The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

English yeast

Salfordian's picture

English yeast

I have tried many times, both by hand and by machine, to duplicate the taste and aroma of the bread ny mother baked in England before WW2.

I was told recently that the problem is with the yeast. I don't think American-style dry yeast was available in England then. As far as I remember the yeast was produced by a local brewery and sold in small quantities by a local shop.  The brewery, of course, used top-fermenting yeast which was skimmed off the fermenting beer, so it is is possible that I can never achieve the same flavor in the USA.  Only breads approaching the required result have been various versions of sourdough breads. Even those are not the same.

Does anyone have any suggestions please?

PeteInAz's picture

Go to a local brewery, explain your need and see if they can give/sell you some top fermenting yeast.



I know NOTHING about beer making, but they may be able to help you.

OldWoodenSpoon's picture

at a nearby hobby brewing store as well.  It might even be easier than trying to talk a major (or minor) brewing company out of some.  Hobby brewing is gaining in popularity, as is hobby wine making.  Frequently, in my area at least, these two hobbies are supported by the same store.

Good luck, and happy baking!


Janknitz's picture

If there isn't a local homebrew shop, try the web they have a knowledgeable staff who may be able to advise you.

rockfish42's picture

Have you ever looked at a copy of English Bread and Yeast Cookery by Elizabeth David? It might be more of an issue with flour as well. It's very easy to order brewer's yeast, if you're near San Francisco I'd be happy to give you some from  a batch of one of my beers.

JeremyCherfas's picture

One of the points she makes is that before the ABC industrial breads came along, bakers used far less yeast and allowed far longer for fermentation, and the longer rising time enhances the flavour considerably. I'd try using half or even quarter of the yeast in the recipes and giving it enough time.

Maybe your sourdoughs were rising longer, and that's what got you closer to the taste you remember?


Patf's picture

you can buy fresh yeast from ebay:

There is some from Fleishmans.

Also E. David's book on the same page.

But as someone says, it could be the flour which is different. I'm english and use english brands of flour, eg Allisons, Hovis, etc;.But have heard that these flours could be made from canadian wheat.

Did your mother bake white or brown bread? Pat.