Bread with wild yeast

Joined May 18, 2020
Hi new friends! I’m usually found moonlighting as a yacht chef, and have done very little real life bread baking since my teenage years when I was baking at school!
As a result of the current shortage of dried active yeast, I decided to cultivate my own wild yeast starter but the bread is just appalling. I’m hoping you might be able to help.
An excess of info:
I can’t comment on the quality of the flour I’m using but it’s a strong white bread flour. The yeast starter I’m using is fed a 1:1 ratio of water to flours by grams. My most successful bake was with a ratio of 1:1:3 of starter:warm water:flour. Plus some salt of course. I’ve alternated the point in time of adding the salt to be sure it wasn’t killing my yeast. My dough is almost always very very dense, sticky and heavy. I knead by hand. If I work hard I can get a fairly smooth dough after about 20-25 minutes. It’s very very stretchy at this point and bounces back to shape nicely. The window pane test is also fine. The dough is so heavy. When I set it to prove (it’s been fairly warm here) it doesn’t want to rise more than 25-50%. I’ve tried doing a few rounds of knead/prove/knead but have found the dough gets sticky if I do this and it doesn’t rise much more as a result. When I bake it, I then get a very thick crunchy crust, and a super dense loaf. The taste is actually pretty good but the texture is a mess! I’ve also tried stirring the starter into warm water first. I’ve tried bottled and tap water too. I’ve also tried steam in the oven in the early part of baking, although that wouldn’t help with the density of the loaf anyway.
I’m really determined to figure out the science behind this so I don’t need to be reliant on store bought yeast but am getting a little disheartened. I’d eventually like to graduate this to pizza dough too but my only attempt with it was very dry and crispy and tasted like floury coal!
And and all advice/suggestions or just direction on what to go and read would be so appreciated!! Thanks.


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
Your wild strain might not be up to the task. You can try a and catch a more viable candidate.
Joined Jan 8, 2010
You might not have given it enough time....
Maybe check out sourdough info, as after all, that's also a wild yeast.
I use a no-knead recipe and it takes 3 days.....
Joined Dec 18, 2010
It can take months of feeding a wild yeast to get it vibrant enough to bake a decent bread. Over time the yeast and bacteria will balance and it will develop both flavor and rising power. Keep feeding your starter...
Joined Apr 25, 2017
Are you doing a preferment? I find it very helpful for a good rise. We let ours sit for 12 to 16 hours. Then we add the last of the flour, sugar, and salt. Let that rise for several hours, knead very lightly (about 29 turns) shape and let rise again.
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