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Issue 113 - The Question of yeast

Whisky Magazine Issue 113
July 2013


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The Question of yeast

Dave asks why not experiment with yeast strains?

What's new? Glad you asked.

I've been mulling things over, or to be more precise there's been thoughts fermenting in the brain. It started with the usual problem of being a typically impatient hack always wanting something new - while at the same time knowing that as whisky is a long-term world, that this AD-style restlessness won't ever be satisfied fully. Patience is needed.

The same is true of my latest attempt to get a sourdough starter up and running. It seems easy, the books always make things seem simple, but the reality is different. The first time it went mouldy, the second time I killed it either through over-excitement or laziness. It's hard to tell.

This time however (crosses fingers) everything seems more stable, or as stable as fermentation gets which when you see it written down isn't stable at all. I don't want stability, I want activity, I demand change from this gloop of flour, water and whatever floats into my office from the garden. But that requires patience and time. It's like whisky. The starter will be ready when its ready.

Why bother? Glad you asked. Because there is something marvellous in seeing life being created in front of you. Yes, I could just go and buy a loaf, or use dried yeast and the breadmaker, but that seems like cheating. Don't get me wrong. The dried yeast makes a good enough loaf, but it's a standard loaf, a homogenous loaf. My bread, no matter how bad it eventually turns out (and I'm under no illusion as to its quality or appeara...

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