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yeasts-msg – 6/7/08

 

Medieval use of yeast. Using it in the CMA.

 

NOTE: See also these files: BNYeast-art, bread-msg, beverages-msg, beer-msg, mead-msg, breadmaking-msg, leavening-msg.

 

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NOTICE -

 

This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

 

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

 

I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.

 

The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.

 

Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).

 

Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org

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From: Richard Bainter <pug at interval.net>

Subject: Re: brewing yeasts

To: bryn-gwlad at eden.com

Date: Fri, 18 Oct 1996 09:08:45 -0500 (CDT)

 

> >I am hoping it will be worth it in just better taste. (Things sitting

> >around my house too long will start fermenting on the yeasts floating

> >around in the air from the amount of brewing of late.)

> Oh yuck. I can just see it now. Yeast growing on cheese, and milk and

> sausage and tea and... old shoes and...

 

Not that bad at all. Only had problems with juices left out.

 

> How do you keep the wrong yeasts from the wrong beverage?

 

You steralize and stop (lots of different methods) the yeasts in whatever

you are brewing. Then when you pitch the yeast you want and it has the

highest chance of taking hold. (You give it a head start by either using

liquid yeast or a yeast starter.)

 

> I'm assuming you are using different yeasts for beers, ales and wines.

 

And many different kinds. There is a good yeast FAQ at:

 

http://alpha.rollanet.org/library/yeast-faq.html

 

> You're not doing bread making are you?

 

Nope. My mother-in-law does that.

 

> Yes, with commercial yeasts you may not

> have to leave them open to the air for long, but..

 

Lots of people still use an open style fermintation. This means you just

leave it open and let whatever lands in it go. This works in places that

have high concentrations of the yeast you want. (And of course doing this

successfully means that the yeast then has a higher chance of being the

one you want due to it multiplying. Nice cycle.)

--

Phelim Uhtred Gervas  | "I want to be called. COTTONTIPS. There is something

Barony of Bryn Gwlad  |  graceful about that lady. A young woman bursting with

House Flaming Dog     |  vigor. She blinked at the sudden light. She writes

pug at pug.net           |  beautiful poems. When ever shall we meet again?"

 

 

From: "Philip W. Troy" <troy at asan.com>

To: sca-cooks at eden.com

Date: Thu, 10 Apr 1997 20:27:16 -0400

Subject: Re: sca-cooks Greetings

 

Sharon L. Harrett wrote:

 

>         A thread has been heating up on my other listserver and I would like

> to ask you all your opinions. The discussion is on "yeast", for brewing and

> baking. The argument seems to be split between those who believe that

> "yeast" was unknown in period and therefore should not be used in any

> authentic period cooking, baking or brewing. The other side is that although

> folks in period did not neccessarily call their leavening "yeast" we know

> now that most starters work because wild yeasts have taken up residence in

> them, and that therefore to ensure a quality product for SCA consumption it

> would not be a leap of logic to use packaged yeast for baking and brewing.

> Ceridwen

 

I don't see what the problem is with using commercial yeast. It provides

a reasonably sure, unmutated yeast culture that does the job with a

greater level of consistency than any sourdough can. Sourdough is a

southern European thing anyway, and while it is very ancient, you cannot

assume all baking was done that way. Northern European recipes generally

call for barm, which is a byproduct from brewing ale, using a

top-fermenting ale yeast.

 

While this must at one time have been developed from wild yeasts, the

ale recipes often call for adding an existing yeast starter. Considering

the amounts produced by some of the brewing recipes, and the records of

the disappointment expressed when a feast day's entire batch of ale or

beer turned out to be bad, I wouldn't think they'd want to mess around

taking chances

 

By the way, where do people think the little blocks of fresh yeast,

wrapped in foil, come from? If you read the label carefully, you'll

generally find that much of it is produced by a subsidiary of

Anheuser-Busch.

 

Q.E.D.

 

Adamantius

 

 

From: nweders at mail.utexas.edu (Nancy Wederstrandt)

To: sca-cooks at eden.com

Date: Fri, 11 Apr 1997 10:43:05 -0600

Subject: sca-cooks yeast in cooking

 

While I can't tell you the date of the recipe (it is during the 16th

century) it is taken from A Booke of Cookry.

 

To seeth Roches, Flounders, or Eeles.

Make ye good broth with new yest, put therin vergious, salt, percely, a little

time, and not much rosemary and pepper, so set it upon the fire and boile

it, and when it is well boyled put in the Roches, Flounders, Eeles and a

little sweet butter.

 

Almost all the sauce for fish include yeast, which I found interesting.

Many thanks to Katerine Rountre for her notes on yeast. They were what I

needed since I haven't started redacting yet.  Next question is how do you

think the yeast was used....(what consistency)

 

Clare St. John

 

 

From: gfrose at cotton.vislab.olemiss.edu (Terry Nutter)

To: sca-cooks at eden.com

Date: Fri, 11 Apr 1997 13:44:41 -0500

Subject: sca-cooks yeast

 

Hi, Katerine here.  Tibor said:

 

>  Many thanks to Katerine Rountre for her notes on yeast.  They were what I

>  needed since I haven't started redacting yet.  Next question is how do you

>  think the yeast was used....(what consistency)

>

>Wow.  I have NO ideas.  I'd scoop up a tablespoon of ale barm from a bottle

>of home-made  beer, and taste it.  And see how it works.  (Damn shame if I'd

>have to drink the beer to get to the barm, wouldn't it be? :-)

 

I don't know either.  I do know that yeast and barm show up as *alternatives*

in some recipes, so there seems to have been some other form available; and

since using sourdough occurs rarely relative to yeast, I doubt that's it.

More than that, I can't say.

 

Cheers,

-- Katerine/Terry

 

 

From: MaryGraceB at aol.com

Date: Thu, 17 Apr 1997 15:34:43 -0400 (EDT)

Subject: SC - More on Yeast...for real this time

 

Ok guys....my mouse died and I am trying to learn to navigate without one

until I can get to the store to get another....so that is hopefully a

plausible excuse for sending out a message that did not have anything in

it....<g> Following is the message that I intended to send regarding the

yeast issue.  

 

MGB

 

From:  rayc at totcon.com (Ray Caughlin)

 

Another older timer and I spend a couple hours on the phone and she said

that I needed to inform people that yes yeast did exist during our societal

time period: in its wild and natural form. She continued to tell stories of

ways that our early ancestors used to harvest these yeastie beasties.

 

Alewives, would make rush brooms which they used only to stir their brew.

When not in use, they were hung near the open door way of their home. In

essence the broom was being soaked in the ale makings and then it collected

the wild yeast organism.

 

Toast or bread was added to some brews to impart "their flavor."

 

Our knowledge of yeast is modern. We know how to cultivate it and package

it. We have been able to break it down and discover that different forms of

yeast help produce food and beverages of varied kinds.

 

Taken from a work by Duke (?)Caraidoc and his Lady Wife, " Chemical

Leavenings

 

So far as we can discover, both baking soda and baking powder are far out

of period. According to the 1992 Old Farmer's Almanac, Saleratus (Potassium

Bicarbonate) was patented as a chemical leavening in 1840. Hartshorn

(Ammonium Carbonate) was used for stiffening jellies by about the end of

the sixteenth century (Wilson) but we have found no reference to its use as

a leavening agent prior to the late 18th century."

http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/cariadoc/cooking_from_primary_sources.html

 

I think all will find this link filled with useful information concerning

food and cooking for the Society.

 

So I return to my statement that our ancestors had to gather the wild yeast

by creating leavenings or starters which encouraged the growth of these

wild wonders, but that yeast (by that name or as a purchasable product) did

not!

 

I am sorry if I stepped on anyone's toes by standing by my research, but if

I didn't believe it, I wouldn't have written it. This does prove that

having a host of awards after one's name does help. The you might have

realized that I have done a great deal of research concerning food and food

preparation.

 

Still active (like proofed yeast)

Lord Mandrigal of Mu, Master Oldenfeld Cooks Guild.

 

 

From: "Philip W. Troy" <troy at asan.com>

To: sca-cooks at eden.com

Date: Fri, 11 Apr 1997 16:26:50 -0400

Subject: Re: sca-cooks Greetings

 

Aonghas MacLeoid (B.G. Morris) wrote:

 

> Yeast, as we know it, would most definitely have been used in period times.

> To achieve the yeast, and rising of today, periods cooks would leave a bowl

> of flour, water (or milk) and sugar. This was used to collect *wild* yeast,

> that would form the basis for bread, with a *natural* rising take place. It

> is my opinion that medieval breads could be likened to *sour dough* bread.

>

> Regards,

> Ealasaid

 

The sourness of a given batch of sourdough starter depends on the number

of generations that have passed, and mutated, since the capture of the

original yeast. Wild yeasts of fairly recent vintage  can still produce

a not-especially-sour dough. It is only when it is recycled quite a few

times that it becomes really sour, or in some cases, bitter. When it

reaches that stage it is (and presumably was, or may have been) common

practice to throw it away and start a new batch.

 

Adamantius

 

 

From: Deloris Booker <dbooker at freenet.calgary.ab.ca>

Date: Tue, 15 Apr 1997 15:20:15 -0600 (MDT)

Subject: SC - Re: sca-cooks Greetings

 

Re Yeast in period,

 

May I refer one and all to two books:

 

English bread and yeast cookery : Elizabeth David

 

Food in England : Huxley (long oout of print, but now available again in a

vastly overpriced edition from Little Brown)

 

Both books spend a lot of time on yeast in english cookery.

 

Aldreada of the lakes

 

 

From: Ilkka Heikki Salokannel <Rennes at xl.ca>

Date: Thu, 17 Apr 97 23:37:40 PDT

Subject: SC - Re yeast, chewets, and confits

 

Greetings Cooks,

 

Re Yeast: - You are quite correct in that the medieval cook

couldn’t go to a store and buy a package of dried yeast BUT  

both the word "yest" and "berme" or "barm" (ale yeast) were

used in medieval sources (to give just a few examples):

[Royal 17. A. iii MS. British Library, London. (c. 1370)] Ad

faciendum brakott - "...put therto newe berm..."

[MS BL Add. 5016 British Library, London (c. 1380) known as

Form of Cury ] Frytour of erbes” - "... a lytel yest...";

Bragget - "... do gode berme aboue..."

[Rawlinson MS. D1222 Bodleian Library, Oxford (c.1380)]

Mynceleek - "...do theryn a litel berme or a litel sourdoug"

[Harleian Ms. 279. (c.1420)] Cryspey - "... a lytel

Berme..."; Fretoure - "take whete floure, Ale yest, Safroun,

& Salt..."; Rastons - "...than take warme Berme...".

[Holkham Collection (c. 1460) known as "A Noble Boke off

Cookry ffor a Prynce Houssolde of eny other Estately

Houssolde"] To mak rostand - "...a litill yest of new ale..."

Leavening could be done two ways in the Middle Ages by either

the sourdough method or by using the froth or "barm" from the

top of fermenting ale. This was "ale yest". (Beer yeast

ferments on the bottom.) They, of course, had no idea what

yeast was (first discovered by Louis Pasteur in the 19th

century). The "yeast" in the sourdough method was airborne

wild yeasts of two kinds in medieval Europe. In the north the

wild yeasts are what were later domesticated into modern

"ale" and "beer" yeasts. In the south the wild yeasts are

what become "wine" yeasts. As the temperature increased the

limit of grape growing and airborne wild "wine" yeast moved

north and the medieval climate was, on the whole, warmer than

modern day. Modern "bread" yeasts are derived from the

domestication of North American wild airborne yeasts.

(Sourdough yeasts for starters came from N.America to France

not the other way around.) Yeasts are differentiated by their

tolerance for alcohol - a toxic waste product to the yeast.

Here in N. America we can make very good sourdough without

buying expensive starter packages, but have to protect our

wine and beer during fermentation from wild yeasts. [I worked

in R&D for Wine-Art in the seventies and read my way around

an entire room of  books about wine, wine history, wine

tasting, the chemical composition of wine, and yeasts. -

thought I should explain how I know this.]

 

Mistress Rowenna de Roncesvalles OL. OP

Barony of Lions Gate, Kingdom of An Tir

- -------------------------------------

Name: Ilkka Heikki Salokannel

E-mail: Ilkka Heikki Salokannel<Rennes at xl.ca>

 

 

From: Mark Schuldenfrei <schuldy at abel.MATH.HARVARD.EDU>

Date: Fri, 18 Apr 1997 12:48:49 -0400 (EDT)

Subject: Re: SC - Scottish Recipes

 

  In some of my older German recipe books, an ingredient is called for that

  translates as 'hartshorn'.  It is used in place of baking powder.  Is

  there a zoologist out there who could tell us if grated deer antlers

  would perform like baking powder or soda?  If so, we could use the modern

  substitute for health reasons.

 

If I recall correctly, hartshorn is an ammoniated equivalent to baking

powder, still available in England, and which produces a slightly different

flavor and texture.

 

        Tibor

 

 

Date: Mon, 13 Oct 1997 11:46:50 -0400

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: SC - beer bread recipe (was re: small feasts)

 

Par Leijonhufvud wrote:

> On Mon, 13 Oct 1997, Stephanie Rudin wrote:

>

> > gently and then dispose of the sediment.  Would you want to keep that

> > sediment

> > when using it to cook with?  Or is it just nasty stuff that should be

> > disposed of?

>

> It should be usable as a "substitute" for yeast (it is yeast:-). IIRC

> there are comments by Roman writers (with these words I hereby invoke the,

> Adamantius! ;-) that the Germans had bread that was much nicer that their

> own, without the sour taste and all.

 

Pliny the Elder, Historia Naturalis, IIRC, is what you are referring

to...the problem is that most of what comes to us as homebrew is

top-fermenting ale, and what sinks to the bottom is almost completely

dead yeast. You might be able to take  a solution of water and sugar

(preferably malt extract or actual brewer's wort) and use that trub at

the bottom to create a live yeast starter. When you've got that, you can

skim some of the foamy glop off the TOP, and use that for leavening,

since it's now live yeast. Bear in mind that in period both brewing and

baking were not so much frequent events as constantly ongoing processes,

and the raw materials for one were regularly being produced by the

other.

 

Adamantius

 

 

Date: Mon, 13 Oct 1997 12:47:50 -0500

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: Re[2]: SC - beer bread recipe (was re: small feasts)

 

The Romans used grape must from wine making as bread leavening.  This

produces a sourer leavening than the ale barm used by the German tribes.

 

If you do use the sediment, try "cleaning" it by mixing it with a cup

lukewarm water and a small pince of sugar.  Keep the mixture warm and

decant the liquor when the yeast grows.  Use the liquor for leavening.

To be honest, I haven't tried cleaning barm, but I'm working a deal with

a local brewer to get ale barm to experiment with cleaning and growing

it.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Tue, 14 Oct 1997 00:07:41 -0400 (EDT)

From: Ladypeyton at aol.com

Subject: Re:  Re: SC - beer bread recipe (was re: small feasts)

 

>You might be able to take  a solution of water and sugar

>(preferably malt extract or actual brewer's wort) and use that trub at

>the bottom to create a live yeast starter. When you've got that, you can

>skim some of the foamy glop off the TOP, and use that for leavening,

>since it's now live yeast. Bear in mind that in period both brewing and

>baking were not so much frequent events as constantly ongoing processes,

>and the raw materials for one were regularly being produced by the

>other.

 

I'm fairly positive that beer yeast used to make bread will not have a taste

that you expect.   Bear in mind that brewing & vinting yeasts are only

distant cousins of bread yeasts today.  I tried a wine with a bread yeast as

an experiment.  Yeuchhhh!  I have never tried the reverse but I wouldn't be

surprised if the same yeuchhh result was the outcome.  If you try it I would

be extremely interested in what your results were.

 

Peyton  

 

 

Date: Tue, 14 Oct 1997 12:53:16 -0500

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: Re: SC - beer bread recipe (was re: small feasts)

 

There are many different kinds of yeast, each of which works best for

specific purposes.  The brewers I know carefully choose their yeasts and

sterilize their carboys and equipment to reduce the possibility of

introducing wild yeast.   For baking I tend to use dry active yeast

purchased by the pound and stored in a jar in the refrigerator.  Trying

to swap one kind of packaged yeast for another usually doesn't work.

 

We know that for bread leavening the Romans used grape must, the

Germanic tribes used ale barm, and that ale barm continued to be used

into period.  Brewing and baking were ongoing activities about the

manors and probably remained that way through the period we recreate.

They were among the first forms of work to become commercial enterprises

as towns and urban centers began growing.  Commercial medieval brewers

cultivated their yeasts and I expect medieval baker's did the same,

although I have found no evidence to support this.  

 

We do know that bakers did grow their own yeast in the 18th and 19th

centuries.  In the first half of this century, home bakers could still

buy yeast from the local bakery.  The commercial breweries, who had to

cultivate yeast anyway, began to cultivate baker's yeast as well,

providing a cheaper, better source of yeast to commercial bakers and the

general public.  

 

The idea of growing yeast from the dregs and using the barm for baking

is similar to the practice of cleaning barm.  The gathered ale barm is

allowed to settle, the liquor is then decanted  and added to a warm

solution of water and barley malt extract.  The mixture is kept warm and

the yeast is allowed to grow.  The liquor is decanted and used as

leavening.  The process can be repeated indefinitely, but there are many

reports of the yeast culture weakening over time.  Unless you are really

feeling experimental, starting with an ale barm is probably advised.

 

Ales are top fermenting and are fairly light tasting.  The use of ale

barm (the foam on top of the ale pot) as bread leavening is documented.

The active fermentation is at the top of the pot, so it makes a fast

acting yeast (relatively) and it can be dried and stored for periods

when no ale is brewing.  The ale itself can be used as leavening (as

long as it has not been pastuerized) since there is yeast throughout the

product, but the action will be slower.  Almost all American commercial

beers are some form of ale.

 

Beers are bottom fermenting and usually are heavier and more bitter than

ale.   The taste is carried over into any bake goods.  And in any case,

collecting beer yeast really would be scraping the bottom of the barrel.

 

If you are interested in further research Stefans Floregium has some

good information on yeast and Elizabeth David's English Bread and Yeast

Cookery covers all of the ingredients in baking and covers a number of

historical practices.  

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Wed, 15 Oct 1997 05:30:33 +0200 (METDST)

From: Par Leijonhufvud <parlei at ki.se>

Subject: Baking (was: Re: SC - beer bread recipe (was re: small feasts))

 

On Tue, 14 Oct 1997, Decker, Terry D. wrote:

> into period.  Brewing and baking were ongoing activities about the

> manors and probably remained that way through the period we recreate.

 

Recent historical records (19th century and onwards to modern times in

Finland) describe how a continous sourdough culture was maintained in the

wooden baking trough. Enough yeast-containing dough always remained in the

trough, and subsequently "restarted" each time baking was done.

 

/UlfR

- --

Par Leijonhufvud                  par.leijonhufvud at labtek.ki.se

 

 

Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 23:29:45 -0500

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - Manchet (LONG POST)

 

><< e: adding the salt to the liquid...wouldn't that kill the yeast and

>prevent

> the bread from rising?   >>

>

>Adding the salt to the recipe would slow down the growth of the yeast. This

>is good. Fast growing yeast produces unwanted compounds which could, for

>instance, cause a decided bitter flavor in the finished product.

>

>Ras

 

Good point.  Salt is generally added to improve the flavor of the bread,

which is why I'll increase the salt the next time I make manchet. It

does slow yeast activity and by doing so "sweetens" the bread.  The

ratios of yeast/salt/flour differ based primarily on the length of the

rise.    

 

In the case of the recipe for manchet, the major rise of the bread is

during baking and the rise times are so short that you really don't

worry about fast growing yeast.  Standard bread recipes usually call for

1 teaspoon of salt to one or two teaspoons of dry active yeast and about

two pounds of flour with a two hour first rise and a one to two hour

second rise.

 

The place where the balance gets tricky is when you create a slow rise

bread or a starter.  Either of these may rise for as much as twelve

hours.  Some of the recipes I've seen call for tablespoon of salt to a

teaspoon of yeast and two pounds of flour.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Mon, 27 Oct 1997 11:22:18 -0600

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - Manchet (LONG POST)

 

I learned some things about using yeast in solution over the weekend.

Since I normally use dry active yeast, I am unfamiliar with the

characteristics of keeping and using yeast in solution. The following

is from a message I sent earlier and describes a test I ran this

weekend.

 

I learned a little more about yeast as a liquid over the weekend after I

read about "cleaning" ale barm.  Ale barm which is skimmed from the

active fermentation at the top of the ale pot is poured into a gallon of

fresh, clean water, stirred and left to sit overnight. This is to

remove some of the taste of the bittering agents (like hops) in the ale.

No actively fermenting, the yeast settles to the bottom. The water is

decanted, except for the pint or so containing the yeast. Since I

normal use dry active yeast, and I am unfamiliar with the

characteristics of yeast being kept in solution, I decided to

experiment.

 

As a test, I decanted 1/2 cup of the yeast solution and added it to 1/2

cup lukewarm water and a pinch of sugar.  I then stirred the yeast

solution and decanted 1/2 cup into a 1/2 cup lukewarm water with a pinch

of sugar.  I covered the two test batches and let them stand in the

kitchen for several hours.  Then I stirred each solution and decanted 1

ounce of the solution into a 1/2 cup of lukewarm water and mixed in 1

cup of flour to make two starters.  The remainder yeast solutions were

returned to the yeast jar.

 

After four hours, the stirred solution starter was about three times the

size of the other.  The starters were then used to make bread. They

were added to dough mixtures of 2 cups of flour sifted with 1 tablespoon

of salt, 2 tablespoons of melted butter, and 2 eggs.  Two additional

cups of flour were kneaded into each mixture.  They were allowed to rise

for two hours, then punched down kneaded slightly, formed into four one

pound loaves, placed in greased baking tins and allowed to rise for two

hours.  They were baked at 400 degrees F for 45 minutes.

 

The stirred yeast produced 2 one pound country loaves with superb taste

and density.  The unstirred yeast produced loaves with half the rise, a

doughy texture and a taste which could be kindly described as terrible.

 

This morning I looked at the yeast jar.  There were three defined

layers.  A clear translucent layer at the top, solids at the bottom, and

a yellow translucent layer in between.  So apparently without active

fermentation, the yeast concentrates toward the bottom of the solution

and you get the best mix of yeast by stirring before decanting.

 

This also means that the difference in rise between my second and third

batches of manchet may be due to a difference in agitation as I decanted

the yeast solution.

Bear

 

 

Date: Fri, 21 Nov 1997 10:42:22 -0400

From: Philip & Susan Troy <troy at asan.com>

Subject: Re: Unit alert! (was: SC - Long-Period food, bread, etc.)

 

Par Leijonhufvud wrote:

> > It is two envelopes primarily to get a good rise quickly.

>

> When you say; "an envelpe of yeast"; just how much yeast is this? If

> given the amounts we non-US cooks have some chance of figuring out what

> is equivalent, but not when it comes to packages.

>

> /UlfR

> (Who buys yeast is 50 gram cakes)

 

The recipe I based the peri-oid "white" bread recipe I posted called for

2 envelopes of dry yeast, or 1 ounce of fresh "cake" yeast. An envelope

of dry yeast in the USA is a fairly standard measurement equivalent to

1/4 ounce per envelope (roughly 1 Tablespoon, if you buy it by bulk in

jars or some such. So two envelopes is 1/2 ounce dry yeast, or roughly

equivalent to a 1-ounce cake of fresh yeast, in the States,  or

approximately 1/2 of one of Ulf's 50-gram cakes in Sweden.

 

Now, I should also point out that the recipe I posted was in response to

a request from a lady looking for a bread recipe for an event,

presumably to be baked in bulk. Yes, an experienced baker can get by

with much less yeast, given things like sufficient time to start a

sponge the night before, a six-hour rise time, give or take an hour, and

a proper oven. And, yes, there are certainly ways to make the recipe

produce a loaf that would be closer to some forms of period bread. This

was an informed compromise, since I don't yet have a recipe scaled to

make fifty loaves using freshly washed ale barm ;  ), and I would want

to be a bit more experienced in the technique before spending event

money on it.

 

Adamantius

 

 

Date: Mon, 30 Mar 1998 15:17:38 -0600

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - Beer yeast for bread

 

> Over the weekend, my husband bought a version of Red Hook

> beer with a German name I don't recall at the moment (hefe something?).

> It has active yeast in it and I thought all weekend of how to turn it

> into yeast for bread.

>

> Anne

 

I've estimated that you need about 1 oz. of fresh ale barm to leaven 2 lbs.

of flour and I would expect it to take 12 to 24 hours to rise.  The leas,

having a lot of dormant yeast, aren't as active as fresh barm and need time

to grow, which is why it took a couple of days for Charles Ragnar to produce

bread.  If you want the yeast to work faster, you probably need to cultivate

it.

 

If you want to try cultivate the yeast, sterilize a quart cannning jar, lid,

and a large metal spoon, dissolve a couple of tablespoons of barley malt

into two cups of boiling water, empty the canning jar, put the spoon into it

(to dissipate heat) and pour in the boiling water, remove the spoon and

cover the jar loosely with the sterile lid.  Allow to cool below 100 degrees

F.  The idea is to kill off the molds and bacteria which can make your barm

unusable.

 

Wash off the neck of your beer bottle with hot water. Open the bottle and

decant your drink, leaving an ounce or so in the bottle. Swirl it around to

stir up the leas, and decant the leas into the solution in your canning jar.

Loosely cover the jar.  Agitate it mildly every few hours. Give it a few

days.  Then agitate and decant and ounce or two as needed. At this point

the barm can be stored in the refrigerator  for several weeks to months.

 

If the barm is cold,  agitate it and decant what you need, then allow the

decanted solution to come to room temperature before mixing it into your

bread making liquor.

 

The process is not as simple as using the leas and there is the problem of

infection.  I've lost my last two barm experiments to mold.  Must be El

Nino.

 

BTW, Your idea of using half a bottle as starter for beer bread is a good

one.  Active yeast should be in suspension in the liquid as well as in the

leas.  I hadn't thought about using Hefeweiss (I believe that's what you

have) as a bread starter, but it would be an interesting experiment.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Tue, 5 May 1998 15:21:27 -0500

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: SC - yeast - LONG & OOP

 

While on a trip to New Orleans, I had the opportunity to stop at a bookstore

in Shreveport and come up with a couple of treasures.  One of these is

Tullie's Receipts, a book of recipes assembled from various 19th century

sources by the Kitchen Guild of the Tullie Smith House Restoration, Atlanta

Historical Society.  The recipes are from cookbooks published in the period,

Southern manuscript cookbooks written in the period, the odd recipe glossed

into a printed cookbook and venerable family recipes of undeterminable age.

 

I found the entries for yeast interesting, and am transcribing a couple of

them here.

 

Dry Yeast

 

Put four ounces of hops to six quarts of water; boil it away to three

quarts.  Strain, boiling hot (as directed for the Soft yeast) upon three

pints of flour, a large spoonful of ginger, and another of salt.  When it is

cool, add a pint of sweet yeast.  When it is foaming light, knead in sifted

Indian meal enough to make it very stiff.  Mould it into loaves, and cut in

thin slices, and lay it upon clean boards.  Set it where there is a free

circulation of air, in the sun.  After one side has dried so as to be a

little crisped, turn the slices over; and when both sides are dry, break

them up into small pieces.  It thus dries sooner than if not broken.  Set it

in the sun two or three days in succession.  Stir it often with your hand,

so that all parts will be equally exposed to the air. When perfectly dry,

put it into a coarse bag and hang it in a dry and cool place.  The greatest

inconvenience in making this yeast is the danger of cloudy or wet weather.

If the day after it is made should not be fair, it will do to set the jar in

a cool place, and wait a day or two before putting in the Indian meal.  But

the best yeast is made when the weather continues clear and dry; and if a

little windy, so much the better.

 

To use it, take, for five loaves of bread, one handful; soak it in a very

little water until soft, which will be in a few minutes; stir it into the

sponge prepared for the bread.  This yeast makes less delicate bread than

the soft kind, but it is very convenient.

 

Mrs. M.H. Cornelius, The Young Housekeeper's Friend (1859)

 

Baker's Yeast

 

To a gallon of soft water put two quarts of wheat bran, one quart of ground

malt, (which may be obtained from a brewery,) and two handfuls of hops.

Boil them together for one half an hour.  Then strain through a sieve, and

let it stand till it is cold; after which put to it two large tea-cups of

molasses, and half a pint of strong yeast.  Pour it into a stone jug and let

it stand uncorked till next morning.  Then pour off the thin liquid from the

top, and cork the jug tightly.  When you are going to use the yeast, if it

has been made two or three days, stir in a little pearl-ash dissolved in

warm water, allowing a lump the size of a hickory-nut to a pint of yeast.

This will correct any tendency to sourness, and make the yeast more brisk.

 

Miss Leslie, Directions for Cookery (1847)

 

Strong yeast is barm from the brew pot.  Pearl-ash is cream of tartar.

 

 

Date: Sat, 20 Jun 1998 12:26:04 -0500

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - Sourdough

 

> Does anyone out there have any experience with making sourdough starter? I

> started a batch a week ago and have been diligent about stirring several times

> a day. At first (days 1-3) it bubbled up and tried to escape and was real

> active and *smelled* like sourdough. But now (the 8th day -- the recipe said

> 5-10 days) it just sort of lays there in the bowl.

>

> Is this normal, or should I start again? Any tips?

>

> Renata

 

You probable should have sealed it in a jar and put it in the refrigerator

about day 5.  The starter needs to be used about once a week and you should

replace the amount of starter you use with an equal amount of lukewarm water

and flour mixed 1:1.

 

To see if your starter is still useable, break 1 cup of starter apart in 1

cup of luke warm water (80 to 90 degrees F).  Add a Tablespoon of honey or

sugar to the mix and stir to dissolve.  Stir in 1 cup of flour sifted with 1

Tablespoon of salt.  Stir in more flour until the dough forms a ball

(probably 2 cups).  Knead on a floured surface, adding flour as necessary

until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.  Put the dough in a greased

bowl, cover and let it rise until doubled (if it doesn't rise much, let it

rise for 3 hours).  Punch the dough down and form it into loaves (this

recipe should make about 2 pounds of bread).  Put the loaves on a greased

baking sheet or into greased tins.  Cover and let rise until doubled (or for

2 hours).  Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for about 35 minutes or

until the loaves are brown and sound hollow when thumped on the bottom.

 

If the bread is too dense, you've probably killed off most of the yeast in

your sourdough starter and need to start over.  If you like the results,

replenish the starter and store it in a sealed container in your

refrigerator.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Sat, 20 Jun 1998 15:44:54 EDT

From: Balano1 at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - Sourdough

 

For the sourdough to get quiet after a fews days is perfectly normal.  I grew

up with fresh homemade Sourdough bread bread and waffles every weekend when my

dad had the time to cook.  Have kept my own starter going for years.  When you

take out half to make your bread or whatever and add it to the other bread

ingredients, it will perk right up!  BTW, that vinegar like substance is

hooch and will become alcoholic in a short time!

 

- Nadene

 

 

Date: Sun, 21 Jun 1998 08:14:19 -0500

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - Sourdough

 

> Just as a little aside, if the liquor of a starter has gone a sort of

> orange/brown colour it probably shouldn't be used. I too grew up with

> exclusively homemade bread (and had big jars of starter on the counter)

> and that was the sage advice my mom gave me a long time ago. Does anyone

> know why this is? I've always assumed that there are unwelcome guests in

> the starter if this happens.

>

> Coll

 

It's probably a mold.  Normally, you will get green ones, but there are some

red ones which attack grain products.  My last yeast experiment failed when

it became infected with mold.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Sun, 21 Jun 1998 15:18:03 -0500

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - Sourdough

 

> Bear says:

> >>You probable should have sealed it in a jar and put it in the

> refrigerator about day 5.<<

>

> The recipe says to keep it in the fridge covered with cheesecloth, not

> sealed.

>

> What to do, what to do...?;)

>

> Renata

 

If you leave it unsealed, be ready to use it every day or two.

Refrigeration reduces humidity and it will take the water out of the

starter.  Covering and refrigeration extends the life of the starter and

helps keep out molds and other undesirable critters.

 

If you use it often, you could leave it in a jar on the counter with a loose

top.  There are a number of comments about the Alaskan "sourdoughs" carrying

their sourdough starter in a pocket.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Mon, 22 Jun 1998 08:00:25 +0200 (MET DST)

From: Par Leijonhufvud <parlei at algonet.se>

Subject: RE: SC - Sourdough

 

On Sun, 21 Jun 1998, Decker, Terry D. wrote:

> If you use it often, you could leave it in a jar on the counter with a loose

> top.  There are a number of comments about the Alaskan "sourdoughs" carrying

> their sourdough starter in a pocket.

 

There is, of course, another method of keeping a sourdough starter. This

is to use a wooden baking trough, and letting the remains of the last

dought form part of the next. This was done in country-side Finland up

until quite recently. I tried a version of this a few months ago. After

baking I left the bowl (plastic) stand on the counter until dry. The

next weekend I then simply mixed down the crusty remains with some

flour and water. And it started to rise after having been left alone

overnight, and worked well as a starter.

 

Or you could just freeze it between uses if you aren't going to bake

every week.

 

/UlfR

- --

Par Leijonhufvud                           parlei(at)algonet.se

 

 

Date: Mon, 22 Jun 1998 09:00:01 -0500

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - Sourdough

 

> There is, of course, another method of keeping a sourdough starter. This

> is to use a wooden baking through, and letting the remains of the last

> dought form part of the next. This was done in country-side Finland up

> until quite recently. I tried a version of this a few months ago. After

> baking I left the bowl (plastic) stand on the counter until dry. The

> next weekend I then simply mixed down the crusty remains with some

> flour and water. And it started to rise after having been left alone

> overnight, and worked well as a starter.

 

I got to thinking about this the last time you mentioned it.  The wooden

baking trough works for small batches, but I don't think it is effective for

commercial quantities.  I expect large batches of bread were boosted with

ale barm to get a good rise in a reasonable time.

 

However, let's take your technique a little farther. Create your leaven,

let it rise and bubble for a few days, then dry it out. (Most bakers won't

do this because reconstituting a leaven in quantity is a pain.)  Grind the

dried leaven to powder.  At that point you have a high yeast content powder

which can be added to the dough to leaven it.  The powder should retain its

potency up to about 120 degrees F and, as long as you kept it dry, could be

easily transported in a pouch or a flask.  The technique is similar to some

stuff I've found in 19th Century recipes.

 

> Or you could just freeze it between uses if you aren't going to bake

> every week.

 

Good idea.  Bread dough will rise after freezing without a lot of problem,

so a leaven should freeze just fine.  I would let it come back to room

temperature before mixing dough.

 

> /UlfR

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Thu, 25 Jun 98 16:26:08 -0600

From: upsxdls at okway.okstate.edu

Subject: Re[2]: SC - Sourdough (getting further and further from topi

 

Ok, Bear, this is exactly what I'm looking for (although I didn't

know it until late yesterday afternoon).  All of my starter recipes

have been "cheaters" (using store-bought yeast to make the starter).

 

     Several years ago I stumbled across a bread cookbook entitled "The Garden

     Way Bread Baker's Almanac" or something like that.  It contains several

     receipes for making sourdough starter without store-bought yeast.  If I

     recall, it even contains some special recipes for unusual diets.  I can

     either post to the listserv, or you may email me privately:

     upsxdls at okstate.edu

 

     Good luck!  Leanna McLaren of Sparrowhaven

 

 

Date: Fri, 26 Jun 1998 07:55:08 -0400

From: Nick Sasso <Njs at mccalla.com>

Subject: Why Sour? (Re[2]: SC - Sourdough (getting further and further)

 

Ok, Bear, this is exactly what I'm looking for (although I didn't

know it until late yesterday afternoon).  All of my starter recipes

have been "cheaters" (using store-bought yeast to make the

starter).............

 

The things that give sourdough its characteristic tartness (as well as

too many carboys of my beer!!) are the wild yeast, acetobaccili (makes

acetic acid) and lactobacilli (makes lactic acid) that are in the wandering

air about us.  There are certainly other things, but healthy yeast from

the store will not generally do the same.

 

On a tangential note, there is a yeast strain that will give beer a banana

and clove character when used in conjunction with wheat malt.  Might

ber a hoot to try in bread......or a starter...........(weihenstephan or

wheat beer yeast).

 

niccolo difrancesco

 

 

Date: Mon, 6 Jul 1998 18:59:59 -0400

From: "Alma Johnson" <chickengoddess at mindspring.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Re: Yeast

 

>I got a coupon for a free strip of Rapid-Rise yeast and it got me

>wondering. I was hoping Adamantius or Bear or someone could answer this.

>What exactly is rapid-rise yeast? What do they do to it to make it rise

>faster?

 

To the best of my knowledge, there are 2 differences.  One is the strain of

yeast.  Some are more vigorous than others, and just about every yeast

manufacturer has it's own, which is why you'll find that the "same" yeast

from different companies will act differently.  Next is the process by which

the yeast is deactivated, to keep it dormant till you wake it up when

_you're_ ready for it to work.  The process often used is a heat drying

process.  This does, however, kill off some of the yeast. Instant yeast is

dried at lower temps than active dry, killing fewer yeasties in the process,

so you get a faster start, and generally more bang for your buck.

 

Rhiannon Cathaoir-mor

Not Adamantius, nor Bear, but a baking freak, nevertheless.

 

 

Date: Mon, 6 Jul 1998 22:16:46 -0400

From: renfrow at skylands.net (Cindy Renfrow)

Subject: Re: SC - Yeast

 

Sigh.  From http://www.breadworld.com/products/ , The Fleischmann's Yeast

website:

 

"Fleischmann's Active Dry yeast:

 

This yeast is the original active dry yeast product. It is highly stable and

known for its consistent performance and works best when dissolved in

water prior to mixing. Fleischmann's Active Dry Yeast comes in two types

of packaging: a strip of three 1/4-oz packets and a 4-oz glass jar. "

 

"Fleischmann's Rapid Rise Yeast:

 

This is an instant active dry yeast. It is a highly active strain that can be

mixed directly with dry ingredients before use. Since the yeast does not

  need to be dissolved first and only one rise is required, the process of

baking is significantly shortened. Fleischmann's Rapid Rise Yeast is

available in a strip of three 1/4-oz packets. "

 

"DESCRIPTION:

a finely granulated, highly active instant dry yeast that hydrates and

activates quickly does not need to be dissolved before using--best when

mixed directly into dry ingredients

 

     HISTORY:

Introduced in 1984

 

     AVAILABLE FORM:

Strips of three 1/4-oz packages

 

     DIETARY CONCERNS:

The yeast is permitted for use in gluten-free, lactose-free, corn-free,

soy-free, sugar-free, no-MSG and vegetarian diets.

 

     EQUIVALENTS:

One 1/4-oz package = 2 1/4 teaspoons dry yeast

 

     SUBSTITUTIONS:

     One 1/4-oz package can be substituted for, or used in place of the

following:

0.6-oz cake of Fresh Active Yeast

 

Can also be used interchangeably (equal parts) with:

Active Dry, Bread Machine or other instant yeast

 

There is more info on the Fleischmann's site.

 

Cindy/Sincgiefu

 

 

Date: Fri, 17 Jul 1998 09:44:28 -0500

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - Re: Kvass and yeasties

 

> Although none of my sources are good "period" sources, I would assume

> (yes, I know the dangers) that wild yeasties have been around for a very

> long time.

 

Yeasts are one of the older lifeforms on the planet.  They were first used

to leaven bread in Egypt about 5000 years ago and were used prior to that to

make beer.

 

> You can make bread by just putting flour and water (a little

> sugar or honey helps) in a container and leaving it open, or preferably

> covered with thin cheesecloth.

 

Except in a sterilized environment, yeast spores appear to be ubiquitous.

Flour contains yeast spores which accumulated on the wheat and passed

through the milling process.  So, you can mix flour and water together in a

covered container and still get fermentation.

 

> Also, you never

> know what types of yeasts you are collecting and the flavors they create

> can be unpredicatable.  Sometimes new and exciting, othertimes not so

> nice.

 

Many yeasts appear to be localized, so that some very fine flavors can only

be created in a small geographic area.  The chief problem with collecting

wild yeast is that you also collect molds.  This has little effect on a

flour and water paste, but as you increase the sugar content of the mix,

molds are more likely to form.  I've lost a couple yeast experiments this

way.

 

> I know that I have seen statements about brewing mead done this way in

> period, though I can't tell you the books and sources offhand.  I am

> sure that adding some already baked bread or fermented but not baked

> dough to a brewing mixture would be a faster and more predicatable way

> to get your brew a-bubbling.  But there I go making the "they could have

> done it in period" assumption that I am so well known for.

> :-)

>

>  -Failenn

 

Actually, I think it may have originated as a way to keep from wasting stale

bread, although Adamantius does point out the Egyptians produced a special

bread for brewing.  Yeast dies at about 140 degrees F, so baked bread

contains no yeast internally.  The Sumerians used a barley flat bread

augmented with crushed barley for their brewing.

 

In period, it would be more common to leaven your dough from the ale pot

rather than boost your brew with dough, although I wouldn't put it past some

crazy brewer who had the ale pot die.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Tue, 25 Aug 1998 12:13:32 -0600

From: upsxdls at okway.okstate.edu

Subject: SC - Sourdough starters

 

     The following starters come from "The Garden Way Bread Book: A Baker's

     Almanac" by Ellen Foscue Johnson.  Garden Way Publishing. Charlotte, VT

     05445

 

     #1 Flourless Potato Starter

 

     3 medium potatoes          4 cups water

     1 tablespoon dry yeast     3 tablespoons sugar or honey

 

     Cook potatoes in water until soft.  Drain, saving the water.  Mash the

     potatoes, or puree in a blender  When the cooking water has cooled to

     lukewarm, put it in a large glass, plastic or crockery bowl.  Add the other

     ingredients, including the mashed potatoes.  Stir to mix.  Cover with a

     towel, and let it sit in a warm place, not over 90 degrees, for two days or

     longer.  When the mixture is frothy and smells sour, place in a covered

     container and store in the refrigerator.

 

     #2 - Potato Water Starter

 

     1 tablespoon dry yeast     2 teaspoons sugar

     2 cups warm water in which potatoes have been cooked

     2 additional cups water    2 cups unbleached white flour

 

     Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm potato water.  Put in a glass,

     plastic, or crockery bowl; cover with towel and let it sit in a warm place

     for 48 hours.  At the end of this time stir in 2 cups warm water and 2 cups

     flour.  Cover.  Let it stand overnight or longer, until the whole mixture

     is frothy and smells sour.  Make sure your bowl is large enough to all for

     expansion.  STore in a covered jar in the refrigerator.

 

     #3 - Milk Starter without Yeast

 

     3 cups milk, whole or skim         2 cups unbleached white flour.

 

     Let the milk stand in a glass, plastic or crockery bowl, covered,

     twenty-four hours.  Stir in the flour, cover and let stand for several days

     in a warm place.  When the mixture is bubbly and smells sour, store in a

     covered jar in the refrigerator.  For a little extra insurance (not for the

     purist), add one tablespoon sugar and on-half tablespoon dry yeast with the

     flour.

 

     #4 - Raw potato starter without yeast

 

     1 cup warm water                   1 teaspoon honey

     1 cup unbleached white flour       1 cup raw, peeled, grated potato

                                           (about one medium large potato)

 

     Combine all ingredients in a plastic, glass or crockery bowl.  Cover with

     towel and let sit in a warm place for several days, until foamy and soured.

      Don't get impatient; it may take three to seven days.  Store in a covered

     jar in the refrigerator.

 

     #5 - Honey starter with yeast

 

     1 tablespoon dry yeast             2 tablespoons honey

     2 cups warm water                  2 cups unbleached white flour

 

     Dissolve the yeast and honey in the water in a glass, plastic or crockery

     bowl.  Stir in the flour.  Cover with a towel and lst sit in a warm place

     for several days or until foamy and soured.  Store in a covered jar in the

     refrigerator.

 

     These sour dough starters tend to foam and expand as the wild yeast

     beasties do their thing.  I recall I have used the raw potato starter with

     good results, but when my Herman died, I went to the health food store ad

     purchased "sourdough starter in a packet." Now, I guess I'll try to bring

     another Herman to life.  Hope these recipes help. Leanna of Sparrowhaven

     (upsxdls at okstate.edu)

 

 

Date: Sat, 19 Sep 1998 16:32:25 -0500

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - oh-oh...Totally OOP

 

> Hi there, Bread virgin here...

>

> I am atempting to make Sticky Buns. In the recipe it specifically calls for

> "Robin Hood SAF Yeast". So off I went shopping this a.m. and couldn't find

> this puppy anywhere to save my life. What I did get was Fleishmanns Active

> Yeast.

>

> Now, in pre-reading the recipe it states that I include the yeast right in

> with the flour, sugar, salt in a large bowl????? Add milk, butter and egg,

> knead and place in a greased bowl. And then let it stand for 1.25 hours.

>

> Okay, I may have never baked real bread since I was a kid but I have used

> yeast in the past. Don't you have to start it with sugar and water? Is SAF

> yeast something entirely different? Will putting the Fleishmanns Active

> Yeast in place of the other screw this up?

>

> Micaylah

 

I don't know diddly about RH SAF Yeast, but from the way the recipe is

written, it calls for a dry active yeast.

 

Dry active yeast can be added directly to the dry ingredients and is

supposed to activate when the liquid dissolves it.  This is sometimes done

to keep the yeast from losing potency when quickly blended with hot or cold

liquids.  Only problem, you don't know if the yeast has activated until the

dough doesn't rise.

 

These days, I cheat and proof the yeast with a little water and pinch of

sugar and stir it into the dry ingredients before adding the liquids.  You

really don't need the sugar, but it activates the yeast faster and better.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Sat, 19 Sep 1998 20:15:56 EDT

From: SigridPW at aol.com

Subject: SC - Re: proofing yeast

 

<< Now, in pre-reading the recipe it states that I include the yeast right in

with the flour, sugar, salt in a large bowl????? Add milk, butter and egg,

knead and place in a greased bowl.  >>

 

I've baked bread for years, and you may rest assured, if you follow the recipe

as it is written, it will be fine.  Dissolving yeast in warm water or milk

mixed with sugar (or "proofing" as it is called) is not necessary.  Just be

sure the milk you use is heated till warm and double check your foil packet of

yeast to be sure it is not "expired".  On some things that date is useless,

but on yeast it is dead serious!  A day later and your recipe will indoubtedly

be flat.  Happy baking!

 

Lady Madeleine de la Chatte Enfumee

 

 

Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 12:10:50 -0500

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: Re[2]: SC - oh-oh...Totally OOP

 

> Bear, Micaylah:  Watch the expiration dates on your yeast packets, they're

> fairly accurate.  I recently used up my last dab of yeast (expired 3 mos

>  ago) and opened a new jar.  The first batch did rise (finally), but not as

>  rapidly as the fresh yeast.

 

>  Leanna of Sparrowhaven

 

I buy in bulk and keep the yeast in a jar in the refrigerator.  Kept cool,

dry active yeast will keep indefinitely.  Liquid yeasts and compressed yeast

have a shorter shelf life.  I do tend to proof the yeast, so that I don't

get caught by surprise.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 10:47:16 -0600

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - once again bread

 

> But I have a question...I love making sour dough bread.....but to me it is

> never sour enough....can it be made sourer ? is that the proper way to say

> it even?

> Stacie

 

The best sourdoughs are produced by a symbiotic reaction between Candida

milleri, a strain of Saccharomyces exiguus, and Lactobacillus sanfrancisco.

The reaction does not occur with S. cerevisiae (regular bread yeast).

 

C. milleri strengthens the gluten and L. sanfrancisco improves the

fermentation of the maltose and provides the characteristic sourness.

Unfortunately, most of us are not in San Franciso where this combination is

readily available.

 

To make a sourdough starter, in a bowl, mix 2 cups of flour with one cup of

water.  Place the bowl on the counter and wait.  It does not matter whether

the bowl is covered or uncovered.  The water and the flour will activate a

natural amylase reaction to convert starch into sugar. The yeasts present

in the flour will use the sugar to ferment the dough and create a sourdough.

 

Exposing the starter to the air increases the probability of gathering wild

yeasts and lactobacilli in the starter.  None of this insures a good starter

or decent sourdough.  That is the luck of the draw.  If you have problems

with bugs, tape a couple layers of cheese cloth over the starter bowl.  If

it is sealed to the sides of the bowl, it will keep most bugs out, but let

the yeasty beasties in.

 

In my opinion, most recipes for sourdough starter are too complex and depend

on S. cerevisiae to boost them, which defeats the idea of wild yeast and

lactobacillus.  I am considering trying a little sour cream or buttermilk to

initially boost the lactobacilli in the starter, but this introduces other

organic compounds which may be susceptible to molds and other infections.

 

If you have a starter.  Try leaving it on the counter and feeding it twice a

day with 1/4 cup of water and 1/2 cup of flour.  Use a big bowl, and be

ready to bake two or three times a week.  Keeping the starter on the counter

makes it more active than keeping it in the refrigerator and it needs to be

fed regularly to keep it from dying.

 

If the bread still isn't sour enough, try baking bread made with starter,

water, flour and salt.  Leave out the shortenings, the sweeteners, and the

yeast.  Your first rise will likely take 8 to 12 hours. Your second rise

will take 1 to 2 hours.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Thu, 7 Jan 1999 13:34:28 -0600

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - once again bread

 

> > The reaction does not occur with S. cerevisiae (regular bread yeast).

>

> Whose name, ironically, suggests it is, or was, in fact a brewer's

> yeast, which might help account for the phenomenon.

>

> Adamantius

 

Saccharomyces cerevisiae is the yeast found in ale barm. Today's baker's

yeast is a variant of S. cerevisiae, so if you use compressed yeast or dry

active yeast to leaven your bread, you are using the equivalent of ale barm.

Most, if not all, of the top fermenting brewer's yeasts are variants of S.

cerevisiae.

 

Just to add to the confusion, variants of S. cerevisiae have been bred to be

bottom fermenting and these are replacing the variants of S. carlsbergensis

which were previously used in beer making.

 

The symbiosis between C. milleri and L.sanfrancisco occurs because C.

milleri can not use maltose, but can use all of the other sugars released by

the amylase reaction.  This leaves the maltose free to be used by L.

sanfrancisco.  Additionally, C. milleri is more resistant to the acidic

environment created by the lactobacilli than many other yeasts.  This

fortuitous combination optomizes fermentation and sourness.

 

Apparently, S. cerevisiae is a little wimpy in high acid environments.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 08:58:05 -0600 (CST)

From: Lorine S Horvath <lhorvath at plains.NoDak.edu>

To: "INTERNET:sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu" <sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu>

Subject: Re: Bread & Soup

 

In "Food and Drink in Anglo-Saxon England"  Ann Hagen discusses drying

yeast by dipping a thread into the yeasty mixture which settles to the

bottom when making mead or beer...  Something like making candles by

dipping.  My impression was that this would result in something very like

the cakes of yeast used today, which give results not too different from

the packets...  Fiona nicAoidh

 

 

Date: Mon, 13 Sep 1999 10:16:05 -0400 (EDT)

From: cclark at vicon.net

Subject: Re: SC - Trenchers-Long

 

>Here is the Wroclaw Trencher receipe

> ... 2 cups thick beer

>1 cup active beer barm or 1/2 oz. active dry yeast ...

 

Unless this is a late period recipe (and probably even if it is), I would

assume that both the beer and the barm are ale and not lager beer. Ale yeast

is top-fermenting, which means that it produces enough gas to lift it to the

top. Lager yeast would be less useful as a leavening. Lager is also supposed

to have been made only in Bohemia until fairly late in the SCA period.

 

Modern bread yeasts are different varieties of the same species as ale

yeast. In period, the same yeast was used for both.

 

Alex Clark/Henry of Maldon

 

 

Date: Sat, 19 Feb 2000 12:03:17 -0600

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - OOP - Sucess!!

 

Interesting recipe.  You might want to dissolve a pinch of sugar in the

water before adding the yeast to help it along.  No need to stir the yeast

in, just sprinkle it on the water and let it dissolve.  It will sink to the

bottom, then you'll start getting a yeast colored scum on the surface.  This

is called creaming the yeast.  The more active the yeast, the more scum.

 

The water should be about 90 F.  Above 110 F inhibits activation and begins

killing the yeast.

 

A teaspoon of yeast is approximately 1 package.  I buy baker's yeast in bulk

from a healthfood store rather than the grocery for about 1/3 of the

grocery price.  Baker's supply houses are also a good place to get bulk

yeast (usually sold in 2 lb bags).  Keep your excess yeast in a jar in the

refrigerator.

 

As for giving away bread, I tend to bake 4 to 8 loaves at a time and spread

the wealth around.

 

There are four period bread recipes from the European corpus and I believe

you will find all of them in Stefan's Florilegium.  If you can't locate

them, let me know and I'll locate and send you a copy of a previous posting.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Sat, 19 Feb 2000 22:25:44 -0500

From: "Robin Carroll-Mann" <harper at idt.net>

Subject: Re: SC - re: SC-OOP - Sucess!

 

And it came to pass on 19 Feb 00,, that Marian Deborah Rosenberg wrote:

 

>Brighid wrote:

>> When you say that you proofed your yeast... did you actually see signs of

>>life before you continued on?  After ten minutes in warm water, the yeast

>> should be foaming noticeably.

 

> I can say for certain that it was warm in the kitchen as the entire

> apartment is nice and cozy warm (being on the third floor and having a

> nicely overheated office on the first floor).  I can't say for certain

> about much else as I was working with an ear infection that wouldn't let

> me sleep, and then working with an ear infection that wanted to go to

> sleep NOW halfway through my getting something started. ---

 

If the kitchen was warm, but you didn't get risen dough in 6 hours, then

you probably had some dead yeast.  The next time you bake, look

carefully for signs of life when you proof your yeast.  If you don't see

foaming, discard the yeast/water mixture and start over with fresh yeast.

 

Lady Brighid ni Chiarain

Settmour Swamp, East (NJ)

 

 

Date: Sat, 19 Feb 2000 22:25:44 -0500

From: "Robin Carroll-Mann" <harper at idt.net>

Subject: RE: SC - OOP - Sucess!!

 

And it came to pass on 19 Feb 00,, that Decker, Terry D. wrote:

> A teaspoon of yeast is approximately 1 package.  

 

I thought a package was about 2-1/4 teaspoons -- a short tablespoon.

 

> I buy baker's yeast in

> bulk from a healthfood store rather than the grocery for anbout 1/3 of the

> grocery price.  Baker's supply houses are also a good place to get bulk

> yeast (usually sold in 2 lb bags).  Keep your excess yeast in a jar in the

> refrigerator.

[snip]

 

> Bear

 

I buy my yeast in 2-pound bags at Costco.  I keep one working

container in the fridge, and the rest (in tightly-sealed plastic containers)

in the freezer.  Lasts for about a year.  Sometimes the tail-end of the

bag dies off before I can use it, but it's still much more cost-effective

than the little envelopes, or even the little jars.

 

Lady Brighid ni Chiarain

Settmour Swamp, East (NJ)

 

 

Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 08:15:38 -0600

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - OOP - Sucess!!

 

> And it came to pass on 19 Feb 00,, that Decker, Terry D. wrote:

> > A teaspoon of yeast is approximately 1 package.

>

> I thought a package was about 2-1/4 teaspoons -- a short tablespoon.

>

> Lady Brighid ni Chiarain

> Settmour Swamp, East (NJ)

> mka Robin Carroll-Mann

The yeast they sell in strips of three packages used to be 1/4 oz. per

package.  1/4 oz of granulated dry active yeast is approximately 1 slightly

rounded teaspoon.  Two packages will give you a short tablespoon.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Mon, 15 May 2000 16:29:53 -0700

From: "Browning, Susan W." <bsusan at corp.earthlink.net>

Subject: RE: SC - sourdough experiment #1 alternate method

 

I believe King Arthur Flour sells Lactobacillus SF.

http://kingarthurflour.com

 

Eleanor

 

 

Date: Wed, 17 May 2000 08:38:36 -0500

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - sourdough experiment #1 alternate method

 

> The starter sponge that I use isn't the San Francisco

> lactobacillus.  But it does have a strong sour taste.

>

> My recipe is two cups of flour and one cup of flat

> beer.  I usually use rye flour and, if I am fortunate,

> I will use home brewed beer.  It takes about three

> days to start to bubble.  I usually keep it on the

> counter next to the oven.  I personally think that the

> introduction of beer gives the bread a closer flavor

> to breads that were baked using barm.

>

> Huette

 

Rather than beer, I would suggest unhopped brown ale, but let's not quibble,

I've used beer for flavoring.  A rye based starter is produced by different

strains of yeast and lactobacillus than a wheat based starter and is

generally sourer than wheat based starters.

 

A point to remember is that the breads made with barm are primarily a

northern European thing in period although Gothic bakers brought the

technique to Rome in the 1st Century BCE.  Most southern European bakers

used leavens.

 

In France, the use of ale barm was considered bad practice.  At some point

using anything other than a levain was prohibited by law and remained that

way until some time in the 19th Century, if I remember the dates, when the

prohibtion was lifted so Parisian bakers could produce some of their highly

aerated breads.

 

If you have a good starter, you might consider drying some of it and

wrapping it in foil to give to people who are interested in trying it.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Fri, 19 May 2000 07:28:39 EDT

From: CBlackwill at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - finally! A baking success! and re: honey butter

 

kelan at mindspring.com writes:

> Seriously does yeast just not like some people?  Is bread like gardening?

>  I don't think I'm the only one who can't get a ball of dough to do anything

>  but mock my wishes for it to rise.

 

Yeast just doesn't like _you_!  :)

 

Seriously...what temperature are you trying to proof your bread at?  How hot

is the water when you put the yeast into it?  How long do you give the bread

to rise?  Is your yeast still alive?  A good way to check is by taking a

portion of the water, adding a little of the flour and some sugar, and

stirring your yeast into it.  Let it sit in a warm place for about 10

minutes, and if it begins to bubble, it's alive.  This will also help your

dough, because it sort of "kick-starts" the yeast.

 

Balthazar of Blackmoor

 

 

Date: Fri, 19 May 2000 09:24:17 -0500

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - finally! A baking success! and re: honey butter

 

> Seriously does yeast just not like some people?  Is bread like gardening?

> I don't think I'm the only one who can't get a ball of dough to do anything

> but mock my wishes for it to rise.  I have taught foods in high school for

> three years now and each year I teach over a hundred kids to make perfect

> yeast bread.  How can my students get perfect results and my dough resemble

> the density one would look for in oak furniture?

>

> Nyckademus

 

Think kind thoughts at the miserable little yeastie beasties.  

 

Store yeast in a sealed container in the refrigerator.

 

I assume you are using granulated dry active yeast, which is the most common

kind in the US.  One teaspoon will raise a dough containing 2 to 4 pounds of

flour, but if you are having problems, try using a teaspoon yeast to each 2

pounds or less.  One teaspoon equals a 1/4 oz. package.

 

Proof your yeast.  Take a cup of water at 90 to 110F put it in a bowl.

Dissolve a teaspoon of sugar in the water (not necessary, but it does

improve the action).  Sprinkle a teaspoon of yeast on the surface of the

water and let it dissolve.  Within fifteen minutes, a very active yeast will

bubble up and cover most of the surface.  Usually, the less surface are

covered, the less active the yeast.  If you can't get it to "cream", the

yeast may not be dead, but it certainly isn't very active and any rise will

be very long.  

 

Most non-commercial recipes use more yeast than is really needed and a rise

to doubled should take no more than 4 hours.  If you use some of the old

professional methods which use less yeast, the entire process takes much

longer, the rises are extended, while retaining a good flavor.  I usually

use the faster rise, except when making sourdoughs.

 

Plain bread of flour, water, yeast and salt should rise properly as long as

the dough is around 3 cups of flour to 1 cup of liquid. Denser dough

requires more rise time to aerate and expand.

 

Enriched breads made with fats, sugar, eggs, milk, etc. may not rise to

double, but often will aerate nicely, and reach proper proportions from

exuberant oven spring.

 

Check the percentage of protein in your flour which can be anywhere from

around 6 to 17 percent.  Most all purpose flours fall in the 9 to 11 percent

range (IIRC), which make them adequate for bread.  Flours with 13 to 17

percent are primarily commercial high-gluten flours and a bread bakers

dream.  Below 9 percent, the flours are better suited for cakes and

pastries.  From previous discussions, there are some all purpose flours

available in the deep south which fall below 9 percent.  

 

Check your kneading technique. Under-kneading and over-kneading can affect

the rise and the density of the bread.

 

Bon Chance

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Sat, 20 May 2000 05:42:45 -0500

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - finally! A baking success! and re: honey butter

 

> You may also be wary of your salt usage.  It is a yeast inhibitor of

> sorts, and its over use can certainly affect the environment the little

> fellas like to live in.

>

> niccolo

On the otherhand, salt strengthens the gluten.  You should be able to add as

much as a tablespoon of salt to 2 pounds of flour without seriously

impacting the yeast.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 04:42:14 EDT

From: CBlackwill at aol.com

Subject: Re: SC - Small Beer?

 

mermayde at juno.com writes:

> It's two cups of sugar. And it's also a good idea to use just plain old

>  Fleishman's Baking Yeast. I tried making it with Champagne yeast and it

>  came out bitter.

 

Another advantage to using baking yeast in a low/non-alcoholic brew is that

baking yeast will die off at lower alcohol levels. However, since we are on

the subject, "Eagle" brand baking yeast (professional yeast) is composed of

nothing less the sachromyces cerivicea (sp?), or our tried and true ale

yeast.  I have used it to make ales, and have been marginally satisfied with

the results.  While there has never been a "bready" flavor, it does fizzle

out at lower alcohol levels (about 3.8 to 4.3 percent in my experiments).  

 

Balthazar of Blackmoor

 

 

Date: Fri, 02 Jun 2000 09:20:15 -0400

From: "Jeff Gedney" <JGedney at dictaphone.com>

Subject: Re: SC - Small Beer?

 

> Nope, the recipe very specifically states Fleishman's, and now that I

> went back looking for it, guess who posted it?

> Christianna

<snippo>

> It's two cups of sugar. And it's also a good idea to use just plain old

> Fleishman's Baking Yeast. I tried making it with Champagne yeast and it

> came out bitter.

>

> Glad you like the recipe.

 

POPPA!!!  Poppa said this?

Poppa,

I think judging all brewing/vintning yeasts by champagne is a bit

premature...

 

"Premier cuvee" yeast, which I suggested is a "sweeter" yeast than

Champagne, which is a very specialized yeast designed to ferment

out as dry as possible, so it is used for dry and high alcohol wines.

Champagne is also not able to use table sugar very well, and so has

to produce more enzymes to breake sucrose into simple sugars, and

these enzymes add bitterness.  

Premier cuvee is the one that seems to get distributed with those

"make your own soda" kits that use Table sugar, and is the one that

is frequently sent in most of the "sweet" wine kits, like "raspberry merlot".

 

That is why I recommended it for this purpose.

I think you should at least give it a try.

 

brandu

 

 

Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 09:21:48 -0500

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - Small Beer?

 

> since we are on  the subject, "Eagle" brand baking yeast (professional yeast)

> is composed of nothing less the sachromyces cerivicea (sp?), or our tried

> and true ale yeast.

>

> Balthazar of Blackmoor

 

Saccharomyces cerevisiae.  

 

Pliny first noted the use of barm for leavening bread by the Germanic

tribes.  Because S. cerevisiae is top fermenting, it the active yeast can be

skimmed from the surface of the ale pot.  Three of the four known period

bread recipes use barm for the yeast.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 12:41:22 -0500

From: "Decker, Terry D." <TerryD at Health.State.OK.US>

Subject: RE: SC - yeast/alcohol was: small beer?

 

> I could be wrong, though, but I seem to recall that

> the yeast is cultured to enhance its carbon-dioxide production qualities over

> its alcohol production.

>

> Balthazar of Blackmoor

 

You are correct.  Modern baker's yeast is cultivated to improve the

carbon-dioxide production and reduce the alcohol production.  It improves

both the rise and flavor of the bread.  It also makes the yeast less tolerant

of acid environments.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Tue, 09 Sep 2003 20:08:16 -0400

From: johnna holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Collecting Yeast from Birch Trees

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

I seem to remember that this question came up before. The early birch

wine recipes

(used Cindy's book to start) all seem to add yeast to the sap. Nothing

is said about yeast coming off a birch tree there. I don't find it

listed in E. David's English Bread and Yeast Cookery in the full rundown

she has on yeast. Maybe they meant that sometimes the sap ferments on

its own without the addition of yeast. Sap might do that, although what

you end up with is ???

 

I did an involved Google search and turned this up---

A Handbook of Anglo-Saxon Food & Drink:

Processing and Consumption and Production & Distribution

one review mentions this--

 

   One of my favorite bits: the Saxons would dip birch twigs in liquid

yeast, hang dry, and store it that way -- their equivalent of today's

modern yeast packets.

 

Might this be the source?

 

Johnnae llyn Lewis

 

 

Date: Fri, 17 Sep 2004 20:00:03 -0400

From: Avraham haRofeh <avrahamharofeh at herald.sca.org>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] barm for bread

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

> I'll be looking at your blog with keen interest  -- as I too want to try

> my hand at using beer barm for breadmaking.  So just what is barm?  Where

> in the beer making process is it taken from?  How much did you get, and

> will you be able to sustain it for some time?

 

Barm is the floating, yeast-laden foam on the top of the beer (or other

fermentable). It would be skimmed off just before the beer was racked the

first time. Barm, dried and crumbled into powder, was the first "baker's

yeast".

****************

Reb Avraham haRofeh

      (mka Randy Goldberg MD)

 

 

From: Katja <katjaorlova at yahoo.com>

Date: May 19, 2004 7:57:15 PM CDT

To: Stefan li Rous <StefanliRous at austin.rr.com>

Subject: Re: [sca-ae-cooks] Links: The Staff of Life

 

> This week's Links List is a bout Bread. Bread, yeast, flour, Baker's Marks

> and ovensare all covered here. Thought there were no surviving recipes for

 

Aoife, as always, you absolutely rock!

 

Funnily enough, I discovered something just last week

regarding medieval leavening that you might find

interesting.

 

While perusing Dawson's fine cakes recipe from The

good huswifes Iewell, I noticed the instruction "and a

little Gods good about a sponfull if you put in too

much they shall arise..."

 

Curious, I looked up the phrase "God's good" in the

OED and discovered that one of the archaeic meanngs of

the phrase is barm or yeast. :)

 

toodles, Katja

 

 

Date: Wed,  5 Jan 2005 13:46:48 -0500

From: "Jeff Gedney" <gedney1 at iconn.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Stefan finaly succeeds in making cider

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

> Is "Wyeast" the name of a company?

 

Yes

It is one of the largest suppliers in the US for live Brewing and

vinting yeast cultures.

 

Most home brew stores stock a refrigerator full of their products

http://www.wyeastlab.com/

 

Capt Elias

-Renaissance Geek of the Cyber Seas

 

 

Date: Fri, 15 Apr 2005 14:51:49 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Barm yeast

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Martinsen at ansteorra.org wrote:

> Here's a question: I have a starter made from beer barm. (flour, water

> & barm only).  Now when a recipe calls for barm, (and it is a

> bread-type dish, would using my starter be acceptable, or should I

> start with fresh barm?

> Has anyone worked out a ratio for how much "sediment" should be used

> to how much flour?  How about starter?  I know it depends on how stiff

> your starter is, how lively it is, so I'm guessing the answer is no.

>

> BVitha

 

My guess is that this is going to be a matter of trial and error.

It's gonna depend on how active your starter is. Some are fast;

some are slow. It also varies to how warm the kitchen is and

what the weather is like on the day of preparation. I've always

found I had to play with all my sourdough mixtures on the day of baking.

 

I discovered through the years that it's sometimes better to

use fresh yeast and a bottle of ale when making recipes like

the great cakes found in Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery

which require "A full quart of Ale barme".

One gets better results that could be duplicated and it meant I could

construct a recipe that didn't involve making an ale barm to start.

You might check out

http://www.sourdo.com/culture.htm  and see what Ed Wood has to say

there about his various starters.

 

Johnnae

 

 

Date: Sat, 16 Apr 2005 08:52:03 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Barm yeast

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

Sediment?  Whachoo want sediment for?  Proper barm is taken from the top of

an active ale pot where the top fermenting S. cerevisiae bubbles merrily

along.  S. cerevisiae is the yeasty beast found in baker's yeast or brewer's

yeast.  If you're doing beer, that is usually S. carlsbergensis (sic?) and

is bottom fermenting.  It will work, but it is not the barm being discussed

in the recipes.  There are some 18th and 19th Century recipes for washing

sediment to extract yeast, so it may be that any malt liquor was fair game

later on.

 

With a starter, you use about one cup for one to two pounds of flour, replacing one cup of the liquor [liquid] in the recipe.  Using a barm, I would do the

same, replacing one cup of water with one cup of barm for one to two pounds

of flour.  The first rise may take anywhere from 2 to 12 hours, depending on

the potency of the yeasty beasties.  The second rise will be faster.

 

With a very stiff starter (like the dough balls the French use), you would

pull of a chunk weighing six to eight ounces and break it apart in the

liquor to help scatter the yeast through the dough. Again, roughly a cup

for one to two pounds of flour.

 

You may want to modify the amount of starter you use as you get a feel for

how your starter works.

 

Best of luck on the project.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Mon, 18 Apr 2005 09:24:37 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Barm yeast

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

> So I don¹t want to be using the "dredges" from when my brewer friend racks

> his carboy?  I want instead the bubbles from the top? Sorry...I'm not a

> brewer....

>

> The starter I have running right now I made from sediment that I dried out

> and then "reconsitituted" about 3 months later.  It is working well -  made

> 2 loaves from it.

>

> Vitha

 

Actually, I was quibbling about your terminology and just pointing out that

there are distinct differences between beer and ale yeasts and that it was

top fermenting ale yeast that is commonly used for baking. The dry active

yeasts you get at the grocery are all developed from ale yeast,

Saccharomyces cerevisiae.  If you are working with an ale, then skimming the

top of an active fermentation should produce a good barm for bread.  A

bottom fermenting beer would be best siphoned from the bottom of the

fermentation where the yeast is most active although you could probably get

enough yeast by skimming the top.

 

In either case, barm is "the yeasty foam that rises to the surface of malt

liquors."  Barm is not sediment.  And for bakers from Pliny to the

Renaissance, barm meant top fermenting ale barm.   You might talk to your

brewing friends about setting up a simple ale pot with a wide neck for

dipping (a one gallon jar perhaps) using malt extract and brewers yeast.

It's inexpensive, so if the experiment fails you aren't out much and it can

be repeated as necessary.  The ale produced is usually a mediocre drink, but

that wouldn't be the object of the exercise.

 

As for your starter, that's good work.  It is not an experiment I have

tried, so please keep me posted on how it is doing.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Mon, 26 Sep 2005 09:41:59 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] How long does bread keep (was Was bread

        served warm?)

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

> I've also found that the type of yeast makes a difference. Bread made with

> brewer's yeast keeps much better than bread made with commercial bread

> yeast.  Based on this, it seems to be worth considering that in period

> bread that was several days old might have been quite tasty.

>

> -Katherine

 

Brewer's yeast and bread yeast are both Saccharomyces cerevisiae, so there

is no difference in the base yeast.  What you are seeing is a difference in

crumb density.  A lighter crumb (more aeration) tends to give up moisture

faster than a dense crumb.  Commercial bread yeast is selectively grown from

strains that produce more CO2 to produce a lighter crumb, but that doesn't

preclude any given brewer's yeast from being more active than a commercial

bread yeast (I've encountered this a few times, probably as a result of

shelf life or storage).

 

You can more effectively control the aging of the bread by the size of the

loaf and the flour mixture.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Wed, 7 Dec 2005 22:16:54 -0600

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Observation on Leavenings

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

> Making a few loaves of whole wheat bread, and experimenting a little.

>

> One set was made with yeast from a local brewer's recent endeavors,  

> and the other with my starter.

>

> Interestingly enough here in the cold months the sourdough was very very

> slow, but the yeast was quite perky, much like using regular yeast.

>

> I ponder this, is it true that the northern countries used a primarily ale

> barm starter for breads, while lower (aka warmer) countries used dough

> starters?

>

> Simon Hondy

 

You are probably seeing the difference between a normal starter and a fresh

active yeast.  It is fairly common to use coolers to slow the rise of yeast

breads, while allowing sourdoughs to rise at room temperature, because of

the difference in the activity.

 

The common view (to which I subscribe) is Northern Europe tended to use

yeast in the form of ale barm while the area around the Mediterranean where

wine was the common beverage used sourdough.  Note that the use of yeast or

starter is not geographically exclusive, but a tendency reinforced by

climate.  Ale doesn't do well in warmer climes.

 

The Egyptians are the first people known to make leavened bread and from the

little we know, it was sourdough.  Dupaigne disagrees, stating that the

Egyptians used ale barm, but doesn't provide any evidence to support the

claim.  It is possible that the Egyptians used both methods of leavening

 

There are Roman recipes which use fermented grape must as leavening.  To my

knowledge, the earliest record of ale barm being used to leaven bread is a

description in Pliny about the Vandals method of making bread.  Yeast breads

were probably being prepared by Gallic bakers in Italy by the time of

Pliny's death in 71 CE (based on some of the finds from Pompeii, and

information from David and Toussaint-Samat).

 

The period English bread recipes use ale barm, which appears to have been

the favored method into the 19th Century.  Platina, on the otherhand,

describes bread made from a dough starter.  Dupaigne states that during the

Middle Ages, natural starters were the standard in France until the 17th

Century, when a mix of yeast and starter came into use. From other sources,

I gather that starter was required by law in France until the developement

of the baguette (which requires a very active yeast). Again Dupaigne

provides little documentation and I have yet to find when the French limited

breadmaking to natural starter.  The evidence suggests that ale drinking

regions used ale barm and wine drinking regions used starters.  I still

don't have a copy of that French text on Baking and Bakers in the Middle

Ages (IIRC), so my answers may lie there.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Wed, 4 Apr 2007 22:41:29 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Fermentation Sponge Question

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

For the sponge, the gluten content shouldn't matter. Sponges are meant to

feed yeast growth, which means the available sugars are more important than

the gluten.  When you use the sponge to leaven a batch of bread the gluten

level of the flour becomes an issue.  If you wanted to boost a sponge, I

think a teaspoon of diamalt added to the flour would do more than the  

gluten level of the flour.

 

Bear

 

> Does anyone have experience in whether starting the sponge with certain

> kinds of flour determine what kind of sponge it will ultimately become?

> For example using a lower gluten flour versus a higher gluten flour.

>

> Aldyth

 

 

Date: Wed, 4 Apr 2007 22:55:14 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Fermentation Sponge Question

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

Point of terminology:  a sponge is an initial dough created from flour and

some form of leaven.  It is usually used within 24 hours. A starter is a

leaven that is continually replenished, which can be used to leaven a

sponge.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Thu, 3 May 2007 21:53:59 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] yeast reservoirs?

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

> In the thread on pretzels, Master Cariadoc mentioned:

>

> <<< Note 3: The recipe is for a leavened bread, but

> no leavening is mentioned. My guess is that it is

> using either sourdough or a kneading trough with

> its own yeast culture. I used sourdough. >>>

>

> Interesting point about the impregnated kneading trough and a good

> thing to keep in mind when wondering if a bread is leavened or not.

>

> Anybody ever used one of these kneading troughs or something similar,

> long enough that it might become a reservoir for some yeast and then

> found that the new dough would pick up enough yeast from the trough

> that it would affect the dough?

>

> Thanks,

>   Stefan

 

While I've never experimented with a wooden dough trough, other experiences

suggest that if you exploited a yeast culture embedded in a wooden dough

trough, it would probably take a couple of days to get enough yeast to

produce a decent rise.  A cup or two of dough left in the trough to  act as a

starter would be more practical and , in the case of a commercial baker,

provides greater control and consistency (although the commercial starter

would probably be closer to 5 pounds than two cups). Leavening a lot of

dough with a miniscule amount of yeast is largely a matter of technique,

temperature and time.

 

Bear

 

 

Date: Fri, 4 May 2007 18:58:20 -0500

From: "Michelle LR" <melbrigda at gmail.com>

Subject: [Sca-cooks] Yest resevoirs

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

 

Written was:

Anybody ever used one of these kneading troughs or something similar,

long enough that it might become a reservoir for some yeast and then

found that the new dough would pick up enough yeast from the trough

that it would affect the dough?

 

Answering thusly:

I haven't, but my grandmother and her mother both did. Both of them had

these old wooden bowls that were large and shallow.  There was always flour

in them.  My greatgrandmother left her bowl out on the counter open with a

dish cloth draped over it.  My grandmother wrapped her bowl in a plastic bag

and stored it under the counter.  Neither of them ever bought much yeast,

yet they made bread almost on a daily basis.  I lived with my grandmother

for several years and I remember asking about the yeast. I was told it

wasn't needed because it was already there.  Rarely did we have "stone

bread" (as we called it) that didn't rise.

 

Interestingly enough, they used these same bowls to also make biscuits and  

dumplings using baking soda and buttermilk.  They would change from whole wheat to white flour interchangeably and even rye on occaission. My biscuits could  

be used as ballistics in a seige battle and I've always blamed it on not  

having one of those bowls.  :)

--

Mel.

 

 

Date: Sat, 5 May 2007 10:18:13 -0400 (GMT-04:00)

From: Christiane <christianetrue at earthlink.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Yeast reservoirs

To: sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org

 

Bear says:

> While I've never experimented with a wooden dough trough, other experiences

> suggest that if you exploited a yeast culture embedded in a wooden dough

> trough, it would probably take a couple of days to get enough yeast to

> produce a decent rise.  A cup or two of dough left in the trough to act as a

> starter would be more practical and , in the case of a commercial baker,

> provides greater control and consistency (although the commercial starter

> would probably be closer to 5 pounds than two cups). Leavening a lot of

> dough with a miniscule amount of yeast is largely a matter of technique,

> temperature and time.

 

Many Italian bread recipes of today that I have found refer to a  

"lievito madre" (leavening mother), which is a bit of the leavened  

dough kept from the previous batch of bread. In Sicily they call this  

a criscenti. Seems logical that in a time when bread needed to be  

baked every day in the palazzo kitchens to feed the household, the  

baker kept a lievito madre or criscenti goimg at all times in the  

kneading trough or taken out and set aside in a bowl for the next  

day's baking. And it would be such a matter of course that it may not  

be mentioned in the recipes.

 

Is "lievito madre" is a period term? Admittedly I have not done any  

real research into period Italian bread to know, therefore I'm  

throwing this one to the list.

 

Gianotta

 

 

Date: Mon, 7 May 2007 00:03:43 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Yeast reservoirs

To: "Christiane" <christianetrue at earthlink.net>, "Cooks within the

        SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

I can't address the history of the term "lievito madre," but from your

description, it refers to a continuous starter rather than a "biga" which is

a one use starter or sponge.  The practice of the maintaining a starter is a

long-standing tradition in much of the Mediterranean, where starters were

more common that baker's yeast until the Modern era.  In France and Italy,

the starter will normally be a ball of dough rather than the semi-liquid

starter you are likely to find in the US.  The technique with which I am

familiar is to break the dough starter apart in the liquor, so that it will

be spread through the new batch of dough and expedite yeast production in

the dough.  I normally use 1 cup of starter for one to two pounds of bread,

but you can get away with half that amount if you extend the first rise.

The size of the dough ball you reserve is dependent upon the quantity of

bread one needs to bake.  From limited descriptions of the starters,

commercial bakers retain five to ten pounds of dough as starter.

 

For large establishments, baking would more likely be done in a seperate

bakehouse rather than the kitchens and you might be baking bread every

second or third day rather than daily depending on the number of people in

the household.

 

Bear

 

> Many Italian bread recipes of today that I have found refer to a  "lievito

> madre" (leavening mother), which is a bit of the leavened dough kept from

> the previous batch of bread. In Sicily they call this a criscenti.  Seems

> logical that in a time when bread needed to be baked every day in the

> palazzo kitchens to feed the household, the baker kept a lievito madre or

> criscenti goimg at all times in the kneading trough or taken out and set

> aside in a bowl for the next day's baking. And it would be such a matter

> of course that it may not be mentioned in the recipes.

>

> Is "lievito madre" is a period term? Admittedly I have not done any real

> research into period Italian bread to know, therefore I'm throwing  

> this one to the list.

>

> Gianotta

 

 

Date: Mon, 07 May 2007 07:19:57 -0400

From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Yeast reservoirs

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

I came across good drawings of a farm bakehouse and a dough trough over the weekend in Food in England. If you search under dough trough in Google images,

there are a number of images that can be found.

 

Johnnae

 

<<< For large establishments, baking would more likely be done in a separate

bakehouse rather than the kitchens and you might be baking bread every

second or third day rather than daily depending on the number of people in

the household.

 

Bear >>>

 

 

Date: Sat, 11 Aug 2007 13:43:16 -0500

From: "Terry Decker" <t.d.decker at worldnet.att.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Salt Rising Bread

To: "Cooks within the SCA" <sca-cooks at lists.ansteorra.org>

 

Salt rising bread is a sourdough bread made from a spontaneously leavened

batter created about 8 to 24 hours before making bread, rather than from a

continuously maintained starter.  Unlike a continuous starter which should

only contain water and flour, these batters often have milk and sugar added

to them to feed the the leven.

 

The earliest recipe I have in my collection is from 1879 (Tyree, ed.,

Housekeeping in Old Virginia):

 

Salt-Risen Bread

 

Make into a thin batter:

  1 pint of flour.

1 tablespoonful of corn meal.

Half-teaspoonful of salt.

 

Set in a warm place to rise.  After it has risen, pour into it two quarts of

flour, with sufficient warm water to mke up a loaf of bread.  Work it well,

set it to rise again, and when risen sufficiently, bake it.---Mrs. T.  

L. J.

 

I question the accuracy of the claim that the leavening is by C.

perfringens.  In my opinion, the leavening bacteria are more likely to be

members of Lactobacillus as in the case of normal sourdough.  As with

sourdoughs, any of the organisms in the batter are likely to vary with

location.  I would like to see a microbiological analysis of the batter

before accepting any statements about how the bread is leavened.

 

These batters are probably not Medieval in origin.  To my knowledge,

Medieval starters were kept as balls of dough, batters being more easily

infected by mold than the more solid continuous starters. From experience

(and having read a number of different recipes for salt rising bread), I

think that the batter leavens are a response to mold infections in starters

that weren't used daily, but I have no direct evidence to support my

position.

 

"Salt rising" is something of a misnomer.  The function of the salt  

is not to leaven the bread, but to slow and even out the rise.

 

Bear

 

>  On one of my left turns associated with my paper on bread, I came across a

> reference to salt rising bread, leavened with the bacterium Clostridium

> perfringens.  All I have been able to find so far is that this seems to be

> an american bread.  I am not particularly pushing it to be period, but  could

> this have happened in period?  Like most of the recipes I have found, it seems

> to have "appeared".

>

> Aldyth

 

<the end>



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