to these options.
How to Dry Own Yeast?
Let’s start with why you need to dry yeast at all. This is necessary for the convenience of storage and transportation. Agree, that the dry powder will take up less space, and there is no need to worry about it spilling over. For survivalists, this is especially important, as it makes it possible to bake their own bread as soon as you find a safe location.
You will need:
- Fresh yeast
- Parchment paper
- Oven or sun
The method is the same for all active yeast. Apply them in a thin layer to a parchment or baking sheet and dry in the oven for a few hours on low heat. If your climate allows it, then you may not even need to use the oven. Just cover the baking sheet with the yeast with gauze and put it in a sunny place. Make sure the yeast is drying and not cooking.
After you have received your dried yeast, crumble it and store it in an airtight container.
To extend its shelf life, it is best to store dried yeast in the refrigerator as well.
Difference Between Sourdough and Yeast
Now, these two concepts are often confused, which is generally not very critical. But if you want to be a pro, then it is worth knowing the differences. Also, some call sourdough “wild yeast,” and this is not always justified.
You can understand the difference by studying our recipes. Sourdough is made up of flour, water, and wild yeast. Lactic acid bacteria live in this mixture. This way of fermentation has been known to people for a very long time, since the very dawn of civilization.
Feeding the Starter
Let’s deal with concepts that are often found with yeast recipes. One of the most important is “feeding the starter.” What does this mean?
To make your yeast grow, you need to add 1 cup of water and 1 cup of flour to it. If you store your starter culture in the refrigerator, then just adding it once a week is sufficient. If it is stored at room temperature, then it must be repeated daily.
Make sure that the proportions remain the same. If you are not using the starter on that day, then remove one cup of it to a compost pile. The best step is to use it constantly and bake it regularly with a sourdough starter. Since it is simply a pity to throw it away, and you do not want the bacteria to grow strongly.
Important tip: Do not use tap water. As chlorine in your water supply kills yeast.
To Sum Up
The ability to make yeast is not only a useful skill but also something that will open up space for your imagination. Experiment with recipes and ingredients. Most likely, you will need more homemade yeast to make bread than indicated for the purchased one. Try adding more or replacing the main ingredient in the yeast. Make it a fun pastime. You can even keep your children busy with this. The smell of fresh bread and a joint activity bring you closer than ever.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
How do you find yeast in nature?
It is worth saying that yeast starters are found in almost everything. Even in our skin! The most common examples are fruits and berries, but fresh yeast can also be found in plants, flowers, and even soil. You just don’t want to eat all of this. If you are looking for something different, you can try pinyon pinecones, yellow birch bark, pine branches, and apple blossoms.
How do you make natural yeast for bread?
To make your own yeast for the bread recipe, you will need 1.5 cups of potato water and a tablespoon of sugar. Just mix the two and cover loosely with a lid. Leave the mixture in a warm place overnight. Bubbles should appear in the morning, and this will mean that your natural yeast is ready. This is just one way to make yeast. For the fermentation process, you can replace potato water with fresh and dried fruit or other active dry yeast. In this case, the basic recipe will change slightly, and you will have to add flour as well.
What ingredients make yeast?
There are various ways of making yeast. Most recipes include whole wheat or the other flour, water, sugar, and yeast. Various variations are possible using fruits, potatoes, and salt. You definitely need something to start fermentation (this is when the yeast seems to rise). When you add yeast to water and flour, it absorbs the sugar and starts to release carbon dioxide. This is why the bread rises and why even the basic bread recipe needs yeast.
How to proof yeast?
If you want to store yeast for a long time, you also need to be able to check it before using it for baking. To do this, you will need one teaspoon of sugar and a quarter cup of warm water. Mix yeast and remaining ingredients and let sit for 10-15 minutes. If the yeast is in good condition, bubbles will start to appear on top. This would mean that it can be used to bake bread.