If your local grocery store is out of yeast, don’t panic! You can make your own baking yeast at home in your own kitchen with ingredients you probably already have on hand. We call bread made with wild homemade yeast “sourdough,” but this at-home version isn’t just for tangy bread. It can be substituted in for packet yeast in pretty much any recipe.
So what is it? Wild yeast captures bacteria already hanging around your kitchen and can be created and fed with a simple combination of flour and water. Here’s how to do it.
Step 1: Mix together equal parts of water and flour in a small bowl. It is best to measure out equal parts with a kitchen scale, but if you don’t have one, a quarter cup of each works too.
Step 2: Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel. Store it in a warm area of your kitchen away from drafts such as open windows or doors. This will help the yeast grow quickly.
Step 3: Feed your starter two tablespoons each of water and flour twice daily, in the morning and evening. After three to five days your starter should double in size and begin to bubble. It should also have a slightly sour smell.
Once your starter is mature, you’re ready to start baking! Look for sourdough versions of all your favorite recipes like bread, bagels, pastries, and even pancakes. If you’ve run out of yeast or simply want to add a little homemade flair to your baking, take a stab at making your own wild sourdough yeast this week!