When we first set out to capture the ‘wild yeast’ for our bread, I didn’t realize how easy it was going to be. Maybe we were just lucky. There are many ways to capture wild yeast to make your own starter and the results are as varied as the varieties of yeast ‘captured’. We used the instructions on The Splendid Table blog to make our starter but there are many different approaches to capturing wild yeast to make starter.
Yeast is a microscopic fungus that reproduces by budding, and it is capable of converting sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. It is used in baking as a leavening agent. It converts the fermentable sugars in the dough into the gas carbon dioxide. This causes the dough to expand or rise as gas forms pockets or bubbles in the dough.
We captured the naturally existing yeast that was in the air and on the vegetation at Venoge. The bread we made we felt was our own!
- 1 1/2 cups warm water or Buttermilk leftover from making butter
- 1 cup starter* made from wild yeast
- 4 cups unsifted regular all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 cups unsifted regular all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon soda
*If you use 1 cup starter, you can reduce the flour and liquid in the recipe by 4 oz each and you will wait longer for the bread to rise the first time. You can substitute the starter for 1 package of yeast, active dry or compressed and use the recipe as written.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon each of herbs on hand such as dill, rosemary, and chives
- Add crispy bacon bits and sauteed onions
Combine water, starter, 4 cups flour, sugar and salt. Mix well and place in crock. Leave at room temperature 18 hours or until doubled.
Stir in 1 cup flour mixed with the soda. Turn onto floured board and knead adding remaining 1 cup of flour as needed. Add in herbs or bacon and onions at this time if you like. Knead until smooth about 8 minutes.
Shape into one large round or two long loaves, place on lightly greased sheet to rise until doubled, cover. Brush with melted butter for a softer crust before baking. Slash and put into 400 oven for 45 minutes or until done.
Recipe adapted from the Sunset Cook Book of Breads.