Being cultured

October 10, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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Have you ever gotten a friendship bread starter? It’s a cup of smelly liquid often given in a ziplock bag with instructions that take about 10 days to follow; some days you just stir, some days you add sugar, flour, etc. At the end, you have a loaf of sweet bread with three cups of starter to give to your friends.

The process, of course, is culturing bread yeast. After giving the yeast food and oxygen for days at a nice temperature, the yeast multiplies and voila, you have enough for several batches.

I don’t bake bread often, but I do brew beer, which also requires yeast, beer yeast. A different organism. I can get dry yeast from my supplier, or I can get liquid yeast. I generally get the liquid kind which come in lots more varieties. But they cost $6.50 a pop just for the yeast. So, I decided to get some culture.

Following the directions in Charlie Papazian’s great book The Complete Joy of Homebrewing I took a batch of a yeast I use often and am multiplying it times three. More details and pictures to come.

I’m calling my next batch of beer made with this yeast “Friendship Beer.” And if I give you a bottle, you won’t have to wait 10 days to drink it.

EDIT: Apparently beer yeast and bread yeast are different strains of the same organism, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, not different organisms. See the Wikipedia entry. Thanks for the correction, Virgil!

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