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Is there a way to cultivating yeast at home for baking? Answered

Was just wondering if there was a way of cultivating your own renewable supply of yeast at home from a fresh or dried starter?


I can't imagine it, but some folks don't like the taste/texture of "sourdough". In such case, you can dry a mixture that is not fermented, in the same way as drying traditional sour starter.  

The following is for saving sour starter. If you don't want "sour", use warm water and set mixture aside in a warm place.  Check for bubbliness after ten minutes.

Dissolve your original yeast in water -- warm water will work faster than cool or cold, but is not necessary.  Stir in flour equal in volume to the amount of water used: I use 1–2 oz by volume. Do not stir vigourously, you only need to break up lumps of flour and get it well distributed, not smooth. Try to avoid bubbles.  Cover and set aside at room temperature. (My experience is: A tight cover holds in the yeast gas/warmth, and the yeast is happier and faster-growing; others' experiences may be different.)

You want to see the yeast is active and strong; i.e., the starter is full of bubbles. Obviously, a clear glass or jar helps one to check that there are bubbles all the way through the mixture. This may take a few minutes, or if using a dried starter, it may take several hours.

If you want to bake or make A LOT of starter, mix in additional water and flour -- I suggest 1/4–1/2 cup each -- and let ferment again. Be careful, this is where the mixture starts to "sour".

Either way, spread the amount you want to dry onto parchment paper or easy-release foil, and let dry COMPLETELY. It seem obvious, but I want to emphasize that the thinner you spread the starter, the quicker and easier the drying.  Aim for dry by the next day. If the starter isn't rock hard and absolutely dry in a couple days, you may want to break it into small pieces to faciliate drying. (You'll be breaking it up anyway.) Longer than this, I'd start to worry about mold/fungus.

Break dried starter into small granules; short bursts in a clean coffee grinder are effective.  I like to store 2 tsp amounts in "snack size" plastic zipper food bags, so I don't lose a whole batch if something happens in storage. 

You need to "revive" the yeast into a starter or sponge, rather than just adding like active dry yeast or fresh yeast.  Revive using the jar method described above, using 1 oz each water/flour. Please note that the dried starter won't dissolve, rather it will take several minutes to soften; then stir in the flour and a little sugar if you like. I add the bubbly starter to the liquid in my recipe and adjust texture with flour. 

Hope this helps.

P.S. Don't be discouraged if your starter "isn't working" in a recipe; let your dough sit in a warm place overnight and it may be spilling out the container in the AM. If it's risen and fallen, just fold it over itself a few times and let rise again. 

For more reliability, keep an active starter supply in the fridge -- yes, the starter will go sour if you don't use it, but if you don't let the dough sour, your baking will be "sweet". Good luck.

I've often wondered the same thing, though for the purposes of brewing beer.

While the yeast variety used is different, the storage techniques should be the same. I did a quick search for you and found this:


It looks likely to work for baker's yeast as well. You should be able to use sodium metabisulphite or oxclean (commonly available at brewing stores) instead of an autoclave/pressure cooker for sterilizing.

"Friendship bread" is another variety of sourdough starter that you cultivate at home.

Sure, just make a sourdough starter. They can live for years if properly maintained. Check here for details, or under the Related tab ===>

Look up instructions for "catching" and using sourdough starter. That can be done with tame yeasts too, though they're usually less tasty.