Question about yeast and bread starters

I’ve been learning how to bake my own bread–I’ve also learned how to make a bread starter.

The problem is, the first time I made a starter, I used commercial yeast, which is all well and good, it’s just that now I decided I’d like to try my hand at harvesting wild yeast, just from the air.

It’s been a few days–and I -have- harvested some yeast (It makes the starter bubble and everything). It’s just that I’m not sure if it’ll do for baking.

Y’see–with the commercial yeast, the starter had an odor that was very strongly and unmistakably alcoholic. If left to it’s own in the fridge, the liquid fermentation byproduct was a shade of light brown.

With the wild yeast–the starter has an odor that makes me cringe. It smells much more–sour, like vinegar. The liquid that rises from it is clear. Also, whenever I ‘feed’ the starter, it doesn’t seem to froth up very much after the yeast has eaten. (I imagine this might be because wild yeast takes longer to get a good threshhold in the starter, unlike commercial yeast which is refined for that purpose.)

I haven’t tried baking anything with it yet, I don’t want to eat something that’s gonna make me sick. :stuck_out_tongue: So I implore you dopers, especially if you have baking experience, to tell me if my starter is fine, or if it will make me go blind.


Buy some local apples, and peel them.

Put the apple peels and some flour in some water, and leave in a loosely covered dish in a warm place for a while. Grapes work too. Yeast grows wild on apple peels and on grapes too. The type of yeast you get just out of the air in your home will include a lot of different types. Some will give you bad flavors, or odors. Although modern dry yeast preparations are pretty far removed from apple yeast, the process was originated in the same way. Beer brewing is also a good source of yeast, take the foam off the top, and mix that into your flour and water.

You have to divide and remake your starter every couple of days, or it gets sour. Eventually it will die.


“The difference between a violin and a viola is that a viola burns longer.” ~ Victor Borge ~