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Diet and Nutrition 2023

Natural yeast: what é, benefícios and how to make it at home

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Natural yeast: what é, benefícios and how to make it at home
Natural yeast: what é, benefícios and how to make it at home
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Natural yeast is a yeast made with the microorganisms present in the flour. This means it's made by mixing just the wheat flour with water and waiting a few days for the natural yeast dough to form, generally being ready to use in 10 days.

This natural fermentation made without the addition of any artificial yeast, biological or chemical, is also called "mother dough" or sourdough starter, and can be used to make bread, cookies, pizza dough or pies. Breads made this way have a slight sour taste, reminiscent of more rustic breads.

One of the main he alth advantages of this type of fermentation is that the dough is better digested, as the digestion process is already being carried out by microorganisms during cooking, causing less sensitivity to gluten or formation of gas in more sensitive people.

Key he alth benefits

The main benefits of consuming breads and other products prepared with natural yeast are:

  1. Facilitate the digestive process, as the microorganisms present in the food help to degrade the proteins, including gluten, present in wheat and rye during the fermentation process, being therefore beneficial for people with gluten sensitivity;
  2. Favorcer intestinal he alth, this is because some studies indicate that these products contain prebiotics and probiotics that favor intestinal functioning and vitamin absorption;
  3. Provide more nutrients to the body, as it reduces the absorption of phytates, which are substances that interfere with the absorption of some minerals. In addition, it is also able to increase the concentration of folate and vitamin E;
  4. Increased amount of antioxidants, which are released by bacteria during the fermentation process, protecting cells from cellular damage caused by free radicals;
  5. Possibility of controlling blood sugar levels, as it is believed to be due to the fact that the fermentation process modifies the structure of carbohydrates, reducing their glycemic level and making to maintain blood glucose levels.

Furthermore, fermentation also helps improve the flavor and texture of whole grain bread, thus promoting fiber and nutrient consumption.

How to make natural yeast at home

Natural yeast is prepared with some cereal flour and water. When these ingredients are mixed at room temperature, they trap the microorganisms that are in the air and, together with the yeasts, start the fermentation process.

Starting ingredients

  • 50 g of wheat flour;
  • 50 mL of water.

Preparation mode

  1. Mix the wheat flour and water, cover and let it rest at room temperature for 24 hours;
  2. Add again 50 g of flour and 50 mL of water and let it rest for another 24 hours;
  3. Add another 50 g of flour and 50 mL of water and let it rest for another 24 hours;
  4. On the third day (sometimes the second or fourth) the dough will show bubbles from fermentation. When this happens, the "discard" process should begin, which consists of removing 100 g of the dough and "feeding" it with 100 g of flour and 100 mL of water, leaving it to rest for another 12 hours. The fermented dough that has been removed can be thrown in the trash or buried to compost the land, for example;
  5. Repeat the "discard" process every 12 hours, for another 3 or 4 days, always removing 100 g of dough and feeding it again with 100 g of flour and 100 mL of water;
  6. After this period, you can remove a "bait" from the dough (approximately 50-100 g) and store it in the fridge. The leftover dough can be used to make bread or any other recipe.

During the fermentation process, it is natural for the dough to have a characteristic odor, which can vary from a sweet smell to a vinegar-like smell.

See in more detail how to make natural yeast in the video below:

How to store and use "bait"

The natural yeast "bait" can be kept at room temperature, whenever you want to make bread every day. However, it is important to remember that it must be "fed" every day, with twice as much flour and water.

However, for home cooking, in most cases there is no need to produce bread every day, so the "bait" can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.In these cases, to use the "bait" you must remove it from the refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature for about 8 hours.

If you intend to continue feeding the "bait" and obtaining more natural yeast, you must weigh the amount you have and feed it with twice that amount of flour and water. For example, if the "bait" is found to weigh 50 g, add 100 g of flour and 100 ml of water. Then just let it rest for another 12 hours, then you can remove a part to make a new recipe and keep a new "bait" of 100 to 50 g in the fridge, to keep the fermentation process going.

What is the ideal room temperature?

The ideal temperature to keep microorganisms active is 25º C.

What to do if you don't use "bait"?

If the bait is not used in recipes or at least 1 time a week, it is important that the "feeding" continues to happen, otherwise, the cultivation of microorganisms can die, and then it is necessary to start the process 10 days again until ready.But the fermented dough, well cared for, stays alive for many years.

Recipe for sourdough bread

Ingredients (for 2 loaves)

  • 800 grams of wheat flour;
  • 460 mL of warm water;
  • 10 g of s alt;
  • 320 grams of natural yeast.

Preparation mode

Place the flour in a container and add the warm water, s alt and natural yeast. Mix all ingredients until incorporated and then place the dough on a flat surface. At first, it is possible that the dough is slightly watery, however as it is kneaded, it gains shape and consistency.

Start kneading the dough by hand until it starts to get sticky. It is recommended not to add more flour or water, and the process should continue normally: stretch the dough and fold it over itself, thus allowing it to capture the air.

To know if the dough is ready, just do the membrane test, in which you must hold a piece of dough and stretch it between your fingers. If the dough is ready, it will not break. Then, place the dough in a container and let it rest.

It is important to remember that when using the mother dough (natural yeast), the process is more natural and, therefore, happens more slowly. Thus, the bread dough should rest longer, it is recommended to leave it for about 3 hours. After this period, the dough can be removed from the container and divided into two parts to prepare 2 loaves. If the dough is a little sticky, it can be sprinkled with a little flour until the desired consistency is obtained.

Regardless of the shape, you must start with a round base and, for that, you must rotate the dough, grab the edges and stretch them towards the center. Turn the dough again and make circular movements.

Next, in another container, place a clean cloth and sprinkle a little flour on the cloth.Then put the dough, sprinkle a little more flour and cover, letting it rest for another 3 hours and 30 minutes. Then remove from the container and place on a suitable tray and make small cuts on the surface of the dough.

It is recommended to preheat the oven to 230ºC and, when heated, put the bread in the oven for about 25 minutes. Then, remove the bread from the tray and bake for another 25 minutes.

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