I would apologize that I haven’t updated the blog in a few weeks, but to be honest nothing interesting was happening during (hopefully) the last big chill of the season.

I’ve talked about spent grain bread before, now I can update with a new twist on that recipe. This week Rebecca and I were able to make spent grain sour dough bread using some yeast I caught here in Cincinnati. It ended up with a great yogurty sourness that went well with honey.

I caught the yeast by throwing some rye flour and water into a bowl with a towel covering it and letting the bowl sit out in our house for 48 hours. It took longer to see bubbles than others had advised me due to the lower temperature of the house.

I took about 1/4 of the slurry and mixed it with more flour and water every 24 hours for a week or so (sometimes going as long as 3 days). By day 7 it had a really sour smell and was very acidic. Rebecca took about 1/4 of the culture and threw it in some water with more flour near our pre-heating stove. The yeast took off and eventually she began following the spent grain recipe with this yeast instead of the dry active yeast prescribed by the recipe.

It took about 24 hours for rising to fully occur. She punched it down about halfway through and let it rise again. The rise wasn’t huge like a regular yeast, but it was enough to warrant attempting to bake the dough.

What came out was what is pictured above. A really nice dense but moist bread with a really complex sour flavor reminiscent of plain Greek yogurt.

Since she baked the bread I’ve started feeding and diluting the yeast more, I think it was less vigorous due to acidification and am hoping that this will correct that problem. Once the yeast became more active (eating everything in under 12 hours) I threw the whole thing in the fridge for storage until we want to make bread again.

Unfortunately I don’t have more concrete numbers or measurements for this post. Yeast culturing turned out to be much more of an art due to my haphazzard method.


David Spatholt

I work for Hamilton County's Community Development Division as the Program Development Specialist. My blog (www.spatholt.com) is a site where I catalog my professional thoughts and personal hobbies. All of my opinions are my own and do not reflect those of my employer. I often blog about urban planning, politics, public administration, brewing beer, running and technology.

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