Natural yeast is a yeast made with the microorganisms present in the flour. Thus, it is made by mixing only the flour with water and waiting a few days until the natural yeast dough forms, being generally ready to use in approximately 10 days. This natural fermentation made from the flour’s own yeasts and bacteria, without the addition of any […]
Natural yeast is a yeast made with the microorganisms present in the flour. Thus, it is made by mixing only the flour with water and waiting a few days until the natural yeast dough forms, being generally ready to use in approximately 10 days.
This natural fermentation made from the flour’s own yeasts and bacteria, without the addition of any artificial, biological or chemical yeast, is also called “mother dough” or sourdough starter, and can be used to make bread, cookies, pizza dough or pies. Breads made in this way have a slight sour taste, reminiscent of more rustic breads.
One of the main health benefits of this type of fermentation is that the dough is better digested, as it is already starting to be digested by microorganisms during cooking, causing less sensitivity to gluten and gas formation in more sensitive people.
The most common recipe for preparing natural yeast is to mix a small sample of mother dough, made previously, with more flour and water. But there are other recipes with different flours, this being the way bread was made in the past, before being replaced by bakery yeast.
As it contains live microorganisms, the mother dough must be fed so that it remains active whenever used. When comparing breads made with natural yeast with those prepared with bakery yeast, there are several improvements in terms of volume, texture, sensory properties and nutritional value, making their consumption have several health benefits.
Some benefits of consuming bread and other products prepared with natural yeast are:
Facilitate the digestive process, since the microorganisms present in the food help to degrade proteins, including gluten, present in wheat and rye during the fermentation process, therefore being beneficial for people with sensitivity to gluten
Favor intestinal health, because some studies indicate that these products contain prebiotics and probiotics that favor intestinal functioning and absorption of vitamins
Provide more nutrients to the body, since it reduces the absorption of phytates, which are substances that interfere with the absorption of some minerals. In addition, it is also able to increase the concentration of folate and vitamin E
Higher amount of antioxidants, which are released by bacteria during the fermentation process, protecting cells from cell damage caused by free radicals
Possibility of controlling blood sugar and levels, as it is believed that it is due to the fact that the fermentation process modifies the structure of carbohydrates, reducing their glycemic level and maintaining blood glucose levels.
In addition, fermentation also helps to improve the taste and texture of whole grain bread, thus promoting the consumption of fiber and nutrients.
How to prepare natural yeast
The natural yeast or the mother dough is prepared with the ingredients that are found in the environment, and the flour of some cereal and water must be used. When these ingredients are mixed at room temperature, they trap the microorganisms that are in the air and, together with the yeasts, start the fermentation process.
As the dough is being used and “feeding” is being carried out, its properties will change, becoming better as time goes by, since there is a change in its flavor.
50 g of wheat flour
50 mL of water
Mix the flour and water, cover and let stand at room temperature for 12 hours. Then, 50 g of flour and 50 ml of water must be added again and left to stand for 24 hours.
On the third day, 100 g of the initial mass must be discarded and “fed” with 100 g of flour and 100 ml of water. On the fourth day, 150 g of the initial mass must be discarded and “fed” with another 100 g of flour and 100 ml of water. From the fourth day onwards it is possible to observe the presence of small balls, which are just indicative of fermentation, indicating that the mother dough is, in fact, being formed.
In addition, the dough may also have a characteristic odor, ranging from a sweet smell to a vinegar-like smell, however this is normal and corresponds to one of the stages of the fermentation process. On the fifth day, 200 g of the initial stock should be discarded and “fed” again with 150 g of flour and 150 mL of water. On the sixth day, 250 g of dough should be discarded and fed with 200 g of flour and 200 ml of water.
From the seventh day on, the mother dough will have increased in size and will have a creamy consistency. This mother dough usually needs 8 to 10 days for it to be really ready, as this depends on the environment in which the preparation is carried out, and you must discard the initial mother dough and feed until the expected consistency is reached.
How to preserve natural yeast after use?
As the mother dough is ready between 7 and 10 days, you can keep it at room temperature, and you must “feed” it every day, this process being widely used in bakeries, since bread is made daily.
However, to cook at home, the dough can be preserved in the refrigerator, this will keep the cultivation and carry out its activity. In such cases, when using the dough, it is recommended to remove it from the refrigerator the previous day and leave the dough to rest at room temperature.
Once the temperature has been reached, the mother dough must be activated, and it is recommended to weigh the amount that has and feed with the same amount of flour and water. For example, if it is found that the mixture weighs 300 g, you should add 300 g of flour and 300 ml of water, leaving it at room temperature until the next day to be used.
When using the mother dough, bubbles can be observed, indicating that the fermentation process has been activated again. So, you should use the desired amount and then put it back in the refrigerator.
Optimal ambient temperature
The ideal temperature to keep microorganisms active is between 20 and 30ºC.
What to do if not used?
If natural yeast is not used in recipes or at least once a week, it is important that “feeding” continues to happen, otherwise the cultivation of microorganisms may die, and then it is necessary to start the 10-day process again. until it’s ready. But the well-cared fermented dough remains alive for many years.