Homemade yeast water for bread baking

    10 days

    This recipe shows you how to make your own yeast water for bread baking, perfect for times you cannot find yeast at the supermarket. The process takes about 10 days, maybe a little less depending on how many wild yeast bacteria are present on the fruit you are using. I've had the best results making yeast water with apricots, but other dried fruits such as dates or figs are also possible.


    Pennsylvania, United States
    21 people made this

    Makes: 500 ml yeast water

    • For the starting mixture
    • 500ml filtered water
    • 8 organic dried apricots (non-sulphured and unsweetened)
    • 1 generous tablespoon demerara sugar
    • For refreshing the yeast water
    • 2 organic dried apricots (non-sulphured and unsweetened)
    • 500ml filtered water
    • 1 teaspoon demerara sugar
    • For testing
    • 1 tablespoon plain flour

    Extra time:10days resting  ›  Ready in:10days 

      Day 1

    1. Add water, apricots and sugar to a 1L sterilised jar. Close with a lid and shake a few times to dissolve the sugar. Place the jar in warm but not hot location.
    2. Day 2 through 10

    3. Shake the jar a couple of times every day and open it very carefully afterwards to release the pressure. The apricots will start to swell and float and you might or might not see some bubbles on the surface. There might also be some white substance building up, which is yeast and so nothing to worry about. If there is anything black or greenish, it's mould and you need to throw everything out and start over.
    4. If you don't see any bubbles, it does not necessarily mean that your yeast water isn't ready. Check by doing a little test: In a small container with a lid, mix 1 tablespoon plain flour with 1 tablespoon yeast water (shake the jar well beforehand so that all the yeast is evenly distributed). Close the jar with a tight fitting lid and leave it to stand at warm room temperature for 12 to 20 hours. The mixture should show a considerable increase in volume and possibly bubbles. If none of this happens, wait a couple of days and test again.
    5. Day of making bread

    6. Strain the yeast water and discard the fruit. Take the amount you need for bread baking and refrigerate the rest in a sterilised jar with the lid tightly closed.
    7. Reactivating the yeast water

    8. Two days before you are ready to bake bread again, remove the jar from the fridge. Let it come to room temperature then add 500ml water, 2 apricots and 1 teaspoon sugar. Shake well and leave to sit until the next day, when you should see bubbles and yeast building up. Use what you need for bread baking and again return the rest to the fridge.

    Ingredient notes

    The fruit you use must be non-sulphured and unsweetened, and the water must be filtered, not chlorinated, otherwise the wild yeast cannot grow.

    Storage tip

    When the yeast water is ready, use part of it for bread baking, and store the rest in the fridge like a sourdough starter for the next time you bake bread, then feed as described. Properly stored and fed like this, the yeast water can be used indefinitely.

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