Creating a “mother yeast” (natural yeast) for baking

Did you know you can bake bread without commercial yeasts? You can cultivate your very own yeast at home, and it’s easier than you think!

They call it Pasta Madre, which at first translated sounds like Mother Pasta. But Valeria calls it a Mother Yeast, a natural yeast base created by combining collecting the must from our fermenting Verdicchio grapes/wine. By cultivating the natural yeasts in their fermentation process, we can create a natural yeast base for baking.

Valeria’s Mother Yeast Recipe using Verdicchio:

  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1 cup of Verdicchio must
  • 1 Tbsp of brown sugar

Combine the ingredients in a bowl and let it rest for 48 hours at room temperature. Valeria likes to use her oven since it’s generally a little warmer than the kitchen. During this time the fermentation will continue and levitate the mixture.

Above:The must on the left. The mixture on the right.

Above: the mixture on the left after a day of rest.

Once it’s ready, you can store it in a clean jar and keep it in the refrigerator for up to two days before you need to divide it, add more flour and hot water to keep the yeasts alive. Be sure to leave some space because sometimes the mixture keeps expanding…the lid on one jar came off from Valeria’s first attempt…I wish i had a photo of it, but didn’t have the camera or phone with me at the time.

You don’t have to use grapes, many fruits and veggies already have active yeasts on them. You can use them to incorporate flavors into your mother yeast. In general what you will want to do is submerge the dried or fresh fruit in warm water in a clean jar. When you leave it at room temperature for a few days, the fermentation process will occur (bubbles at the surface). If you use grapes or raisins, it’ll start to smell like wine. Once the bubbling stops, your mixture is not ready to be combined with the above recipe.

Now that you have your natural yeast, it’s time to make some bread!

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