Making the yeast from scratch, for home made bread, is a really simple process that you can do yourself at home, which will save you from buying processed yeast sachets ever again. To start with, get hold of whole grain rye flour , the reason is that the husks from the rye flour contain more yeast contents than the refined flours that have no husks.
Getting started. (Day 1)
To start with choose a container, a glass jar with lid will do. Place a cup of your flour and a cup of lukewarm water inside the jar and mix it thoroughly until we obtain a “liquidy” but thick dough. We then close the jar and leave it to rest for 24 hours.
We open the jar to check on our dough, but don’t do anything to it, as it will not be completely ready.
There should be some bubbles and a strong smell coming out of your jar, this indicates that the yeast has already started to eat away, and will need food. For this reason what we do is , remove a couple of spoonfuls of our mix and discard them, and we add a couple of spoonfuls of new flour to it. At this stage we can use all purpose flour, although you can also carry on using your wholegrain, it will work just as well. Also add a couple of spoonfuls of lukewarm water and mix well so that you end up again with a glupy result.
Repeat the same process as we did on day 3.
Again repeat the same process as we did on day 3.
How to know if your sourdough yeast is ready?
Take 3 spoonfuls of your mix and place it in a jar. We add to this 3 spoonfuls of flour and water, we cover it and leave it. Mark the level of your mix inside the jar , so that when we come back to it we know if it has raised or not. Place it in a warm place for 2 hours. Take a look at it, if it has doubled in size then the sourdough will be ready. If this is not the case we feed the mix as we did the previous days and we continue the process one day more. Do this until the dough is ready.
How to know if its has gone off? It will smell rotten. Note: it naturally smells of fermentation, but not rotten.
How to preserve it?
If we make bread a couple of times per week we can feed it then, at room temperature. Even feed it every day to have a strong yeast. If we plan on making bread less than once a week we can store the sourdough inside the fridge , taking it out the day before making the bread to feed it and “wake her up”, so that is ready to use. To store it for longer or giving it as a gift you can also dry it. Simply spread some of your sourdough in a oven paper and leave it there for a couple of days. It should turn dry and flaky , when we want to use it we place some of it in a jar with lukewarm water and mix, after a day or so, this mixture should be ready to use.
When making the bread:
It is important when we make our bread that we add the water slowly to your flour, not all flours allow the same water quantities. For making a 500g. bread we will require 200g of sourdough approximately to make your bread rise. Replace the quantity of sourdough that you have used, with new flour and water so that the sourdough stays alive , you should mix and see instantly bubbles forming on the top. We mix the 200g. of sourdough with 300g. of flour plus salt and any seasoning, then add some water while you stir your dough constantly with a fork. (tip: add flour if your dough is too sticky, if its too crumbly add more water.)Once you have your dough ready , leave it aside to proof (ferment) for at least 1 hour. After this we push the air out of our dough, kneading it for a bit. Then proceed to leave it to rest for a couple more hours. Shape it as you wish or place it inside a bread tin. Bake and ready to enjoy. As you get confident with the technique you will get better results.
We hope this gets you motivated to DIY your own delicious bread !