The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

On turning wort into a mother culture

mutantspace's picture
mutantspace

On turning wort into a mother culture

i was recently given a litre of ale wort by a micro brewery. Very exciting. Lots to learn and am looking for advice. First thing I did was mix 150g wholewheat flour with 150g wort liquid. It got vigorous over 12 hours and I repeated the step. Following day I made bread using 200g leaven with 500g flour water and salt. It rose well with great texture but taste was kinda mushroomy/yeasty. I then did again except this time I took 10g of the leaven (from the 100g left over) and mixed with 40g water and 50g flour. Hoping it’ll create a mother culture. I was planning on making new levain with this mix but only using 20% in next bread. Can anyone advise me on that taste (mushrooms/yeast) I got from bread after using 40% levain in first bread and am I going the right thing by making up mother culture in the same way I make my sourdough.

thanks

Abe's picture
Abe

All I did was google "beer wort mushroom taste". So this is not coming from an expert. In fact I have very little knowledge on beer brewing but I do have an interest and your question is an interesting one so I will be following this thread.

I did come across this webpage on "18 common off flavours in beer". Scroll down to #18. 

mutantspace's picture
mutantspace

God. Hope it isn’t 18. They’re a commercial company...,they’ve won awards....

Portus's picture
Portus

... adding tasting notes to our usual posts that typically limit comments to recipes, experiences and descriptions of crumb and crust, often supplemented with a picture or two.

Imagine:  Pain de Levain had a textured and robust, dark caramel-coloured crust; a chewy crumb with a taste that hints at Goatish, tallow-like, vegetable oil, waxy, goat cheese flavours (#5 on the list) .....

The mind boggles, but not too far-fetched I suppose :-)

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

Interesting experiment.  Obviously you know propagated beer yeast is not the same as commercial bread yeast or the wild microbes we cultivate in sourdough.  You generally don't want the things that are in SD to be in your beer (except for the wild yeasts and bacteria that reside in a 16 square mile area in Belgium).  Brewers take extraordinary measures to ensure that only the beer yeast is allowed to propagate (e.g., hot water, bleach, TSP).  But you're doing the opposite, so what's my point?

I see others baking with the trub (dormant, spent yeast cells that in ale sink to the bottom of the fermentation vessel), so it's clearly a thing.  I've never tried it.  Perhaps you should find a home brewer you know and ask for some of the trub and use it to propagate a bread starter and see if you get a more pleasing result.  It will likely be a lot fresher than the residual yeast in the beer you had.

David R's picture
David R

... remember that, in general, with a starter culture if it raises the dough properly then you've done it right. 🙂

(Not that details don't count, but details are details.)

David R's picture
David R

... indicative of mold, means my classification of "details" is probably seriously flawed. ☹️

mutantspace's picture
mutantspace

Thanks for all that - I didn’t get yeast from beer I got wort from brewery along with spent grains so should be right and bread rose beautifully with lovely crumb and chew ...I have a feeling that the smell and taste is due to richness of hops and barley and what I need to do is use starter made with water and flour as a sourdough to calm flavour down and introduce some acids rather than replacing most of water with the wort - I’m making another bread with levain tomorrow (1:4:5) and using 20% rather than 40% Luke I did previously - I’ll let you know   

davidg618's picture
davidg618

I'm a long-time beer brewer (began 1992). I think using beer yeast to make bread is a crap shoot. Furthermore, using beer wort is a bigger crap shoot, and the dice are loaded. 

Here's why: You said your beer wort came from a microbrewery. Micro-brewers brew for flavor, often intense flavor. To achieve flavors they add a mix of grains that have been kiln dried at varying temperatures, and varying time intervals. In general low temperatures and shorter drying time intervals yield grains that deliver their native flavors to the beer. A grain most often used is barley. However, pale barley delivers much different flavors than chocolate barley, or roasted barley, as their name imply. Other common grains are wheat, oats, and rye. 

Additionally, modern worts often contains other flavors: for example citrus, sugars, and coffee. Less likely additives in craft beers, but possible is rice or corn syrup (or both). 

These are only examples, There are others; micro-brewers are imaginative brewers.

Beer yeast strains are also isolated or hybridized for flavors. For example there is a yeast strain that develops a strong ripe banana-like flavor when used to ferment wheaty worts. 

I've always considered beer brewing as akin to cooking as it is to fermentation, bread-baking not so much.

Sourdough most often relies on its lacto-bacteria content for its unique flavors, as well as relatively long fermentations compared to commercial yeast breads (which I think favor the grain's flavor contributions). Nor have I ever seen commercial bread yeast advertise its flavor contribution, contrary to pages of beer yeasts marketed primarily for their flavor contributions.

I'd recommend sticking to traditional sourdough colonies for bread-making. What worked for the BCE Egyptians, works for me.

David G

PS I also recommend beer making, wine making, kimchee making--just about anything fermented.

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

Good explanation.  I definitely miss brewing.

I made my first kimchi last month using the maangchi recipe. https://www.maangchi.com/recipe/tongbaechu-kimchi).  It's so good!  I never get tired of it.  My next Korean ferment will be the dongchimi (fermented radish water), which I'll then use to make cold noodle soup (dongchimi-guksu).

David R's picture
David R

... , after a number of feedings and uses, the grain/flour used in your initial starter will be essentially more-or-less gone, and the taste of the flour you're regularly using to feed it will predominate?

 

To me, the culture is what's going to make the lasting difference, assuming there is a lasting difference. And maybe having a yeast culture that's been relentlessly honed and perfected for a particular style of beer is not ideal for bread.

 

Then again, "ideal" isn't the same as "interesting". You can always buy commercial bread yeast, if ideal is what you're after. And having an interesting little twist to the story of the bread you're eating is kind of fun, as long as you like the bread.

 

Yeah - "as long as you like the bread". I think that little clause just about covers it. 🙂

mutantspace's picture
mutantspace

thanks for all that info. Thing is I told the brewery - which is also a restaurant -  id make a bread for them using their waste as they've adopted a zero waste policy. They already have a sausage maker who feeds her pigs the spent grain. And I figured Id make a bread from the wort and spent grains from their dark ale. So its partly an exercise and partly a matter of pride that I get this right - all the while knowing a fall is coming.

Ive refreshed the barm culture. Its now 1:4:5 (one part barm, 4 parts water, 5 parts flour) and fermenting away. It smells lovely, mellower than it did at first. Ill do one more refreshment tonight and consider that the mother. Ill make a levain from that then and see how it goes. 

In truth is, in terms of bread, the exercise is pointless as sourdough and bakers yeast are perfect. I just like the idea of making a particular bread for a particular place. Especially if they'll buy it. 

I know nothing of brewing beer. im learning loads on this thread about it though. Who would have thought. 

    

David R's picture
David R

...that a fall is necessarily coming. You've already proved that the concept can work, and clearly you'll modify your recipe to make the best bread possible with what you've got.

Most businesses with this kind of goal seem to include proving a point (that yes it can be done) as part of that goal. And you're contributing to seeing that it's done as well as possible. I like that.

mutantspace's picture
mutantspace

Thanks. Yep you’re right. It’s an experiment. Have my notebook going so we’ll see what happens however weather here in Ireland is cold and our house is damp so everything is going slow :)

Filomatic's picture
Filomatic

You can also make bread using spent grain as an additive, e.g., toasted and ground.

Just one example from searching this site:  http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/50256/celebration-beer-spent-grains-bread

mutantspace's picture
mutantspace

 i have a load of spent grain from the same brewery all neatly divided and in the freezer - i will be using them - hadnt thought to toast and grind....might just toast them although theyre pretty word down and well....spent :)

davidg618's picture
davidg618

...must be either fulfilled or renegotiated. Good luck to you.

David G