The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

How To: Converting SD to YW

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leekohlbradley's picture
leekohlbradley

How To: Converting SD to YW

NOTE: This is a work in progress. Comment below and I will edit and update as needed. My goal is to have reliable, easy to follow steps in one place.

This has been covered many times and in many forms but I wanted to get it down really simple so it's easy to find / understand. This post also serves to continue another one which had become spectacularly off-topic ;-)

To convert your sourdough starter into yeast water, simply do the following:

  1. Take small amount of active / ripe / peaking sourdough starter—perhaps a teaspoon or 5-10g
  2. Place the small amount of starter in 300-500 ml of water, 25°-30° C should be fine.
  3. Stir / shake / otherwise mix up. Get lots of oxygen mixed in.
  4. After several hours (either side of 8 hours depending on your temp), remove 2-3 tablespoons (15-45 ml) of the water. Don't include any of the leftover flour / SD starter.
  5. Place the water in a new 750-1000ml container, and fill with water, about 80% full.
  6. Add a teaspoon of sugar.
  7. Stir / shake / otherwise mix up. Get lots of oxygen mixed in.
  8. Keep at 25°-30° C. (You may want to "proof" your YW after a 5-7 days by mixing some with flour to see if it bubbles/rises after several hours. If it doesn't, start over!)
  9. Afterward, repeat the stir / shake at least  once daily.
  10. Feed it with a teaspoon of sugar once a week or after removing YW to make bread.

The water can be used in recipes calling for YW, which can be found on this site as well as elsewhere on the web. Thanks especially to Ron at this post for the ideas, and Janet for inspiration.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Nice fresh clean slate!  DId you get yours working already?  If so, that was fast.  I am anxious to hear how it turns out when you bake with it and what kind of flavor it imparts in your bread.  (I figure it will take at least a week before it is ready to be used with a recipe.)

Take Care,

Janet

leekohlbradley's picture
leekohlbradley

I honestly don't have a clue haha, but it smells yeasty! I'll try proofing it tonight in a 100% hydration "levain" to see if I get any bubbles. If I do, I'll bake a small bun with the levain tomorrow and er... well if you don't hear back from me, you'll know why :P

I would not be surprised if things moved very quickly. After all I started with a lump of SD starter which is just seething with yeast, right? So if they'll grow at all they should grow quickly, since we started with a large population.

Again my grade-school ecology might not be up to the task here haha

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

If you get a chance I'd love to see photos.  I would also like to know how yours fares in the long run by simply being fed sugar on a weekly basis.  Do you plan on keeping it in the refrig?

 I have always added a bit of fruit as food to both feed and supply fresh new yeasties into my jars to keep things going strong.  I judge the amount of life in my jars by shaking them and seeing how many bubbles are released.  When the bubbles appear to be less in volume I remove the old fruit and add the fresh fruit.  I also give them a clean jar trying not to pour the bottom sludge into the fresh jar - sludge=dead yeasties and beasties….

I realize I probably don't have to do this since the sugar provides food and food keeps the critters multiplying so fresh critters don't need to be added to the brew….but I like to do it so I do it despite its probably being redundant….My kids are too old for me to feed anymore so my mothering instinct has just jumped over to feeding my yw. :)

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

of YW being started this way.

leekohlbradley's picture
leekohlbradley

indeed... 

Well, I tried 'proofing' it last night. Started at 6PM and by 9PM it smelled heavenly but showed no sign of rising. Odd. Still no movement at 11PM.

This morning at 8AM it had (at least) doubled, but smells really off. Can't be a good sign!

Reading Akiko again I notice she says to tighten the lid to create the anaerobic conditions needed for alcohol fermentation. I assume this would help with bacteria control, etc. So far I've been keeping the lid on loose to allow gases to escape, but perhaps this is incorrect? I was going on Ron's advice to aerate the water with shaking and allowing gases to escape so pressure doesn't build up and put the yeast, etc., under stress.

She also keeps her YW in the fridge once alcohol/gases begin to be produced, whereas Ron seems to keep it at room temperature. So far I'm following Ron here but...

Something I'm not clear on is how to maintain the YW so it's nice and active. I'm assuming with just sugar water, the yeast runs out of food after ... perhaps minutes! Not sure how to draw out the cycle without having to add more "complex" food like flour, fruit or vegetables. I'm looking at sources that suggest a lot of sugar may be needed! I might just try upping the amount.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

Akiko (teketeke)  cautioned me against getting SD or flour anywhere near a YW starter as it will take over and the YW will be gone.   In this case,  no YW wild yeast culture was ever established to be taken over   - so no loss and no worries..

leekohlbradley's picture
leekohlbradley

I remember seeing her comments in that regard. I'm always a little suspicious of such notions, after all, I doubt any of us could taste the difference between bread made with one yeast or another. I bet the medium the yeast was grown in, and how much of that medium gets added to the final dough, is what makes the difference.

Either way, it makes no difference in my case :D

I will have to try proofing my mixture again. I'm not getting any bubbles because ... there's no fruit fermenting in there, but that's not to say there's no yeast. I just need to try it a couple more times maybe. I've also perused some fish tank sites and er... marijuana growing sites, which talk about raising yeast for CO2 production purposes. Could be useful info once I have time to delve in a bit more.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

yeast and labs in there somewhere - just not the wild yeast captured naturally and cultivated from the skins of fruit. - with no labs.  I don't know how you will get rid of them? But,  it is a very interesting experiment for sure.  YW has no labs or sour component but maybe they willl die off over time somehow.  Since labs reproduction rate is greater than yeast at all temperatures from 36 F to 95 F it will be a tricky conversion.  Still, can't wait to see how your combo water turns out.  Might have to start one myself if yours turns out well.

Janetcook's picture
Janetcook

Not sure how to proceed with the procedure you are doing because I have always used fruit.  I do know mine smells really nice - fruity even after being added to my sd leaven.  If not fed 'on time' it used to get an alcoholic aroma.

Keeping the top loose on mine allows the pressure from the CO2 to escape without an explosion.  It does build up!  Akiko is correct in that the yeast are anaerobic and don't need oxygen.

I do keep mine at room temp. when starting up a new jar of YW.  Once it has 'taken' it is stored in the refrig.  Mine has lasted over a year with weekly feedings of a bit of fresh fruit or a squirt of honey.

 I use it daily and replace the water taken out of the jar with fresh water so the volume remains the same.

Hope this helps.

Janet

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Juice ferments and so does water.  I've been successful with kiwi skins and kumquats and what about sliced star apples?  

When I first started with yeast water, once I smelled yeast, added flour and got that going as a starter but it seemed to be short lived and difficult to maintain.  As yeast water it lasts and a flour starter is built each time using the YW.