Beer, bread and poetry?
Having run out of Homebrew tins, I thought the next best thing (after the cider) was to bake my own bread, to evoke that lovely yeasty smell I remember fondly from my last brewing session, way back in September.
I made a loaf of wholemeal bread, from a readymix packet, and that worked fine… then I made pizza bases, with normal flour and yeast etc., and you really get the smell of brewing from that, which is almost what it was all about.
Pizza is a poor topic for discussion on a homebrew blog, granted, but while following the method in the recipe book, it instructed the baker to empty the sachet of baking yeast into a cup of warm, sugary water, and allow it to sit for ten minutes… which sounds to me like the perfect yeast starter!
I’ve been half-experimenting with different ways of pitching yeast (pitching = introducing the yeast into the wort) and didn’t really notice much difference in the quality of the brew, whether I pitched it in a sugar solution, or just sprinkled the powder straight into the wort, but I did notice a significant difference in the bread. The readymix loaf took ages to rise, and it was a half-arsed effort at that (saying nothing of the alcohol content), but the sugar solution yeast was very active within its little starter solution, and the yeast was 2 years past its sell-by as it was. The bread rose really well (even for a pizza base) and I think, from now on, I’ll be pitching all my yeasts in a sugary starter.
Though not too sugary, or we'll be confused by a cidery taste again!