My Experiment: Catching Yeast with Potato Water

This post contains affiliate links. I will be compensated for purchases made through those links at no additional cost to you. All views expressed are my own. Thanks for your support! ​     One of the things that I have noticed during this pandemic is that yeast has been in short supply on store shelves. Fortunately, I have plenty of yeast to see us through the next few months if bread should become harder to get in the stores. The question is, what if I were to run out of yeast, what would I do?  This pandemic is certainly making me rethink my state of preparedness.  One family member, (Anita), sent me a link about how to make yeast with potato water and suggested I give it a try.  Since I had already been thinking about it, and because I had just sprouted wheat and ground some new flour, I decided to try to catch some wild yeast with potato water and bake some potato, sprouted wheat bread.
      The recipe Anita’s friend had given her, and she passed onto me looked something like this:  1-1/2 c potato water
1 c flour
1 Tbsp sugar
Mix together and leave over night in a warm spot.  The next morning it will be bubbly and smell like yeast. 
​ ​Simple, right!?  So, I boiled some potatoes and reserved the water.  I also reserved the mashed potatoes for the bread itself.  I mixed it all together (I used sprouted wheat flour) and lightly covered it and set it out over night.   Next morning, no bubbles, no smell.  
     I decided to Google it and see what I was missing.  Some of the things I found used the potato as well as the water.  (People making Vodka said this worked great…)  I did find methods using only the water, but the result looked thicker than mine.  Hmmm.  I decided that I needed more flour and sugar, so I fed my first mixture.  I added about ½ of a cup of flour and another Tablespoon of sugar. Success!  The next morning I had bubbles! 
It still didn’t look as bubbly as the ones I saw on YouTube though, so I decided to let it sit and catch more yeast for another day.  I fed it a little more, adding some warm water, too, so that it wouldn’t get too thick.  The next day, the bubbles were back, but they seemed about the same as before.  Maybe a few more, but less bubble than the ones I had seen on other sites. ​     I must interject here that it appears that I am not a very patient person.  I didn’t think that I was going to have to wait 3 days to be able to bake bread with this method.  So, at this point, I decided to go for it and try a small batch of bread.   I am not giving you a printable recipe like I usually do because it is by no means perfected.  But, I will give you what I have done so far.  If you see where I need to improve to make this bread better, please let me know in the comments.   ​Sprouted Wheat Potato Bread made with Wild Yeast
(That is the best title I can come up with)
In a mixing bowl, put together:
 1 cup potato yeast starter
¾ c warm water
1 c sprouted wheat flour
1 c mashed potatoes
Mix these ingredients together and let them sit for about 4 hours or overnight. (Overnight would be best, but I couldn’t wait any longer.)
Stir down the sponge and add:
1/3 c warm water
1 tsp salt
¼ c coconut oil
2 Tbsp honey
4 c sprouted wheat flour
Mix with the dough hook for about 10 minutes.  If the dough is too sticky add more flour.  I also turned the dough out onto a floured board and kneaded it for 10 minutes more by hand.  I added about 1 c more flour throughout this process making the total amount of flour about 5 cups.
Place the dough in the bowl and allow to rise for about 2-3 hours. 
(Mine didn’t rise very much, but I pressed on. Hopefully yours will double!)
Divide the dough into 2 well greased loaf pans and allow to rise again.  This time I let them rise overnight! 
In the morning, they had actually risen quite a bit!  Not as much as I would have liked, but an acceptable amount.
Bake the bread in a 375 degree oven for about 45 min.  I baked mine for 40 at first.  They weren’t quite done.  I put one back in for 10 min.  The crust was crunchy, but the inside was soft and dense.

​I had read one baker who said not to use sprouted wheat in this type of bread because it would likely be doughy.  Mine was a little too doughy, but I think if I had put a slice in the top of each loaf like you do sourdough, it would have help with that, letting steam out and perhaps getting a better rise while baking.  Any thoughts on that? 
Doughy bread like this is best toasted or made into french toast. ​The bread does have a little sour sharpness to it.  I toasted it because it seemed too doughy.  Then with butter and Blackberry Lemon Marmalade, it tasted really good. ​Here are my notes of ideas for improvement: ​ Patience, let the bubbles happen Patience, let the sponge rise overnight Cut a slice in the top because this is basically a sourdough type yeast. When I bake this bread again, I will let you know how I did using these ideas.  I do have some starter left which I have fed and stored in my fridge.
Here are things I learned:
​ Wild Yeast can easily be caught!  This would be a great science experiment for the kids as well as being useful! I need more patience. I need to make more Blackberry Lemon Marmalade.  It is delicious and that was my last jar. Please, I would love any tips!  I hope you will give this a try and learn something new while you are stuck at home.  The smell of bread baking is so comforting.
Stay healthy!  #Science #Helen #Bread #Potato
Science Helen Bread Potato