The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Beer yeast/wort starter

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Nharres's picture
Nharres

Beer yeast/wort starter

I'm venturing into unknown territory here. I have spent days on the internet researching but am not really finding a lot of specific information out there. My background - I have a plain old sourdough starter that I have been keeping for a couple of years now. It originally came from a local bakery so I never had to start one on my own. I have kept it both in the fridge and on the counter and have kept it going with no problems.

My husband is a home brewer and my bread making got us on the topic of using beer yeast for baking. I've tried this, and it ended out ok - but took a lot longer to rise than regular old baker's yeast. It did have a slightly different flavor, but nothing really out of the ordinary.

In order to get better/optimal flavoring, I was wondering if anyone has had any expereince making and keeping a sourdough starter using brewers yeast (I'm thinking of using a couple Tbsp. of husband's yeast starter) and possibly some of the wort for flavoring (technically I guess this would be a barm, but I'm thinking of keeping it indefinitely just like a sourdough). I would eventually have to replish with water/flour only as we only have wort on hand once a month or so and I know my husband won't let me keep dipping into his wort because he'll end out with less beer - possibly just using the wort for the initial liquid in the starter along with the yeast slurry.

Would the brewer's yeast eventually be replaced by the natural yeasts of the flour? Anyone have experience or thoughts on this whole process and whether or not it would work or even be worth it beyond a loaf or two of barm bread?

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

home brewers use is the same one commercial yeast manufacturers use.  But there are many different strains of yeast available for the home brewer.  You can make a SD out of any yeast used for beer making.  Just use Debra Winks fruit juice or citrus juice method when the mix is slightly acidic and inoculate the WW flour with a tinge of the yeast,  After the Labs get started in a few days from the WW you will will have a SD starter in about 2 weeks and and good one in a month.

Nharres's picture
Nharres

Any guess as to whether or not there will be a noticable taste difference from brewers vs. wild/commerical yeast? Do you think the yeast/microflora in the flour will eventually take over the starter if I don't reinnoculate every now and then?

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

the Labs in a SD culture that produce the sour so those are the ones you want to cultivate and keep going,  i don't think it makes much difference what yeast lives in symbiosis with the Labs but re inoculating it with beer barm won't hurt any. 

grind's picture
grind

Darwinian principles will determine the outcome.

Monkadelic's picture
Monkadelic

I was on a course recently on which we made some beer barm bread with a levain using the barm skimmed from the top of the next door brewery's vats.  It was excellent, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone that can get hold of fresh barm.  We were told that the levain would need to be made from scratch quite often, with fresh barm, if we wanted to keep that particular flavour, as the yeasts specific to the flour will eventually take over, naturally.

They're the ones at the front with the hop cluster stencilling.  Use some of your fella's beer as your liquid in the dough as well, and you can't go wrong.  This was one of my favourite breads we made on the course, and I can't wait to be in a position to make it again.

Davo's picture
Davo

I'm no expert in this, but a SD fanatic I know who is also a commercial baking instructor told me some things about how SD cultures work that suggests beer yeast won't make a long-term stable SD culture. This is because beer yeast, like commercial baking yeast, utilises maltose, whereas, by-and-large (according to my expert friend), yeasts is SD do not - which is why (he says) they form a symbiosis with lactobacilli (which do break maltose - a disaccharide - into mono saccharide). Basically the Lactobacilli don't compete directly with wild yeasts, whereas they do compete with commercial yeasts (and would also with beer yeast). Itd sure make bread, and eventually if kept would no doubt convert over to a true SD culture. But really, if you want true SD, just start with SD rather than a yeast that won't live long term in a SD culture. People often ask if they can get a head-start with a SD culture using commercial yeast - my view is that's a bit like starting out eating meat in order to eventually become a vegetarian. Not much point really. Now, if you want to make bread out of beer yeast, go for it, but I'm not sure it would end up being a "beer yeast sourdough" in the long term.

littleorangutan's picture
littleorangutan

Monkadelic, 

 

Thanks for sharing your bram bread recipes. Would you mind explaining a little bit further what type of bram you used from the brewery, what form it came in, and a recipe you used for your loaf. I am arranging something similar with our local brewery and to make them some breads as well. 

Havent been able to find much on the internet, part from Dan Lepards recipe, where you make the barm yourself... 

If you could let me know I would be super grateful

 

Thanks 

 

Eve

Nharres's picture
Nharres

Thank you all for your feedback. I guess it was as I had assumed and that the natural yeasts will eventually take over. In the end, the beer yeast starter would turn into the same SD starter that is already on my kitchen counter. No reason to go to all that work of maintenance when I already have a perfectly good SD culture sitting here. I've done a couple of barm loaves now, using the left over yeast slurry from husband's yeast starter and the dregs of the leftover wort from his mash - making a poolish and letting it sit minimum overnight on the counter. The resulting bread was FANTASTIC! I may play with this a little and try seeing if I can get a couple of loafs of barm out of each batch by using the sourdough replacement/maintenance method. Husband uses some pretty funky beer yeast so the bread may really be worth it.

dabrownman's picture
dabrownman

for a long time turned out to be wrong.  I assumed that SD was used to make bread before commercial yeast became available in the 1880's.  Actually barm for beer and wine making was what was mainly used to make bread from ancient times and the SD thing really got going during the gold rush days in CA adn pioneer days when miners adn pioneers away from breweries for a long time used SD to make bread.

SD really wasn't used before the end of the 18th century so.... SD bakers are on the newest cutting edge of bread making :-)  Who Knew?