The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

This is not a sourdough starter...

mwilson's picture

This is not a sourdough starter...

I must be barmy!

Spontaneously fermented malt extract.

An unwashed jar that previously contained unpasteurised honey was filled with malt extract syrup produced from English barley (Hordeum. vulgare) and carbonated water at a 1:1.5 ratio by weight. One leaf of bay (Laurus. nobilis) and one leaf of basil (Ocimum. basilicum) were added as an additional source of naturally occurring microorganisms. The malt solution was held outside exposed to the environment kept in a limited aerobic condition whereby the jar was covered with a fine cloth to prevent the entry of unwanted insects. After two days the jar was transferred to a temperature controlled fridge set at 12 degrees Celsius (°C). The solution was subjected to vigorous shaking at various intervals to encourage oxygen uptake by the developing yeasts.

After 7 days at 12°C the resulting foam (barm) that occurs atop of the malt solution after shaking was harvested...



Abe's picture

Does this behave like barm and did you make a loaf from it? If you did can you post the results? Where did you get this idea from? 

I'm intrigued. 

mwilson's picture

It's an original idea. Before this I started some mead a few weeks ago. I also have some wine from home-grown Chardonnay on the go. All spontaneous ferments. I figured, malt extract (ME) to be similar to honey in that it doesn't ferment until you dilute it. So I thought this could be a way to harvest some maltose positive yeasts.

This is essentially a still-fermenting live beer and what I have collected is barm. So far I have used it to seed a biga starter. It's still maturing and smells great. Very much like a commercial yeast made biga (wheat, yeasty, sweet alcohol) plus some extra notes of coffee and caramel.

I have also topped up the fermenting malt with more ME and water.

I'm a little pushed for time so I'm not sure if I'll get round to actually making bread with it yet. We'll see...

Thanks for your interest Abe.

not.a.crumb.left's picture

who has all type of 'brews' on the go.....

I'd also be curious about any findings when you bake.......Kat

mwilson's picture

Please do Kat. I think this could catch on.

So far it has performed just like commercial yeast. The biga is done and a final dough is made which is now resting in the fridge until I have time to process it (Monday).

I'll keep you posted.