ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Capturing, Baking, and Brewing with Wild Yeasts

Updated on April 26, 2015

About Wild Yeasts

Did you know that you don't need to go to the store to purchase packages of yeast to bake bread or brew wine, mead, beer or cider -- different strains of yeast spores are in the air all around us, and you can take advantage of these spores in the air to leaven your bread or use in fermentation. In fact, the best sourdough recipes call for fermented sourdough starters made with captured wild spores. However, as with everything in life, some strains are better than others for certain purposes, so you want to find, capture, and encourage the right kinds of yeasts to grow. Once you get a good strain, you will want to make sure to label and preserve it for future use!

Commercial yeast
Commercial yeast


There a a number of ways to capture wild yeasts. If you live near a bakery, that warm, satisfying smell is yeast (my family used to pass by a ginger ale brewery on the way back from church when I was a child, and I always wanted to lean out the car window and inhale as deeply as I could), and there will be no problem encouraging the right strain to grow. The same principle applies if you live near a brewery, since spores will be plentiful in the air. Otherwise, you will have to put a little more effort in to capturing a good strain, but once captured, yeasts are easy to maintain.

To capture the wild yeasts in the air from a nearby brewery or bakery, simply mix equal amounts of wheat flour and water, with a tiny pinch of sugar, in a glass or ceramic bowl, and leave out on the counter or windowsill and keep the bowl warm. Cover this mixture of flour and water loosely with cheesecloth to keep out insects, dirt, and the cat. Within an hour or so, you should start to see tiny bubbles. Keep the flour/water mixture warm, and each day, feed your mixture with a quarter-cup of flour and water mixed together. Once you get enough, divide this mixture in half, and bake half the mixture into bread, or try fermenting a small batch of home-made beer, wine, cider, ginger ale or mead to see if this is a strain you want to keep. If so, keep feeding the reserved mixture until you have enough to divide again, then bake bread or use your mixture in fermentation as needed. If the mixture is really good, you can label it and keep it in the refrigerator to retard its growth. Otherwise, throw the undesirable mixture on the compost pile and start again!

If you do not live near a brewery or bakery, you will need another source of wild spores. A good place to find wild spores is on the skins of blueberries or grapes. Look for the berries or grapes that have a fine whitish coat -- that white coat is yeast. Put your flour/water mixture into a jar, and throw in a couple of berries, cover loosely, keep warm, and let sit overnight. Take out the berries (so they don't ferment) and feed the flour and water mixture until you have enough to bake some bread or try a sample fermentation. Again, try the bread or ferment a small batch to make sure this is a strain you want to keep.


Maintaining your wild yeast mixture for baking or fermentation is ridiculously easy: simply continue to feed the mixture with equal parts of flour and water daily. If you get more mixture than you can bake, you can either give part of it to a friend, or keep your mixture in the refrigerator or cool place to slow down the process. Keep your mixture loosely covered to keep it clean.


In addition to baking bread, wild yeasts can also be used to ferment liquids to make wine, beer, mead, ginger ale or cider. As with any wild yeast, some wild strains are suitable for the purpose, and some are not. It will take experimentation to determine which wild yeasts will serve your purpose. Once you find a wild strain you like, be sure to label it and maintain it carefully. Otherwise, that great beer wild yeast may get used for bread, and you may not care for the results!

Don't forget that you can experiment further with your mixtures, such as brewing beer with wild yeasts, and then baking some bread with the beer you have brewed. You might just come up with something fabulous from your experiments with wild yeasts!

Ready to Experiment with Wild Yeasts?

I am ready to try baking or brewing with wild yeast!

See results


Submit a Comment
  • rmcrayne profile image


    9 years ago from San Antonio Texas

    Dag, I USED to work near the Bitburger Pils brewery.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)