Oops. I woke up this morning with a vague sense of something not right and logged into my e-mail and then FB. All seemed okay there, so I checked that the blog post I scheduled went live…Wrong blog. Wrong post. Wrong day.
So, I deleted the post. No harm, no foul, right?
Wrong. I didn’t back that post up when I wrote it. So, I’m recreating this one from scratch, rather like the subject of my post—making yeast when there isn’t a grocery store for miles and miles or a few more decades of time.
Making yeast was something every cook, wife, and baker probably knew how to do in the time period we’re talking about. Without yeast, you’ve got flatbread. And if you didn’t know how to make yeast, you couldn’t just run to the grocery store. Even if you could just run into town, what we know as grocery stores still didn’t exist.
The simplest recipe to make yeast involves potatoes, sugar, and flour. Boil your potatoes as you usually would, except save three cups of the water. Divide the water in half. Stir in about a tablespoon of sugar and about a cup of flour into a cup and a half of the water, or until the mixture is sort of stiff. Cover and leave overnight in a warm place and it should be bubbly and yeasty-smelling the next morning. If not, you’ll need to start over. (That’s where the other half of the boiled potato water came in.) If you don’t have flour, you can boil an extra potato and plan to smash that potato and use as the starter for the yeast.
Have you ever heard when selecting potatoes for cooking (other than baked) that it’s one for me, one for you, and one for the pot? The one for the pot was so the cook could make yeast.
After all this talk of boiled, smashed potatoes…I’m hungry.