About Yeasts

Sourdough Yeast vs Commercial Yeast

Sourdough Yeast

Natural, sourdough starter is a yeast mixture. It is the leavening for the bread. It performs the function of yeast, making the dough rise. It is the only true traditional yeast, probably going back to Adam and Eve. It is a mixture of water, whole grain flour, and wild yeasts and good bacteria. It is a gentle yeast slow acting, but strong. It can be kept at room temperature if it is fed at least once a day, or kept in the fridge. But, either way since it is a living thing, it needs to be fed more flour and water so it does not exhaust its food supply. Starter,when used in bread, also performs a couple other functions:

1) It acidifies the dough (water and flour mixture) to neutralize phytic acid also known as anti-nutrients or phytates. The good bacteria in the starter mixture also plays a part in this process.

“Up to 80% of the phosphorus-a vital mineral for bones and health- present in grains is locked into an unusable form as phytate. When a diet including more than small amounts of phytate is consumed, the body will bind calcium to phytic acid and form insoluble phytate complexes. The net result is you lose calcium, and don’t absorb phosphorus. Further, research suggests that we will absorb approximately 20 % more zinc and 60 % magnesium from our food when phytate is absent.” from Living With Phytic Acid, Weston A. Price Foundation  www.westonaprice.org/food-features/living-with-phytic-acid

2) It begins to breakdown the gluten in the grains. Gluten is one of the two hardest proteins for the human body to digest, the other one is the protein in milk. In our culture today, these are two of the foods which these days are commonly giving people problems -allergic reactions and so forth. Sourdough bread and yogurt traditionally have been made to help the human body digest these proteins, breaking down the proteins during the 8 hour process. All whole grains and some other foods should go thru a process of soaking to remove these anti-nutrients before eating. Yes, you can consume white flour or de-braned,de-germed, bleached for color flours but they have so little food value-three synthetic vitamins as compared to 15-20 vitamins and minerals in whole grains. But whole grains must be properly prepared!!

Yeast starters are made by gathering wild yeast and good bacteria from the air and from raw fruits or vegetables, then capturing it in a place which can feed them and help them grow: a wh. grain flour-water mixture. Traditional pure sourdough, soaked flour bread does not use sugar to multiply like commercial yeast(which was made in sugar, see below)! And pure sourdough bread does not use agressive commercial yeast!–not even a little bit. After all, a little 1/2 tsp. of c.yeast soon grows to lots of yeast in any warm, wet place. It takes over!

Also, sourdough starter can be eaten raw, leaving no fears that you killed all the yeast when you baked the bread.

I use the organic grape when I make a starter from scratch because that is what many Austrians do which is where I learned how to make it. The grape is used because it has a lot of natural wild yeast on the outside of the skins. Those wild yeasts grow in the new starter and also attract wild yeasts from the air to your new, just starting starter.

Once made it can easily be shared with friends.

Starter grows best at 78 deg. and is killed by high temp. but not by being frozen. It can also be dehydrated and still remain viable.  Unrefrigerated, like the pilgrims and pioneers used it , it must be fed at least once a day. For my recipe to make“homemade” yeast or Sourdough Starter click here

*****Or if you want to save yourself the trouble you can order it here on my website. Order starter *****

Commercial Yeast

All the yeast sold commercially in this country today I call commercial yeast. There are several kinds (I am not talking brands). READ ON below to learn how Your yeast has changed, folks!!

Yeast cakes

You may remember the yeast cakes you, your mother or grandmother purchased at the store to make bread at home in the pre 1987 years. This yeast was collected from the lining in the vats where beer was fermented after the beer was poured out. Somewhere down the line from that, they dehydrated it and sold it in the little yeast packets we are familiar with. The cakes became obsolete. But the dehydrated kind is the same stuff.

Traditional dry yeast packets (dehydrated yeast cakes)were labeled”traditional” in the store and used exclusively before the advent of Rapid Rise in the mid ‘80’s) This yeast was used by everyone until Rapid Rise took over the market, and is by-product of brewing beer. Formed and taken from the lining of the beer vats after the beer was removed. It should also never be eaten raw in dough as it will do the same thing in the intestine. Traditional yeast and Rapid Rise yeast are used and fed with sugar. If one eats a lot of sugar in their diet, I had an MD tell me that yeast overgrowth happens in the body very easily. Another good reason to cut the sugar!

Traditional pure sourdough, soaked flour bread does not even use sugar! And remember, what many people think is sourdough start is really :

“everlasting yeast”: a thin dough made from white flour, sugar, commercial yeast, and water.This is often called sourdough starter but it contains commercial yeast. Remember true sourdough starter does not use c. yeast. Use your nose. It will tell you if there is yeast in the mix.

Rapid Rise Yeast –a new guy on the block!!

The yeast called“traditional ”yeast was sold and used until the last 15 or so years (until 1984). Since then it has become almost rare to find on the grocery shelves. Why? It was replaced by rapid- rise yeast. It says it all in the name–or maybe, not all. Everyone likes rapid rise yeast because it is so fast-acting.Why is it so fast? It ‘s fungus like the other but it multiplies much more rapidly. This “new guy on the block “ is a yeast (they say) whose structure is finer (thus dissolves quicker), (they say), and combined with chemicals makes it faster acting than traditional yeast

( they say). Frankly, I don’t believe it. Just powdering it finer and adding some chemicals would not make it multiply faster. Go ahead and believe that if you want to. I, for one of many, am extremely suspicious. There is some evidence that it has been genetically altered to have phytase injected in its molecular structure. However good intentioned the manufacturers might have been, I believe rapid rise yeast is far too aggressive for us little humans. It should never be used or ever ingested.

Meanwhile back to the history, Many in the U.S. loved it when it was introduced. “Fast is best” is what most people in America say. Well it sure did take over the market! It is now used by almost all bakers in the U.S.! -because it is so fast, the bread can be done-start to finish 90 minutes! So now what was called “traditional” dry yeast is almost obsolete and fairly hard to find in the grocery store.

The yeast, a fungus, is supposed to be killed in the baking at high heat, but the problem comes when the commercial bakers don’t leave the dough in the oven long enough to kill every little fungi all the way in the middle of the loaf. They are often in too much of a hurry to make lots of loaves of bread to sell that day.  Have you ever smelled a yeasty smell when smelling commercial bread? What happens when that little ‘still alive’ fungi in the middle of the bread gets eaten and reaches the intestines? It can attatch to the lining and begin to multiply. Raw yeast is never supposed to be eaten raw.  From it’s first introduction, it was always the intent that it would be killed(totally cooked) before it was ingested. That gives new meaning to my mother’s caution to us little kids to never eat her homemade bread dough! She knew it was not good for us.”Wait until it is baked.” she would say.  Also, if you do some research on the internet, you will find that this very aggressive new yeast has been know to mastitize or warp to something new inside the body, and enter the organs of the body. Yikes!

The husband of an acquaintance of mine was diagnosed with ” Fuzzy brain” which they think is yeast overgrowth in the brain. He was having trouble concentrating, remembering, and in general having symptoms of dementia and was in his 50’s!! He was able to re-claim his brain by diet changes (giving up sugar, white flour yeast bread etc.).

A few years ago a 12 year old girl in my neighborhood had yeast overgrowth all thru-out her body including in her brain. The Dr. put her on a sugar-free diet including no fruit and was able to help her get back to normal flora. This is not to claim that bread yeast causes candida over growth. But could they possibly be connected somehow? –needs more research for sure. I am very concerned that, at the very least, it can upset the delicate balance of wild yeast and good bacteria in the intestinal tract (gut) of warm-blooded creatures because of it’s aggressive nature, making an overgrowth of yeast, which couldn’t be good.

Finally, it is my belief that pure sourdough bread made from wild yeast and lacto-bacteria (that’s the good kind) cannot be made in a c.yeast bread bakery or home. If you want to keep your sourdough starter pure and unadulterated by yeast you need to keep it completely away from commercial yeast. Yeasts travel thru the air. I once had  someone ( before I knew better) come into my kitchen and bake a holiday bread with commercial yeast-Rapid Rise. I had my sourdough starter on the window sill in my kitchen as I had been baking with it earlier in the day and had fed it and left it to bubble before putting it in the fridge. As usual, I had only covered it lightly, so as to capture the wild yeasts in the air. [Wild yeasts are found naturally everywhere. They live inside us and outside of us on walls and cupboards. For this reason, the more you use sourdough the more your kitchen or bakery will be condusive to it. You will actually increase the amount of good wild yeast and lacto-bacteria in your environment. That’s a good thing! They hold a place so bad ones can’t.] So back to my story: The next day I realized that the aggressive yeast had taken over my sourdough starter. It smelled of c. yeast and I threw it out. Luckily my daughter had some of the good original so I got some more from her.

Make the effort to eliminate aggressive commercial yeast from your diet. Begin to use the old-fashioned stuff: Natural, sourdough leavening. It’s good for you!

Best wishes, and…

Happy Baking!,

Sourdough Gal




ourdough starter. It smelled of c. yeast and I threw it out. Luckily my daughter had some of the good original so I got some more from her. Make the effort to eliminate aggressive commercial yeast from your diet. Begin to use the old-fashioned stuff: Natural, sourdough leavening. It’s good for you! Best wishes, and… Happy Baking!, Sourdough Gal

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *