Author Topic: Sourdough Bread - Wild Yeast  (Read 1621 times)

Offline berberco

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Sourdough Bread - Wild Yeast
« on: February 08, 2010, 09:37:24 AM »
I came across this method of creating a wild yeast starter for sourdough bread using red cabbage (or grapes) (http://blog.ruhlman.com/2009/07/simple-sourdough-starter.html).  Does anyone have a sense how this would work in brewing (flavor, amount for a 5 gallon batch)?  
« Last Edit: February 08, 2010, 03:41:28 PM by berberco »

Offline beerocd

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Re: Sourdough Bread - Wild Yeast
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2010, 04:48:02 PM »
You should make the starter; so you can see firsthand how it changes. I just mill my own flour and add water - then wait. But it's nasty smelling at first until the yeast can get a hold in there and start doing their thing. After a week or so, it starts to smell like you think a ball of bread dough should - and you just keep feeding it perpetually.

Just saying - those initial bacteria might not be a good thing, but once the starter is established I bet it would make beer. I'd shoot for a wheat, bock, porter type for the first experiment. There have been tests with bread yeast that provide acceptable beer, but you may be the first with a sourdough starter.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2010, 04:53:12 PM by beerocd »
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Offline enso

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Re: Sourdough Bread - Wild Yeast
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2010, 11:21:20 AM »
I have done the method using raisins to make a sourdough starter.  Essentially soaking ORGANIC raisins in water for a few days and then using the water from that to mix with flour.  The idea is that the skins of the raisins (grapes) have wild yeasts on them.  How much of that is true and how much comes from the air is uncertain.

The question I have is what is your aim?  Are you looking to make a wild beer?  Sourdough bread is a combination of yeasts and other microflora.  Specifically strains of actobacter and lactobacillus.  How wet or dry your starter is will determine the dominant bacteria.  IIRC wet (i.e. more liquid starter) favors lactobacillus, drier favors the acetic (thus more sharp sourness) bacteria.

I know some homebrewers are very paranoid about keeping sourdough starter and brewing beer in the same house.  Many people have warned me not to do it!   I have been brewing beer and making sourdough breads for about 6 years.  So far so good.  In fact I have had a starter for much longer than I brewed.

If you are interested in wild beers read the book wild brews by Jeff Sparrow. 

If you just want to muck about blindly, go for it.  No harm in trying.  Make up a bread starter and try it. 

Or perhaps you can use some milled malt.  Soak it in warm water and leave it a few days.  It will make a microbial culture of one sort or another.  Whether it contains any Sacchromyces strains or not is questionable. 
I have played around with making starter for a Korean rice drink known as dong dong ju.  It involves soaking milled wheat berries (unmalted) and allowing them to grow a mold.  The result is known as nuruk and it serves as an enzyme (similar to koji kin, or Aspergillus oryzae used in sake brewing) to convert and ferment the starch in rice.  It is an acquired taste...

I believe any starter you make with bread flour will favor yeasts that are better suited for making bread.  Bread yeast is in the same family as beer yeast.  However, as there are different beer yeast strains with different characteristics, so too does bread yeast have its own peculiarities.  As far as I know it tends to be less alcohol tolerant and thusly produces less alcohol.  It tends to be more geared towards producing CO2 which is more important in bread production as that is what leavens the bread.  Also, remember a sourdough starter is a mixed culture of yeast and bacteria.  So if your intention is to produce a clean tasting beer you will be dissapointed.
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Offline unclebrazzie

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Re: Sourdough Bread - Wild Yeast
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2015, 06:18:33 AM »
Frankensteining another old thread.

I made a rye sourdough starter a couple of days ago, with the intention of harvesting whatever bugs are making the goo go bubbly and using them as a fermenting agent in a beer. Last time I made a rye sourdough, I was struck by the pleasant, fruity aroma of the starter, which is pretty hard to describe. I reckon if I can get some of that flavour in a beer (say, a saison or even a light table beer) I'd be pretty damn chuffed.

I'm keeping the starter quite wet; in a week or so, it will start separating and I can use the liquid fraction to incoulate a standard wort. We'll see how things go from there.

Another idea would be to use it in a kvass, but that's an idea I'm still juggling in my head.
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Online stevecrawshaw

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Re: Sourdough Bread - Wild Yeast
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2015, 02:03:37 PM »
I sour - worted a table beer using sourdough culture. just tipped a bit of the liquid into the cooled unboiled wort. It fermented strongly for 3 days. I then boiled, hopped and chilled it, refermenting with some dried ale yeast. It came out very sour, with a bready character that didn't fade. It was OK as an experiment. If I did it again I would ferment for shorter using the sourdough yeast to reduce sourness. Tonsmeire recommends this approach in ASB for quick sour beers, but doesn't specifically mention sourdough starter (i think).
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Offline The Professor

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Re: Sourdough Bread - Wild Yeast
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2015, 10:01:15 PM »
...I know some homebrewers are very paranoid about keeping sourdough starter and brewing beer in the same house.  Many people have warned me not to do it!... 

I can't imagine why!  I've been brewing for 44 years and maintaining a sourdough culture for 35 years...even occasionally brewing and baking the same day (while having kimchee for lunch.  LOL).  It has never caused a problem.
Whoever warned against it either had problems which arose from sloppy handling, or perhaps they were overly paranoid.
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Offline unclebrazzie

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Re: Sourdough Bread - Wild Yeast
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2015, 03:03:24 AM »
Sour-worting without temperature control or oxygen deprivation is not something I'm keen to try (again) :)
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Offline Steve in TX

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Re: Sourdough Bread - Wild Yeast
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2015, 05:56:58 AM »

...I know some homebrewers are very paranoid about keeping sourdough starter and brewing beer in the same house.  Many people have warned me not to do it!... 

I can't imagine why!  I've been brewing for 44 years and maintaining a sourdough culture for 35 years...even occasionally brewing and baking the same day (while having kimchee for lunch.  LOL).  It has never caused a problem.
Whoever warned against it either had problems which arose from sloppy handling, or perhaps they were overly paranoid.
I don't keep sourdough starter, but I do make vinegar. Some say I'm crazy.

The other night one of the local clubs had a meeting a newer brewery. The owner/brewer didn't want any sours in the building. I guess he doesn't know how much bacteria and wild yeast is on his grain.

Offline unclebrazzie

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Re: Sourdough Bread - Wild Yeast
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2015, 02:34:55 AM »

I made a rye sourdough starter a couple of days ago, ...We'll see how things go from there.


Follow-up.

Pitched a teaspoon of sourdough into a standard 1.040 unhopped wort made from DME, and now in the process of scaling up. Seems to be doing nicely: got about an inch of krausen after two days, plenty of CO2 formation. I aerate by shaking vigorously a couple of times a day, which seems to to just fine.
Wort has developed a mild lactic sourness, with a bready undertone. I'll keep scaling up for another week or so, and then I'll see about brewing a small test batch of proper beer with this. I'm thinking something like a sour saison. Ferment warm with the sourdough for a couple of days (until sour), then pitch dregs from a Belle Saison quince saison on Brett brux I have in the cellar in secondary.

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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Sourdough Bread - Wild Yeast
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2015, 04:49:44 AM »
I brewed a beer with sourdough yeast. It was actually surprisingly bland for a long time. after about a year it started to develop some funk and complexity. That was with a culture that was originally ordered on line from Italy and then raised for  several years in Napa california. I'd be curious to start a culture this spring here in VT and see what I can get with that.
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