While looking at some videos on YouTube for cooking and baking, there was a video that caught my attention. It was stated “How To Make Natural Yeast”.
I got hooked. When I surfed the net about natural yeast, I discovered many sites talking about sourdough bread, but not many about baking with natural fruit yeast. I found one precious site called Bread and Original Yeast. The blogger is a Japanese lady who loves making bread using natural fruit yeast. Baking bread with natural fruit yeast is apparently quite popular in Japan. Unfortunately, she has stopped blogging at this site since 2010.
The happy part is, she left some good recipes for me to try. So I started my pet yeasts. 🙂 The first batch was made in glass jars that had been sterilized by boiling both jar and lid for 5 minutes. The jar was then left to cool. I started off 1 jar using dried raisins and another with fresh green grapes. The raisins I bought must be not suitable, since the yeast did not activate. I used dried California raisins from Gold Ribbon. The fresh grapes, on the other hand, started fizzing. Small bubbles could be seen in the water around the grapes.
I followed instructions and closed the lid on the jars loosely, giving the jar a shake once a day and opening the lids to let the yeast breathe. All seemed well. By the 3rd day, I was worried of over-fermentation and moved the jar into the fridge. My first bread – a chocolate chip loaf was made that weekend. I used the recipe from Bread and Original Yeast for Pain de Mie.
My experience: It took eons for the dough to rise, even a little. I suspect the yeast water was not strong enough.
I refreshed the jar of grape yeast water, this time with green apple slices and 1 tablespoon of sugar. I left my pet outside for 5 days this time, doing the shake and open jar exercise once a day. A second attempt at Pain de Mie was made using this refreshed grape apple yeast water. The results were better.
The crumbs are bigger and the bread is way softer. For the first attempt, the crust was harder when the bread cooled. For the second attempt, the crust was softer with a crackly texture. The bread tasted slightly sweet with a very subtle grape fragrance. It reminded me of the scent of wine. Very light smell but it was there.
Now my pets are currently feeding on longans. Ha! They are being spoiled. I smile at them and sing to them. I check on the pre-ferment so much my parents think I’m mad and I hug the bowl of dough when it is fermenting to make it grow faster. Ha!
I shall experiment some more.