Doesn’t this look amazing? I’ve read great things about using “yeast water” at The Fresh Loaf which is basically anything fermented with water. You can even use certain vegetables. Or tea. According to Wikipedia, tea combined with honey is a popular fermentation tool – something like Kefir and the like. You do know that yogurt is also made by slowly fermenting milk, right? The longer you ferment things, the more tasty they get (or the more “tang” they have, which might not appeal to everyone).
My girlfriends uncle has an apple orchard. They are “organic” meaning no insecticides are used (and no pruning either, they’re full-grown trees). I simply cut up one apple, added some water and left it for a few days. Some bubbles start appearing and after a while, the apples start releasing a purgent smell. This indicates that the fermentation process has been started. You can “refresh” your water yeast by simply replacing some old apple pieces with new ones.
I had no idea when this yeast would be ready to fully leaven a bread. And how long it would take – meaning the (bulk) fermentation time, I’m used to while using classic rye or wheat sourdough. So I came up with a recipe to try it out after some small successes (trying to combine some yeast water with flour and seeing what happens).
preferment (12 hours at 19°C)
- 100gr yeast water
- 100gr spelt flour (this is basic white spelt flour)
- 300gr spelt flour
- 100gr wholerye flour
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 big apple, cut up into small pieces, with peel
- 225gr water @ 25°C
- the preferment
This would make the dough 65% hydratation – something to relatively easy work with. I wanted to incorporate the apples I’ve used to create the yeast into the final bread. And since apples happen to combine so well with cinnamon, that was a no-brainer!
It turned out to be extremely good. The yeast is as vigorous as classic sourdough yeast – or might even rise faster. It was difficult to judge – I let the dough final proof in the fridge for a day (6°C) – 12h. I get greater results on all bread using this method and this is no exception.
What surprised me the most was the sweetness of the bread, or the complete absence of the regular “tang” I love about sourdough. So this bread might appeal to people who don’t like rye sour or sour in general. Of course the cinnamon also helps to sweeten everything, but even without it, I still think you would get a different taste. The apples in the yeast did not affect the flavor – the apples in the bread did: it also kept it more moist!
I now have three starters in my fridge: a stiff white one, a liquid rye one and this apple yeast container. Great!