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Yeast - how did ancients make leavened bread?

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posted on Apr, 13 2012 @ 02:58 PM
I am writing this to find out if anyone knows the way that non-modern age people used to preserve yeast for cooking.

For instance, baking pizza, or leavened bread. There must have been some techniques used to keep yeast or make yeast with which leavened bread could be made - without having to have a fridge or modern day chemicals to help the appropriate yeast grow.

If anyone could respond, that would be great.. I used the search engine and I couldn't find a thread that talks about how one makes/preserves yeast.

Perhaps this is something that many people just didn't have in the past, or the non-manufacturing techniques have been lost.

I did find a link to how the Nazis did it on a large scale here:

Among other food innovations was a German way of making yeast in almost limitless quantities. The waste sulfite liquor from the beechwood used to manufacture cellulose was treated with an organism known to bacteriologists as candida arborea at temperatures higher than ever used in yeast manufacture before. The finished product served as both animal and human food. Its caloric value is four times that of lean meat, and it contains twice as much protein.

posted on Apr, 13 2012 @ 03:07 PM
You know the white filmy powdery stuff on grapes and blackberries? Thats natural yeast. With breads it was a fermentation process of the grains with sugars. youtube has some vids on it. Fruits with their natural sugars will create enough yeast to leaven breads. Interesting concept for the survival means of getting by. Hope this helps direct you toward the answers you are looking for.

posted on Apr, 13 2012 @ 03:08 PM
reply to post by sensibleSenseless

I believe yeast can be harvested off of fruits and berries. Have you ever noticed some berries, wild ones, have a white coating on them? Just slightly white. That's yeast. You can Google around and find instructions for how to get yeast released into the air in your kitchen, and then how to capture it.

Here is Yahoo Question & Answers so you can read different people's responses.
How do I harvest wild yeast?
edit on 4/13/12 by Ameilia because: provide op with link

posted on Apr, 13 2012 @ 03:18 PM
Yeast spores are already in the air around us. I think the ancient folks probably just set out the dough for so long and let the natural airborne yeast settle on it and start to grow, then probably kneaded that into the dough to mix it thorugh the bread.

Here's a site that goes over how to make bread with this type of "wild" yeast.

posted on Apr, 13 2012 @ 03:25 PM
They sometimes used beer or alchohol for their recepies, thats what i know of from Scandinavia as many of the original bread recipes are still used today.

Found this in a Google search.

There are many different types of yeast in the environment, from those that cause fungal infection such as Candida to others that are used in the brewing industry and in wine-making. As we shall see there is a strong connection between bread and alcohol production.

posted on Apr, 13 2012 @ 03:29 PM
reply to post by davidchin

That is awesome. I've really never even thought about natural yeast. It really makes me realize how much I just take leavened bread for granted.

It would be a fun experiment to make natural yeast. Feed it every day and then make some sourdough with it!

posted on Apr, 13 2012 @ 03:30 PM
Don't stop at bread production.

You can also make a really nice hard apple cider using naturally occuring airborn yeasts. Fermetation is a wonderful thing.


posted on Apr, 13 2012 @ 03:36 PM
I don't know if this will help you - Rye starter

posted on Apr, 13 2012 @ 03:44 PM
How about sour dough. You need to make a starter culture first.. Info on this site here...

Sourdough is the oldest form of leavened (or ‘risen’) bread. Baking presumably existed for a long time before that, mixing a paste of dried ground grains with water, and then baking it. However at some point someone must have discovered that if the paste or dough was left overnight, or for a couple of days, it started to change in appearance and odour, and that the bread when baked was lighter in texture, easier to digest, and stronger in flavour.

The oldest form of leavening was almost certainly due to this sort of accidental development of a starter, with small amounts of dough/paste being kept aside from one batch to leaven the next. At some point residues from fermented grapes or hops were used to provide an alternative source of yeast. Of course nowadays most baking is done with commercially isolated yeast.

posted on Apr, 13 2012 @ 03:59 PM
Edit; Purple beat me to it....

They would leave the dough out in a cold place for natural yeast to grow on it. They didn't know the yeast was growing on it, they just new if you left the dough in a cold place it would rise.

Then they discovered that mixing some of the risen dough with new dough, made the new dough rise quicker, they called it a 'starter'.

edit on 4/13/2012 by ANOK because: This space for rent, U2U for rates...

posted on Apr, 13 2012 @ 04:01 PM
Be very careful with breads made from Rye.
There is a fungus called Ergot that can poison you.

Human poisoning due to the consumption of rye bread made from ergot-infected grain was common in Europe in the Middle Ages.

posted on Apr, 13 2012 @ 04:57 PM

Originally posted by grey580
Be very careful with breads made from Rye.
There is a fungus called Ergot that can poison you.

Human poisoning due to the consumption of rye bread made from ergot-infected grain was common in Europe in the Middle Ages.

Ergot was responsible for the hallucinations leading to witch trials. I think it also is used in '___' production.

posted on Apr, 13 2012 @ 05:00 PM
Get a start from someones sour dough. Bread made from sour dough does not need any yeast.

Very good tasting also

posted on Apr, 13 2012 @ 05:29 PM
they didnt need a fridge, definitely not to make it grow, as that would slow its growth.

instead, they kept a warm concentrated carb-rich stock from which they would use as the mother culture.

posted on Apr, 13 2012 @ 05:39 PM
There are few schools of thought on it..

One is they basically prayed to whatever gods they worshiped that some wild yeast would come in.
The Yeast of the Ancients

Another is that after they did finally get some yeast working they used starter cultures.
The History of Bread Yeast

posted on Apr, 14 2012 @ 12:01 AM
i hope that helps.

posted on Apr, 14 2012 @ 12:19 AM
Any ex con can tell you if you take a can of plum juice or substitutes and stir it every day itll start to work when the yeasts in the air get going in it.....
I imagine a person could use this process to get a sourdough going....this would keep working if you kept adding fuel for the yeast and it makes bread or fried sort of flat just keep adding the ingredients and it works constantly......

posted on Apr, 14 2012 @ 01:09 AM
Just keep a starter. It's not that hard.

posted on Apr, 14 2012 @ 10:03 AM
reply to post by sensibleSenseless

Hi there. ATS member Jude11 has a great thread on bread making, recipes, handmade ovens and natural yeast that he did last year. I believe it's the 8th post on the first page of his thread where he links a video on natural yeast and how to make it for bread making. Overall a very very good thread on this topic. Hope this helps.

Jude11's Bread Making Thread

posted on Apr, 20 2012 @ 03:59 PM
Wow guys,

Thanks. I've got to bookmark this thread to read it - that is a lot of reading!

Hope in the end I'm able to preserve some yeast and keep it going for breadmaking - if things should fall apart around here... which definitely looks more and more plausible.

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