It is impossible to have good light bread, unless you have lively, sweet yeast. When common family beer is well brewed and kept in a clean cask, the settlings are the best of yeast. If you do not keep beer, then make common yeast by the following method.
Take two quarts of water, one handful of hops, two of wheat bran; boil these together twenty minutes; strain off the water, and while it is boiling hot, stir in either wheat or rye flour, till it becomes a thick batter; let it stand till it is about blood warm; then add a half pint of good smart yeast and a large spoonful of molasses, if you have it, and stir the whole well. Set it in a cool place in summer and a warm one in winter. When it becomes perfectly light, it is fit for use. If not needed immediately, it should, when it becomes cold, be put in a clean jug or bottle; do not fill the vessel, and the cork must be left loose till the next morning, when the yeast will have done working. Then cork it tightly, and set in a cool place in the cellar. It will keep ten or twelve days.
Take one pint of new milk; one teaspoonful of fine salt, and a large spoon of flour - stir these well together; set the mixture by the fire, and keep it just lukewarm; it will be fit for use in an hour. Twice the quantity of common yeast is necessary; it will not keep long. Bread made of this yeast dries very soon; but in the summer it is sometimes convenient to make this kind when yeast is needed suddenly.
Never keep yeast in a tin vessel. If you find the old yeast sour, and have not time to prepare new, put in salæratus, a teaspoonful to a pint of yeast, when ready to use it. If it foams up lively, it will raise the bread; if it does not, never use it
Boil three ounces of hops in six quarts of water, till only two quarts remain. Strain it, and stir in while it is boiling hot, wheat or rye meal till it is thick as batter. When it is about milk-warm add half a pint of good yeast, and let it stand till it is very light, which will probably be about three hours. Then work in sifted Indian meal till it is stiff dough. Roll it out on a board; cut it in oblong cakes about three inches by two. They should be about half an inch thick. Lay these cakes on a smooth board, over which a little flour has been dusted; prick them with a fork, and set the board in a dry clean chamber or store-room, where the sun and air may be freely admitted. Turn them every day. They will dry in a fortnight unless the weather is damp. When the cakes are fully dry, put them into a coarse cotton bag; hang it up in a cool, dry place. If rightly prepared these cakes will keep a year, and save the trouble of making new yeast every week.
Two cakes will make yeast sufficient for a peck of flour. Break them into a pint of lukewarm water and stir in a large spoonful of hour, the evening before you bake. Set the mixture where it can be kept moderately warm. In the morning it will be fit for use.
Is made of mealy potatoes boiled thoroughly soft - they are then skinned and mashed as smooth as possible, when as much hot water should be put on them as will make a mash of the consistency of good beer yeast. Add to every pound of potatoes two ounces of treacle, and when just warm stir in for every pound of potatoes two large spoonsful of yeast. Keep it warm till it has done fermenting, and in twenty-four hours it will be fit for use. A pound of potatoes will make nearly a quart of yeast, and it is said to be equally as good as brewers' yeast.
The following is Dr. Lettsom's directions for making another
Thicken two quarts of water with four ounces of flour, boil it for half an hour, then sweeten it with three of brown sugar; when almost cold, pour it along with four spoonsful of bakers' yeast into an earthen jug, deep enough for the fermentation to go on without running over; place it for a day near the fire; then pour off the thin liquor from the top, shake the remainder, and close it up for use, first straining it through a sieve. To preserve it sweet, set it in a cool cellar, or hang it some depth in a well. Always keep some of this yeast to make the next quantity that is wanted.]