The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Using hops

  • Pin It
Abigail's picture

Using hops

My mother used hops to make yeast, and I would like to try this method. I remember the hops as looking like dried flower petals. Beer brewing suppliers have a variety of hops, are these the ones to use? Any suggestions would be apprected. Abigail.

fancypantalons's picture

Used hops to *make* yeast?  I must confess, I have no idea what you're talking about, here... hops is a plant/compound/herb/whatever added to beer which imparts upon the beer a distinctive bitter flavour while also extending its shelf life.  What does that have to do with yeast and growing it, aside from the fact that both are used in beer making?

Wild-Yeast's picture

An inidication of how much has been forgotten.  I'm fairly certain that this may be another method for obtaining a sourdough culture but with a malt twist. I haven't tried this yet but it comes from a fairly reputable source in the form of Paul Richard's in his 1907 "Paul Richards' Pastry Book", beginning on page 99 here:,M1

The entire book can be downloaded gratis Google Books. . . ,


pmccool's picture

Google also has a copy of an Army field manual for bakers with an extensive section on creating and maintaining yeast sources that involve hops.  There are a lot of additional references available on the Web.  The hops solution used in the yeast formulas seems to have been used to stall the growth of bacteria that would otherwise give the bread a sour flavor.  That favored the growth of yeast, resulting in a "sweet" bread.  Apparently sourdough was not a favored product.


niagaragirl's picture

Yes this is oe of the ways it used to be done. Lots of recipes from old 1910 or thereabouts cookbooks.

A recipe here


Janknitz's picture

That's pretty fascinating that somehow there is probably wild yeast on the hops or malt that somehow survives all the boiling.  I think the hops are acidic and perhaps that kills off bad stuff to create the right ph so that the yeast can survive. I'll have to run this by my husband who is a home brewer. 

misterrios's picture


I am a hobby brewer and I do think it would be posible to create a starter culture from the yeasts found on hops. The ones we get are vacuum packed and are either whole hops (the cone/flower is recognizeable) or pellets (which look like rabbit food). I would say make sure to get the whole hops as the pellets are pre-crushed and would be far more difficult to remove in the end.

I would imagine like grapes that have yeasts on their skins (anyone here a wine maker?) hops would also have yeasts on their petals from beint grown outdoors. Unlike fruit, though, there is no sugar to get in the way, and hops are probably safer due to their antiseptic properties.

Hope this helps

deblacksmith's picture

I don't think the Hops in these procedures were the source of the yeast -- rather the hop solution help to provide a medium for yeast growth that limited the growth of bacteria.  (Yeast will not live through the boiling of the hops) 

This is one of the major reasons for the introduction of hops in beer brewing.  (Besides it's impact on taste)  Beers meant for long term storage or shipment were both strong and highly hopped.  IPA a prime example.  India Pale Ale -- beers brewed in England for long shipment time to India.  Historically these beers were both strong and very bitter.