Using ale yeast sediment for bread baking?

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pdhirsch

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I brew beer and I bake bread. Lately I've become interested in medieval bread recipes, many of which call for "ale barm." I think that's what we might call krausen -- apparently they used to skim off some of the scummy foam that appears on top of fermenting ale, which evidently contains enough live yeast that you can use it to bake bread.

Now, I have a five-gallon batch of brown ale which is almost done; I plan to bottle this coming weekend. I'm wondering if I can use the yeast sediment at the bottom of my carboy for bread baking, since I missed my chance to gather foam from the top (and anyway I'm not sure how I would have gathered it without risk of contamination).

Has anyone else done this? If so -- how much yeast sediment did you use? Or did you skim foam off the top? Is it feasible to save the yeast sediment and store it in my fridge for a few weeks (since I bake bread more frequently than I brew beer)? The ale yeast is Danstar Nottingham in case it matters.

I'll almost definitely go back to baking with Saf Instant Yeast in the long run, but just for fun I'd like to try using ale yeast once or twice... any comments or advice would be welcomed. Thanks!
 

Hoppy2bmerry

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Yes, homebrewers have used trub for bread baking. You might find some information in the homemade bread thread. It may not be as predictable as reg baking yeast, but if time is not an issue, it surely will raise your dough.
 

hotbeer

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I've used some beer yeast for pizza dough. Didn't rise as much, but the gluten development was really great. As well the texture after baking was more crispy outside and softer inside. Taste was different from typical SAF or Fleishmann's bread yeast. I wouldn't say the taste was worse nor better, just different.

This was with packets I'd tossed from beer kits that simply said yeast. So I don't know what exact yeast if is. Using the stuff off the bottom of your fermenter shouldn't be much different than fresh liquid or dry beer yeast. Maybe if you don't clean it, you'll get some of the beer flavors.

So it might be interesting. But I'd expect the type and variety of yeast will make a difference for the bread just like it does for beer. I'd looked into this lightly with a google search a while back and there were DIY'ers experimenting with beer yeast and it sounded like some that made a living making artisan breads that held the exact yeast they used as a secret.
 
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pdhirsch

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My biggest question is about quantity of yeast to use... I've been checking some online recipes, and I've seen recommendations for anywhere from 1/2 cup to 1 cup of either trub, or sponge made from trub. Some people claim that the bread will rise very quickly if you're careful to maintain a good sponge, others say it will inevitably take longer to rise.

There doesn't seem to be a single accepted answer / technique, so I suppose I'll just have to pick a middle point and see what happens...
 

hottpeper13

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The yeast that worked best for me was WLP 400-410. Weighed out 2 oz of thick slurry and treated it like my bread yeast and it worked in the same time frames as instant yeast. I always make a poolish (sponge) starter and when using Wyeast 2565(house yeast) I got no action in 4 hours and pitched instant. Maybe I should have given it overnite. The same happened with 34/70. I don't repitch my wit beers but always save the slurry. Also 400 makes the best yeasted pancakes!
 

hotbeer

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My biggest question is about quantity of yeast to use... I've been checking some online recipes,.........................................................................................................................................................

There doesn't seem to be a single accepted answer / technique, so I suppose I'll just have to pick a middle point and see what happens...
If you wanted to go through all the hoops and calculate it, then you could figure out how many billions of cells are in the dry yeast they use in the recipe and then use estimates of how many billions of cells are in your slurry.

Give or take a few billion, most dry yeast is probably in the same ballpark figure per ounce, gram or whatever unit of weight you use whether bread yeast or beer yeast.

It should be an interesting and fun experiment if you regularly have made your own bread. Just don't do this the first time on a loaf that has to be the ultimate loaf you've ever made because you are making it for a special occasion.

It might take three to maybe a dozen loaves to figure it out.
 
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pdhirsch

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It should be an interesting and fun experiment if you regularly have made your own bread. Just don't do this the first time on a loaf that has to be the ultimate loaf you've ever made because you are making it for a special occasion.

It might take three to maybe a dozen loaves to figure it out.
Agreed, I think it's going to be a fun experiment -- that's all I'm really hoping for. I bake bread once or twice a week, and I'm pretty sure that I'll end up with something that's reasonably edible no matter what. Beyond that, who knows? Maybe I end up doing this every time I brew, or maybe not... but at the very least I'll learn something, so thanks to all who replied...
 

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The yeast that worked best for me was WLP 400-410. Weighed out 2 oz of thick slurry and treated it like my bread yeast and it worked in the same time frames as instant yeast. I always make a poolish (sponge) starter and when using Wyeast 2565(house yeast) I got no action in 4 hours and pitched instant. Maybe I should have given it overnite. The same happened with 34/70. I don't repitch my wit beers but always save the slurry. Also 400 makes the best yeasted pancakes!
I was wondering if the brewers yeast would be fast enough since it usually gives us a 3+ hr, lag while red star makes a foamy head in fifteen minutes or less.
 

Oleson M.D.

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We bake bread on a baking stone. While using beer yeast may sound tempting, I will stick with the tried and true rapid rise yeast that we have used for years. The results are fast, predictable, and very good.

How about using bread yeast to ferment beer? When I was a kid in elementary school, my best friend and I made wine (with our parents permission) using grape juice and bread yeast.
 

hottpeper13

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Like I said I make a starter, the instant bread yeast and the 400 are the same after a 4 hr to overnite ferment. I have a poolish recipe that only uses 1/4 tps of yeast to 18 oz of flour.
I use 2 oz of slurry for a recipe that makes 2 loaves.
 
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pdhirsch

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Like I said I make a starter, the instant bread yeast and the 400 are the same after a 4 hr to overnite ferment. I have a poolish recipe that only uses 1/4 tps of yeast to 18 oz of flour.
I use 2 oz of slurry for a recipe that makes 2 loaves.
Thanks very much, that's the kind of detail I was hoping for. I realize that it could vary with different yeast strains, different baking techniques, and etc -- I was just looking for a ballpark estimate to use as a starting point.

Also I wasn't sure if I should make a starter or not, but it sounds like that's the most common practice.
 

hottpeper13

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I thought that if 400-410 make good bread I would try the M21 slurry. I pitched 2 oz into 8 oz flour, 16 oz water and 14 g diastatic malt powder,aka wheat malt ground to flour in a bullit blender.
After about 18 hrs it looks more like a sourdough starter then one made with instant yeast. I'll give it till this aft,then use instant.
 
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pdhirsch

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Preliminary report: I bottled my brown ale today, and I saved about 1 1/4 cup of trub, which is now in a one-quart mason jar in my fridge. Evidently, from what I've read online, I need to treat this like a sourdough starter, which I think means a week or so of periodic feeding before it's ready to use for baking bread; so I will proceed using that technique.

Before I did any research, I thought I'd just mix trub + flour + water + salt and then proceed to bake bread as usual, simply using trub instead of bread yeast, but apparently it's not quite that simple. So I'm going to start feeding the yeast tomorrow, but the next time I bottle beer, I'm gonna bake a loaf of bread using the simple and obvious (and apparently wrong) method -- just use trub instead of bread yeast and bake a loaf that same day. (What's the worst that can happen?)
 

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Preliminary report: I bottled my brown ale today, and I saved about 1 1/4 cup of trub, which is now in a one-quart mason jar in my fridge. Evidently, from what I've read online, I need to treat this like a sourdough starter, which I think means a week or so of periodic feeding before it's ready to use for baking bread; so I will proceed using that technique.

Before I did any research, I thought I'd just mix trub + flour + water + salt and then proceed to bake bread as usual, simply using trub instead of bread yeast, but apparently it's not quite that simple. So I'm going to start feeding the yeast tomorrow, but the next time I bottle beer, I'm gonna bake a loaf of bread using the simple and obvious (and apparently wrong) method -- just use trub instead of bread yeast and bake a loaf that same day. (What's the worst that can happen?)

Interested to hear how this turns out. I am a sourdough fan. My next batch I'm using my latest Saison instead of water. The diastatic yeast could prove interesting along with my regular starter.
 

hottpeper13

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Making flour out of wheat malt ~14 grams per 2 loaf recipe adds enzymes and helps make a less dense loaf.
 

Dr_Jeff

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Preliminary report: I bottled my brown ale today, and I saved about 1 1/4 cup of trub, which is now in a one-quart mason jar in my fridge. Evidently, from what I've read online, I need to treat this like a sourdough starter, which I think means a week or so of periodic feeding before it's ready to use for baking bread; so I will proceed using that technique.

Before I did any research, I thought I'd just mix trub + flour + water + salt and then proceed to bake bread as usual, simply using trub instead of bread yeast, but apparently it's not quite that simple. So I'm going to start feeding the yeast tomorrow, but the next time I bottle beer, I'm gonna bake a loaf of bread using the simple and obvious (and apparently wrong) method -- just use trub instead of bread yeast and bake a loaf that same day. (What's the worst that can happen?)


You can also use some of the spent grain in your bread.
 
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pdhirsch

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So far so good. After capturing 1.25 cups of trub when I bottled my ale two days ago, I left it in the fridge overnight, in a 1-quart mason jar. This will be my starter the next time I bake bread. I left the lid loose to allow CO2 to escape.

Yesterday I fed it one cup of flour plus 1/2 cup of water, and I marked the level on the side of the jar. Today it's bubbling and frothing (still in the fridge), and the starter is about 1 inch higher than it was immediately after the feeding.

If I understand the process correctly, I'm awakening the mostly-dormant trub yeast by giving it flour as food; I'm also teaching it to eat wheat flour rather than malted barley. And I'm confirming that I actually have a decent amount of live, healthy yeast in that jar.

After a few more days of fermentation, I will remove half of the starter from the mason jar and use it to bake bread, and I will feed the remaining starter again. In theory I could continue to do this indefinitely, like people do with sourdough starter.

More results to come...
 
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pdhirsch

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Holy Saccharomyces, Batman! Three and a half hours after my previous post, the 1-quart mason jar is full to overflowing. The starter is apparently flourishing, and has more than doubled in volume. I had to dump some of it out so it has room to continue growing, if that's what it's going to do.

The sourdough people seem to begin with maybe 1/2 cup of starter in a 1-quart container. I had 1 1/4 cups of trub, which I thought was comparable since the trub also contains debris from my hop pellets and grains, in addition to flocculated yeast. Sitting in a 40-degree fridge, I didn't expect it to take off like this. But... wow...
 
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pdhirsch

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Terminology question: as I continue to research this, I see references to both "trub" and "barm." Let me add "krausen" while we're at it.

Medieval bread recipes often call for "ale barm" which apparently refers to the layer of active, foaming stuff that appears above the wort during early stages of active fermentation. It's not clear to me how this differs from what I'd call "krausen." Evidently people would scoop off some barm from the top of the (open) fermentation vessel in order to get yeast for breadmaking.

On the other hand, "trub" seems to refer to the layer of flocculated sediment that falls to the bottom of the fermentation vessel, which can be harvested at the very end of the beer-making process, at bottling time (as I did).

But some current articles that I've found, written by bakers not brewers, tend to use "barm" and "trub" interchangeably. Often a baker will say that he/she got "trub" from their friendly neighborhood homebrewer, or from a local brewery.

I don't quite see how a brewer could harvest the stuff at the top during active fermentation in a sanitary way, so I doubt that's what they're getting -- instead I think they're getting crud from the bottom, which could be given away freely as it would often be thrown out anyway.

What say you? Are there standard, accepted definitions of "barm" vs "trub" vs "krausen," or are some / all of these terms interchangeable?
 

Northern_Brewer

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Terminology question: as I continue to research this, I see references to both "trub" and "barm." Let me add "krausen" while we're at it...

I don't quite see how a brewer could harvest the stuff at the top during active fermentation in a sanitary way, so I doubt that's what they're getting -- instead I think they're getting crud from the bottom, which could be given away freely as it would often be thrown out anyway.

You have to remember what a proper, top-fermenting ale yeast looks like, such as this at Sam Smith's :
1645635186215.png


It's very easy to harvest it - and it's great as it's all healthy yeast because any dead yeast, or contaminating microorganisms, or sick yeast that have picked up mutations, will not be producing CO2 and so sink to the bottom with any plant matter and other crud that is still in the beer. The introduction of conical fermenters in the 1970s where yeast was harvested from the bottom of the fermenter put an immediate selective pressure against "top-cropability", which is why most of the homebrew ale yeasts sink to the bottom and can't really be said to be "top-fermenting".

In English the above is called barm, a word that derives from the Norse traditions of brewing, whereas Germans call the same stuff krausen. The German influence on brewing in the US is the reason why some USians don't speak English when it comes to this stuff. But most Europeans are used to bottom-fermenting lager yeast these days, so they are more interested in the trub - the crud in the bottom - than the stuff floating on top.

Going back to the original question - the whole idea of "bread" yeast versus "beer" yeast is a recent concept, it was only once lager yeast became common in Europe in the mid-19th century that bakers started buying in yeast explicitly propagated for baking. Before yeast started being sold, brewing and baking were two sides of the same coin - brewing "created" yeast and bread ovens "destroyed" yeast so you needed to brew in order to have yeast for baking. To this day, bread rolls are called "barm cakes" in Lancashire.
 

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I’ve used trub in a poolish and it turned out well. And I’ve used dregs from a bottle to kick start a sourdough starter. Now that I think about it that was a kveik beer just before I started kegging. I actually still have that sourdough and kveik still alive after two years.
I’ve also used leftover wort as the water or failed beer. I started saving a little spent grain and grind it all up like a paste to add to the dough. Big difference between using beer and malt or wort. Fun stuff
 
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pdhirsch

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Another update... the starter has now spent just over 5 days in my fridge. I fed it twice, and I had to throw some away at one point because it was almost overflowing the jar it lives in.
It seems pretty healthy, so I just removed 1 cup of it and made a sponge. (Also fed the remaining starter again.) I'll let the sponge rise, then I will mix in more flour and water and some salt, and refrigerate at least overnight. I'll bake either tomorrow or the next day, depending on what else is going on.
 
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pdhirsch

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So I baked the bread today, and it turned out reasonably well. The loaf rose at least as much as my usual loaves do (using Saf Instant yeast), maybe even a tiny bit more. Structure and etc was indistinguishable from the bread I usually bake. The taste is OK, but the beer I brewed was rather highly hopped, and you can tell -- there's a distinct somewhat bitter aftertaste to the bread -- not bad, but not really what you'd expect in a "normal" bread. (Hasn't stopped me from eating about 1/4 of the loaf already.)
Thinking about the trub that I started with -- it did *not* look like something that you'd want to eat, consisting as it did of dormant yeast plus debris from my hops and spent grains; so I suppose the bitterness is expected. If I had started with barm from the top of my ale like they did in days gone by, rather than trub from the bottom, then perhaps this wouldn't have been an issue.
But I have a healthy jar of starter now, and I've come this far, so I'm going to continue using it for a while. If the bitterness is from hops + spent grains (rather than from the ale yeast itself), then the bitterness will diminish over time because part of the process of maintaining the starter is that you remove half of the starter once or twice a week -- either bake with it or throw it away, and replace it with flour and water in order to keep the starter alive and nourished. So every time I do that, I'll be removing half of the remaining hop + grain debris; after just 10 cycles, there should be only about 1/1000 of the original hops + grain debris.
 

davidabcd

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Note: I didn't read all the posts. My question could have been asked and answered already--apologies in advance.
What about using a starter and replacing that liquid for the water when making bread?
I have never made a loaf I'd want to eat twice.
 

Murph4231

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I haven't personaly made bread using captured yeast however I have had the pleasure of eating a few different loaves. Back in the 90s a couple of homebrew friends from BOSS a homebrew club in the Chicage suburbs did similar experiments. Their final conclusion was to wash the yeast taken from the trub and make a starter. They also used portions of the spent grain. In my opinion it was some very tasty bread. They would bring loaves to club events to share and they were always consumed and appreciated. The OP has my interest as I two want to attempt making bread from spent grain and yeast. Thanks for the post and inspiration.
 
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pdhirsch

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I haven't personaly made bread using captured yeast however I have had the pleasure of eating a few different loaves. Back in the 90s a couple of homebrew friends from BOSS a homebrew club in the Chicage suburbs did similar experiments. Their final conclusion was to wash the yeast taken from the trub and make a starter. They also used portions of the spent grain. In my opinion it was some very tasty bread. They would bring loaves to club events to share and they were always consumed and appreciated. The OP has my interest as I two want to attempt making bread from spent grain and yeast. Thanks for the post and inspiration.
I definitely should have washed the yeast instead of just using the trub as-is in my starter -- that's the only thing I would have done differently if I had it to do over again. But that's fixable, so I expect the next loaf to be better than the first one. Not that the first loaf was bad -- I've already eaten half of it :)
 

McMullan

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In English the above is called barm, a word that derives from the Norse traditions of brewing...

Someone needs to define 'Norse' for me here, especially as I reject eating like a Norwegian, like most would, ironically. And my own bread baking* has diddly-squat to do with any supposed Norse tradition, unless, like most things 'Norse' these days, it was plagiarized in modern times. The Norse didn't ever offer civilisation anything meaningful or even pleasant, as far as I can tell. A plagiarized cheese cutter reflects the pinnacle of Norse offerings. A plagiarized cheese cutter 🤔

il_fullxfull.541114127_quyl.jpg

How awesome!

*
DSC_0019.JPG
 
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