I hear that stores are selling out of yeast now! Apparently the whole country has started baking bread at home, which is actually kind of awesome!! Did you know you don’t need store-bought yeast?? If you have just a little bit of store-bought yeast left, you can make your own homemade starter, really easily. You’ll never have to buy yeast again, or at least this will get you through until it’s available to buy again! Sourdough starter is basically your own yeast, growing in flour and water. But starter can be tricky to get going. Or at least that’s what everyone says. I believed it! I spent months trying, and failing, last year. But I’m here to share a GENIUS, foolproof trick, for starting your own “levain”, or sourdough starter.
Once you get your starter, or “mother”, (I kinda love that!!😂), going, you don’t need store-bought yeast any more. Use half of your starter in your bread dough, feed the other half of your goo more flour and water, and it will be ready again in a few hours. You can use it and feed it every day, or store it in the fridge and feed it once every few days, (i.e. whenever you remember!)
So are you ready for the genius hack??? Here it is: Start your “mother” with a teaspoon of store yeast. You guys!!!! Seriously!!! It’s so genius!!! It’s foolproof!!!
Mix your precious teaspoon of store-bought yeast with a bit of warm water, maybe even a little sugar if you want to supercharge it. When it starts to foam, mix it with a cup or two of flour and water, equal parts of both. Let your goo sit at room temperature for a day in a large jar – because it will bubble up and double in size.
The next day, use half of it in bread dough, and feed the other half another cup or two of equal flour and water. (Pro tip: water without chlorine works better. If you have chlorinated water, boiling for half an hour purges the chlorine). Keep using or removing half each day, and replacing with more flour and water. The commercial yeast will gradually be eaten and replaced by your local, organic yeast in the flour and air. After about a week it will have stabilized, and need less daily attention. After a couple weeks, your “mother” will have the exact same chemical content as if you had started it completely organically. But you don’t have to go through the phase of waiting for the organic yeast from the air and flour to beat out the other bacterias, worrying if it will succeed, watching it fall flat, or smell like nail polish remover. You get bubbly, yeast-full starter right from the get go. If your “mother” starts to seem flat, you can always feed it a pinch more store yeast to get it going again.
I hope this helps! It’s super simple, even though it took SO many words to explain. 😂 Let me know if you have any questions. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay farm strong.