Hi, I am looking for hops for bread baking as an alternative to yeast. Can anyone advice me where to find hops special for baking or which type of hops for brewing can be used in bread? thank you
What's the angle? Hops are used in beer for the lupulin which is an oil that provides both bitterness and preservative to the finished beer. I'm not sure how hops will provide leavening for bread.
What am I missing?
Yeah, I think you are confusing things... Brewing yeast can be used in baking and was traditionally where bakers got their yeast from, but hops are not a leavening agent. Hops would just make a bitter bread.
I've copied the following from Paul Richards' Pastry Book", 1907, pages 99-100 - a marvelous little gem that's available free online from Google Books [I have a first edition copy]. The sections copied describe the "natural fermenting agents" with sections 881-882 describing the use of hops in refining "raw" yeast for bread making. It may be old but there's a lot of biochemistry involved in the "why & how"...,
879— ABOUT YEAST.
Leaven in some form has been used for many thousands of years. The oldest leaven consisted of a piece of old dough left from the previous baking, and this method is still used to some ex tent in Europe. The old dough preceded stock yeast, ferment, brewer's yeast and distiller's yeast. Stock yeast and ferment is still used by many bakers, be cause they claim it makes a better bread, and keeps it moister. Compressed distiller's yeast is preferred by most of the bakers, because it is stronger, more uniform and reliable; not so readily influenced by atmospheric changes as the stock yeast. It is more convenient to use and a great saver of time and labor. Yeast develops best at a temperature of from 75° to 90° Fahrenheit. Excessive heat will spoil yeast, kill the yeast germ; and great care should be taken when dissolving yeast not to scald it. A bake shop should be laid out so as to keep an even temperature, free from drafts; should have a proof -box or closet where heat can be introduced to raise the bread and rolls after they are molded. The large bakeries pay strict attention to the temperature in bread- making. The temperature of the flour and water is taken before doughing. There are special doughing and proving rooms. The latest in this line, and also the most practical, is a refrigerating room to control the dough. In the hot summer months, when the temperature rises up to 90° Fahr., and more, this is of a decided advantage, as there is no danger of the dough getting too old or sour, and it enables the baker to turn out a uniform loaf of bread. Sudden changes in temperature influence yeast, and often are the cause of bad bread. In the winter time yeast works slower and more of it is required to raise the bread. The strong flours re quire more yeast, or a stronger fermentation, than the weak flours. Soft water raises better and assists the yeast, while hard water retards fermentation. Salt is used in yeast sometimes as a preservative, and it should be put in the yeast only after fermentation is complete . Where yeast is made fresh often, salt is better left out. In breadmaking it is used as a flavor, and also as a check on fermentation. Larger quantities may be used in the hot season to prevent sour ing. Salt should not be used in setting sponge; it is better if used in doughing. In the rarified air of high mountainous countries yeast raises quicker than in the low lands.
880— COMPRESSED YEAST.
Compressed yeast is a by-product of distilleries. Rye, corn or malt undergoes the regular process of fermentation necessary for the making of spirits. The yeast is taken from the tubs at a certain time, and is pressed through silken bags of different grades of fineness. The yeast so obtained goes through a chemical test before it is placed on the market, to keep a uniform article. Compressed yeast should al ways be used fresh, but where it cannot be had regularly, it will keep for months in a jar of cold water; the yeast settles on the bottom and the water covering prevents air spoiling the yeast. It is best kept in the ice box, and the water changed twice a week. To use it, pour off the water carefully, take out what is needed with a spoon and pour fresh water over the remaining yeast. If the water gets too warm, the yeast will rise to the top and spoil. Yeast will also keep frozen for a long time. Before using, it should be thawed slowly in cold water. Compressed yeast is used for setting sponge and for straight doughs; also for starting stock yeast and potato ferment.
881.— VIRGIN YEAST. MAIDEN YEAST.
Making yeast from the beginning is not much practiced, because the dry hop yeast cake and fresh compressed yeast cake can be had at almost any place to start a batch of stock yeast with; and even the large distilleries retain some yeast of previous batches to start the next batch. It may be made on a small scale in this manner: Take a handful of hops and boil in a quart of water for half an hour; strain off the hops and put the liquor in a strong bottle with a handful of malt and a little sugar; cork up and tie securely with wire, and let it stand in a warm place for forty-eight hours. Then it will be ready to start about two gallons of stock with.
882.— MAIDEN YEAST. MALT YEAST.
Boil half a pound of hops with four gallons of water for one hour; cool down to 170° Fahr. and mash with six pounds of malt for one hour ; add half a pound of sugar and strain it in the yeast tub, a long narrow tub like an ice cream tub. Set this in a warm place, well cov ered. Fermentation begins in one day; and in forty-eight hours, or when fermentation ceases, it is ready for use. This is a pure malt yeast, and a better result and a stronger yeast is obtained from this recipe, if stocked with four ounces of compressed yeast, or with one quart of previous stock, or eight dry hop yeast cake, dissolved in water. Before adding the yeast, the liquid should be cooled down to 80° Fahr. It may be got ready in from twenty-four to thirty-six hours, according to the strength of the yeast and temperature.
883.— STOCK YEAST.
Take five ounces of hops, two pounds of malt, three and one-half pounds of flour, five gal lons of water, two quarts of stock yeast, or eight dry yeast cakes, or three ounces of compressed yeast. Boil the hops and water for one hour; strain and scald the flour with a part of the water into a smooth paste. Cool the hop water to 165° Fahr.; add the malt, and let mash and cool down to 85 degrees, about blood warm. Strain and wash off the malt; add the flour paste and the stock yeast, either the liquid stock, or compressed yeast, or dry yeast. Put away in a warm place, well covered, till ready. If compressed yeast is used, it will be ready in about thirty-six hours, or sooner. When the yeast is ready, fermentation ceases, and the liquid gets clear; two ounces of salt may be added, and the stock put in a cold place to keep. It is best to make fresh stock twice a week. For sponge, take one quart to each pail of water; for ferment, take one quart to start four gallons of ferment.
884.— POTATO FERMENT.
Peel or wash well a peck of good potatoes; boil till soft. Put three pounds of flour into the yeast tub; put the hot potatoes on the flour with a part of the water, and mash into a paste; put more water to it, to make up two pails (twenty quarts) ; have it about lukewarm. Stock away with two quarts of stock, or four ounces compressed yeast; cover and set aside. This ferment will be ready in from twelve to twenty-four hours, according to the temperature. It will come up like a sponge, and fall when ready. It may be used to set sponge, or for straight doughs, with or without addition of more water. In making yeasts and ferment, the utensils used should be kept perfectly clean and sweet, to prevent contamination.
885. — DRY YEAST CAKE.
The dry yeast cakes are made from strong stock yeast, which is thickened with corn meal into a paste, and dried in form of small cakes, in which condition they keep a long time. They are made in the following manner: Take good strong stock yeast and make into a paste with corn meal. Roll out one-half inch in thickness; dust with more meal and cut in one-inch squares. Let dry thoroughly in a warm place, and put away for use. This yeast works very slow in sponges, but if given plenty of time gets as strong as other yeasts. It is best to dissolve the dry cakes in warm water, with some yeast food added, which may consist of sugar, grape-sugar, glucose, boiled cornstarch, or malt. Let it stand in a warm place till it starts to work, and then use it in sponge, stock yeast, or ferment.
886. — SALT-RISING BREAD.
This is also a fermented bread. The yeast or leaven to start with is made on the same principle as the Maiden Yeast No. 881. The making of this bread requires heat from start to finish. Corn meal is scalded with milk, to which a pinch of soda is added, into a soft batter; the batter is kept well covered in a warm place till fermentation has made it light. To this yeast a sponge is set with wheat flour (preferably winter wheat flour) and warm water. When this has risen again, the dough is made, adding more water, sugar, salt, lard and flour. The dough is given a little time to prove and is molded into loaves, proved and baked. This process makes a bread of good flavor. Other methods of lightening breads are by means of artificial aeration, and by using some form of baking powder. These breads lack the pleasant taste of the fermented brands. They may be prepared quick and easy, but will never displace the fermented breads. For the aerated breads carbonic acid gas is used to lighten the dough. The baking powders are sifted with the flour, made into dough with the other ingredients and baked at once.
Thanks for posting, definitely interesting.
881 doesn't make any sense to me ... from where does the yeast originate? I mean, if I boil a handful of hops, strain the hop leaves out and then put the 'liquor' in a container with some malt and sugar ... where does the yeast come from? Is it natural yeast riding the dust particles? (I'm serious - it's my understanding that this is how some Belgian ales are made).
So what the OP is looking for is to make a wild yeast starter from hops flowers? I guess that's fine, but how is it different than a starter from other sources (WW, rye, etc.)?
It's really that simple.
Your question--, as related to your reference--Paul Richards' Pastry Book", 1907, pages 99-100--makes no sense.
If you want to make natural levain, i.e. wild yeast and lacto-bacillus in a mixture of flour and water, I recommend:
However, if you want to cling to your 107 year-old, inaccurate reference: good luck.
No, I don't cling to it - it's usually placed on a bookshelf in the library.
The method, derived from brewing methods developed in Bavaria for brewing lager beer, was also used to create starter cultures to levan bread. The boiling of the hops disperses alpha and beta lupulin into the liquor preventing unwanted growth of gram negative bacteria [harmful], and enhance the ability of yeast to grow and ferment.
In short, the hops act as an antiseptic to reduce contamination by harmful bacteria allowing wild yeasts and benign bacteria contained on the "malted barley" to advance as the lead culture in the starter.
The hops aren't the source of the yeast.
A fun bit of learning. I've been a homebrewer for over twenty years, and a devote reader of all things beery. I've never heard of these methods before now. Thanks.
To the best of my knowledge present day hops farming and hops species research is focused primarily on beer bittering and flavoring, not yeast production.
Pineapple juice is easier, cheaper and readily available.
If you develop a starter using the method let us know your results.
Manual for Army Bakers, 1910
It provides a more detailed recipe for "hop tea" a precursor to making "head yeast" or "Maiden yeast".
Also, I think the active ingredients in the "hop tea" is alpha and beta acids, not lupulin. Alpha acids are the source of bittering in beer, and beta acids (or it derivatives) help sustain the beer's bitterness as the beer ages, and alpha-acid bittering fades.
CO-HUMULONE The alpha acids exist in three analogous forms, humulone, ad-humulone, and cohumulone; and the proportions of these analogues vary markedly with variety. Varieties with relatively low co-humulone levels are strongly favored.
BETA ACID A soft resin component, beta-acids are not bitter in the natural or isomerized form. Some of the oxidation products do provide bitterness, and the beta-acids can be chemically transformed into light stable bittering forms.
LUPULIN Hop lupulin may vary in color from pale yellow to an intense golden color. It is not known if lupulin color affects brewing performance, but it is a fairly strong characteristic of a variety. It is certain that the bitter hops have much greater quantities of lupulin than the aromatic types.
I couldn't verify the pH of a "hop tea" (reference: the Manual for Army Bakers) but I believe it serves the same function as pineapple juice serves in Debra Wink's "Pineapple Juice solution" (referenced in my original post), namely, it lowers the water/hop tea's pH creating a condition unfavorable to undesirable organisms, and favorable to yeast development. Based on the typical pH of finished beer wort infused with alpha and beta acids (approximately 4.2) and the difficulty brewers have extracting the acids from the hops--wort is boiled, violently, for an hour to 90 minutes to extract only about a third of the hop's acid content, I continue to suggest Ms. Wink's pineapple juice solution. Un-hopped beer wort's pH is typically 4.5 to 4.7. Ms. Wink's research:
revealed although acidification of the flour/liquid mix prevented undesirable organisms' growth, wild yeast did not begin to grow until the mixture's pH reached 3.5. Note: this was the acidity necessary to "wake-up" yeast spores. Yeast cells proliferate in a much wider pH band, although still preferring an acidic environment.
The Army manual concedes that compressed yeast, (commercially available since the 1890's) or dried yeast (not the dried yeast we use today) are generally easier choices than "Maiden yeast" the Army baker needed to be able to produce leavened bread under any conditions, and Maiden yeast was one solution. (provided the bakers had a supply of hops).
Bottom line: As I interpret what you've found is a short-lived product--Maiden Yeast--that brewers made (not Bakers) from the material at hand (hops, malt and water) and SOLD to the bakers, in place of the pitchers of barm (fermenting worts' krauzen foam) they'd given away freely in earlier times. I base this supposition on the fact that baker's yeast (compressed yeast) was first derived from residual yeast resulting from beer fermentation. It is not coincidental that commercial Baker's Yeast was first introduced to the public at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876 by none other than Charles Fleishmann. If you are interested in Fleishmann's history, and contributions to the American baking industry visit
What the brief history doesn't tell you is Fleishmann first distilled and sold gin in America, Fleishmann's Gin. Gin is made by distilling a beer. A valuable by-product of beer fermentation is yeast. Ergo, Fleishmann's Yeast. It wasn't long afterwards Fleishmann's compressed yeast made "Maiden yeast" obsolescent, except for the U.S. Army, and Paul Richards, America pastry chef and book author. And, as the saying goes, the rest is history.
So, my apologies. But not my humble apologies, because your original question, by itself, doesn't make sense. Boiled hops are not a source of yeast.
And I still highly recommend you read, and learn from, the "Pineapple Juice Solution Parts 1 & 2.
active malt in starting a starter... ???
Absolument. Note that the resulting "liquor" is then used as the water mixed with flour that becomes the standard starter. 100 grams liquor plus 100 grams flour...,
Quite interesting, Wild-Yeast. Thanks for sharing that.
I didn't notice, until just now that you replied to my post meant to confront the thread's initiator, Danioseb, not you. If anything, I envy your ownership of a first edition of anything: Dicken's Christmas Carol, C. Bronte's Jane Eyre, even Mien Kampf.
Hope Danioseb is reading the replies to his post. I think he will benefit from it.
Thank for your replies and sorry for late response. Your information was very interesting. Actually our bakery have already got yeast from the hops boiling process, and produced some good bread. However for the larger quantities the process is more difficult. And therefore, we thought that there are some sorts of hops which are dedicated for bakery. But as I found out, hops nowadays only used in the breweries. So, I think we will have to use ordinary hops in our production.
For people who never hear about hops being used in the bakery process: As I know, in the Soviet Union, in the certain period, they were getting yeast for bakery from hops, and it was a real fact.
Wild-Yeast your information was very helpful.
David G., I have not heard about pineapple juice before, but after you mentioned, will try to make some research on it.