Saturday, 28 February 2009

Making Buttermilk Dry Yeast

I wanted to try a biscuit recipe that uses buttermilk dry yeast in addition to baking soda for the leavening. But, before I can use the buttermilk dry yeast in the biscuits, I have to make it. That is the focus for today and the next few days.

The yeast cakes take a couple of days to make and dry. I started the process Friday night and the yeast cakes are still drying as of Saturday night. I’ll make the biscuits as soon as the yeast cakes are completely dry. This recipe makes a bunch of yeast cakes so I'll have some left over for the next time I want to make a starter for those delicious Alaskan Sourdough Pancakes or biscuits.

I've made a bunch of different starters, but this one is definitely different -- it is made with cornmeal. The mixture of the cornmeal and buttermilk smells wonderful and then when you add a little yeast to get the process going, "Wow!" I must say, every time I smell it, it's very intoxicating. I can just imagine what it will taste like in the biscuits. Mmmmm...can't wait!

These dry yeast cakes can be used instead of packaged yeast in the Alaskan Sourdough Starter I made a couple of weeks ago for the
Alaskan Sourdough Pancakes.

Buttermilk Dry Yeast Recipe
From Sourdough Breads and Coffee Cakes by Ada Lou Roberts.


  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 cups cornmeal, white or yellow
  • (I'm using stone ground white cornmeal from a mill in Georgia)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • Sterilized cornmeal
  • White flour


Scald the 2 cups of buttermilk with the 3 cups of cornmeal over low fire, stirring constantly until it makes a smooth mush. Add the salt and stir well.

When the mush has cooled to just warm add the dry yeast dissolved in the 1/4 cup warm water.

Let stand in a warm place.  When it rises, stir it down and let rise again three times.

Add enough sterilized corn meal and white flour in equal amounts to make a very stiff dough.

Use a rounding tablespoon to make each cake. Dip them in cornmeal.
Lay the cakes on trays on absorbent paper and dry as quickly as possible at room temperature, turning oven and changing papers as needed.

Do not place in the oven or hot sun. (I placed mine in the oven because it's very rainy and moist here right now. However, the oven is turned off)

March 2, 2009 update: The yeast cakes are finally dry.

Now that they are dry, I'll seal each cake in transparent wrapping with tape and store in a moisture proof container in refrigerator.

Note: One cake is equal to one package of dry yeast for making starters and for overnight sponges.

Happy Baking!

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