How to make your own yeast

Yeast Recipe – making your own

Yesterday I went to the grocery store only to find out due to the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) the shelves in the super market where not only sold our of toilet paper and flour among other things, but there was not a container of yeast to be found.

So I came home and started going through Grandma’s old handwritten cook books and was lucky enough to find a recipe for yeast using potatoes along with a sour dough starter, but then I got to thinking……how did they make bread before our packages of yeast came along, and I’ve learned there are other ways to get yeast for bread making.


The word “yeast” comes from the old English word gistgyst  meaning boil, foam or bubble. Granule yeast (as we know it today) was not invented until 1872. Naturally occurring airborne yeasts were used almost exclusively in the United States until 1876 when commercial yeast was marketed at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.  Charles Fleishchmann showed how this yeast was used to make bread and served the baked bread.  People where so impressed it took off from then and this is where the name fleischmann’s yeast came from.

What is Yeast?

Yeast is a single-cell organism its name is Saccharomyces cerevisiae, it needs food, warmth, and moisture to thrive. The Saccharomyces cerevisiae converts its food (sugar and starch)—by way of fermentation, into carbon dioxide and alcohol. The carbon dioxide is what makes bread etc rise.

Yeast can be found in nature actually everywhere in nature from plants to fruits to trees.

Now for some recipes to get your own Yeast started

Potato Yeast Recipe


  • Clean sterilized glass jar
  • Potato
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 TBSP Sugar
  • 1 Cup of Flour


Boil your potato like you normally would for mashed potatoes, drain and save the water (1 1/2 cups).  Stir 1 TBSP of sugar and 1 cup of flour into the water mixing it well.  Cover and leave this mixture in a warm place overnight.  By morning it should smell like yeast and be bubbly.   Use 1/2 cup of this mixture for each loaf of bread you make.

Raisin / Fruit Yeast


  • Clean Sterilized Glass jar.  (2 pints or larger)  I use a 1 quart canning jar
  • Filtered or Bottled Water.  Tap water is ok but if you have chlorine in your water it will more than likely kill the yeast.
  • Raisins or fruit of your choice. 
  • Honey or sugar (optional)


  1. Add 2 – 3 TBSP of raisins to your jar.
  2. Add a few tablespoons of honey to help with the fermentation process (optional)
  3. Fill the sterilized jar 3/4 full of water.  Cover with a cloth and elastic band or place the lid on loosely – we need the air to escape.
  4. The jar must be left in a warm place in order to work.  If its to cold the yeast will die
  5. Stir this mixture once or twice a day for three to four days.
  6. Soon bubbles will form on the top this means you have yeast.  You should see the raisons or fruit floating at the top now.
  7. Strain this mixture taking the raisons or fruit out.  The liquid is what you will want to keep
  8. The newly brewed yeast can now be put into the fridge.

Here is a great recipe for making and baking with raison yeast Make and Bake with Raison Yeast

Make your own wild yeasts from herbs, fruits and berries, they will all lend a different flavor to your bread.  Back in the day a bowl of flour and water (lightly covered) would have been placed in the garden in the spring to pull wild yeast from the air for making breads.

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