Friday, May 27, 2016

Traditional Yeast Making from Potatoes

Blog entry by Dan Silfies

Some of the potato yeast breads baked in the bake oven
Hello from the Tavern. So far, I've been busy this spring baking away in the bake oven every Friday. This year I decided not to use store bought yeast and to grow it traditionally. For this, I boiled about 2 pounds of diced and peeled potatoes in water. Once soft, I mashed them and added enough of the water that the potatoes were cooked in to bring the mixture to a cream like consistency. Next, I added approximately 2 tablespoons of molasses and mixed. After waiting for the mixture to cool down, I added a little yeast to get the process moving and set it aside for a few days. Adding a little yeast is not necessary but definitely helpful.

As I have never made yeast before, I was uncertain of what my results would be. Keeping this in mind, I used a basic white bread recipe that I knew well. I substituted one cup water for one cup of the potato yeast and added no additional yeast.

The resulting dough didn't rise as much as it did with store bought yeast. However, after punching it down and forming into 2 loaves, letting rise again and baking, I was surprised. The finished bread, although slightly denser, rose to make wonderful bread with just a hint of potato.

The recipe claims that it will last several weeks so I saved the remaining yeast and used it a week later; although it smelled sour, the bread had no sourness to it.

The yeast recipe that I used can be found in the Landis Valley Cookbook, along with other variations on making yeast.