The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

hello and ale yeast starter

AustinandArgentina's picture

hello and ale yeast starter

Hello all,I've been lurking for a few months and decided to jump on board. I'm a 2nd year grad student and I've been learning about bread baking for the past year, trying out recipes and figuring out how and why they work. I had some difficulty with the NYT no-knead recipe until I got my kitchen scale, which has been a great help. Also, I have tried to make starter a few different times and it's never been much of a success until now.I saw that a few months ago someone posted about using beer yeast in bread, saying that it leads to disappointing results. A few weeks ago I used some of my husband's left-over yeast from after he made beer (an ale) and put two heaping spoonfuls into the no-knead recipe instead of instant yeast. Success! Not only did it rise beautifully during the fermentation period, but there was great oven spring and nice big holes. I don't know if this is because I left it to rise 20-30 hours, so it has lots of time to develop, or if the NYT recipe is just fool-proof, or if yeast in the air was caught in the dough and activated, or all of the above! My first loaf with this method used all-purpose flour and the last three have used unbleached bread flour. I have been feeding it water and flour at a 1:1 ratio once a day. Does anyone else use beer yeast? Any tips?
Thanks in advance! This site has been so helpful to me.


LindyD's picture

First, welcome to TFL and second, that's a lot of yeast added given Jim Lahey's recipe calls for only one gram (1/4 teaspoon). But it obviously worked for you and that's what counts.

I've never used beer yeast. When I do use yeast, it's SAF instant yeast but for the most part I just use my own sourdough culture.

BTW, Cook's Illustrated modified Lahey's recipe by adding beer and vinegar. It's quite tasty; the recipe can be found here