I Made Yeast – [Not Sourdough Starter – Real Yeast from Scratch] [Quarantine Day 31]

I’m perplexed, like totally and thoroughly perplexed as to why stores are all sold out of flour and yeast. Ok, so baking has gone up by over 700% during this quarantine/lockdown period. But why aren’t store shelves being replenished with flour and yeast as the demand grows? It’s not like it requires a long lead cycle to make either of those. I read somewhere that it was a “shipping issue” – but Amazon doesn’t seem to have that issue – I’ve got numerous 2-day prime deliveries from Amazon. [And don’t even get me started on the “not in stock” toilet paper. What the heck are people doing with all that toilet paper?]

And although I have enough flour and yeast to last me through yet another month of quarantine, God forbid, I was curious to learn how yeast could be made. I had some general “logical” guidelines – fruits or dates or beans when left overnight could result in a foamy liquid that is basically yeast. But I didn’t know which ingredient would be best and also most expendable – since we’re not able to go grocery shopping during this quarantine period.

So I experimented with two of the most common and readily available ingredients, well, common at least in an Indian American’s kitchen, lol – Potatoes and yellow lentils.

Lentil & Potato Yeast

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup Bengal gram (It is a yellow lentil, closely related to the chickpea family – rounded on one side and flat on the other.)
  • 2 medium-sized potatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp baking powder (not baking soda)
  • 1 cup of water

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Place the chopped potatoes and chana dal in a glass container.
  2. Add the baking powder and water. 
  3. Mix. Then cover with an airtight lid or saran wrap.
  4. Place the container in a warm place – like over a vent or in the oven. I placed mine in the oven.
  5. Open the container 24-hours later and you’ll see a foamy liquid at the top.
  6. Voilà, we have yeast!! Strain and use or refrigerate for future use.

P.S. Instead of throwing away the potato and lentil mixture, I added another cup of water to it and left it overnight and 24 hours later, I had yet another cup of yeast.

NOTES

  • I made bread with that yeast and I’m not sure that I’m happy with the “texture” of the bread.
  • I wonder if it is was because I introduced another variable – instead of using only all-purpose flour, I also used wheat flour for making this dough and I don’t know if that made my bread denser or if it was the “lack of potency” of the yeast.
  • However, I also made “pull-apart” garlic bread and that tasted awesome. See the recipe in my next post.
  • Also, perhaps I should have left the mixture to formulate the yeast for 48 hours instead of 24? I’m going to do that next time and will post an update below.
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