Once you bake breads with instant / active dry yeast for a reasonable amount of time, it is a natural progression to baking with sourdough. When I read about sourdough, I was fascinated to know that you actually can bake with just flour and water as a starter. I started my usual fanatical search for information on sourdough and one thing led to another and I chanced upon baking with yeast water. It absolutely blew me away. I discovered that baking with yeast water is not as popular as baking bread with sourdough or yeast but it is as fascinating and has myriad possibilities as you can imagine.
What is yeast water? Yeast water is water fermented by using fruits / flowers / dry fruits / leaves which can then be used to bake bread. This yeast water lends a fantastic flavour to the bread. It can be used as is i.e. replacing the water quantity in a recipe with yeast water or it can be used along with a sourdough starter. You can make yeast water with a variety of items. Raisins is the easiest since it contains a significant amount of natural sugar. You can also make yeast water with apples, orange, plums, apricot, mint, strawberries, etc.
Strangely there is not enough information online about yeast waters or there is a secret cove that I am yet to discover. Here is whatever I have managed to find out. I will try and keep updating this page with new information based on what I read and also what I observe with my experiments.
I tried to make yeast water with raisins but I was unsuccessful the first time. Next I tried with apples but that was not successful either. Then I tried with raisins again and this time I finally struck gold. I have very few pictures because I took step by step pictures the first couple of time but was disappointed with the results. So I did not click much during this attempt which was finally successful.
HOW TO MAKE YEAST WATER
WHAT YOU NEED
- It can be a plastic or glass jar. Ensure it is transparent so that you can observe the activity within.
- The size of the jar needs to be such that there are few inches space above the raisins and water for the gas to build up
- The raisins should be preferably organic because other raisins may have sulfur coating which prevents fermentation
- Ensure organic raisins do not have oil coated on them. That is again detrimental to making yeast water
- It is ideal to use filtered water
- Tap water can contain chlorine and will block fermentation and so should not be used
- To use tap water or chlorinated water, leave it open in a vessel for 24 hours and the chlorine will dissipate and it can be used after that
WHAT TO DO
- There is no specific quantity to make yeast water. It is better to start small. We need the water quantity to be twice that of the raisin quantity. If you are using 1/3 cup of raisins, you will need 2/3 cup of water
- Choose your container after determining the quantity of raisins and water so that there is some head space in the container for gas build up
- Wash the container well / sterilize it
- Place the raisins and water in the container and shut it tightly
- Set aside for 24 hours
- After that, shake it 2-3 times everyday and degass it twice a day.
- Degass means to open the jar for a few seconds and shut it again tightly. Preferably degass at the same time everyday
- Initially the raisins will be at the bottom of the jar
- After 3-4 days, all the raisins will rise to the top of the water in the jar and the water will change colour to brown
- There are three indicators to know that the yeast water is ready – all the raisins have risen to the top of the water, when you shake the jar there is a visible fizz and the strong smell
- This can take anywhere between 4-6 days depending on the quality of the raisins, water and weather.
- It can then be used for baking bread
- It can also be stored in a refrigerator after straining the raisins out for around a month
- Feed it a spoon of sugar / honey once in 10 days to keep it going
- While baking, you can also use the raisins in the bread or it can be discarded
Check out a couple of pictures I managed to get of my raisin yeast water