Lager Yeast Bread

The Bread Maiden is confident enough to admit when things go wrong.


This is one of those times. But don’t worry; this story has a happy ending.

To begin with, some background:

Lately Mr. Bread Maiden has been experimenting with different alcoholic libations, supplying Bread Maiden with different kinds of yeast leading to different flavors in her bread.

The carboy on the left is mead, a type of beer made from fermented honey. Mr. Bread Maiden used something called “lager yeast,” or “champagne yeast.”

According to Wikipedia, lagers are made with Saccharomyces pastorianus yeast, a close relative of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. It is a slow-acting yeast.

Once the mead was decanted into beer bottles, I took some of the drudges on the bottom and mixed them with flour and water to form a starter.

Then I waited.

And waited.

Nothing happened.

I twice attempted to revive the starter, dumping half and feeding it once a day. It made no difference. The slow-acting lager yeast was even slower than Bread Maiden had anticipated.

Unlike the monks who first brewed lagers, Bread Maiden is able to rely on modern conveniences to speed the process.

Commercial yeast (horrors!) was finally added on day three and the starter was combined with AP flour and water in a 1-2-3 ratio to form a nice loaf.

So it turns out lager yeast doesn’t work well in bread. At least, not as well as ale yeast, and not as a stand-alone rising agent. Still, I could detect a slight honey flavor, and the coloring was lovely.

Also, if you missed it, scroll back up to the last picture. I was busy and let Mr. Bread Maiden score the loaf for me. He added his own flourish to the top.

While not a total failure, my experience with lager yeast demonstrates the need in bread-making for flexibility and willingness to experiment to see what works.

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