Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Stalking the wild yeast!

First of all, I need to say that I am in the middle of this experiment so I don't know if it will be successful or not. But here are the directions for those of you who wish to join me on this adventure. Wild yeast resides in your own kitchen...especially if you bake with yeast fairly often. The best times to capture wild yeast is summer and fall. Yeast doesn't survive well in cooler weather. Here are the ingredients for the trap... 2 cups warm water, 1 tablespoon sugar or honey and 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour. Mix the water, flour and sweetener together thoroughly in a clean, scalded, glass or ceramic bowl. Do not ever use metal when trying to catch yeast or when working with a sourdough starter. The scalding ensures that you are starting "clean". Cover the bowl with a clean dishcloth. Put it where you think you might have the highest concentration of airborne yeast and where it will be warm so that it will ferment. I put it in the corner of my kitchen where I always mix and work my bread dough each week. If the surface starts to look dry, give it a stir. I stir mine each day. It should begin to "work" in the first day or two if it is going to work at all. If it does, your trap worked! Let it work for 3 or 4 days giving it a stir every day. When it's developed a yeasty, sour aroma, put it in a clean jar with a loose lid and refrigerate it until you're ready to use it. If it begins to mold or develop a strange color or odor instead of a "clean, sour aroma" THROW IT OUT!! There are other variations...for instance use water left from cooking potatoes to make your starter....yeast thrives on that and it adds a wonderful taste to your sourdough. I found this "Capture Wild Yeast" information on the King Arthur Flour Company's web site.You can check them out for more variations or to order starter....just in case your trap fails.


  1. I hope it works out for you :)

    Another great source for making sourdough from wild yeast is the book Wild Fermentation by Sandor Katz. He actually has a ton of information on all kinds of fermentation - sauerkraut, relishes, beer, wine, etc. But, his dough section is very informative and has a lot of different recipes to try with your starter. (wild yeast starter, of course :) )

  2. Thanks so much for sharing this! If you don't mind I'd love to hear your recipe for bread using this starter.


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