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Mike T
07/11/07 11:27 AM  
Bread Yeast?
Not exactly a Belgian question, but this seems to be the best spot to ask questions about fermenting with non-Brewerís yeast.

Anyone out there used bread yeast before? Iím doing a Kvass inspired 3%ish beer this evening (the loaf of rye bread is soaking now). I think I will get some mild natural souring during this soak, it was started at 160 this morning and left open in my mash tun.

Any suggestions on type (active or rapid rise), pitching rate (I read somewhere that a low pitching rate is preferable because of how fast the yeast is designed to work), and fermentation temperature (Iím thinking low-mid 60s ambient to slow the yeast and minimize any funky esters).

I am planning on splitting the batch, half with bread yeast and half with neutral ale yeast. Hopefully it turns out well, the bread had developed a spot of mold during its week of staling.

07/11/07 11:47 AM  
Re: Bread Yeast?
I'm reading up on Kvass now - this is a new one on me.
07/11/07 11:57 AM  
Re: Bread Yeast?
Mike, what of use is extracted from the bread?
Mike T
07/11/07 01:15 PM  
Re: Bread Yeast?
Traditional Kvass is simply the fermented liquid that results when you steep rye bread in warm water. I believe you extract flavor (rye, caraway etcÖ), starch, salt, and a small amount of fermentables (~1% abv worth). Essentially it is a way to use up old bread that is no longer fit to eat, so Iím not sure if the results would be better or worse with fresh bread.

I based my recipe on the two Kvass versions of the East End brewing session beer series.

3 lbs Golden Promise (I have a sack)

.75 lbs rye malt

.25 to .5 lbs Brown malt (still havenít decided yet)

Mash @ 148

10 IBUs of Saaz @ 30 min (30 min boil)

Boil down to 1.75 gallons and add 1 qrt ďbread juiceĒ with 5 minutes left.

The brewer at East End (Scott) measured his bread juice at 1.015. I sent him an email yesterday with some questions, but havenít heard back. Here is the photo spread from the first (30 loaves) version www.eastendbrewing.com/?q=gallery&g2_itemId=95 with guest brewer Tom Baker (Heavyweight). The second version used 100 loaves and got better reviews on BA, so Iím attempting to use that as my baseline.

Not expecting the best beer in the world out of this, but it should be a fun (and short) after work brew.

Mike T
07/12/07 08:23 AM  
Re: Bread Yeast?
We brewed this one last night (just 3.5 hours from the start of the mash to in the fermenter). I ended up going with Ĺ gallon (1/4 of the batch) of the bread extract water. It was certainly a bit strange to pour starchy liquid into the beer with 5 minutes left in the boil.

I ended up splitting the batch, 1 gallon with Red Star Bread yeast, and 1 gallon with 1056. Should be an interesting comparison. I ended up pitching just 1 gram of the bread yeast after chilling to 65. 65 will be the ambient fermentation temperature as well unless I come home tonight to a rapidly fermenting (overflowing) beer in which case Iíll crank it down a little.

Mike T
07/16/07 08:54 AM  
Re: Bread Yeast?
I got an email back from Scott (East End) last night, apparently they pitched 2 tbls (approx 18 grams) of red star bread yeast in 15 barrels! Despite that, the fermentation took off so fast that temperatures spiked to 80 degrees before he could cool it down. So despite trying to have a below average pitching rate (1 gram in 1 gallon), it was 25 times higher than his. The aroma on that half is very yeasty, I guess next time Iíll have to figure out a way to measure out a smaller amount of yeast (1/5 g per 5 gallonsÖ)

Other than that, happily it sounds like I hit all of the other recipe details pretty well. Should be ready to bottle by next weekend.

07/16/07 09:22 AM  
Re: Bread Yeast?
This sounds like a facsinating experiment, maybe you could hold onto so for the historical beer swap.
Mike T
07/16/07 09:48 AM  
Re: Bread Yeast?
I have a feeling that at ~3% ABV this one wonít hold up well for more than a month or two (plus my expected yield is only about 6-7 bottles of each batchÖ), but I as almost certainly going to try another batch of Kvass sometime in the future. Specifically, Iíd like to look at how different pitching rates effect bread yeast. Looking online I have seen pitching rate suggestions that range from 1/25 g per gallon (East End), to 14 g per gallon (multiple traditional recipes).
Scott at East End Brewing
01/22/08 11:29 AM  
Re: Bread Yeast?
Hey Mike,

How did the Kvass turn out? Maybe it's all gone by now...?

Cheers - Scott

Mike T
01/22/08 01:49 PM  
Re: Bread Yeast?
Coincidently a friend and I had the last bottle of each version last Wednesday. I was amazed at how similar the bread yeast and American Ale yeast versions turned out with some age on them. Both were light and refreshing with a good bready flavor, some time in the fridge really cleared them up too. The bread yeast seemed to have lost its earlier more interesting edge.

I actually almost sent a friend who visited from Pittsburgh back with a couple bottles to drop off for you, but the timing didnít end up working out. Iíll certainly be giving it another shot sometime to play with the pitching rate, if youíd like Iíd be happy to send along a couple bottles to you as a thank you for all the tips/inspiration.

One question for you, why is the bread staled before it is used? I have also seen recipes call for toasting the bread. The only thing I have been able to come up with is that the staling/toasting would help the bread standup better to the soak, but it seems like the bread gets very gooey regardless.


Mark A
01/22/08 11:36 PM  
Re: Bread Yeast?
My understanding of true kvass is that it is fermented without the need to pitch yeast because a certain amount of yeast survives in "live" peasant rye bread. The loaves are huge (several pounds), so the center is not completely baked. If the bread is not consumed within a couple of days, the yeast at the center of the loaf is re-started by soaking & then it ferments to give about 2-3%abv. Not sure if you could replicate this with storebought bread, even from a good baker. My suggestion would be to make your own dough (or buy dough from a good baker), then par-bake the bread so that the outside is a little crusty but the inside doesn't reach high enough temp to kill the yeast. That way, you get some caramelization/conversion on the exterior of the loaf for extra flavor and the dough is baked enough so that it doesn't all just dissolve when soaked. Of course this is all just theory, so I could be way off base.

The other thing about stale/dry bread is that stale bread is really just bread that has gone bad. It gets dried out while at the same time developing unwanted mold (even if the mold doesn't bloom you can still taste it in that typical stale flavor). The giant loaves of bread baked in the old days could withstand staling, even when left out for a few days because it was still a living loaf, much like many other artisal products that relied on microbial action (dry sausage, cheese, sauer kraut, etc.). Even milk in the old days just turned into other edible products because of the presence of good bacterial action (butter milk, sour cream, etc.) These days, when milk and bread go bad, they're just bad because new unwanted microbes have found a new home.

Scott at East End Brewing
01/23/08 01:19 PM  
Re: Bread Yeast?
I'd definitely be interested in tasting it if getting some my way next time isn't too much of a pain.

Using stale bread is traditional of course because you're trying to make something GOOD out of something BAD... but staling it intentionally, well we did that to hopefully aid in the extraction of the "bread juice" (I don't know what else to call it..."runnings" seems wrong). But as you said, it all turns to goo anyway, so what's the point? Toasting may offer some carmelization of the bread sugars and hence some nice bready flavors - but the brown malt (that Tom Baker brought to this recipe) offers that too I think, though conducting a mash is not traditional.

From what I've read, traditional yeast sources for Kvass come from either airborne yeast or from the raisins/dried fruit that were added after the boil - or even added at bottling. (A couple per bottle in one recipe.) Sounds like a glass grenade in the making to me!

The likelihood of the original bread yeast surviving the initial baking, and then surviving the bread's soak in near boiling water... well, I'm not saying it's impossible. It seems like a slim chance. And financially speaking, bakers yeast is and was pretty cheap.

Something else to consider about Rye: The baker (Bill Bartelme at Wood St. Bakery, not Tom Baker) where I got the bread tells me that the addition of a small amount of Rye flour in his bread makes it less prone to staling. The stuff we got from him had a LOT of rye flour in it, so even sitting uncovered and sliced in a warm bakery for a week, it still was soft enough to eat. Not exactly beer-related, but I thought that was interesting.

Cheers - Scott

Mike T
01/23/08 01:51 PM  
Re: Bread Yeast?

Interesting stuff I assumed it was for thrift originally, but I wasnít sure why it persisted. Aside from structure, the only idea I can come up with is that maybe the mold helps break down some of the starches into sugars (like in the production of Sake). I may try freshly toasted bread in the next batch in place of the brown malt to see how that turns out.

I am also tempted by the idea of using my sourdough starter or the yeast from a recent Berliner Weiss to ferment half of the batch. What was the final verdict on your batch of Kvass that went a bit funky?

Iíll let you know when the next batch is done, either Iíll send a couple bottles up with a friend who works for Senator Casey or Iíll just UPS you some ďyeast samples.Ē


01/24/08 09:17 PM  
Re: Bread Yeast?
I fermented one of last year's pLambics with a sourdough starter cultured according to the instructions in "World Sourdoughs from Antiquity" (meaning leaving an uncovered bowl of flour and water out until it started to bubble). It has made a nice lactic bread for a couple of years now, so I wanted to see how it worked in beer.

The fermentation started right up, very vigorously -- much different from the normal ambient ferments of the same worts. It also developed a pellicle after a few months, looking very much like a brettanomyces hairdo. I tasted it a few months back, and it was promising. I'll try it again and see how it has held up over the winter.

Mike T
01/25/08 01:21 PM  
Re: Bread Yeast?
Sounds interesting, please let me know how it is next time you taste it.
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