Be careful what you joke about. After watching a food challenge cooking show, I joked that Kent and I should come up with challenges for each other. He immediately challenged me to make my own yeast for bread making. Well, I couldn’t back out of it so I started researching.
There are actually several options for making your own yeast. Most sources talk about using potato water but they called for hops. I didn’t want to mess with trying to track down hops so I kept hunting. Finally, I came across a site with a recipe for yeast water that seemed like something I could easily do with what I already had at home. It uses raisins.
I put the raisins in a jar with tap water. In about a week, the raisins were floating and there was a layer of foam across the top. I used a peasant-style pot bread recipe from Nancy Baggett’s Kneadlessly Simple cookbook. It is a kneadless bread that relies on a slow rise of over 18 hours. For the second rise, you fold in the outer edges of the dough.
Instead of mixing instant yeast into the 2 cups ice water, I simply used two cups of the yeast water. And guess what? It rose! Woo Hoo!From the photo, it looks like it didn’t rise on the one side. That is more the result of my clumsiness in moving it from the bowl to the hot stew pot. In transferring the dough, I accidentally collapsed the one side. I really liked this bread despite it being a white bread. That’s mostly because of the crust. Placing it in the hot pot really created a wonderful chewy yet flaky crust. This is a crust that you do not want to cut off.