The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Survival of the Fittest – Which Fruit Yeast Water to Keep?

breadbythecreek's picture
breadbythecreek

Survival of the Fittest – Which Fruit Yeast Water to Keep?

I’ve been experimenting with various types of yeast water for several weeks now.  I now have five separate jars percolating on the counter or in the refrigerator.  Since I’ve discovered that very little if any fruit flavor is discernable in baked breads made from these waters, it makes sense to me to keep only one.  It also makes sense to me to keep the one that is the most effective.  I have heard that raisin yeast water is the strongest and most active.  When I first started experimenting with these waters, I made a raisin/apricot yeast water, but the color and murkiness was not appealing, so I threw it away shortly after it was created.  Today I am making a new jar with just raisins and another with just apricots.  These will be tested against the winner of this trial.

To see which of my active yeast waters are the more effective, I created test waters containing 30g each of peach, blueberry, strawberry and cherry.

 

 To these amounts I added 90g fresh water and one sugar cube. These jars were left out overnight to activate the yeasts.  This morning I took 3 grams from each of the jars and 3 grams of AP flour. These were mixed together and placed in identical test-tube like glasses (tall and very narrow).

9:30am, roughly 3 hours since start time

 Now it is four hours into the test.  Gauging from my ongoing work on the blueberry yeast water, this first build will take approximately 7.5 hours to plateau.  Halfway through, it seems that the growth pattern of the testers matches too closely to the order in which the tests were prepared, lagging perhaps by no more than 5 minutes from the first (cherry) to the last (peach).  Also, both the strawberry and the peach were slightly more hydrated than either blueberry or cherry.

 

At 12:31pm, roughly 6 hours later, it appears that the cherry levain is far stronger than either the blueberry or the peach. The strawberry levain is only slightly behind the cherry in growth.

At 2:09pm, roughly 7.5 hours later, it is still cherry in the lead.  At this point I noticed that the glasses are not identical – some are deeper than others.  This accounted for, the cherry is still slightly more effective than the strawberry.  Also, approximately at this same time, cherry had reached its maximum height, approximately double the start level.   Strawberry went on to double at approximately 8 hours, as did peach.  Blueberry, interestingly enough, did not achieve more than a 50% growth over the entire period.

 

So there you have it. In terms of overall effectiveness for a first level build, cherry is the strongest of the test set.  The rest are not as effective for raising culture in a given period of time.

 

Next trial, Cherry against raisin and apricot.  Stay tuned.

 

Comments

Syd's picture
Syd

Interesting stuff and very worthwhile experiment.  I know exactly what fruit I will use to raise my culture, now.  Although, I wait in anticipation for the results of the raisin test as they are cheaper and more readily available.  Thanks for posting this.

Best,

Syd

breadbythecreek's picture
breadbythecreek

My cherry and blueberry starters were jump started by waters taken from organic, unwashed strawberries.  Why the cherry ended up beating the strawberry somewhat mystifies me.  -

Happy Baking.

-Pamela

sam's picture
sam

breadbythecreek,

That is fascinating.  Thank you for posting your competition result.   One thing I was curious about, maybe it was already discussed already and I missed it -- do you get any sour in the bread made from the fruit water yeast?   Or is it just for leavening (and some hint of fruit taste) ?

 

breadbythecreek's picture
breadbythecreek

To answer your question - no.  In all of the breads I've baked with this type of wild yeast, there is no hint of sour.  Just the flavor of the flour.  As far as fruit taste, that is barely there unless you add puree of the fruit in the dough.  This is why I'm aiming to keep just one kind, as it really doesn't have any effect.

-Pamela

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

will surely benefit all those who are interested in experiment with different fuits.  What cherries did you use?  Are they sweet and sticky like prunes?  Should I rinse them in a bit of hot water to get rid of the stickyness? - Judy

breadbythecreek's picture
breadbythecreek

My mother named me Pamela, not Janet.  I initially I used dried cherries with a jump start from some active strawberry water.   As it is now cherry season I switched out the fruit (it was old and tired) with fresh cherries.  Since these cherries are the sugar for the yeast, and the stickiness is the sugar, I see no point in rinsing the cherries.

Happy Baking - 

Pamela

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

for the mistake... 

breadbythecreek's picture
breadbythecreek

no worries.

RonRay's picture
RonRay

Pamela, it appears that my original comment vanished into the secret bowels of TFL - More than likely, I forgot the [Save] after [Preview]. I must be getting old, or something :(

In any event, interesting post and I looked forward to seeing the final outcome.  I have considering the same problem over the recent months. I decided that I will go for the easiest to maintain, since jump-starting any other YW is so comparatively easy (thus far, at any rate).

Ron

jyslouey's picture
jyslouey

esp when you've done a lengthy post,  be sure to select the the text and press copy before hitting the save button.   really saves having to retype the whole thing again,  :-D

breadbythecreek's picture
breadbythecreek

Interesting thing is, after two days, my new raisin water just isn't bubbling.  I started a new apricot water that started to fizz upon shaking the very afternoon.  I wonder if fizzing is really necessary?  I'm anxious to run the second trial, but don't want to give raisin a disadvantage.  Must be patient.

-Pamela

RonRay's picture
RonRay

Pamela, in my Apricot Yeast Water Test Loaf  I report apricot been a real hog for sugar and it burned through a cube of sugar in record time. You may be seeing the same sort of thing???

Ron

breadbythecreek's picture
breadbythecreek

I tasted the raisin water and it was really, really sweet already. I think the yeast are overwhelmed. So I took out most of the water and replaced it with fresh. Hope that works.

P.

RonRay's picture
RonRay

Ah, I thought you were talking about the apricot

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

Simply because I like a longer wet time with my doughs to reduce the phytic acid especially when no sourdoughs are at play.  I would also go with the one with the most appealing crumb color and change the yeast water feeding with the season.  Have you  tried a spiraled loaf yet?  One with similar rising different yeast water doughs?  Please, pretty please!

I think the differences in rises could also be contributed to the amount of fructose in the fruit. 

Mix them together for tutti-fruity!  :)

breadbythecreek's picture
breadbythecreek

In the interest of refrigerator space, I pitched the losers and kept only the cherry for the next trial (maybe even happening today if my test tubes arrive!).

You might be right about the fructose in the fruit.  The extracted waters were taken out of their mother jars and fed 3X fresh water, and a sugar cube about 12 hrs before the test, would there be that much difference in the relative sugars in the solution? Could be. I don't know as I don't (yet) have a brix meter.  Also, I don't know how much alcohol was built up in the jars while they were resting in the fridge - that too may have caused a less than stellar performance.  They all seemed active and fizzy when shaken, but that is not a very quantitative measure.

As far as picking one based on appealing crumb color, I found in previous work that the breads using these yeast waters alone have very little effect on the crumb color unless you add a puree of the fruit in the final dough - otherwise you get varying shades of brown. (lighter for pears, peaches, apples, darker for cherries, strawberries, blueberries). I did make a blueberry loaf with blueberry puree and that was more like a pumpernickel in color (faintly blueberry in taste).

BTW, my best baguette ever was made with the PYW (without added puree).  I found it was very lively and didn't want to be retarded for nearly as long as normal (6 hrs vs 18) and made the most holey, moist, crispy baguettes (TXfarmers 36+ hr baguette). Not a bit sour. 

Finally, although a spiral loaf of three separate fruit doughs sounds like fun, I'd need you to come over an help eat such a massive loaf - we can't manage bigger than 500g before it gets moldy.

-Happy baking -

Pamela

teketeke's picture
teketeke

 Hi Pamela,

I have seen your great posts for a while and I enjoyed to read your experiments with variety of fruit yeast waters.

Thank you for taking the time to show us an interesting experiment.   I have never tried cherry  nor peach nor blueberry yeast water.  Your experiment motivates me to try cherry one for a baguette. 

Thank you, again

Akiko

breadbythecreek's picture
breadbythecreek

Thank you for reading my posts.  I just have these questions that need to be answered so I can understand.  Also, I love having millions of pets!  If you try the cherry baguette, I recommend TXfarmer's 36+hr recipe replacing all of the water with YW. The result is very nice.

-Happy Baking

-Pamela