Running out of yeast? Making your own homemade potato yeast is an affordable alternative to running to the store to purchase it. Particularly since yeast has been hard to find since the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Since the whole point of this recipe is to save money, I’m going to show you step by step how to make the potato yeast first. The actual printable recipe is at the bottom. This shouldn’t be confused with a sourdough starter, as it’s an actual natural yeast.
How to Make Potato Yeast
First, gather all of your ingredients and have them handy. You’ll need one potato, some flour, a bit of sugar, and water.
Wash and peel one large potato. We’re peeling it for a couple of reasons. First, commercially produced vegetables contain pesticides, as well as growth retardant chemicals. Removing the peel helps to ensure those items don’t accidentally kill your homemade yeast.
Place it in a pan, add water and boil the potato as though you were preparing mashed potatoes.
Bring the water to a boil and cook (covered) until the potato is soft.
Once the potato is fully cooked, shut off the burner, and allow the potato water to cool to lukewarm.
While it’s cooling, measure the flour and sugar into the jar, stir to combine.
Pour the reserved, cooled potato water into a one-quart jar. If you make the mistake of using hot potato water, the flour/sugar mixture will rot and go rancid rather than grow lovely yeast.
Gently stir sugar and flour, into the water, mixing until smooth. It’ll look a bit like paper mache or wallpaper paste.
Cover the jar with a piece of cheesecloth, coffee filter, or paper towel, and secure it with a mason jar ring or elastic band. At this point, you don’t want to seal the jar, it needs to be breathable, yet protected.
Leave it overnight in a warm place to grow and expand. By morning, it should be bubbly and smell like yeast. This is a true yeast recipe, not a sourdough starter recipe, therefore it should not take several days, one night is sufficient.
You can use this yeast in baking the same way you use traditional store-bought yeast, by proofing the yeast with warm liquids and a sweetener before adding the dry ingredients.
Potato Yeast Recipe (Grandma’s Yeast Recipe)
1 medium potato
1 1/2 to 2 cups of water
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 Tbs sugar
- Wash, peel, and boil the potato as you would for mashed potatoes, reserving the water.
- Let the water cool.
- Pour 1 1/2 cups of the reserved, cooled potato water into a one-quart jar.
- Gently stir in sugar and flour, mixing until smooth.
- Cover the jar with a piece of cheesecloth or paper towel, and secure it with a mason jar ring or elastic band.
- Leave it a full day and overnight in a warm place to grow and expand.
- By morning, it should be bubbly and smell like yeast.
Store the potato yeast in a covered jar in the refrigerator and use as needed.
Feed the Yeast Weekly
Given that this yeast is a live organism, it must be fed weekly to maintain it. To feed the yeast, remove half of the existing jar contents, then add 3/4 cups of water, 3/4 cup of flour, and 1 tablespoon of sugar.
Use this yeast as you would any store-bought yeast. 2 Tbsp potato yeast = 1 Tbsp store-bought yeast
One big difference though, you can expect rise times to take 2-3 times longer with home cultured yeast unless it happens to be very warm in your house. I save bread baking for laundry day and place the rising dough in a bowl on a clean towel on top of the dryer as it runs to achieve a rapid rise.
How to Use Homemade Potato Yeast to Make Bread
2 Tbs Potato Yeast
3 cups bread flour, plus extra as needed during kneading
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup oil
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp. warm water
Using a stand mixer with a dough hook or in a large bowl, add the potato yeast, sugar, and warm water. Let it proof for 10 minutes, then add the oil, flour, and salt.
Let the machine knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. If you don’t have a stand mixer, simply knead the dough on a floured surface for 10-12 minutes or until it’s smooth and holds its shape.
Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with a damp dishtowel. Place in a draft-free area (a microwave or unheated oven works well). Allow the dough to rise until doubled.
Punch down and turn dough onto a floured surface. Knead for several minutes to remove any air bubbles.
Lightly grease a large loaf pan. Shape the dough and place it into the pan. Cover and allow the dough to rise until it has once again doubled in size.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350° F (177° C).
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the tops are golden and the bread has pulled away from the sides of the pan. If desired, brush the top with butter 5-10 minutes before removing from oven.