How does Natural Yeast affect Gluten Intolerance and Celiacs?

[photo: Natural yeast bread made in the bread machine -- recipe created by popular demand! It's in our new book, 

The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast: Breads, Pancakes, Waffles, Cinnamon Rolls and Muffins, available here.


Some of you have had questions about natural yeast and wheat allergies, gluten intolerance, and Celiac disease. One woman recently emailed me because her husband, who is wheat-free, was nervous about trying natural yeast. I emailed her back and said if her husband was nervous, he should not try it. But that answer was too simplistic, and did not satisfy her or me. She wrote me back and said this:

“I know that this is not your problem to solve. I just didn't want to look past this natural yeast if in fact it,"helps prevent or reverse gluten intolerance and, in some cases, full-blown Celiac’s disease", because that statement is a 'BIG DEAL' to those living with or having to cook for, someone who has Celiac disease, that's all. I have to ask, did you find in your research solid medical studies, controlled study groups of people who have gluten intolerance and Celiac Disease and the effect that natural yeast had on them through medical tests, like blood tests, stomach and bowel biopsies, etc...?”

This is Caleb again. Her question is a great question. The short answer is this --  grow out some natural yeast and take it to your doctor to have it tested. My neighbor who is wheat-free because of Crohns’ disease did exactly this and the natural yeast -- made in my kitchen with my own home-ground wheat -- was approved by the doctor after being laboratory tested. It should be very simple for anyone with wheat issues to do exactly the same thing. Take the yeast to your doctor.

For anyone with wheat issues, It is VERY IMPORTANT that you let the yeast autolyze (grow out) totally to make sure the gluten has been digested by the yeast BEFORE you take a sample to your doctor. At least 12 hours on the counter is what I recommend. This is because natural yeast eats gluten. You can look this up for yourself. The information is not hard to find. But I know of no medical studies about how natural yeast affects people with wheat issues. This is because there is no money to be made from selling natural yeast -- you can’t sell it, because once you have it, you can have it for free for the rest of your life. No one one has invested millions of dollars to test it in studies, because no one stands to gain from that.

In our book I do cite a university study showing that natural yeast flattens the glycemic index, and give you the full citation so you can look that study up and read it for yourself. There are also numerous other citations about natural yeast and allergies and acid reflux etc. They are all in the  book. I know many of you are anxious for the book to finally be out -- it’s almost here! Please read the book before you do anything.

What Melissa and I know about natural yeast and its effects on people who have wheat-related illness comes from people who have tried it themselves and reported back to us. Neither Melissa nor I have wheat allergies, or gluten intolerance, or Celiac disease. By using natural yeast, we aim never to have any othe those things. But many other people with wheat issues have tried the natural yeast with great success. I also know of some people who have full-blown Celiac’s who have not been able to eat the natural yeast. My opinion is that natural yeast helps prevent wheat allergies, gluten intolerance, and Celiac’s from happening in the first place.

Here is another question from the person who emailed me:

“Is this natural yeast gluten-free (not derived from wheat, barley or rye) and clean from cross contamination? Can you use it to make gluten free breads, etc?”

Answer: The natural yeast I give out is made with 100 percent whole wheat. Again, the point of natural yeast is to prevent or perhaps reverse the need to be gluten-free. To find out if this is right for you, grow out some yeast, or have someone grow it out for you, and take it to your doctor to have it laboratory tested to see if it can be added to your diet.

Here is another question from another person who emailed me this week:

“I am interested in trying the natural yeast.  My family have gluten intolerance and celiac disease.  Do you recommend trying the natural yeast with the flours that we are using on the gluten free diet? Could you explain to me more how the natural yeast works to help gluten intolerance and celiac disease?”

Answer: Natural yeast will work with any flour, so you can use it with your gluten-free flour if you want. I’m just not sure what the point would be, healthwise. Natural yeast is self-sufficient, meaning you will never have to buy yeast again, so there is that benefit. Also, remember that the yeast I’m sending out is made with 100 percent whole wheat.

If you would like some free natural yeast flakes, send me an email at And again, if you want to see if natural yeast can benefit you or someone with wheat issues, read our new book before you do anything. I’m happy that so many of you are so anxious for the book! 

The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast: Breads, Pancakes, Waffles, Cinnamon Rolls and Muffins, available here.


How do I say this gently?

A few days ago, I attended a private event at the zoo. The entire zoo was rented out for the evening, closed to the public, by one of the largest employers in our state, which happens to be a medical company.

I hardly saw the animals. What I could not peel my eyes from was the obese children.

How did we come to this?

There were thousands of people at this event. Waiting in line for the carousel is when I realized that every other child there was morbidly obese. Huge, fat children.


This is the parents’ fault.

If you have a ten-year-old who has to WADDLE because they are so obese, you are responsible. If you have a fat child, ask yourself these questions:

- Do you feed them sugar cereal for breakfast, or do you make them whole wheat, natural yeast pancakes with baked, low-sugar jam instead of syrup?

- Does your obese child watch television during daylight hours? Or play outside?

- Does your obese child eat out of your backyard garden more often than he or she eats at a quick-food restaurant?

Morbid obesity is a death sentence. You can change. You must change. If your child wants to grow up and get themselves fat, that is one thing. But if you never gave them health to begin with, then shame on you.

Decide today to change. If you love our country, then do whatever necessary to give us back our next generation.

Natural Yeast Trouble-Shooting (UPDATED June 2, 2013)

UPDATE: Nov. 2015: See my new Youtube videos on how to use natural yeast!

Copyright 2015 Caleb Warnock. Images and text may not be used anywhere without written permission of the author. This blog content is not in the public domain. Short quotations with link and attribution are permitted. 

[picture: pizza at our house made with natural yeast dough]

Hello world :)

Hundreds and hundreds of you have gotten free, non-sour natural yeast starts from me and Melissa, who is my co-author on The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast: Breads, Pancakes, Waffles, Cinnamon Rolls and Muffins. We give starts away, at no cost, to anyone who asks for them in the U.S. and Canada. If you want one, go here:

We believe our cookbook is the first natural yeast cookbook to be published in the U.S. in more than 60 years, and the book is being called “ground-breaking." Natural yeast flattens the glycemic index, takes away heartburn and acid reflux forever, helps prevent or reverse gluten intolerance and, in some cases, full-blown Celiac’s disease, turns natural phytic acid into an anti-oxidant, controls allergies, and turns flour into a yeast that is both pre-biotic and pro-biotic. Natural yeast is amazingly healthful and free -- I know it sounds like a multi-level marketing pitch, but yeast was invented by God and has been used to make bread for more than 6,000 years -- until we traded natural yeast for synthetic, laboratory created yeast in 1984 (I've now learned that yeast was genetically modified even before 1984.) 

Many of you have emailed me to say how much you love baking with the natural yeast, and we are grateful for that. Some of you have emailed with questions and struggles.
There is a learning curve to using natural yeast. It is very different than the laboratory-created yeast that has been in grocery stores since 1984. But with a little instruction, natural yeast quickly becomes easy to use. Once you have gotten your free dried natural yeast flakes from me, here is what you do:

Step 1: Trust the process! The yeast you get from me will be a tiny "dust" or "powder" or smashed flakes. Some of you have been concerned that you are not getting "enough" -- but hundreds if not thousands of people have now successfully used this "dust" to start yeast. So don't panic when you see how small the amount is. It will come in a see-through plastic packet. Pictured on a spoon, it will look something like this:

[picture: natural yeast flakes on a spoon]

Step Two: In a jar, mix the flake "dust" to a quarter cup of lukewarm water and a quarter cup of flour PLUS one heaping teaspoon of flour. I use fresh-ground whole wheat. You can use whatever you want.

[picture: flour and water mixed with yeast flakes)

Step Three: Let this sit on counter for two days. At the end of two days, you may or may not see visible bubbles. Either way, don't worry.

Step Four: Add 3/4 of a cup of lukewarm water and a cup of flour to what is in your jar. Let it sit on your counter until you see bubbles, which could be in a few hours or may take a day, depending on temperature etc. 

However, if you DON'T see bubbles after 24 hours, remove half of what is in your jar and add 3/4 of a cup of warm water and a cup of flour to what is left in your jar. This time, MAKE TWO CHANGES:

Change One: Use water a bit warmer than you used last time. 
Change Two: Warm the jar periodically (once an hour is preferable). You can do this in several ways. You can turn your oven on its lowest setting for about one minute, then turn it off and put your jar inside. Or you could lay the jar in a crockpot and turn it on low for a minute and turn it off, leaving the jar in side. Or lay your jar in a toaster oven on warm, turning the heat off after about a minute. Or even put your yeast jar inside a bowl of warm water for a couple minutes. Whichever of these steps you choose, repeat about once every hour or two, until you get bubbly yeast.

If, after 12 hours, you still don't see bubbles, repeat this step again until you do. DO NOT put your yeast in the fridge. I've gotten letters and emails from some of you who are not seeing bubbles after the first grow-out, and you are putting your yeast in the fridge. Don't do this! Putting it in the fridge slows the growth down tremendously! Remember that yeast is a living thing, and must be fed to be happy and grow. Just keep repeating step four until you see bubbles, using slightly warmer water each time (but never scalding hot!). And remember, if there is a layer of liquid on top of your yeast after it has sat four 24 hours, you are not using enough flour! When you feed it next time, increase your ratio of flour to water.

[Click here for Caleb's Edible Weedkiller Recipe!]

If you DO see bubbles, your yeast is ready to use! 

However, because it has been out on the counter for so long, it is likely beginning to go sour. Here's how to make it go "sweet":

Step Five. Scrape the yeast from the jar, until only a residue remains. See photo.

[picture of the same jar of yeast, with yeast removed, and only a residue remaining.]

Step Six: Wash about half the residue out of the bottle and let it go down the drain.

Step Seven. Put a half to three-quarters of a cup of lukewarm water into the jar. Swirl it around to mix the water with the remaining residue of yeast. Remember, you want to grow it out with as little of the original yeast as possible, because this is what will keep your yeast sweet and new.
[picture of water mixed with a small residue of yeast.]

Step Eight. Add flour until you have a shaggy mass of dough.

[picture of the same yeast and water, this time mixed with flour to form a shaggy mass of dough.)

Step Nine. Let this sit on your counter for 12 hours, until is has visibly risen and has lots of bubbles, like this:

[The same yeast, 14 hours later. Notice the pockets of bubbles]

Step Ten. if there is still any hint of sourness, repeat steps 5-10.

Step Eleven. Now cook or bake. And when your jar is empty (because you used your yeast to cook or bake), repeat steps 5-11 again.

NOTE ONE: If you have not used natural yeast before, I STRONGLY suggest you start by making pancakes or waffles, because those are much easier than homemade bread, and it will give you chance to get a feel for working with your new natural yeast start. 

NOTE TWO: Once you have turned your flake dust into bubbly yeast, the easiest way to keep your yeast sweet is to grow it in the fridge. I do this by following steps 5-8 above, and then instead of letting it sit out for 12 hours, I let it sit out for an hour or two, and then I put it in the fridge. After a day or two in the fridge, the yeast will begin to rise. The yeast can be left in the fridge for up to a week.
common questions:

Q: The sample of natural yeast you gave me was dead.
A: Some of you have emailed me to say that the sample yeast I gave you was “dead”. First, let me say that I use the exact same yeast flakes to start my yeast. The flakes I gave you are from exactly the same batch of yeast that I use. And my flakes grow out every time. This should prove that your flakes are not “dead” but perhaps you need more help in learning the process of growing out natural yeast from flakes. If kept cool and dry, natural yeast does not die, ever, in its dried flake form. I repeat, natural yeast DOES NOT DIE, EVER, in its dried form. We know this because yeast flakes from the tombs of Egypt have been reconstituted and grown out. I have check this out -- it is a fact and not an internet rumor. When yeast is dried, it goes into stasis, which means that it is in long-term hibernation. It can be slow to wake up. Be patient, careful and exacting in following directions. If you threw out your sample because you thought it was dead, never fear, you can get another free sample by email m e at

Q: My yeast has turned brown.
A: You have used too much water. THIS IS THE MOST COMMON CAUSE OF SO-CALLED “DEAD” YEAST. I cannot emphasize this enough. If your flour and water mixture was soupy, you did not use enough flour (see recipe above). Water is heavier than carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is what yeast creates to makes its bubbles. When natural yeast is mixed with flour, it (literally) eats the tannins, lignans, and glutens, and produces “bubbly yeast” as a by-product. If you have a soupy mix to begin with, the yeast grows out, the weight of the water squeezes the carbon dioxide bubbles out, and the yeast NEVER looks bubbly even though it has grown out. You can always tell if your mixture was wrong (soupy) because a layer of water gathers at the top of the yeast. This water has a brownish tint, due to oxidation of the yeast.
If you had “dead” yeast that had a layer of brown water on the top, you used too much water. To fix it, take a teaspoon of yeast from the center or bottom of your "brown" yeast jar and follow steps 5-10 above.

Q: Since it is easier to start with live yeast instead of dried yeast, can I get some live yeast from you?
A: You can. I ship live yeast FREE with seed orders of $15 or more from my seed website, This is the website where I sell my guaranteed-pure, never hybrid, never GMO vegetable seed. Check it out :)

Q: How do I make a backup dried yeast?
A: To make flakes from live yeast, use this recipe:

Step One: Put a piece of wax paper the size of a cookie sheet on your kitchen counter.

Step Two: Put a quarter-cup of wet natural yeast (at peak rise -- don’t use old yeast) in the middle of the wax paper.

Step Three: Put another sheet of wax paper over the top of this. You now have a sandwich of wax paper and yeast. Use your hands to squish the yeast between the sheets of wax paper. Pull the sheets apart and put them, (face-up, of course) on the racks in your oven. Do NOT turn the oven on. They go on the oven just to keep the wet yeast away from stray floating hair or flies or anything gross that you don’t want in your yeast. Leave the wax paper in the oven for one to two days until completely dry. If you don’t squish the yeast very thin, or if you use more than a quarter-cup, the yeast could take up to A WEEK to dry, so follow the recipe carefully if you want dry yeast in one to two days.

Q: (from an email to me) "Can I get a start of your yeast that you offered in your blog post? I actually got a start from you before, but it developed mold on it so maybe I let is sit out too long."
A: UPDATED ANSWER: Let me just say that when I originally wrote this post, here was my answer: "Natural yeast does not go moldy.  It cannot because of the acid content. This is documented in our new cookbook." I assumed that people who were complaining of mold were actually seeing what the break-making world calls this the "brain." (see below). But then, in the spring of 2013, one day I ran out of flour and was in a hurry and I grabbed some whole wheat pastry flour I had purchased, and I used it to grow out my yeast, and the next day, the jar was filled  with disgusting mold! I could not believe it. This is the first time I've ever had mold in my natural yeast, ever. So now I guess I can't say natural yeast doesn't go moldy! So don't use pastry flour. I suppose this is also possible with white flour, but I don't know because I don't use white flour (because it is metabolized by the body exactly as though it is white sugar -- very bad for you). It has also been pointed out to me that perhaps natural yeast could go moldy in places with high humidity. I live in a very dry desert, so I suppose this is possible. At any rate, if you get real mold (and not just brown water or a brown "brain" layer, as explained below) then take that dried yeast back-up that you created (you did, right?) and use it to start over again. That is what I did.

Now, about the "brain." I hate that term. Not exactly a term of art! Anyway, it means that the top of your yeast has gone brown. This is because natural yeast oxidizes, exactly the way a cut banana turns brown, or an apple, or a potato. It is NOT  mold, and it is not dangerous. It does mean your yeast has gone sour. You can still use a teaspoon of this yeast in the recipe above to re-sweeten your yeast.

Q: My bread is a brick! Help!
A: A couple of answers. First, when adding yeast to a recipe from our cookbook, use yeast at or near peak rise. This will help. Second, the kneading is ENORMOUSLY important. So...

Tips for kneading BY HAND: Knead 250 times by folding the dough in half. Then, let the dough rest for 20 minutes. Then knead another 250 times. Then let the dough raise.

Tips for kneading BY MACHINE: Use the lowest gear possible. For example, on the Bosch, use setting one only. Knead for five minutes. Then turn off the machine and let the dough rest for 20 minutes. Then knead for another ten minutes, and let it raise.

If you are having trouble, here is a brand-new recipe for bread:

(copyright 2013 Caleb Warnock. This recipe MAY NOT be shared in any way without express written permission.)

This recipe makes one loaf.

Step One: Put 1 1/3 cups warm water in a large bowl.

Step Two: Add ONE TABLESPOON of natural yeast, one teaspoon honey, one tablespoon olive oil and stir.

Step Three: Add three cups whole wheat flour, and one cup of bread flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir with a Danish dough hook (or with your hand) until just incorporated.

Step Four. Begin to knead the dough by hand, folding firmly in half 250 times.

Step Five. Let the dough rest for 20 minutes.

Step Six. Knead another 250 times.

Step Seven: Place dough in greased and floured bread pan. Warm the jar periodically (once an hour is preferable) FOR SIX HOURS. You can do this in several ways. You can turn your oven on its lowest setting for about one minute every hour. Or you could put the pan in crockpot if yours is large enough and turn it on low for a minute and turn it off, leaving the jar in side. Or put your pan in a toaster oven on warm, turning the heat off after about a minute. Or even put your loaf pan inside a casserole dish of hot water for a couple minutes every hour.

Step Seven. After six hours, your bread will have risen some, but may not have doubled. Don't worry about it. Simply put that loaf pan in the oven on 400 DEGREES for ten minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Thanks everyone! -Caleb

A Natural History of Yeast, and Why It Matters

A Natural History of Yeast, and Why It Matters

Natural yeast has all but vanished from modern kitchens.

Few people realize that the yeast in grocery stores is not a naturally-occurring substance. Laboratory created in 1984, the yeast sold today is so foreign to our digestive systems that some people develop allergies to the yeast itself. This quick-rising yeast appears increasingly connected to the nutritional and digestive disorders that plague so many today, including Celiac’s disease, gluten-intolerance, acid-reflux disease, wheat allergies and even diabetes. Both modern science and traditional wisdom tell us that natural yeast has health benefits that simply cannot be matched by modern yeast.

Beyond health benefits, natural yeast is simple to use, costs nothing, tastes wonderful, completely cuts out the need to buy commercial yeast, and drastically reduces the need for baking powder and baking soda. You can easily use it not only to make bread, but also waffles, pancakes, breadsticks, pizza dough, scones, rolls, and even old-fashioned root beer.

Natural yeast breaks down harmful enzymes in grains, maximizes the nutritional availability of natural vitamins, minerals, and fiber in wheat, converts wheat into an easily digestible food which will not spike your blood sugar level. Natural yeast is both pre-biotic and pro-biotic, encouraging important good bacterias in the body. It discourages weight gain, and turns the phytic acid found naturally in wheat into a cancer-fighting antioxidant.

Through history, bread has been a staple of health and nutrition. Egyptian pharaohs were buried with model bakeries -- seen today in the British Museum. Archaeologists have uncovered huge real-life bakeries used to feed the workers who built the pyramids. Yet the Egyptians did not have yeast sealed in foil packets or jars, nor did the pilgrims or settlers. There were certainly no yeast vendors waiting at Plymouth Rock, or strung along the handcart trail leading West. So where did families through history get yeast? The answer is simple. From family and community, and originally, from the air.

Yeast is a single-celled fungus, and the first domesticated living creature in history. Modern science has identified more than 1,000 different varieties of wild yeast. These organisms are so small that hundreds of millions, if not billions, fit into a single teaspoon.

Wild yeast is everywhere -- in the air you breathe, on the bark of trees, on leaves. Ever seen the white film on backyard grapes? That’s wild yeast. The same film can be found of juniper berries. For centuries, both berries have been used as natural “start” for bread yeast.

But not all yeast varieties are the same. For example, the kind of yeast used to make beer is not the same kind of yeast used to make bread. Different natural yeasts have different flavors -- some are strongly sour, some are mildly sour, and some are not sour at all. Natural yeast is sometimes mistakenly referred to as sourdough, but with the right strain of yeast, it doesn’t have to be sour unless that is the flavor you prefer. Some natural yeasts are better are raising bread than others. This is why the best strains of natural yeast has been passed down through generations and communities.

Until the 19th century, homemade yeast was the only kind there was. In 1857 Louis Pasteur discovered that living organisms -- yeasts -- were responsible for fermentation. Yeast was already an important business, even though no one had understood how it worked. The production of commercial yeast began in France in the 1850s. In the U.S., compressed yeast cakes were introduced to the nation at Philadelphia’s Centennial Exposition in 1876 , which drew 10 million visitors. When America entered World War II, yeast companies developed dry yeast for the military which did not require refrigeration. And then in 1984, rapid-rising yeast was invented in U.S. laboratories.

Today that yeast has all but replaced natural yeast. But not everyone is convinced that the convenience of super-fast yeast outweighs the health benefits of the slow rising process of natural yeast.

“The commercial bread-making industry figured out how to isolate strains of yeast that made bread raise very quickly compared to the old-fashion bread-making method; soon sourdough starts became a thing of the past for most of us,” said James and Colleen Simmons, authors of Daniel’s Challenge and Original Fast Foods. “What we didn't know when we traded Old-World leavening techniques for quick-rise yeasts, is that not everything in wheat is good for you. In fact, there are several elements in wheat that are down-right problematic and that have led to grain intolerances in about 20 percent of today's population. When you compare what happens to the bread when it is leavened with commercial yeasts versus a good sourdough starter, another story unfolds… The sourdough starter contains several natural strains of friendly bacteria and yeasts that also cause bread to rise; however, these friendly bacteria also neutralize the harmful effects of the grain. They neutralize phytic acids that otherwise prevent minerals found in the grain from being absorbed properly; they predigest the gluten, and they also neutralize lignans and tanins found in wheat” (quoted by permission).

Here is what science can prove: The slow rising process of natural yeast has many critically important health benefits. Natural yeast slows digestion to help you feel full longer, making it a natural way to eat less. The organic acids produced during natural yeast fermentation lower the glycemic index of bread (2004, Emerging Food Research & Development Report). Best of all, natural yeast lowers the body’s glycemic response to all carbohydrates. An intriguing 2009 study showed that not only did natural yeast bread lower the glycemic response better than whole wheat bread made with commercial yeast, but the body’s glycemic response remained lower when eating a meal hours later. No other kind of bread produced the same response (2009, University of Guelph, Ontario).

Natural yeast also controls heartburn and acid-reflux disease with almost 100 percent success. A natural yeast-based product has been shown in clinical trials to reduce the incidence of cold and flu. Another natural yeast based product has been show to simultaneously boost the immune and improve bone health. A University of Michigan study showed that a once-a-day supplement of a yeast-derived compound called EpiCor significantly reduced seasonal allergy symptoms, including nasal congestion, runny nose, and watery eyes (Biotech Business Week). Natural yeast bread counteracts “the deleterious effects of whole wheat on iron absorption, whereas sourdough bread making enhanced iron absorption” and “is a better source of available minerals, especially magnesium, iron, and zinc” (Nutrition, 2003). The lactic acid and natural salts in natural yeast bread slow down digestion, which means you feel full longer.

Unlike rapidly rising commercial yeasts, natural yeast is a source of the beneficial bacteria that we all need to get the most nutrition and essential minerals from the digestion process. "In the normal scheme of things, we'd never have to think twice about replenishing the bacteria that allow us to digest food," said Sandor Ellix Katz, author of "Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition and Craft of Live-Culture Foods,” in a newspaper interview. Katz called antibiotics, chlorinated water, and antibacterial soap “factors in our contemporary lives that I'd group together as a 'war on bacteria’... If we fail to replenish [good bacteria], we won't effectively get nutrients out of the food we're eating."

Unwanted food-borne fungi are no match for the lactic acid produced by natural yeast, which has been shown to inhibit the growth of certain bacteria and mold. And sourdough bread has long been known to have a longer shelf life (Life Science Weekly).

In July 2005, a Canadian-based company called Iogen became the first company to license genetically altered yeast for commercial use. The news was announced in an industry publication called Renewable Fuel News. The yeast was genetically altered at Purdue University to produce 40 percent more cellulosic ethanol than wild yeast. Purdue researchers, who patented the yeast, altered the genetic structure, adding three additional genes, which makes it possible to convert glucose and xylose to ethanol at the same time. The goal was to reduce the cost of producing ethanol using yeast. This has raised new fears that this genetically altered yeast could contaminate natural yeast just as pollen from genetically modified corn has now begun to contaminated the nation’s heirloom corn seed. Because yeast is found everywhere, even in the air, how can genetically modified yeast be kept from mixing with natural yeast? If indeed modern super-rising yeasts are potentially contributing to health problems, pure natural yeast must not be allowed to be contaminated by patented, genetically modified yeast.

A word of caution. If you type “sourdough starter” into Google, you will get hundreds of recipes for starting “sourdough” from commercial yeast. But very little grocery store yeast is now true natural yeast. The best way to get real natural yeast is from someone using a documented strain. The author, Caleb Warnock, mails flakes of natural “sweet” yeast to anyone who requests them at no charge, along with instructions for growing out the yeast. And once you have a start of natural yeast, you can have it for the rest of your life. You can dry it, freeze it, keep it in the fridge, or grow it on your kitchen counter. To get a start of the author’s documented 200-year-old strain of natural yeast, send an email to

Melissa and I never charge for natural yeast. We always give it away for free. We have spent more than two years, and many thousands of dollars ($2,000 just on photography for the book alone) creating natural yeast recipes for the modern kitchen. We will never get rich off this project. We each get paid less than 50 cents per copy of the book sold. I tell you all this because I am hoping that, if you find the information below useful, you will go to and pre-order The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast. I have a personal reason for asking everyone to do this. It is because all pre-orders count toward first-week sales, so if I can get enough people to pre-order the cookbook, it will debut on the bestseller’s list, which would bring some much-needed attention to the health benefits of natural yeast, to our two years of work, to the hundreds of hours of research, and to our book. So if you find the information on this blog useful, please pre-order the book on Amazon. And not to press my luck, but I have confirmed that if you buy two copies from Amazon, the shipping is FREE :)

And just for fun -- and so you can see why it took us two years to create the recipes for our new book -- take a look at these historic natural yeast recipes! Just to be clear, these are VERY OLD and are NOTHING LIKE the modern recipes in our new book! :)

HISTORIC RECIPES (spelling and grammar are as originals]

“The Accomplisht Cook,or the Art & Mystery of Cookery: Wherein the whole ART is revealed in a more easie and perfect Method, than hath been publisht in any language.” By Robert May, 1685.

To make buttered Loaves.

Season a pottle of flour with cloves, mace, and pepper, half a pound of sweet butter melted, and half a pint of ale-yeast or barm mix't with warm milk from the cow and three or four eggs to temper all together, make it as soft as manchet paste, and make it up into little manchets as big as an egg, cut and prick them, and put them on a paper, bake them like manchet, with the oven open, they will ask an hours baking; being baked melt in a great dish a pound of sweet butter, and put rose-water in it, draw your loaves, and pare away the crust then slit them in three toasts.”


The Cook and Housekeeper’s Complete and Universal Dictionary, including a System of Modern Cookery, in all its Various Branches, Adapted to the use of Private Families. By Mrs. Mary Eaton, 1822:

It was usual some years ago to reduce porter yeast to dryness, and in that state it was carried to the West Indies, where it was brought by means of water to its original state, and then employed as a ferment. Another method of preserving yeast. Take a quantity of yeast, and work it well with a whisk till it becomes thin; then have a broad wooden platter, or tub, that is very clean and dry, and, with a soft brush, lay a layer of yeast all over the bottom, and turn the mouth downwards that no dust can fall in, but so that the air may come to it, to dry it. When that coat is very dry, lay on another; do so till you have as much as you intend to keep, taking care that one coat is dry before you lay on another. When you have occasion to make use of this yeast, cut a piece off, and lay it in warm water; stir it till it is dissolved, and it is fit for use. If it is for brewing, take a whisk, or a large handful of birch tied together, and dip it into the yeast, and hang it up to dry; when it is dry wrap it up in paper, and keep it in a dry place; thus you may do as many as you please. When your beer is fit to work, throw in one of your whisks, and cover it over; it will set it a working as well as fresh yeast. When you find you have a head sufficient, take out your whisk and hang it up. If the yeast is not all off, it will do for your next brewing.