The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Questions on Yeast Water

  • Pin It
flank steak's picture
flank steak

Questions on Yeast Water

I have been using raisin and tea yeast waters to wonderful results--my family and I love the flavour more than that of my old sourdough starter, but the culture got a bit tired and I was not sure if I was keeping it strong enough because I was maintaining the culture incorrectly. I was thinking that what might be better is to feed it a little spoon of sugar most every night, refresh the water after I use some, and once a week or so toss in some new raisins--I also did not refigerate it and would prefer not to, just because I like to check it often and I like to keep it fairly warm and active, I also bake quite frequently. In the past it was a once or twice weekly feeding of sugar/ refreshment of water and fruit. I am thinking the constant little snack of sugar will keep it better up to par, any thoughts?

I also read some articles on yeast water here on TFL in hopes to find some sort of more precise guide on how to feed it, but instead came across a loaf or two that was made with no starter builds, just by mixing the YW in with the flour. Previously I did two builds at 100% hydration @ about 4-5 hours apart to be sure it could leaven, by the second build it would double if not triple in volume. But I am intrigued by one just replacing the formula's water content with just YW, no builds at all. How long would that take to leaven the bread fully?

Thank you for the help!

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

your YW honey once a week - none or very little sugar!  I keep mine in the fridge and feel it is much better maintained that way.  Take a few pieces of fruit, I use apples and put 5 pieces in, from the old and put it in the new.  Add new fruit and 1 T of YW from the old.  Add water 3/4 of the way to the top.  I use an 0ld 18 oz peanut butter jar.  Leave on counter for 4 hours shaking every hour then into the fridge. As you use the water don't replace it just put it back in the fridge.  If the water gets to 1/4 full before the week is out then add some more and some honey and shake.

You don't need much YW top make a 1,200 g loaf of bread - probably no more than 50 g on the first build only if you use (3) 3 hour builds and end up with 250 g total an 100% hydration.  Use water for the other 2 builds.

Hopes this helps

flank steak's picture
flank steak

I am curious why you prefer honey or sugar--does plain white refined sugar get used up to quickly, kind of putting the yeast on a sugar crash? Raw or pasturized honey? Could something like molasses work, I feel like I read somewhere that that is how they breed yeast in labs, with molasses I believe.

Does refrigerating the YW slow it down considerably? I bake a few times a week and I am wondering if it would be necesssary to put it in cold storage, that I might need to then worry about reviving it each time I wish to bake.

If using plain water for the other two builds of the levain, would this result in a different taste/ leavening effect? I would always use YW for the two builds I would do and liked the effect--but I like the idea of getting away with using less, but I don't want a sourdough-type taste to form in the bread, you know what I mean? I am thinking the YW yeasties might get taken over by the bacteria and yeasts on the grain that makes a sourdough tangy and makes it differ from YW.

Thank you though for taking the time to answer my questions-- I really appreciate it!

 

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

been able to produce a sour taste from YW even after trying every way I can think of to do so.  It just doesn't have any sour in it.  That is why it is good to replace commercial yeast in recipes.  I will bake off Stan Ginsberg's SD bagels today and his recipe calls for an additional commercial yeast boost later as well as SD in the beginning,,  I used YW to replace the commercial yeast portion.

I use honey for feeding because Akiko (teketeke) who got me into YW (she uses raisin) said to use it an not use sugar.   RonRay another TFL YW person uses sugar to feed his apple yeast water.  I would think if you use sugar you would use very little of it maybe a tsp per feeding.    Read RonRays posts on his yeast water.   He has all kinds of info on differet varieties.  I think he uses a sugar cube to feed his apple YW.

My instructions above were not very clear .  You take a few pieces of fruit from the old and put in the new and also add the new fruit to with the honey.

After feeding the YW is up to full strength again in two days and ready to go to build a levian.  The cold doesn't seem to affect it much.  You can certainly keep it out of the fridge but will have to feed it twice as often  I would think. 

flank steak's picture
flank steak

I am eating some YW bread as I type...delicious :) I normally never exceed a teaspoon of sugar, most of the time it is about a half teaspoon and for the past week since doing a daily feeding it has been very nice and frothy, very very active. So I will keep going with this and see how it goes. I will change the fruit every week, likely I will just refresh all of it once a week, see how it works. I will check out those other posts. I really love the way YW makes bread taste, and just how big and fluffy the loaves get in the oven. I used to use SD all the time, but my family and I really favor this method of leavening, so I want to make sure I keep my YW happy and healthy.

Thanks for helping me out