Make your own mother yeast for baking.

by Caro
(Cape Town)

The first cut

The first cut

Bread in ten days: create your own yeast, then bake pizza within 6 days and ciabatta bread within 10 days, and just keep repeating.

This process has been practiced all over the world for thousands of years and the variations are so diverse. I will say this only: anything goes, but then again, anything flops. I am still in the experimental stages with bread baking, and all variation is allowed until proven guilty. Just get into a rhythm and don't be scared of the process.

The quantities are designed for two pizzas and one large loaf of bread a week. All quantities and suggestions are rough guides. You can round them off, an exact fit is not always needed. I've put a lot of thought into one annoying aspect of the process. I have tried hard to design an MO that simplifies the quantities and cuts down on the sticky mess when you make too much mother. It is a powerful glue and sticks to everything and only washes off with a lot of scrubbing... and then you have finished cleaning the spoons, bottles, bowls, and boards you will need to wash the scrubbing brush or throw it away in frustration and call the plumber to unblock the drain (smile).

If you throw away any of the mother yeast, feed her to the worms, don't try and flush her. The mother must double in weight after she has doubled in size almost daily and it's such a waste if you have to discard extra dough.

This is why I'm starting with such tiny quantities and using that extra dough, on the way to making the mother, for Stephan's lovely thin pizza crust. At the end of the mother building, you get a loaf of ciabatta style slow-fermented bread made with super sticky dough.

You could add more flour and make a more conventional, heavier bread before leaving it to rise. After making your bread you can just repeat the mother culture in a seven-day cycle for as long as the mother stays good, and leave the pears alone.


¼ pear,

water 570 g or 0.57 Liter or 1.2 pints,

flour 630 g or 1pound and 6 ½ ounces,

a tiny amount of extra flour and water for the hands and board during pizza and bread making,

2 tablespoons of oil,

1 teaspoon salt to taste


¼ L or ½ pint jar
2L or 2 quarts jar (wide-mouthed for stirring)
2L or 2-quart bowl
round 25 x 7cm or 10-inch cake tin or one that can hold 2L (2 quarts) of risen dough
baking tray
long-handled wooden spoon
board and rolling pin
scale that can measure small quantities, or measuring spoons
scale that can measure 100g or ounce quantities up to 1kg or pounds
baking paper


Pear ferment
take ¼ pear, chop it into 5 mm or 1/5th of inch cubes, place in ¼ L (½ pint) jar and cover with an equal amount of dechlorinated water (water that has been standing for two days is fine). Place the jar, loosely covered, on a sunny windowsill with a piece of typing paper against the glass so that it doesn't get too hot. Watch and wait. By day three you should see some bubbles. Strain the liquid. Put solids and all extra mother into your worm bin or compost. You can also use an apple. Organic fruit are best, but I just used an ordinary Shoprite supermarket pear that had been in the fridge for several weeks. It was ripe but not squishy.

Mother and baking
Measure 10g (0.35 ounces or 2 teaspoons) of pear ferment liquid and 10 g (or 3 1/3 teaspoons) of flour and stir together in the smaller bottle loosely capped, and place it somewhere where its approximately 26 degrees C (79F), like the top of the fridge, or just in the room if the weather is warm. You can place a newspaper hat on top of the jar to catch the warmth coming up from the fridge radiator. This is day 1 of making the mother. The next day, day 2, the soft dough in the jar should have doubled. If not wait till it has and then proceed, and read the 'days' as doubling time, let it take as long as it needs, it depends on your climate. On day two add 20g (0.7 ounces) of flour and 20g of water, stir well with the chopstick, follow this regimen.
Day 1 make mother for the first time with 10g ferment and 10 g flour
Day 2 add 20g (0.7 oz) of each or 4 teaspoons of water and 6 2/3 teaspoons flour
Day 3 put the mother in a bowl, and add 60g (2.1oz or ¼ cup) of water and 60g (½ cup) of flour, stir well and remove only 12g (0.4oz) of dough and place back in the smaller jar, replacing the mother wherever you are keeping her, and use most of the dough, in the bowl, to make pizza. See the recipe below.
Day 4 add 12g (0.4oz) each of flour and water to the mother in the small jar
Day 5 move the mother over to the bigger 2L (2 quarts) jar and add 36g (1 ¼ oz) each of water and flour
Day 6 add 108g (3.8oz) of each
Day 7 add 324 g (0.7lbs) of each, stir vigorously and well for ten minutes and then drop the dough into a well-oiled bowl to make bread (see recipe below). Take 20g (0.7oz) off the top of the dough and place it in the smaller bottle, where you keep the mother. The next day proceed forward as from day 2 of the cycle. You can repeat endlessly and your mother will continue to improve with time unless there is a mishap and she goes moldy or loses power. Then just throw your dough to the worms and start from the beginning again, with ¼ pear and so on.


On day 3 of the mother making you will have mixed up
60 g (2.1oz or ¾ cup) of mother
60g (2.1 oz or ¼ cup) water
60 g (2.1oz or ½ cup) flour
before removing a small amount of the dough to go on building the mother. After putting the mother aside in her place (Oh I wish all mothers were this easy to deal with) you need to stiffen the dough, as pizza must be stiff to roll, so add another
60g (2.1oz or ½ cup) of flour to the mix
salt to taste but not more than ½ a teaspoon or you will retard the yeast
Knead for 20 minutes in a bowl, then cover the bowl with a moist cloth
let it rise for 2 hours
divide the dough into two balls and let it rise for 6 hours in the bowl covered with a damp cloth
roll the bowl into a thin layer on your board, powdering the board and rolling pin with flour
place on baking paper in a baking tray, top with your favorite toppings and bake at 250 degrees C (482F) for 13-15 minutes.

On day 7 you will have mixed
324 g (0.7lbs) mother
324g water
324 g flour
salt to taste but not more than a teaspoon or you will retard the yeast
Mix it well for ten minutes in the bigger jar before dropping it into an oiled bowl. The dough is very sticky and it's necessary to oil the bowl and wet your hands to work with it. So you've dropped the dough in the bowl and removed 10g into the small bottle and placed the mother in her place for next week. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and leave it for 2 hours. Then every forty-five minutes pinch the side of the dough, pull it up and fold it towards the middle and circle round the bowl once. Then cover and leave. After another two hours flip the dough upside down into the oiled cake tin (with all your folds now underneath). Leave until the dough has maximized its size. Don't let it start dropping. In the meantime get the oven ready with a shallow tray of water in it. I fill one of the baking trays with ½ a cm (1/5th inch) of water. When the dough has doubled in size, switch on the oven to 320 degrees C (608 F) and after ten minutes slit the surface of the dough with a razor blade, not digging in, this is just a surface slash. You can make any pattern you like. About two to four cuts will do. Quickly place the cake tin in the steaming oven, close the door and do not open it again to look for 45 minutes. Most of my bread takes an hour and its 6 cm (2 ½ inches) thick so thicker bread may need some more time, perhaps 1 hour and ten minutes. The top can get a nut brown color with a few tiny chocolate streaks perhaps. When the top of the bread is quite brown switch the oven off and leave the bread inside. Don't open it, this will cool off the oven. After ten minutes take it out, quickly closing the oven door again to preserve heat. Remove the bread from the cake tin. If the bottom is still damp put it upside down in the oven and leave it till the oven and bread have cooled. I have a mini oven and these conditions suit my oven. The element is also only 10cm from the bread surface, so my bread may be browner than yours. If you have a large well-sealed oven, take care not to dry the bread to a rock hard consistency, after baking. The bread continues to cook through from its own internal heat after you turn the oven off, so don't cut it while it's still hot and do give it some extra time to cook through if you are getting bread with a soggy heart.

Comments for Make your own mother yeast for baking.

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Apr 21, 2020
Re: Make your own vinegar mother at home
by: Rolf

Hello Caro,

that looks and sounds fantastic and soo healthy I would think.

Thank you for sharing that with us! This will definitely be on my list of recipes to try out in the near future :-)

Blessings and love


Rolf in Radevormwald

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