The first time I’ve seen mother yeast was in 2014, in England, where I was au-pairing and my “American mother” used to make the bread with mother yeast. I remember she kept it in the fridge, inside a small jar, its consistency was liquid and she used to feed it every two days.
At that time, I didn’t realize very well what mother yeast was, but her bread was so different and so delicious compared to the ones that I’ve been used to eating.
At the beginning of 2021 a friend of mine gave me a special present: he donated me 200 gr of his mother yeast (it was seven years old) and from then, I’ve never abandoned it. It was love at first sight and I could never eat another type of bread.
What is Mother Yeast?
We are all aware that for baking something we need the yeast and, at the grocery stores, you could find different kinds of yeast, like the brewer’s yeast or, the most common, baking powder. However, at home, you can create your own mother yeast using just two simple ingredients: water, flour, and time.
Mother yeast is a living being that needs nourishment and it follows the principles of fermentation: it needs water and sugar to grow and to express the best version of itself. It contains several strains of bacteria such as Saccharomyces, Candida, Lactobacillus, Weissella, and Leuconostoc deeply useful for our organism. Compared to the most common yeast used in many bakeries and pastry labs, mother yeast needs several hours to ferment and it is precisely this slow process that allows the development of bacteria. Bacteria are responsible for the production of lactic acid and acetic acid with numerous beneficial substances. A bread produced with mother yeast is more digestible, easier to preserve for several days, the taste and the aroma are more intense and the crust is more gold-brown colored. There is more bioavailability: it allows greater absorption of minerals such as zinc, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, folate, B vitamins, and antioxidant substances. It requests a lower increase in blood sugar levels, it contributes to lower production of insulin, and it gives you a greater sense of satiety. Eating mother yeast bread means also reducing the chance to develop gluten allergies.
Personally, when mother yeast arrived in my house, my life changed, and so did my belly.
I’ve spent more time in the kitchen, trying to find the perfect combination for my bread recipe (still searching): different flours, different methods, different seasons, several mistakes and the bread taste has not come up the same, even once. Every time is a discovery, is a new way of learning and I’ve learned to take that moment for me, for meditating, for remembering that we are born for handmade, not only for typing or scrolling in front of a screen. Baking bread is like a ritual to re-connect to the Earth, to the genuineness of things, to the simplicity of routines, to the slow living.
If you want to start meditation and you don’t like sitting with your eyes closed, consider going to your baker, ask for 200 gr of mother yeast and enjoy the journey of making homemade bread.
You won’t regret it!