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Yeast fermentation

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Questions & Answers

What is yeast fermentation?

In yeast fermentation we focus on a specific group of micro-organisms; the yeasts. This does not necessarily mean that you are going to make alcohol. For example, you can also make soft drinks based on yeast.

Where can I find yeasts?

Yeasts are everywhere; in our bodies, but also in nature, on ripe fruit, in the air and actually everywhere around us. But in addition to these wild yeasts, you can also buy cultivated yeasts. For example in the supermarket you will find bread yeast. But there are also specific brewing and fermentation shops where you can buy all kinds of yeast. 

How much yeast should I add for a yeast fermentation?

This differs per recipe, when you want to make alcohol, you use considerably more than for making a soft drinks. A small pinch of cultured yeast is sufficient for a short-term soft drink fermentation. 

What is wild fermentation?

With wild fermentation you do not use cultivated yeasts. You leave this up to nature by fermenting with an 'open vessel'. You never know exactly which

micro-organisms find their way to your vessel. This fermentation process is therefore less controlled though much more exciting. But you can controll the process somewhat by placing your open vessel under trees or shrubs that contain specific yeasts.

What is yeast?

Yeasts are single-celled micro-organisms that belong to the fungi. They differ from bacteria as they have a cell nucleus. Yeasts convert sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide. The latter is what we use in fermentation.

What is a yeast starter?

By making a yeast starter you increase the number of active yeasts in a short time. This is an intermediate step in brewing. You thus improve the vitality of the yeast cells, to achieve a higher degree of fermentation of your alcohol in a shorter time. In addition, this contributes to a better taste of, for example, your beer or wine.

How do you make a yeast starter?

You make a yeast starter with cultured yeast. By mixing some wort with yeast at the temperature appropriate for the specific yeast. Wort is rich in sugars and your yeast will start up within 24 hours if you regularly add oxygen. Shaking or stirring regularly helps. With a yeast starter you give your ferment a so called kickstart.

What is a ginger bug?

A ginger bug is a yeast starter from a wild yeast. You make these by grating some ginger root and letting it ferment with sugar and water. Because this is not a cultured yeast, it takes longer. Open your jar every day and shake it vigorously at least twice a day. Within a week you will have an active ginger bug to continue fermenting with. 

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