I'm often looking for ways to save on my homebrewing costs and one of those ways that I have found is to reuse beer yeast between brews. I often end up keeping some of the yeast slurry after fermentation and storing for future use in a sanitised jar. With all the good intentions in the world, I often end up with stored yeast in the back of my beer fridge that goes waaay past it's expiry date.
The image above is some yeast slurry that I harvested in a small, sanitised kilner jar.
At the time of writing this article, I am currently locked down at home due to the Corona Virus. In the U.K, it's not always been easy to get hold of all the ingredients that you need in your weekly shopping. This got me thinking about those yeast jars that are sitting unused at the back of my fridge. I wonder if I can make bread with the yeast?
As it turns out, both brewing yeast and baking yeast is in fact Saccharomyces cerevisiae. I attempted to bake some bread with beer yeast, and believe it or not, turned out great! In this article, I am going to share the steps that I took to make bread with beer yeast and so hopefully you can make your own bread too.
Beer Yeast slurry (I used about 50ml)
500g very strong white flour
10g fine sea salt mixed with 15g of cold water
I approached this bread much like you would with a sourdough starter and followed the guidelines on this site as much as possible.
I started by whisking the water, yeast, salty water and all the flour in a large bowl. I mixed until all the ingredients came together into a large ball.
I then kneaded the dough for about five to ten minutes and once it felt springy to the touch, I made it into a ball and placed it in a large bowl. I covered the bowl with a tea towel and left somewhere warm for a few hours.
Once the dough had risen and doubled in size, I then pushed it down and shaped it into a ball once more. I then put it in the fridge overnight and left to prove for about 8-12 hours. It looked a little like the image below in the morning.
The next morning, I preheated the oven to 220°C for at least 30 minutes before baking. I placed the dough on lightly floured baking parchment and then in a dutch oven (you don't have to use this) before putting it into the oven.
I also slashed the dough with a sharp knife to give it a sexy tear down the middle as it rises. I baked it for around 40 minutes.
Next, I turned the heat down to 180°C (and remove the lid if you are using a Dutch oven) and baked for another 10 -15 minutes. This idea behind this is to give you a nice brown crust.
That's it - I took the bread out of the oven and left to cool. I know it is tempting get slice the warm bread straight away, but wait until it cools first - it is even better if left for a while for the flavour to develop.
Voilà! This is how it turned out.
All in all I am pretty happy with how this bread turned out. I am no master baker, and I've never devoted the time to perfect the art of baking bread, but overall I am pleased with this bread.
If you are looking to bake a sourdough style bread, then you might be a little dissapointed using beer yeast, as it wasn't very sour and lacked the moisture of a well baked sourdough loaf. With that said, this is a great way to be economical and use leftover beer yeast. Whether it's about to expire, or you have some yeast slurry and you want to experiment - you can still make great bread!