The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

YW Primer

dabrownman's picture

YW Primer

Teketeke Bread

teketeke got me going with my YW a couple of years ago and I have helped quite a few others, as she helped me, to get theirs going. Here is what I basically sent them but fixing all the spelling and grammar errors I could find.  Hope this will help all who want give YW a shot – it is so worth having another child in the kitchen.

 teketeke's post on YW is a good one if you scroll down far enough when the pictures start to appear again - way down. She is a great YW baker from Japan and I bugged the heck out of her to get my YW going.  Worked first time too - and she is a master and I named my first original YW concoction after her as thanks!

The idea is to get a slightly acidic base to start from, be a little on the warm side temperature wise, don't use any sugar - use honey instead, use bottled water, open the lid often, right before shaking and get some fresh air in the jar by fanning it with a piece of paper, shake the container often and be patient - like starting any other wild yeast

The fruit you start with matters. I started mine with orange and tangelos from the back yard because they are acidic, I left the skins on the pieces for one day to inoculate the water with the wild yeast on the skins and then replaced the fruit with skinned oranges and tangelos because the skin can be a little toxic to the yeast. - but I would do it differently today.


Teketeke's Japanese White Sandwich Bread

You want to make sure the fruit you use is organic thus no fungicides and herbicides on the skins and it has to have the skin on. What you want to do is get an organic apple and some organic raisins. People have their own opinions as to which ones work best but using both is really the cat's meow. Don't wash the apple or the raisins since the yeast you want is on the skin. I use a plastic 14 oz re-purposed peanut butter jar for my YW container but anything with a screw top lid will work.

Take 20 raisins and mash half of them. Take half an apple, leave the skin on, take the stem and base off and core the seeds out. Chop the 1/2 apple into 1/4 inch cubes. Mash half the apple pieces. Save the other half of apple by rubbing the cut side with lemon, lime or orange juice and refrigerate it.

Place all the 1/2 apple and raisins in the jar including the mashed portions. Add 1 T of orange juice. Fill jar 3/4 of the way up with bottled mineral or reverse osmosis water that is absolutely chlorine free. If you are using other tap water then pour it into an uncovered container 24 hours ahead of time so the chlorine can dissipate.  Do not add any honey at this point.

Keep the jar warm around 78 -80 F. I used a heating pad with kitchen towels folded on top till I got the right temperature and then covered the whole shebang with another towel to keep the heat in.

For the first 2 days, every couple of hours, open the jar fan some new air in it, close the lid shake the jar vigorously, loosen the lid a tad to let CO2 out and let it sit on the heating pad that way till you do it all again.

Yeasr Water Babka

On the 3rd day add 1 tsp of honey.  Keep up the fanning, shaking, loosening the lid till day 4. By that time, after you shake, the mix should bubble, easily be visible and remain for awhile. The jar lid should hiss as compresses CO2 escapes when you open the lid after shaking it.

After a week or so you should have some nice YW to bake with. To know if it is ready just make a levain with 50 g or the yeast water and 50 g of flour and see if can double in volume in 6-12 hours.

YW/SD multigrain bagels

Each week after the beginning week, strain everything out of the jar. Put 3 T of old YW back in the jar with a few pieces of old fruit say 4 raisins and 4 pieces of apple. Add more fresh raisins and half a diced apple you put in the fridge (you don't have to mash them up anymore).

Add 1 T of honey and fill 3/4th full with water. Leave on the counter. The next day it will be ready to build a levain with again. After it settles itself in, after a couple or three weeks, you can then refrigerate it 4 hours after feeding it and it will be ready and peaked to make bread after 2-3 days in the fridge. I now feed mine every 3 weeks and keep it in the fridge all the time

YW/ SD combo levain multi-grain with scald and seeds - YW will open the crumb of any usually heavy crumb.

You can replace any SD levain with YW.  If the recipe calls for 220 g of levain just use 110 g of YW and 110 of flour to make it. When it doubles it is ready to go about 6 hours or so. If you bake a lot like Janet does, or a little like me, when you use the YW just replace it with new bottled water and a little honey shake it up and leave it on the counter for a couple of hours before refrigerating.

 Happy YW baking.

YW/ SD Durum Ricotta with pistachio pumpkin and millet seeds.



Skibum's picture

. . . is fool proof. Heck, I just proved that today . . . And another adventure unfold! :-)

dabrownman's picture

based on the Forkish recipe is the best YW bread I have ever seen and Josh's first YW bake earlier this week, is a very, very close 2nd!  You two guys really set the bar so high - no one will want to challenge them!  Well maybe Lucy will :-)

 Nice going Ski

golgi70's picture

Very nice and it worked so easily. If it matters or makes people more interested in trying this I did not use any acid to start mine as I guess i missed that part.  Apparently then the organic fruits are more important.  Also I aimed for 78 degrees or so at my start but I'm certain it didn't hold at that temp the whole time.  It was in the mid 70's probably as that is where my house was at that week.  But once it started going its continue.  

The loaf you mention of mine was a combo so it really can't count.  Although I'm positive the classic Whole Wheat Walnut had its bar raised by not being such a heavy loaf.  

As of today my YW has changed its smell over to a more yeasty and less fruity smell.  Also I'm just keeping mine on  the counter to keep it at good mixing temps.  I just dump off half every 2 days and refresh with more water if not using. Then its ready for use all the time.  And when i say dump so far its been 50/50 dump/make a levain for following day. 

Again nice write up DAB 


dabrownman's picture

levains with either SD or commercial yeat do count.  Just like a commercial yeast booster to SD counts.  Your first YW bread is a classic if you ask me,  I need to add the part about 78-80 F since a higher temperature really helps the process along - just like it does to get any yeast growing. 

You want to think about putting a little honey in there after you dump - 1/2 tsp and a pinch of sugar.

I notice mine changes its smell too.  Right after i dump and feed, the YW smells fruity but after a few days goes more yeasty alcoholic.  After 3 weeks in the fridge it is great stuff. 

I also forgot to tell people to save and freeze the old fruit to put on ice cream and in future bread or cake bakes - delicious - raisin bread, stollen and fruit cakes all benefit.

Mebake's picture

Thanks for the writeup, DA! short and straight to the point.

One question. After you've established a YW, do you maintain it with organic fruits or any fruits wuld do?



dabrownman's picture

once your YW is established.  I've used cherries, apples raisins, orange and tangelo.  Each feeding lasts 3 weeks when stored in the fridge for me and if I use a lot of it and refill the water level  i also put in a half tsp of honey and a pinch of sugar.  I forgot to mention that RonRay who was YW pioneer on TFL and has a great blog on all kinds of YW stuff, also fed his apple yeast water sugar cubes along with the apples.  He also produced the great video of his YW bubbling away over time - what made me want to start some too!

There are some fruits that you aren't supposed to use that RonRay blogged about that were thick fleshy if i remember right and some who were toxic to yeast. I think mango and avocado were on the list but you would have to cheeck his blog.

Our Crumb's picture
Our Crumb

.... the honorable gentleman from AZ and his loyal apprentice.

Thanks for the practical update on Akiko's classic.  There are plenty of past-pickable apples still hanging in our orchard and you're motivating me to dice a few for a new brew.  Even though my wife insists she loves the density of the 100% WW loaves I bake for her, I suspect she wouldn't complain if they were lightened up with YW.

Thanks DAB!


isand66's picture

Great job DA....this really sums it up and anyone should be able to follow easily.

SylviaH's picture

For the nicely written tour of making yeast water.  Your bakes are beautiful and I especially love the babka.  Nice work

and thanks again for the review.


dabrownman's picture

how many folks have taken up starting and tending a YW culture.  I have a lot of fun with it and know that others do as well and some bake with it all the time like Janet does.  The perfect natural yeast for those that don'l want to buy commercial yeast.  I love it in those hard to lift, heavier, whole grain breads.

The babka is delicious and I like the YW cinnamon rolls too!  Very soft and moist.  Glad you liked the primer Sylvia


trailrunner's picture

and my apple yeast water kept in the fridge the whole time was sweet as ever...even more so !  I just drained off the apples.( I toss as they have "given their all ") They were all still floating  .  I took 1/4 c old yw and added 100 grams chopped apple and 100 grams sugar and filled the qt jar with filtered water. It is in the oven with the light on and will be perfect by AM. I also took 1/4 c organic raisins and added them to 1/4 c old yw and filled  a sterile qt jar  with filtered water shook and placed in oven. All will be perfect tomorrow. There are so many recipes on the links on TFL. Ronray has  one way and Janet has another and Akiko another and also dab !  The wonderful thing is it ALL works. Impossible to spoil any of it and no need to be precise or worry about temp.Fortunately it is even more forgiving than wild yeast. I can hardly wait to get back to baking after a month of traveling. The bakeries in NYC at Eataly were the best crust I have ever ever had. Cheap too ! Their raisin bread is amazing. I was able to go into their storage room and look at what flour they are using. Almost all bread is baked with "patent flour" and "artisan flour". Piles and piles of 50 # bags. What a treat. I have missed so many posts on TFL while traveling. I will never catch up...just start here and keep moving forward. What a timely post DAB !  c

dabrownman's picture

home safe and sound, YW refreshed and ready to get back to baking.  I think it is impossible to accidentally kill YW or SD.  You really have to be a premeditated murderer to pull it off :-)  I've accidentally tried every way to do so but, so far, they are too tough.  I haven't baked anything with YW for a while so it is time to get a levain going and try to get a good rise out of something!

Glad you liked the post. trailrunner and we look forward to your next bake.

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

Just s note. Organic does not mean pesticide free. It should mean that. It just doesn't. Maybe them pesticides are less toxic. But I am not sure I would skip washing the apple before eating it.  I wonder if a water rinse washes away the yeast. 

dabrownman's picture

certain organically approved pesticides, usually naturally occurring ones, may be used under limited conditions - but no synthetic ones can be used in order to maintain organic certification.  I use the fruit and citrus from my back yard which i know is totally organic in every way including pesticides.

David Esq.'s picture
David Esq.

My only point was that since I would not recommend eating organic pesticides, store-bought organic produce ought to be washed. And I wonder if water washes away the yeast. I don't see why it would. Produce gets rained on and if pesticides dont kill them, a good rinsing probably won't remove them. 

Maybe wash and leave out a day or two to let the yeast replenish. Assuming they are even reduced by rinsing.