Have you ever wondered how the yeast used to make bread is different from that used to make cider, beer, and wine? First off, the standard yeast used for most fermented food products is Saccharomyces cerevisiae. So, fundamentally, the yeast has the same basic characteristics. However, just like yeast have different characteristics when fermenting wine or beers, they also have different characteristics for fermenting bread. These are usually related to various genes that define how well they process different types of carbohydrates, how they generate nutrients, and how they react under stressful conditions. Many wine and beer yeast don’t like high glucose conditions and will use various enzymes to seek to improve their environment. However, the fundamental process of converting carbon into energy to grow and reproduce is the same. Yeast want to live and they want to reproduce. And, one thing yeast seem to excel at doing is finding ways to extract from their environment what they need. I’ve heard of people who used bread yeast to make hard cider and wine. My understanding is that it will ferment your juice into hard cider but the flavor profile may or may not be to your liking. What I had never heard about is someone making bread from wine or beer yeast.
I believe it should work and the real question will be about flavors. What I wasn’t sure about is how much rise it would create as I wasn’t sure how effective the yeast would be at breaking down the carbohydrates found in most dough. Like I am want to do, I decide I wanted to see what would happen. I figured the worst case scenario was that it wouldn’t rise and I’d use it for a pizza dough. I thought the next worse case was it took a long time and I ended up with a sourdough. Since I make sourdough all the time, I figured that wouldn’t be a bad thing. My next concern was flavor, I worried that it might produce weird flavors. But isn’t sourdough weird and what exactly is the definition of weird. Also, I looked at my yeast stash and realized I had an excessive amount of yeast that I wasn’t likely to use. For example, I had multiple packs of EC-1118. Given my general dislike of EC-1118 but knowing it tends to ferment anything, I thought it would be the perfect choice to try my first bread from cider yeast, or in this case, wine yeast.
For this recipe, I modified one for dinner rolls. It only uses about 4-5 cups of flour versus the 6-7 cups I use in my sourdough bread recipe, which can be found in my post for grilled cheese and cider. Also, I had a small amount of rye flour so I used that along with some honey and a bit of molasses instead of the normal granulated sugar. I used 900 grams of dough for a loaf and the remaining 600-700 grams for breadsticks. The coloring is partially from the rye and partially from the molasses.
- 10 grams EC-1118 or similar cider yeast.
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cups of rye flour
- 2-3 cups whole wheat flour
Heat the milk, butter, honey, and molasses to 100-110F (38-43C). Mix half of the flour, salt, and yeast in mixing bowl. Add warm milk mixture to the flour mixture, add two eggs at room temperature and beat for 30 seconds. Begin adding the remaining flour and kneading the dough until you have a slightly soft dough but not sticky. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 2-4 hours or until double in size.
Punch down the dough and let rest for 10 minutes. Line a bread loaf pan with parchment paper. Weigh out 900 grams of dough, form into a loaf, and place in parchment lined pan to raise. Weight out remaining dough into small balls for breadsticks. I used 50-75 grams for my large breadsticks and 10-15 grams for my mini or petite breadsticks. I again placed these on a parchment lined pan. For this batch, I brushed the tops with water and sprinkled on sesame seeds before letting them rise. This second rise usually takes another 1-2 hours. My oven actually has a proof setting, which is nice but you can also use a oven light or warm location. Ultimately, you want to bake these at 350F (177C). The breadsticks usually take 8-10 minutes while the loaf takes 25-28 minutes. I use a bread steel for my bread and pizzas, which helps ensure even cooking.
So what is the result? EC-1118 continues to ferment anything! It gave this bread a nice rise and the flavor was not weird or off. I would say the rye and molasses were more dominant than the yeast. Next time I may need to do a standard wheat flour. However, it also has me thinking about using the the gross lees from some of my ciders for making bread. Maybe I will harvest yeast for bread instead of another cider batch. I also wonder how some of the wild ferments would taste as bread yeasts. So next time you are thinking about using bread yeast to make a batch of hard cider or wine, maybe you should instead be thinking about using the yeast from your last batch of cider to make some bread. I mean bread and cider. What more could you want? Oh yes, cheese. Can cider yeast make cheese? The more I learn, the more I want to learn. It’s a never ending cycle. Also, think of the pairing potential. Bread made from the same yeast used to make your cider, what could be a better pairing?
If you are looking for some hard ciders to pair with your bread, check out my hard cider recipe page for inspiration.
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