Yeast in New Environments

In celebration of Darwin’s birthday we are introducing a yeast strain into a new environment and testing the results against the standard yeast champion to see what happens (other than bread). 

Having dabbled in home-made wines, that mostly result in high alcohol contents (I was informed just today that a bottle of my crab apple wine survived unscathed a friend’s loss of heat, while two bottles filled with a different wine located right next to mine popped their corks and froze in their bottles), we were curious what might happen if one tried to make bread with say, Champagne yeast…

So we tried it! We made two, half-batches of the Master recipe in “Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day“.

  • pre-warm two plastic containers with hot water
  • 1.5 cups warm water (102°F, measured with a Thermapen)
  • 5.2 g yeast (mass of 1 pkg of Red Star Pasteur Champagne Yeast, measured the same mass of Red Star Active Dry yeast for batch #2)
  • 2 tsp Morton Kosher Salt (because 3/4 of a Tablespoon was too difficult to deal with)
  • 400 g unbleached all purpose flour
  • mix without kneeding
  • loosely cover each container and let rest in a warm spot for 2 hours (which in Feb in the UP of Michigan, is an oven that has been slightly warmed and turned off)
  • shape, bake, cool & enjoy
  • enjoy with delightful cheeses, aptly named wine, and a viewing of Idiocracy if desired (although, keep this in mind)

Results: 

Rank

Product

Tasting Notes

1 Red Star Active Dry Yeast finer crumb, softer texture & better lift
2 Red Star Pasteur Champagne Yeast denser, chewier, individual bubble voids are larger

However, what bread lover can really complain about two loaves of fresh bread?

The two fresh loaves. Champagne yeasted loaf is on the left, regular yeasted loaf on the right.

The two fresh loaves. Champagne yeasted loaf is on the left, regular yeasted loaf on the right.

Comments:

The dough was used in a very fresh state (right after its initial rise), while the recipe normally recommends refrigeration for several hours. In this trial, the yeast that has been selected traditionally for use in breads won by a 3-0 margin. However, we are interested in how the dough might change as it ages.

The slices on the left (marked yellow) were made with the Champagne yeast, and the bread on the right (red) was made with the traditional yeast.

The slices on the left (marked yellow) were made with the Champagne yeast, and the bread on the right (red) was made with the traditional yeast.

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