Friday, September 21, 2012

Be very, very quiet....I'm hunting for wild yeast!

OK, so you don't need to be quiet, but I figured I'd try something new and different - harvesting wild yeast from the air.  Yep, it's another experiment that easily falls into the "why don't you just go out and buy packaged yeast at the store?!?" category, but I want to know I can do this.  It's just foraging on a different level, but the same principle exists - "If I had to survive out in the middle of nowhere, could I do it?"  

I know what you're thinking - "Sue's gone off the deep end and has been watching way too many episodes of 'Man vs. Wild'", and you'd be wrong since I don't have cable and can't watch much beyond the local channels and PBS.  I'm sort of glad I don't because it forces me to think outside of the boob tube, and let's face it...the boob tube is for zoning out at the end of the day.   
From my reading, you can "catch" wild yeast in a number of ways - soaking raisins, potatoes, or just leaving a water/flour combination covered with a kitchen towel out in the open. Sometimes you have luck, and if you don't, you start a new batch of flour and water and try again.  I decided to put my batch outside to take advantage of what might be one of the last warm days as it's supposed to cool off around here over the next week.  I put a rubber band around the lip of the batter bowl to keep the towel from blowing away, but otherwise, they "claim" it's easy to harvest it from the air, and results can be seen in as little as 24 hours, but probably 48-72 is more realistic.  I'll keep you updated if this method works, or should I say, if it worked for me (who's to say you don't have more yeasty air where you live, right?).

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