If you’re trying to incorporate a more natural, health-conscious diet into your life, there are many things you can make at home rather than purchasing from the store that can benefit your body. One of the easiest, healthiest things you do to change your diet is to learn how to make yeast at home.
You may be wondering why you’d want to make your own yeast when you can buy it already made in the grocery store. What you purchase in the store is vastly different than natural-made yeast. Store-bought yeast is lab-created and often contains additives that can harm our digestive systems, and even upset diseases or cause allergies.
Natural yeast is much better for your system and doesn’t take much work to make. It also comes with a slew of health benefits that make it worth your effort.
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Yeast has many uses, making it an adaptable ingredient in a variety of recipes. People who dabble in beer-making as a hobby can benefit from natural yeast, as it’s a valuable resource during the fermentation process.
Using yeast as an ingredient in baking recipes is also common, particularly when you’re working with a recipe that necessitates making dough that will rise in order to have a finished product. Because of its ability to generate carbon dioxide, people who keep their own aquariums have been known to use yeast to fertilize their plants.
Yeast has even been known to be used in bioremediation to create fuel because of its ability to convert sugar into ethanol.
When you think of foods that pack a probiotic punch, you likely think of yogurt and other foods containing lactic acid. However, natural yeast is a great immune system booster thanks to its high beta-glucan count. If you’re lactose intolerant, you can still get a healthy dose of probiotics when you ingest natural yeast. Your immune system will thank you.
Yeast is also high in protein, which means if you’re looking for a protein boost, yeast can give your body what it needs to build healthy muscle tissue and strong bones.
Yeast is also good for treating common irritable bowel syndromes, such as chronic diarrhea or Crohn’s disease. The enzymes present in yeast can help prevent toxins that sometimes build up in your system and make you feel uncomfortable, bloated, or ill. When you take yeast regularly with your maintenance medication, it can lower your chances of a relapse.
Yeast is high in selenium, which is a mineral that contains antioxidant properties. These properties can help protect your body from free radical damage that causes heart disease and cancer. In addition to protecting the body against deadly diseases, yeast also contains B vitamins that are good for your overall health, promote healthy liver and nervous system function, and even help ward off the common cold or flu.
How yeast might help, specifically
If you suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, taking a daily dose of yeast can improve the body’s cognitive central nervous system function. This can lessen the symptoms of this disorder and promote healthier daily performance.
In addition to helping fight CFS, yeast can also improve people who suffer from insulin sensitivity by regulating blood sugar levels. The chromium in yeast acts as a glycogen stabilizer, which can be beneficial for people who suffer from type 2 diabetes.
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Women who are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant can also benefit from the health properties that are found in natural yeast. Because yeast is rich in B vitamins, protein, probiotics, and antioxidants, it can benefit a developing fetus early on in a woman’s pregnancy. As with any change, pregnant women should consult their doctor before introducing something new into their diet.
What Exactly Is Yeast?
Given all its benefits and uses, you may be wondering what exactly yeast is made up of. If you’re thinking it’s a concoction of complex ingredients, you’d be wrong. At its core, yeast is a single-celled fungus. There are over 1,000 different variations of wild yeast, and it can be found everywhere — from forests to your own backyard.
Given its wide accessibility, why would you want to make your own yeast? Studies have proven that natural yeast provides a variety of health benefits. This is due to its slow-rising process, which helps slow digestion, lower the body’s glycemic response to carbohydrates, and make you feel full longer.
You can make yeast a few different ways, depending on what type of finished product you’re looking to create, what type of recipes you’re going to use it in, and what overall taste you want your yeast to have.
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One of the most basic yeast recipes uses potatoes. Potato yeast is easy to make and doesn’t take a lot of prep work. It’s commonly used in bread and distilled spirits such as vodka.
- Medium saucepan
- Unpeeled medium-sized potato
- 4 cups warm water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1-quart jar
To make a small batch of potato yeast, you’ll only need one potato. Rinse it off slightly, but don’t scrub it too hard or you could risk damaging its properties. Once you’ve rinsed your potato, cut it into small pieces to make it easier to cook.
Place your rinsed and cut portions into a medium saucepan, and then place over medium-high heat and let the water come to a boil, completely cooking your potato all the way through. After your potato is thoroughly cooked, drain the water into a container. Using a potato masher, mash your potato and add a teaspoon of sugar and salt, then allow the mixture to cool until it reaches room temperature.
Once it has cooled completely, add your saved water to the potato and mash once more until the entire mixture equals one quart. Cover it and let it sit in a warm place for several days so that it can ferment.
Fruit-based yeast is most often used to make bread. Because you can make this type of yeast from a variety of fruits such as oranges, apples, and raisins, it makes a great addition to baked goods and gives a nice added aromatic flavor. While there are many fruits you can use to make fruit-based yeast, you should avoid attempting to make it from kiwi or pineapple because they don’t produce good results.
- 3-4 tablespoons fresh or dried fruit
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 8 ounces filtered water (stay away from tap water, as it can contain chlorine which kills yeast)
- Clean, sterilized 24-ounce jar
To make a fruit-based yeast, place your fruit in the bottom of your clean jar, then add your two tablespoons of sugar to the jar to help speed up the fermentation process. Next, fill your jar until it’s ¾ full of water. Do not overfill the jar or the fermentation process will not work.
Once you’ve filled your jar, loosely cover it, allowing some air to escape, then place it at room temperature and let sit for several days. Some people may say you should stir your mixture at least once a day, but you can produce the same results by letting your jar sit.
Once you see bubbles at the top of your jar and you notice a slightly wine-like scent coming from your mixture, your yeast has finished fermenting and is ready for use. Store your finished product in the refrigerator and use as needed.
Sourdough Starter Yeast
Sourdough starter yeast is also good for bread recipes but, because of its slightly sour taste, it may not be a viable choice if you’re trying to make a sweet bread. However, this is a great option if you’re looking for a basic bread recipe.
- 2 cups water
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 package of active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon sugar
To make sourdough starter yeast, dissolve the dry yeast in warm water, then let stand five minutes. Add in the flour and sugar mixture and stir well until blended. Your starter should look similar to a thick pancake batter. Don’t worry about getting out all the lumps, as they’ll dissolve during the fermentation process.
Next, cover your mixture loosely with plastic wrap and let it stand at room temperature for five days, stirring each day. During the fermentation process, the starter will rise and fall and grow thicker — this is a normal part of the process. Once your mixture develops bubbles along the top, it’s finished and ready for use.
Feeding Your Yeast
After you’ve created your yeast, you need to feed it regularly so that it can continue to grow. If you store your yeast at room temperature, you’ll need to feed it each day, but if you keep your yeast in the fridge you’ll only need to feed it once a week. It isn’t complicated to make yeast food, and it is vital to keeping your yeast from spoiling or going to waste.
To feed your yeast, add one cup of flour and one cup of lukewarm water to your yeast starter, mix until it’s smooth, then cover your mixture. Before you can use your yeast again, you’ll need to let it sit at room temperature for at least two to four hours so that it can ferment and begin growing. After sitting at room temperature for a few hours, return your mixture to the refrigerator.
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You should feed your sourdough mixture slightly differently than you would your other yeast starters. After you’ve used part of your sourdough yeast, replenish it by mixing 3 parts flour to 2 parts water, then add 1 teaspoon sugar. Stir into your yeast until blended, then cover loosely and let stand overnight until your yeast becomes bubbly.
Creating your own yeast doesn’t take a lot of time. However, its numerous health benefits and adaptability make it a welcome ingredient around any kitchen.
Emily as an MFA in creative writing and a strong passion for cooking! She started trying out her mother’s recipes from a very young age, turning the time she spent in the kitchen into a career. She will soon publish her very first cookbook, and in her free time, Emily contributes to our blog with resources for all our readers, whether beginners or advanced chefs.
Last update on 2023-06-02 at 07:00 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Nihal Farouk says
Can you pls tell me how to make at home the kind of yeast that is harder than the ones you described in your recepies and that we could cut into cubes and use? Thank you very much in advance for your help.
leah gilham says
How exactly do you use the yeast after you make it? This was completely left out of your article. But is very important.
How much would you need to use compared to store bought?
Deborah Dugdale says
So it’s great to make your own yeast but in order to use it to make bread how do you know how much to use??
So with the potato yeast after it ferment for 10 days is it ready to use? How much do you use in a recipe?
How long does it keep? Does it go bad?