Beer trub bread

Beer trub bread

Brewers out there – this blog is for you!

I know that your friends and family are ooing and aaaawwwing at your brewhouse accomplishments. This blog will show you how to get them ooing and aaaawwwing over a great loaf of bread from your beer trub.

For readers who are not beer makers, trub is the ‘gunk’ that forms at the bottom of a beer fermentation vessel. Once the yeast has been active, and has fermented the beer, it drops out and falls to the bottom. The trub is highly bitter as it also picks up the taste of the hops and other bittering agents. But perhaps you are a bread baker who knows a beer brewer. Get some of that trub – its a unique baking experience.

Perhaps the most important aspect to master is the bitterness of the trub. A little is nice – but too much can kill it.

There are also many recipes out there for a beer bread in which beer is substituted in whole or in part for the water. This is also not like that. In this, the beer trub provides both the rise and the flavour.

So lets get started. The whole process takes between 6 and 24 hours, depending on the temperatures you ferment at. Its a great project to do on brew day when you have to wait around and monitor things. This recipe will make one 950g loaf.


  • Beer trub – about 100g. The fresher the better. Use what you have from your last batch that has been refrigerated.
  • Flour: about 700g total. Flour also imparts flavour. For this beer I would go with whole grain high protein flours – whole wheat, red fife, rye, spelt, kamut. Some all purpose white flour can be used, but that is not what beer bread is all about.
  • Water – less than a litre. It must not have chemicals in it.
  • Salt – 12g
  • Various seeds and toppings of your choice.


  1. Get the starter happening

In a 500ml or 1l mason jar combine 100g trub, 60g flour and 100ml of water (no chemicals in it though, they will kill the yeasts). Mix thoroughly and leave for a few hours. If your trub is fresh (less than a month old and has been refrigerated) place the mason jar in a bowl as it may very well overflow. (Check the ceiling photo. This one blew its top!) Leave the starter until it gets really active. This should take approximately 4 hours at room temperature.

Beer trub, flour and water= your starter

Beer trub has some really active yeast!

It twisted the top off … and BOOM!

2. The Bulk Rise

Now is the time to mix in the rest of the ingredients and let that trub yeast get refreshed and go to work! Combine the following dry ingredients:

  • 545g of flour. This can be your choice. Just as in beer making the grains you use determines the flavour, so it is true in bread making. Since trub has those hoppy beery qualities in abundance, my suggestion would be to try heavier whole grain flours: whole wheat, rye, red fife. Some white all purpose flour is fine too. (note the similarities to your grain bills?)

    Dry ingredients for the bulk rise

  • 12g salt
  • 25g DME (for you non brewers this is dry malt extract) or another sugar.

Now mix in the wet ingredients:

  • 285g of water. This could be other liquids, though I would not suggest beer, as there is plenty if beeriness in the trub.
  • 109g of starter: the trub/flour/water you just refreshed
  • Plus water and starter

Mix it all thoroughly together, turn it out on a counter and knead (wet your hands with water, don’t add more flour) until everything is nicely combined. If it gets a little sticky, wet your hands

at the start of the bulk rise

End of the bulk rise

some more.

Place your bulk rise in a bowl and cover with a very damp towel. This can be left at room temperature for about 4 hours or until it is doubled in size. You can also stick it in the fridge overnight.

3. Proofing

For this super simple first go at it, I’m advising you use a typical loaf pan.

Stretch and fold (S&F)

Stretch and fold: take a corner of your dough, pull it out and fold it over the rest of the dough. Repeat a few times until the dough gets stiff.

S&F: stretch and fold over

The taste test

At this point I would taste it to see where it is at for bitterness. I don’t usually do this for bread, but with the hoppiness in the trub, you might want to. Heat up a frying pan (cast iron is best), flatten out a small piece of dough you have pinched off, and put it dry into your pan at a medium heat. It will rise and get brown. Turn it a couple of times. After a couple of minutes it will be ready. Taste it. If you like what you have then go for it. If you feel it is too bitter, add some sweetener – honey, maple syrup, DME. Repeat the process (if you like).

Shaping and proofing

Now that the basic taste of the bread is where you want it, shape it more or less into a shape that will nicely fit in your pan. You can add other things: cereals, seeds, cornmeal – whatever your brewer’s heart desires. Sprinkle your additives on or roll the dough in them.

To place the bread in its pan, tear off enough parchment paper to hold the loaf. I advise parchment paper as it makes the loaf super easy to extract.

If you are baking it right away, leave it for about an hour at room temperature. If you want to wait overnight or a similar longish period, put it in the fridge for 8-24 hours at this point. Just make sure it is covered with a damp cloth.

Shaped into a loaf, you can add seeds etc. on the crust if you like.

4. Baking

Turn your oven to 450F. When it reaches cooking temperature, score the loaf: using a sharp knife cut a slash from one end to the other. The blade should be at an angle and not go in more than a few cm/1/4”.

Just before it goes in, slash from one end to the other.

At this point you can also brush on a variety of crust caremelizing liquids – either water, oil or egg white.

Bake as follows: You will be using 3 different temperatures.

You proofed it at room temperature You proofed it in the fridge
12 minutes at 450F/230C 16 minutes at 450F/230C
12 minutes at 425F/218C 16 minutes at 425F/218C
12 minutes at 400F/205C 16 minutes at 400F/205C

If you are unsure if it is ready, test it with an instant read thermometer (you are a brewer, you will have one of these!). It should be at an internal temperature of between 190F (88C) – 205F(95C).

Once out of the oven let it cool off for about 15 minutes – then dig in. You will find it pairs so excellently with the beer you brew!

Further discussion….

Adjusting the recipe

What is presented here is a precise recipe yielding a 950 or so gram loaf. You can easily adjust it using my handy bread calculator spreadsheet.

The highlighted cells can be changed by the user, however the other cells are all formulas and the cells are protected. The two key cells are B6 and B8.

In B6 you control the ratio of flour to starter. Making regular sourdough, I typically have this set for a 3:1 recipe. For trub starters, I suggest it be set to 5 or 6 – a higher 5:1 ratio.

B8 is the amount of trub starter to use. Remember that the trub starter is what resulted from initially combining trub with water and flour. In this recipe, you will have trub starter left over. Put it in the fridge and you can use it a day or two later. You can also refresh it with the following ratios of flour and water: 1 part trub starter, 1 part water, 60% of the starter weight in flour. If you wanted to be adventurous you could even use it to get your next brew going! What you are doing is using flour instead of wort to refresh and strengthen the yeast.

B7 is the hydration – what is presented is a fairly dry 60% hydration loaf. You could nudge this up, but if you are trying it for the first time, just leave it as it is.

Where next?

If you loved doing this you will want to do it some more. You can! You can keep refreshing your starter using equal amounts of the old starter and fresh water, with 60% of the starter weight in flour. The hoppiness will dissipate the more flour refreshing you do until you will eventually have your own strain of sourdough starter.

If you want to explore even further, check out my blog on sourdough here:

More sourdough related posts

Making sourdough easy and ‘just in time’

More fun with Sourdough: Party Bites

Fun stuff to do with sourdough

Backwoods Sourdough

As well as the following bread resources here:

Facebook groups

Plus some other cool sites


Pork Tenderloin

Last weekend we had the pleasure of our son’s company for a couple of days. Its always a pleasure to see him – he brings such an air of freshness, optimism and vitality that helps us to refresh ourselves.

I was thinking of what to do for dinner, and I had kind of thought along the lines of a raclette, but there were other options as well. I suggested these, thinking of what I had brought back from the market.

I had to go a little late to the market – and sometimes one risks the vendors running out of food. Sure enough when I got there, the meat counter was devoid of all roasts steaks and chops. There was however a single pork tenderloin – quite small – under 400g but enough.

That was what he wanted – and said ‘leave it to me/we’ll do it together’.

Very well then. I took the precaution of salting it as dinner was clearly headed in this direction.

Here is the story of how it transpired. The lesson in it is how a good cook can get the general idea of the dish, and make it something new yet their own. In this case simplicity prevailed; the desire to bring out the best in the meat with the least amount of work.

He started off his search with Gordon Ramsay – a fav go to of his ever since I showed him the Hash Brown video. So he searched out his Pork tenderloin video. Its quite delightful watching Ramsay cook – such high energy, but also he is so exact about what you do when.

It was clear to us that our sad little 400g piece was nothing like the succulant 1 kilo fat enshrouded piece Ramsay was working with. To begin with, our piece was completely lean. It was, however all in one piece, and thick enough that it could be cut open.

The big idea about this recipe, so it seemed, was to prepare a stuffed tenderloin, but it didn’t have to be all that was in Ramsay’s recipe.

So he started cutting open the meat, and layering in his filling: apple, garlic, pepper. This was followed up with preparing a glaze, a technique picked up from making Christmas turkey. I just happened to have some pork stock on hand, to which was added some maple syrup and apple juice. 

Next was what I felt was a genius move: wrap the whole thing in bacon. That would serve to nicely intensify the taste. Finally, as the Ramsay video shows, tie it up with butcher string.


Since our piece of meat was lacking a few things, we wanted to keep it moist. So instead of putting it directly in the oven, we decided to bake it in a dutch oven on a trivet (made of mason jar lids) with the glaze providing the moistening.

With an accompaniment of green salad with viniagrette, braised turnip and parsnip, a warmed grain salad, sauteed mushrooms, broccoli, beer bread as a side and rhubarb apple pie with homemade vanilla ice cream, it was a delicious weekend dinner at the cottage. Were we to do it again, we would have added a good hit of rosemary, but as it was, the apple and garlic truly served to bring out the taste of the cut. Simple, and delicious.

Here is the tenderloin recipe:


450g pork tenderloin

half a granny smith (or other tart apple) apple sliced thin
1 large clove garlic sliced thin
5 rashers of bacon


3 tbs broth
about 6tbs apple juice
2 tbs maple syrup


  1. Salt the tenderloin for several hours – but at least 60 minutes.
  2. Oven to 400F/205C
  3. Slice open the tenderloin.
  4. Thinly cut apple & garlic and insert into the cut tenderloin.
  5. For the glaze heat the broth, apple juice, and maple syrup.
  6. Tightly roll up the tenderloin then wrap bacon around the meat. Tie off the roll with string – one string on each bacon rasher.
  7. Put the wrapped tenderloin on a trivett in a Dutch oven.
  8. Pour the glaze over the tenderloin, cover, and bake for 45 minutes – more if your tenderloin is bigger.

How to make Haggis

Haggis  – the much maligned national dish of Scotland definitely deserves a second chance. I think many are put off by the organ meat ingredients and the way it has been traditionally prepared. But if you have a chance to taste a really good homemade haggis, you are, in my very humble opinion, in for a real treat. Chances are that you won’t have a buddy around the corner who just happens to be a haggis maker. There aren’t many of us around, sadly. So you might just have to strike out on your own and do it yourself. This blog will tell you how.

The summer before last, I decided to do a Burns Supper. My sister eagerly became my partner in crime, though she was initially reluctant about doing a haggis from scratch. When we got to the point of sorting out meat proportions and spicing, she was quite pleased with our enterprise.

If you have any Scottish roots, you’ll know what a Burns Supper is. For those of you who do not, here is a brief rundown. January 25th is the birthday of Robert Burns, the most famous of Scottish poets. Sometime shortly after his untimely death after only 37 years on this good earth in 1796, some friends of his got together and held a supper in his memory. The bill of fare for the supper was centred around haggis: a Scottish sausage which comprises of lamb organ meats and oats boiled up in a sheep’s stomach. For vegetables, “neeps and taties” (mashed turnip and mashed potatoes). What a quintessential northern clime winter dinner: The haggis is prepared by first boiling the meat, then grinding it, then working the oats in, spicing it, stuffing it and boiling it ….. for quite a number of hours. Definitely a winter dish to be prepared over a hot stove keeping the house warm on a cold winter day.

I must have participated in Burns’ Suppers when I was a child. My sister – who was my wonderful partner in crime throughout this caper told me so. Goodness knows where I was – lost in the middle of teenage angst perhaps? But I have it on good authority that my father for some years did an annual Burns Supper.

While haggis is a signature Scottish dish, its origins and first mentions were from England. Beyond that there are accounts going back to the early Greeks and Romans of packing meats in an animal stomach and boiling them. Other cooking cultures have their variants too – Chaudin – is a cajun dish using a pig stomach.

So last year we did our lovely supper, and  it was delicious. While Haggis is the  centrepoint of a Burns Supper, it was not the only thing going – in fact it would be pretty dull without the other stuff. This included a salmon dish over an onion and mushroom braise, cheeses and oatcakes as an appetizer, leek and potato soup, and Cranachan, a wonderful desert of oats, cream, whisky and raspberries. I’d love to be repeating it this year, but alas I will be travelling on Robbie Burns eve, and I figure you really should do this on the day of.

I’ll start with how to make it, and if you are interested you can read on to its history.


Please note that while weights are given, the attached spreadsheet link will automatically scale your haggis ingredients to the weight of the organ meats you have available. The final total cooked weight of the haggis will be approximately 4 times the weight of your pluck  (Pluck = all the organ meats). I’ve included weights below, because that’s what people expect to see in a recipe. These weights will yield enough haggis to fill a large haggis casing about 18” in length and about 5” in diameter. More on that below.

  • 500g Organ meats of a sheep: heart, lungs, liver, kidney. You can (and I do) loosely interpret this. Where I am, lamb is both more expensive and harder to come by. Every month I buy meat to make into raw dog food for my dog. (Here’s my blog on that). This consists of beef: trim, a heart, liver, tongue. I use a little of this to make my usual haggis, though for Robbie Burns Day, I’ll plan well in advance to get the lamb pluck
  • 500g meat – shoulder, leg, loin  – whatever is cheapest and available. For my beef version, I use stewing meat. It CANNOT be minced however. It must be in solid chunks.
  • 150g fat: This can be any kind of animal fat, including bacon drippings, fat from meat soups, any kind of meat rendering
  • 265g steel cut oats or oat groats. These  are roughly milled groats, not the flakes one customarily thinks of as oatmeal  null
  • 1.250L (5 cups) water
  • 4 large garlic cloves
  • 300g onion  – a medium to big onion
  • 17g salt
  • 20g pepper: It seems like a lot, and it is. Haggis is peppery by nature. But you can scale it back if you wish.
  • 35g thyme
  • Add other herbs and spices as you wish. I understand that in Glasgow there is a butcher that makes a tandoori haggis. Check the recipe variants on the haggis spreadsheet.
  • 1 casing: Sheep stomachs are the traditional casing vehicle for haggis. They are strong and will not disintegrate in the long final boil. However In Canada and the USA, they are not allowed to be sold – apparently health concerns around bacteria in the stomach lining. Its all quite curious as regular sausage casing or beef bung are the intestines  – I would have thought similar issues would be there too.  What I have been able to procure is a special food grade synthetic casing from my butcher that apparently is intended for haggis. I’m hopeful that recent rule changes that apply to sheep lungs will also apply to their stomachs. Never use sausage casing or beef bung. They are not strong enough to hold up to a 6 hour boil.


Special Equipment needed: Other than the usual kitchen stuff, be sure to also have:

  • Meat grinder
  • A pot that can hold the casing – about 20L or a turkey cooker


  • Butcher string


This will take about 4 hours to prepare, of which 2 will be active preparation. The final boil will take about 4-6 more hours. If you intend to serve your haggis on the same day it is cooked, prepare it the day before, and save the boil for the day of.

  1. Salt the meat and pluck and let sit for 40-50 minutes. Usually salting meat means you are sprinkling an eyeballed amount of salt on. Please use the salt called for in the instructions.
  2. Turn on the oven to 220F
  3. Spread oats on a cookie sheet and toast for 20 minutes
  4. Simmer the meat in the water for about 45 minutes. The water should cover the meat, but not too much. The quantity of water given should do the trick. You don’t want too much water, as it plays an important part later on. Do not hard boil it – you don’t want to reduce it, just make a nice soup of it.
  5. Extract the meat from the water, and reserve all the soup.
  6. Cook oats using  636g (or whatever quantity the spreadsheet turns up) of the meat soup. Simmer until cooked but ensure the oats still a crunchy texture. The remaining water will be used later on.
  7. Grind the meat. If you want the garlic and onions to be fully integrated into the mix, grind those too.
  8. Combine the oats and meat and mix thoroughly. (a good job for a stand mixer, but not critical)
  9. Check flavoring and spicing. Since the meat is cooked, you can and should taste as you go.  Begin with
    1. Salt. The salt used initially should be fine, but you may wish to add more
    2. Pepper: Its an important part of haggis. Keep in mind that after it cooks the pepper taste will diminish.
    3. Thyme and any other flavorings. Check the other haggis recipes on the spreadsheet to see what others have done.
    4. Garlic and onion: These should be finely diced or crushed in.
  10. Use the remaining soup water to dampen the mix. It should be damp, a little like hamburger mix.
  11. Once you are pleased with your result, stuff the casing with the haggis fill, use butcher string to tie off the ends, place on a trivet in a pot that can hold the whole casing, and simmer for about 4-6 hours.
  12. If serving it at a Burns supper, serve the whole casing very hot with ‘neeps and tatties (mashed potato and mashed rutabaga).  If using it for other purposes, let it cool and cut according to your needs. 

A note on the spreadsheet

Perhaps its the geek in me but I like to present scalable recipes. In this case I felt that people would either have a fixed weight of organ meats, or want their haggis to weigh a certain amount at the end. The spreadsheet does either of these functions. All of the cells except the highlighted input cells are locked. If you share my geeky nature and want to play with the recipe yourself, go ahead. Downloading the sheet as an excel sheet will remove all protection, and you can mess with the formulas all you like.

The second tab is one where I have copied and pasted other people’s haggis recipes. I wanted to see what similarities and differences were out there.

What else can you do now that you have made a massive amount of haggis?

Here are some ideas:

  • As part of  an hors d’oeuvres offering. Think Pate.
  • Fried with an egg for breakfast. Think sausage.
  • Spread on bread or toast as a snack, lunch.
  • In its own sandwich
  • In a burger bun. Think haggis burger.

Purists would say that haggis must be served on its own, but I often will do it with suarkraut, or other savory condiments.

History of Haggis

Many culinary cultures have a form of organ meats boiled in the animal’s stomach . There are apparently references to this practice going back to the ancient Greeks. Apparently it was a good way to feed the troops. Although now considered as a Scottish national dish, it’s first mention was from England.

It’s easy to understand why it gained currency in Scotland.  After the Battle of Culloden in 1746  Scots were at the mercy of their English conquerors who would take the best cuts of the sheep that happily grazed on the harsh highland lands leaving their tenant farmers with all the rest. What better way to use the offal or pluck and supplement it with a good hit of carbs in the form of the staple carbohydrate of the region- oats.

The future of the haggis as a national dish  was sealed with the “address to the haggis” by Robbie Burns which  is read at all Burns Suppers.

Haggis links


Related recipes

Haggis recipe links

This recipe provides directions for preparing the stomach.

Mrs. Lawrie’s Haggis

Mrs. Lawrie’s Reliable Cookery was the textbook used to teach Scottish girls 120 years ago about cooking and the ‘domestic sciences’. As it was a national textbook, it arguably defined the cuisine of that age. Here is the haggis recipe from that book.

1 sheep’s pluck (heart, liver, and lights).

Allspice and cloves if liked.
stornach bag.
1/2 lb. beef-suet. 4 onions (par-boiled).
1/2 lb. oatmeal (toasted).

Salt and pepper.
I pint water in which pluck was boiled.
l Wash the bag well in cold water, scrape till quite white,
and rinse thoroughly.
2. Soak overnight in cold water.
3. Wash the pluck well and put on to cook, covered with
boiling water and a teaspoonful of salt, leaving the windpipe
hanging out.
4. Boil 2 to 3 hours, then remove from the water and
allow to cool.
place on a baking sheet.

5. Remove the windpipe and grate down most of the liver.
6. Chop the lights and heart, and mix with the suet (chopped) and the toasted oatmeal and the seasonings
7. Moisten with about 1 pint of the water the pluck has been boiled in and mix very thoroughly
8 arrange the stomach bag into three or more small bags and fill about half full of the mixture and sew up
9. Put in a pan of boiling, salted water, and boil steadily
for 3 hours, pricking occasionally to prevent bursting.
10. Dish on a hot dish and serve very hot.
Pan Haggis is prepared in the same way, but, instead of being put into
bags, it is stewed in a pan for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, a little more
liquid being required.


Yeast connection part 2

The Yeast Connection part 2

Sept. 18-19

This blog is a continuation of the previous one exploring various aspects of yeast in its manifestations in beer and bread.

  • That beer bread where I used the last dregs of the recently bottled beer rose. It took a full 24 hours at room temperature to get itself sorted out. Its now been in the fridge for about 15 hours. I took off a little pinch to taste (heat a frying pan, a little oil, flatten the bread sample, cook, observe if it rises, eat) It also passed the stretch test 20170918_063800.jpg
  • I thought I’d like it as a boule – but realize I need a suitable rising container, so here it is in some parchment paper ready for its long fridge rise. 20170918_065555.jpg
  • The beer is now bubbling away, and the reconstituted yeast brew (right) is much more active than the basic yeast version. 20170918_094347.jpg
  • Meanwhile my apple and pear ferments are bubbling away nicely. I’m going to try a few experiments with them:
    • Cider: propagate a yeast slurry using organic apple juice in the same way I do a beer yeast refresh: (per gallon) 200g juice (hopefully at 1.035) and 20g of the yeast in the jar. Same for the pear.
    • Beer (why not?) same thing – but use my beer wort mix
    • Bread: 2 starters – Elaine at foodbod suggests equal parts water and flour (which would yield a 100% hydration starter). Now this will definitely be interesting to compare with my ‘old faithful’ SD starter. Will I get hints of apple and pear? 20170919_112835.jpg

September 20

I had to bake that beer bread today. It was just going too long in the fridge. I didn’t need to do it for bread – there’s already lots – but it really had fermented enough at nearly 48 hours. It rose, and did its yeasty breadish thing, but had I done it earlier it would more have resembled a bowler hat and not a volcano. The taste however was excellent. I’m glad I added the maple syrup. There was no bitterness as I tasted in the pre rise taste, but the taste was wonderfully rich and malty. In retrospect I should have made about 1.5 x the recipe using water as additional liquid. Or indeed not. This is a bread that is no shrinking background bread. Its the star of the show. I imagine it with roast squash, your thanksgiving turkey, a rich thick soup. And of course it will ideally suit the beer you brewed from it. That said it will be a month before you drink that and the bread will be long gone. It will NOT however a light summer salad. Here is what it looks like:


It is definitely worth doing this again next time I brew. Of course one can also use this last not full bottle for other things too – like marinating your meat, maybe cooking beans. Now there’s an idea!

Sooo…. In summary… if you are a brewer who has not made bread before:

  • Weigh the beer/trub mix.
  • Divide the weight by .6 to give the amount of flour to use. You can use whatever flour you like, just understand this will really affect the taste.
  • Multiply the weight of the flour by 2%. This is the amount of salt to add.
  • Mix and knead the flour and the beer until it is all well mixed. Place in a bowl and leave for 20 minutes
  • Add the salt and knead until it is well integrated. Taste it – the hoppiness could make it too bitter. This can be countered with a sweetener of your choice (which will also aid the fermentation going forward.)
  • let rise at room temperature for about about 24 hours.
  • Stretch and fold – a kind of kneading – look it up on Youtube – and then shape to the shape you wish it to be. At this point you can add stuff – seeds, nuts, other grains, oil….. Taste it again using that ‘fry a little bit of dough’ method described above.
  • Leave it at room temperature for a few hours or stick it in the fridge for about 24 or more hours.
  • For baking – oven to 450F. Depending on how much you have, it will be anything from 30-60 minutes. But if you are a brewer you should have a digital thermometer on a long probe. Stick that in after about 25 minutes and wait until its over 190F but not over 205.
  • Let it cool for about 20 minutes.

September 22:

Check out the apple ferment! Its in its glory now!


September 26

  • Lots has happened, including my courses, which is why I have not been great about keeping this journal up to date.
  • The brews noted above were bottled. The ‘control sample’ with regulare old Safale 04 yeast came in at 1.020, while the reconstituted yeast came in at 1.010!! Its clear to me now. I will be using active trub, strengthened with some 1.035 wort from now on.
  • On September 24, I participated in Jan and Jim’s cider making process. My first time for this. Jim and jan are wonderful people who live off grid up in the Bruce Peninsula. Ultimate DIYers, one of their annual projects is processing their apples into all sorts of things, but mainly cider. I spent the morning with some of their city millennial friends, chopping and got to see the cider press in action. Here are a couple of photos of their set up:
  • The apple chunks are first mashed in the masher, then placed in the press. A hand screw presses down the press plate squeezing the juice out. Jim notes that since none of the trees are cultivated and grafted, they are all their own individual species. I felt very honoured to take away a gallon, which I innoculated with my apple yeast, and placed in the crawl space to ferment for goodness knows how long. For the first time I made a connection between what Sandor Katz has said about apple cider – i.e. give it oxygen and time and things will happen vs. what I have found to be succesful: dropping some champaign yeast into it. I did wonder that perhaps I did not need to add my yeast – but we will see what happens. Naturally sweet, it came in at 1.043 OG. If it fermnents all the way it should produce a 4.5% hard cider.
  • On the brewing front, I finally got to try the exbeeriment I made using sourdough starter. It was excellent and I did not expect that. What I have read notes that for sour brews one needs to think of lighter brews, pilsner and wheat malts, and light hopping. In this one I made a straight up ale with 2 row malt, and northdown hops. I was truly expecting sour, but did not get it. I’ve heard that the hops tend to kill off the lactic acid bacteria so if that happened it would definitely account for the lack of sour where it was present at the point I bottled it. Between the result noted above and this, I feel that I am much more in control and comfortable with my yeast situation and beer.
  • I’ve pureed and added fresh apple juice to my apple yeast sample, and have taken some of it to make a bread starter. Haven’t tried it yet – family is not eating enough bread.
  • I also was able to get a decent DIY stirplate going. Its super basic, and needs a lot more refinement, but I was able to use it to get a yeast happening for a 2 gallon brew. Since yeast needs oxygen in order to work well, stirring it is a good way to do this. In a stir plate, a magnet is on a motor spinning around. There’s another smaller magnet in your jar of yeast. The spinning magnet causes the other magnet to spin also. The trick is that you need to start things slowly and get it at an optimum speed for a whirlpool to happen. 20170923_110355[1].jpg
  • And to finish this blogging sequence off, my 2 gallon brew (I am trying to make a Kolsh but I have substituted so much that its likely turned out to be just another pilsner.) and its buddy, the apple cider. I can hardly wait until next week to see how they turned out. If I see any fermenting action I will just leave them there. You can see that the beer is already developing a nice Kreusen. The cider may take longer.

All of this goes to show how flexible, variable, and also powerful this microscopic fungi called yeast is. Its key to a significant number of foods and drinks we not just consume, but really enjoy. If anything, I hope these 2 blogs inspires people to experiment, to ask “what if….?” set up and experiment, and have fun with it!

The yeast connection

The Yeast Chronicles (part 1)

Or How to love your trub and find all kinds of uses for it.

A warning: This blog is a tad nerdy. It’s a journal kind of blog chronicling my thoughts and mini experiments regarding bread, beer, and what joins them at the hip, yeast.

This blog entry chronicles my thoughts around yeast and its connections to both beer and bread over the course of a week when I did not have to think about the courses I’ll be teaching shortly.. In it I am trying a variety of experiments that consider the use of the same yeast samples in both baked products and beers.

In this phase of things, I’ve been inspired/influenced by the following bloggers and resources:

Bread Cakes and Ale Lots of great info on the connection and history of beer and bread from a British perspective. this is a blog all about beer experimentation. Great ideas!

Foodbod where I was inspired to try the apple fermentation

The Early English Bread Project

September 9th

  • Used 200g of trub made from safale 04 yeast. Treated it as ‘starter’ and added 200g water and 120g flour; let ferment for 6 hours at room temperature. This starter is to be called ‘ale starter’
  • Used 200g of this to make a 66% hydration loaf. (dark, malty taste; not bitter)

Sept 12

  • Refreshed the ale starter; let rise 6 hours room temp, made a 1700g bulk rise. The starter still has a malty taste to it though not as dark or strong as its prior version. (note to self: try either using beer to refresh or use beer as your bread liquid. ) Bulk rise left out overnight (@ 8 hours)

Sept 13

  • Baked 900g loaf from the bulk rise (made from ale starter). Both starter and dough have performed very well.Spring is good, crumb is fine. The taste is not as malty as the earlier loaf, but it has a complexity and darkness that is not present in my usual sourdough. I’m wondering if I keep refreshing it as a SD culture if the unique flavour of the yeast will endure. yeastconnection1.jpgyeastconnevtipn2.jpg
  • I refreshed equal amounts of my original starter and my ale starter. The ale starter was considerably more vigorous.
  • Can’t make up my mind on what kind of beer to brew next.
  • Hooked up a light dimmer to an old bathroom fan to develop a stirplate. I just need to figure out how to separate the fan from its metal enclosure and build a box around it.
  • Began apple and pear yeast capture: cut up each placed in 500ml jars with RO water.
  • apple pear ferment day 1.jpg

Sept 14

  • Decided to do a beer experiment with the 2 yeasts:

What I am trying to do here: That safale 04 trub starter appears to be quite strong. What I want to do in this experiment is to compare this reconditioned yeast (now in its 4th refresh) to dry safale 04 on the following parameters:

  • Strength: Does refreshing trub using bread flour contribute to a stronger yeast? Which yeast is most effective to take down a 1.070OG brew? The results will be clear – what is the FG? IN comparing this starter to my sourdough starter, it is more vigorous.
  • Taste: how different is the taste? the yeast is going to be the same. But in refreshing it 3-4 X over a week with bread flour, have LAB’s developed to sour the beer?


  • Make a 2 gallon brew mashed, boiled and hopped together.
  • refresh starter and brew morning prepare 20g ale starter with 200g 1.035 wort; use safale 04 dry for the other batch. Divide equally into 2 gallon jugs.


  • 1.83kg Weyerman Pilsner (83.4%)
  • 360g Briess Carapils (16.6%)

Hops: Perle – 12.74 gOG 1.070 (came out at 1.062)

  • IBU: 20.1
  • Colour 8.1 EBC
  • Est ABV: 6.5%

Comparing the 2 starters for bread:

  • Took my 2 yeasts to see the difference in the same loaf of bread: same flour mix, same hydration, done at same time, in same banneton. Bulk rise set up around 1PM; will set up loaves tonight, bake off tomorrow AM.

2yeastsamd their doughs.jpg

Sept 15

  • The bake-off
    • The ale starter rose better – but not a huge difference
    • The crumb was similar – fairly closed. (I had used 50% durum flour)
    • The ale starter still retains a rich malty sense to it.
    • The SD starter has a definite LAB taste profile – more tangy
    • Conclusions:
      • both make excellent bread, both are very different.
      • The ale starter is more vigorous
      • Its always worth setting up an ale starter when one does a brew.
      • I’ll keep my SD starter: its been going for 3 years or more, and is likely changing as its own subspecies
    • Questions:
      • Will different brews yield different flavour profiles in bread? (They should)
      • How will the difference in the starters affect the taste in crackers? (next experiment)
      • Can I even reasonably maintain 2 starters?
      • & what happens when the apple and pear yeast captures are also part of the yeast collection?

Sept 16

It’s brew day.

  • The day started by preparing the reconstituted starter (6AM): 200g of 1.035 wort and 20g of the starter. The idea here is to use the wort to build up and strengthen the yeast. I haven’t yet developed an effective stir plate, so I whisk it often throughout the day. I’m anticipating it will be pitched this afternoon. 20170916makingstarter.jpg
  • I’ve done the mash, boiled the wort and will shortly divide the wort into 2 gallon jugs and pitch the yeasts. I used the same recipe as for my first sd brew except I’m going with Perle hops. It came in at 1.062 – a high enough OG to test how well the 2 yeasts will perform. The one with reconstituted yeast is higher as a result of the pitch being a total of 200g. 20170916ale1.jpg
  • I also made a cracker dough with the ale starter: 250g starter 250g red fife flour, 7g water, 37g oil, 12g salt, 5 g each cumin and fennel. Rolled into a ball, into fridge. Let the yeasts slowly discover their own food source while battling excess salt. I’m curious about the flavours that will come through from this yeast in these crackers.
  • Finally today, I pulled the last piece of dough from the trub dough I set up a few days ago. I added herbs – basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, garlic, pepper – and also butter. As the picture suggests the dough was rolled out, the ingredients added, and then it was rolled up and kneaded out again into a foccacia shape.20170916beerbread4.jpg

Sept 17

  • Crackers were rolled out and baked. These were used using my bread spreadsheet – a universally editable spreadsheet to be used for any bread formulations. I added fennel and cumin to this. Note the parchment paper. It works well to roll it out on parchment paper as it makes the handling a lot easier, especially as it tends to break apart when it is quite thin. The result: Interesting, though not my best cracker. The beer aspect does indeed come through, and I should have just left it like that. With the cumin and fennel, there’s just too much going on for the pallet. This is a technique that I would not do with fresh trub. The trub for this one had been refreshed 4 times with flour over the week. Using fresh trub, for the 300 or so grams of starter used in the recipe, I would probably do 3 parts water and 1 part trub: 180g water, 60g trub, 146g flour. 20170917trubcrackers2.jpg20170917trubcrackers1.jpg
  • I did one more experiment – its still happening. Yesterday I also bottled a brew – an American pale ale. At the end of the bottling I had a partly filled bottle with a fair amount of trub and beer. Since the trub is a lot of used yeast, I decided to attempt using this bottle as both the yeast and liquid in a bread. Here is how that went down: I poiured the beer into a bowl and weighed it – 300g. Then I divided this by .66 to give me the flour needed to give a 66% hydration loaf: 454g. I then multiplied this by 2% for the appropriate amount of salt (9g). Its (hopefully) rising, though I don’t know how long its all going to take.
  • Meanwhile my apple and pear ferments are bubbling away nicely.

It has been a week now of fun and experimenting. I do appreciate that the only ones left reading are those who might be interested themselves in this amusement of beer, bread and yeast. That is after all one of the prerogatives of the blogger – to be as self indulgent as they want – and I’ve definitely been that.

But wait ….. There’s more! (just kidding) But seriously, after a week of this Its time to wrap and post. I’ll likely continue a second edition next!

My progress with beer

My progress with beer

I’ve been having a lot of fun with beer lately. This blog chronicles some of what I’ve been up to.

I’ve now been brewing for about 18 months, and learned a lot, the hard way. That said, only one brew had to become ‘beer vinegar’. Some have been great, and others simply OK. A few I have really loved.

Beer making has followed my usual cooking M.O: it starts with a scientific question: “What would happen if….?” Sometimes it has been more of a design question: “Can I clone??”

The images are all from beersmith. It really doesn’t add anything to show pictures, nor would it add anything to make this a “here’s how you do it’ blog. If you want to make beer, download Beersmith to both your desktop and cell phone. Take time to read a lot, and especially set up your equipment profiles. Then you will be all set.

Without further ado, here are a few reflections on the brews I’ve been doing.

Sour Beer

Sourbeer is a particular style of beer. Wikipedia describes it this way: “At one time, all beers were sour to some degree. As pure yeast cultures were not available, the starter used from one batch to another usually contained some wild yeast and bacteria.[1] Unlike modern brewing, which is done in a sterile environment to guard against the intrusion of wild yeast,[2] sour beers are made by intentionally allowing wild yeast strains or bacteria into the brew. Traditionally, Belgian brewers allowed wild yeast to enter the brew naturally through the barrels or during the cooling of the wort in a coolship open to the outside air [3] – an unpredictable process that many modern brewers avoid.[4]

I also found a sour beer blog! which in turn led me to the ‘Milk the Funk” facebook group which is dedicated to using wild yeasts in beer making.

My current interest has been in using sourdough starter to pitch into my beer. Working through Yeast I calculated that if I take 20g. of vigorous sourdough starter and refresh it in 200g of.1.035 wort first thing in the morning (or late at night before) of a brew day, it will have sufficiently fermented to pitch into a gallon (3.5 L) of beer.

I’ve tried this a couple of ways now: with pilsner malt as the base, and also with a more ale based base. I’ve heard that hops can kill the lactic acid bacteria – we will see: the ale version was fairly heavily hopped. I’ve begun to drink the pilsner version and so far I am really pleased with the results.

(Note: if you want to see the recipes in more detail, I would suggest clicking on the picture to either open it in a new tab and then expanding it, or saving it as  an image then enlarging it)


Above is the recipe used for the pilsner version, and below, the ale version.

The next recipe is one I named ‘June Ale. I was trying to use up grains and hops purchased over the course of last winter – no more and no less. Sometimes one gets surprisingly great results. This one turned out quite wonderfully, as a straight up ale. Great mouth feel, great head, very smooth after taste. I’m definitely going to do this again.

The final recipe is one where I wanted to explore Citra hops, and found this one in beersmith. The citrus is very pronounced, a very bright beer. Apparently this is the kind of thing that is all the rage these days. I’m quite delighted with it myself, though I would not want to make this the only beer on hand.

Not quite sure where to take this next, but here are a few random thoughts:

  • Continue with the small brews, but make 2 gallon batches the norm. This way I get about 12 500ml bottles for my efforts. I’m finding that getting only 6 for all that work is getting a little much. I will still do one gallon batches for experimental efforts.
  • Up to now my goal has been to make a decent ale. I’ve now achieved that. Next I want to have a small variety on hand that includes an ale, a sour beer, a lightly hopped pilsner type ale, and a stout not to mention the odd experiment as well.
  • I want to do more experiments with capturing wild yeasts – but more about that in later blogs.

Apricot jam & hot apricot chutney

Recently I spied the season’s first apricots. These guys were really fresh nice and juicy and it was a question of do I do them, blackberries or blueberries. I really didn’t want to have to process them all together so I decided on the apricots.

A few years ago I bought a jar of hot apricot chutney from Laura who runs Cottage Country North up in Wiarton, ON. It was amazing – a sharp bite of hot with the intense tang of apricots. Of course I tried to copy it – with modest success. A little while later I learned she uses dried apricots. That would definitely account for the intensity of it. So I searched my faithful spreadsheet to try to find that hot apricot chutney recipe from several years ago – as a starting point.

I wanted to explore something else as well. This time around I’m focusing my exploration on the idea started in my Strawberry -Rosemary Chutney blog – to make a jam and a chutney in the same session, while also refining my scalable jam and chutney spreadsheet application. So this time I am making a basic apricot jam and also the hot apricot chutney.

The jam was simple: I just follow the regular Pomona’s recipe. For the chutney,I thought I would apply the lessons learned in the Rosemary Strawberry Chutney. This involved increasing the Pomona’s quantities by a half as there is a considerable hit of vinegar as well as the usual spicy, hot and salty aspects that a Chutney will always have. Because of the vinegar it also needed more honey to balance it out, making the whole affair much more intense. Once the pits were removed, I divided the apricots in two equal quantities.

I had an earlier version of the scalable Google sheet that used volume measures. However the results were getting a little ridiculous. For example, how do you measure .22 teaspoon? It was time to move this sheet to dealing with weight only so I weighed the Pomona ingredients to find out how much a teaspoon of Pomona’s pectin or calcium water weigh and used these in the spreadsheet.

The other difference between the jam and the chutney is that the jam calls for a fair amount of lemon. Pomona’s needs a certain amount of acid in it to work and if the fruit in of itself doesn’t have that acidity Pomona’s recommends adding lemon juice. I decided that with the chutney I would use a vinegar based hot sauce (hot pickled peppers, pureed).

Here is a recipe list for the two recipes based on having one kilo of fruit for each recipe. These repeat everything on the spreadsheet, but at least it presents the whole recipe, right here.

Please note that ANY pectin can be used in these recipes. Just take out the Pomona’s and substitute the pectin and its method you usually use.

Hot apricot chutney


1 kg Apricots

30g calcium water
80g hot sauce

530g honey
7g pectin powder
15g salt
150g diced onion
90ml apple cider vinegar
90ml white vinegar

Total yield: 1.66 L
Jar yield 7 X 250 ml jars


  1. Wash and prepare 7 250ml jars
  2. Prepare the apricots: wash, remove pits and weigh. Once done, input the weight into the calculator (Cell 5: click in the cell and add only the number of KILOs.
  3. Prepare: jalapenos/hot sauce, calcium water, vinegars
  4. Prepare water bath: half fill your canning pot, and heat. Put jars in, Put lids in a colander and set in the boiling water about 5 minutes before you fill your jars.
  5. Mix together honey and pectin, stir thoroughly. In Pomona’s method, the pectin powder is added to the honey. The Pectin/honey is added only once the calcium water and fruit have come to a boil. Do NOT add this in with the fruit initially.
  6. Boil apricots, onions and jalapenos. Use the potato masher to mash.
  7. Add calcium water and stir thoroughly. Bring back to a boil
  8. Add pectin/honey mix and stir thoroughly. Bring back to a boil. This is meant to come to a boil, but do not keep it boiling as this will ruin the gelling ability of the pectin.
  9. Prepare jars for canning
  10. Once chutney is boiling while stirring, cut the heat.
  11. Mix in vinegar and salt
  12. Taste for saltiness/vinegar/heat in that order. You may want to not add all of the vinegar, salt or additional hot sauce at once – do it according to taste. What you taste at this stage is what you will get once it is is all done.
  13. Can and water bath for 10 minutes.
  14. Add labels once cooled.

Materials needed for both recipes

  • Weigh scale and bowl
  • Pots for boiling fruit
  • Canning pot for water bath
  • 7 250ml jars/10 125ml jars
  • 17 lids and tops
  • Colander to hold the jar lids
  • Breadboard
  • 500ml measuring cup
  • Bowl for compost
  • Teaspoon set
  • Potato masher
  • 3 dishtowels or pot holders
  • Rubber spatula (heat resistant)
  • Wooden spoon
  • Canning tongs
  • Labels

Apricot Jam


1 kg Apricots
20g calcium water
75g lemon or lime juice
175g honey
9g pectin
Yield: 1180g: 10x 125 ml jars


  1. Wash and prepare 10 125ml jars. Place them in the heating water.
  2. Prepare the apricots: wash, remove pits and weigh. Once done, input the weight into the calculator (Cell 5: click in the cell and add only the number of KILOs.
  3. Prepare calcium water, lemon juice
  4. Prepare honey/pectin mix, thoroughly mixing them.
  5. Cook the apricots and lemon juice. Use the potato masher to mash.
  6. Add calcium water and stir thoroughly. Bring back to a boil
  7. Add the pectin powder/honey mix, stir thoroughly and bring back to a boil.
  8. Meanwhile remove the jars and prepare them to receive the jam.
  9. As soon as the jam is boiling, take off the heat and pour into jars.
  10. Can in the water bath (water must be boiling) for 10 minutes.

Recipe spreadsheet links: This spreadsheet will eventually include all the scalable recipes in my blogs. It is editable in so far that the data input cells can be changed.

Here is the link to Pomona’s: