The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Hey to all!

pjeterschornstein's picture

Hey to all!

Hey all!

I am new to sourdough and to bread making. I am currently also learning about mushroom production and alcohol production and notice the many similarities.

One thing I do not understand is: How come you can keep sourdough yeast running forever while yeast for alcohol (yeast wash) only for a few generations and the same goes to similar practice with mushroom spawn?

I'd love to know the answer.

Anyway, I am really happy I've found this place and I am hoping so share some nice experiments in the future.


Lechem's picture
Lechem (not verified)

Nice to have you here. You've found a great site and looking forward to your contributions. 

Since I only have a sourdough culture, don't delve into alcohol production and know very little about mushrooms save from buying them and eating them, I'm not the one to ask. However I am very interested in the answer. 

Watching this forum post! 

IceDemeter's picture

It's no surprise that brewing and baking have traditionally gone hand-in-hand, but this is the first time that I've heard of mushroom farming being added to the mix!  It sounds like you've found yourself a great combination of fields to keep yourself busy for quite some time to come...

While I don't actually know the details, I have always assumed that the yeast for alcohol production in a specific batch died out due to lack of food, once all available material was devoured and fermented in to alcohol.  Is there not a "mother" batch kept alive by feeding, from which small colonies are pulled to brew the alcohol?  I always figured that there would be a "mother" batch that would keep being fed and regenerating, the same as a "mother starter", and that individual brew batches would be fed with the equivalent of a sourdough levain.

I'm looking forward to having you correct my assumptions, and learning more about this.

Happy baking (and brewing, and mushroom farming)!

albacore's picture

Brewers Yeast can be kept going for many generations. Some breweries in the UK have kept the same yeast strain, or mixture of strains, going for many years, although it is more normal to propagate fresh yeast on a regular basis.

To keep on using the same yeast, the malt sugar solution that is fermented (known as wort) should be sterile (this is done by boiling in the copper/wort kettle) and all equipment should be scrupulously clean.

When yeast is used to ferment wash for alcohol production, I suspect that the wort is not boiled - this is certainly the case for malt whisky - so the wort is not sterile and wild yeast and bacteria can be present. Also the wort for alcohol production is fermented as fully as possible to give a high alcohol content, which tends to stress the yeast.

Because of these two factors, and probably several others, yeast for malt whisky production and probably other distilled products is only used once.