How did these
attempts to harvest wild yeast actually do?
After I set up the jars for the photo shoot, I
to see how they do compared to each other. This series
follows their progress from
Day 1 to Day 10 and then my conclusions.
how they are coming along after
|1. The first one on
the left is kefir
grains. I said (on Wild Yeast Harvesting)
to put them in apple juice, but in actuality I didn't have any apple
juice at the time I took the picture, so they're just in sugar water
made with dark, invert sugar syrup to match the color of apple juice
for the photo. There's no fermentation activity in the kefir grains jar
as of day +1.
2. Second from the left is the raisins, apple peel and
a lemon wedge. No activity.
3. Third from the left is the kahm-covered oak leaves from
a jar of finished sauerkraut.
The winner. Not only were they fermenting enough that I could see the
tiny bubbles, I could hear it fizzing away. So if you want a sure way
of making an airborne yeast starter, make sauerkraut first and use
leaves to hold the shredded vegetables down under the brine. Of course,
I ferment my sauerkraut for a month, so this isn't the fastest way to
get a starter going if you're in a hurry.
4. Fourth from the left is the potato water.
This is actual potato water that I had cooked potatoes in, though there
were several other vegetables in the pot at the time, but I don't think
they will have an effect one way or another. The little smudgy thing in
the jar is a piece of cooked potato that I put in so I could remember
what was in the jar. I didn't do anything special to it like add
raisins or grapes to get yeast like I suggested on the wild yeast page;
I just mixed it up, put it in the bowl, took its picture and then
poured it into the jar. No activity.
5. The second from the end is some kvass
I had made with kefir whey. That is starting to form some white scum at
the top so I have to keep shaking it whenever I open the cupboard, but
otherwise no fermentation activity.
6. The last jar is some malt extract
mixed half and half with water
that I had made a week ago to illustrate how to mix malt extract with
water to make it easier to use. The mixed water and malt extract had
foam on top probably indicating what would be called a "stuck
fermentation". It had fermented for a while after I added water, but
then stopped because the concentration of sugar was too high. The yeast
is alive, but dormant. So I decided to include it in the lineup. It had
probably been about a week since I had mixed the malt extract with
|Not pictured here:
That was an old photo I used on Wild Yeast Harvesting, so I didn't
actually have any sourdough batter liquid to work with. I have done
this before, however, and it would ferment immediately. But I start my
sourdough batter with kefir whey so it really is just a test of kefir
yeast on wild fruit.
No mature wild fruit around here in early May. I have added fuzzy,
yeast-covered fruits to my wine starters in the past before and they
worked fine, but I also added lots of other yeast sources, too.
Grapes. Didn't have
any grapes when I made the page.
have any peaches when I made the page, but will try to get some.
no apple orchards here in England around where I am now that sell
cider, so I can't try this. Next time I'm back in Connecticut, I should
try to make a ferment with their excellent apple cider. It shouldn't be
a problem, as usually the problem is to get it home and in the fridge
as fast as possible so it doesn't start to ferment, or "go bad", as we
would call it back then.
Moldy hay, bird droppings,
feathers, insects and soil. I haven't ever used any of these as
a source for wild yeast, but I'm tempted to try the soil and see what
happens. I don't know if I would be tempted to drink anything fermented
with dirt, but I guess we eat a pound of dirt in our lives so why not.