Baking with "brewers yeast" in 20th century London
I wonder if someone here can help me with some more information about this.
My grandfather ran a bakery in Addiscombe, South London until the 1970s (approximately). (Consequently there is no tradition of baking bread in my family as bread just appeared, indeed when grandpa retired it took my parents a few months to get their heads round the idea that bread had to be purchased.) Bread was baked on the premises daily, he also made cakes. I remember in particular macaroons and madeleines. Having a baker as a granddad seemed ideal at the time, though I suppose looking back on it had he been a merchant banker that would have been OK as well.
I remember one story my mother told me about the business. Apparently grandpa used “brewers yeast” rather than the more common “distillers yeast”. The boy used to collect yeast from a brewery in Merton (or could have been Mitcham) by bike at regular intervals, with a bucket of yeast hanging on each handlebar. I recall also being told that these were kept for a while and fed potato peelings (grandpa also ran a catering business). Of course time may have degraded this story but that is what I remember. Having taken more of an interest in baking bread myself recently, I remembered this story and wondered what exactly was going on.
Now I think that by “distillers yeast” mum may have meant commercial yeast supplied by The Distillers Company Limited. They were big in drinks at the time, but were a conglomerate and had a commercial yeast making arm. My researches have revealed that in 1991 The Distillers Company (Yeast) Limited assigned the trade mark DCL for yeast. DCL is now a brand of Lesaffre. However the trade marks register also records the address of that company as being in Morden, Surrey, which is interesting bearing in mind what I recall my mum saying. And a bit confusing.
At that time many traditional brewers would have kept a culture of yeast themselves rather than buying a commercial product, and there may have been excess produced as a by-product of keeping this fed and maintained, and this may have been what grandpa used.
However, my internet searches have not uncovered evidence of that type of thing going on other than in very historical times, where the close relationship between brewing and baking is noted. What I have found out is that whereas you can make bread using yeast from the leftover stuff at the bottom of a beer fermentation, it tastes bad because of the hops in it. But maybe if the brewery made a no/low hop beer such as a brown or mild, the residue from that would have been OK?
So my question is, does anyone have any knowledge of bakers and brewers working together in this manner in recent decades and what exactly was the arrangement?