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 https://breadcakesandale.wordpress.com/2017/06/18/crumbs-brewing-and-the-bread-beer-relationship/ Lots of great info on the connection and history of beer and bread from a British perspective.
http://brulosophy.com/ this is a blog all about beer experimentation. Great ideas!
Foodbod https://foodbod.wordpress.com/2017/07/26/fruit-yeast-water-bread/ where I was inspired to try the apple fermentation
The Early English Bread Project https://earlybread.wordpress.com/
- 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)
- 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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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?
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!