How to Make Bread Yeast From Scratch

A reader asked me to write about how to make yeast for use in a survival situation where the stores aren’t open or you just cant find any!

Yeast is naturally occurring and obviously our ancestors have made bread for centuries, long before the supermarket brought Fleischmann’s to your fingertips. So lets take a look at some ways to naturally cultivate yeast so you can make bread, that isn’t flat and uneventful!

Fruits and vegetables as well as many other natural things have yeast on their surface that occurs naturally, so this is just one way to get it.  In a survival situation you will already be growing your own food in gardens or food forests (google permaculture) so you should have an ample supply of fruits and/or veggies to get this from.


FRUIT YEAST (Raisins)

ITEMS NEEDED

1) Clean Glass jar, something around 24oz but whatever you have will be fine, just make sure it is clean and free of debris.

2) Clean water, filtered water or bottled is good.  Tap can be used depending on your local conditions. Don’t use alkaline water!

3) Fruit (in this case raisins, raisins are also popular for making “Hooch” in prison as well, for exactly the same reason)

 

STEP 1

3-4 Tablespoons of Raisins, however the more you put in the faster this will go

(You don’t need to use only ONE type of fruit, if you only have a few of this and that, throw it all in there, we’re making yeast not fine liqueur!)

Note: You can also add a few tablespoons of Honey or Sugar to help the fermentation go faster

STEP 2

Pour your water in to just above the 3/4 mark of the Jar and lightly cap the jar, but don’t ‘Seal it’, the fermentation will need to escape, and if your not careful you could have a blowout!

STEP 3

Put it somewhere were the temperature is constant (I.e. Room Temperature), make sure it’s not a place that gets cold at points during the day or night, as cool temperatures kill off the little guys doing the work for you in the jar!

STEP 4

In a few days (3-4 in the warmer Summer, upwards of  week in the cooler winter), bubbles should be forming at the surface, and their should be a “hooch” wine-like smell, and the raisins should all be floating (or at least the vast majority!)

STEP 5

Put it in the fridge you now have “Yeast Water”!

NOTE: You can use apple cores in the same way, just stick them in and wait the same amount of time, the sugars in the fruit help to ferment it faster.  It should take around 4-5 days for the water to be ready, a good guesstimation is to smell it, when it changes from fruity to a wine smell that’s when its ready.

APPLE YEAST WATER

MIXED FRUIT YEAST WATER

(NOTICE THE BUBBLES)

TOMATO YEAST WATER

I will go over how to use this Yeast water at the end of the post after the other methods of making yeast water are discussed Hold on!

 

YEAST FROM GRAIN

Yeast is already present on Grain, so all you need to do is separate it just like you did with the fruit above.

ITEMS NEEDED

- 1 1/4 Cup Unbleached all purpose flour (If you mill your own from storage this will be fine as well)

- 1 Cup Clean Warm Water(filtered, or bottled, tap is fine depending, just no alkaline water)

- 1 Jar with Cheesecloth or lid

 

STEP 1

Mix the flour and warm water

STEP 2

Keep at Room Temperature

STEP 3

Let stand a few days (3-4 in Summer, Around a week in the winter).  It should be bubbling and the “batter” should be rising

Step 4

Put in the Fridge You now have Yeast water

 

YEAST FROM POTATO

Just like the others, Yeast lives on potatoes which is why they are used for making alcohol like vodka.  Yeast starters from potatoes have been used for nearly 4000 years so the history is behind it!

ITEMS NEEDED

- 1 Peeled Medium Potato

- 4 Cups warm water (Clean water, no alkaline water)

- 1 tsp Salt

- 1 tsp Sugar

- 1 Pot (and jar possibly)

 

STEP 1

Boil potato in unsalted clean water until “done”

STEP 2

Drain and save the water

STEP 3

Mash the potato and add sugar and salt, and let cool to Lukewarm

STEP 4

Add water to the potato mash so it the whole mixture EQUALS 1 quart

(This is where you could put it in a pot or a jar (as long as the jar is over a quart)

STEP 5

Cover and let sit in a warm place and let it ferment

STEP 6

Done, this will yield enough yeast to produce enough for a large family (more than one loaf)

From this recipe you now have Potato Yeast water and can use that for the following recipe to make more…

POTATO YEAST #2 (The everlasting starter)

ITEMS NEEDED

- 1 small potato (about the size of a jumbo jumbo natural hen egg)

- 3/4 Cup Potato Water (from the first potato recipe above)

- 2 tsp Sugar

- Flour

 

STEP 1

Boil the potato until done, drain and save the potato water

STEP 2

Mash the Potato, add the Potato water, sugar and enough flour to make a stiff batter or soft dough

STEP 3

Put in a warm area and let it ferment

STEP 4

Put in a wide mouth jar, with a loose fitting lid (in about 5 days it should be ready after this step)

STEP 5

Done you now have a “Everlasting” Potato Starter, much like the old sourdough bread starters

POTATO YEAST #3

Now to make old fashioned light bread from the starter you just made, use this recipe

ITEMS NEEDED

- 1 1/2 Cups Potato Water (this is why you always save it!)

- 1 tbsp Sugar (This is why sugar is so important to store for long term and have LOTS of it!)

-Flour

 

STEP 1

Get a Large bowl and put the Starter you made in the above recipe, Potato Water, Sugar and Enough Flour to make stiff batter

STEP 2

Beat well and cover lightly and leave in a warm place overnight to ferment

STEP 3

The next morning the  batter should be “bubbly”, so now take out the same amount as the starter you used in Step 1.  Put this in a wide mouth jar and place in the refrigerator or root cellar.  Now you can see how the “everlasting starter” works, you always just add flour and make your bread and also a new starter!

STEP 4

Make the bread!

HOW TO MAKE BREAD FROM THE YEAST WATER

Now you saw how the bread was made from the potato starter which was made from the potato yeast water, and it is roughly the same for the fruits/vegetable yeast water you made in the first recipe.

You can make any sort of bread from the yeast water.

Pre-Fermented dough is easier to make and deal with, and you arent trying to be a artisan baker in a survival situation so lets stick with the easiest one!

PRE-FERMENTED DOUGH RECIPE

ITEMS NEEDED

-Tupperware, container with lid or a Ziploc Bag

-Yeast water (warm to room temperature a few hours before you are going to do this)

-Whole Wheat Flour (if youre using stored wheat this is no problem)

- Small amount of Salt

 

STEP 1

Pour 3 oz of the yeast water into the bag/container (if the raisins fall in thats ok, if you like raisin bread)

STEP 2

Mix in 3.5 oz of whole wheat flour

STEP 3

Knead with fork or spoon for 3-5 minutes

STEP 4

When it gets hot (80F+) add a pinch of salt so it doesnt over-ferment and get a Sour taste (you can still eat it if you dont, but it wont be as good)

STEP 5

Cover and let it sit overnight.  It will double or triple in size by morning

Note: If it doesnt do this (double or triple) your yeast water was no bueno (no good) and you need to make a new batch and start this recipe over again.

You can keep it in the fridge for about a week or longer, but try to use it before that time.  The longer you keep it the more sour it will get but you can keep adding a pinch of salt to keep the fermentation at bay.

 

MORE METHODS

Another method for capturing the yeast that I read, but have not tried is to capture and store the dry yeast from the Yeast water that you make.

STEP 1

Once you have made the yeast water from the FLOUR/GRAIN method described above is to take that water and spread the LIQUID mixture out on a piece of wax paper/Plastic Wrap or clean surface instead of putting the whole mixture in the Fridge or Root Cellar.

STEP 2

When it is dry (and i mean DRY DRY DRY) break up the chunks of dried yeast into chunks

STEP 3

grind the chunks in a food process (or use your grain mill, the recipe i saw doesnt mention this, but I dont see why no)

STEP 4

FREEZE the yeast in a airtight container for long term storage (in a grid-down scenario you may not have a freezer so the “long term” option may be off the table.

TO USE THIS YEAST FOLLOW THESE STEPS

STEP 1

Dissolve 1 cup of the dried homemade yeast in the liquid mixture that your recipe calls for

STEP 2

Make the dough, but decrease the flour used in the recipe by 1 cup

STEP 3

Knead the dough and allow to rise as normal (but be aware that it may take 2x as long to rise compared to using commercial dry yeast)

 

Without Yeast, bread as we know it is impossible

 

 

A great Resource for home dough making and bread making can be found at http://originalyeast.blogspot.com which is where I originally found all my info to start doing this awhile back!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. You are not using yeast from the potato if you boil it ifirst. you have killd all the yeast by boiling. You are now capturing wild yeasts from the air and it is thriving off the sugar/starch from the potato.
    Love the article. It is amazing how simple it is to meet your own needs without running to the store!

  2. Steve Wozniak says:

    after leaving the potato water sit to ,and it bubbles,,do you mix all that stuff together thats in the water?or do you siphon just water?

  3. I love this! My sister never likes to drive me to go ingredient shopping and yeast is a bit expensive so this helps a lot! But not all breads require yeast in the recipe so it isn’t true when you said “without yeast, bread as we know it is impossible.” There are breads that don’t need it and so yeast is not essential for those types of bread. Yeast is used to make it so that the bread rises but non-rising breads like naan (Indian bread) does not use it.

  4. I love this post but I don’t actually understand the dry yeast part. Do you mean pouring out and discard all the water and spread the mixture flat on plastic wrap then put in the fridge to dry?

    Thank you

  5. Wonderful guide to how to make yeast:)
    I have a question for the Grain Yeast – what you write greain does that mean that only wheat can be used? Can we use rye or oat?

  6. This is such good information! I had no idea before how to make yeast! I’ve recently become interested in learning all there is to know about living off the grid and homesteading because someday I’ll be a missionary in another country. My husband likes soda pop, so I’ve been learning how to brew sodas at home, because the store-bought kind is so bad for you. One thing I’m wondering is how to make champagne yeast or wine yeast. I’ve read that the types of yeasts used to make bread bring out different flavors than wine and champagne yeasts, and bread yeasts bring a sourdough bread flavor to the fruit soda pop that is undesirable. Do you know how I could make either of these different strains of yeast? If not, where would be a good place to look? They probably wouldn’t be available to purchase in the stores of the country where I’m going. This is an awesome article. :) I’m also wondering if I could just make the yeast with the type of fruits that I’m going to use for the flavoring of the sodas. That would probably work just fine. I’m still curious about the making of champagne yeast though. :) Any answers would be appreciated!

  7. krburdette says:

    I was wondering if you could make yeast from canned or dehydrated potatoes.

  8. ann roberts says:

    Thank you, very helpful!

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