Hop yeast bread and Labna recipes

After the cooking presentation at the Botanical Gardens Spring Festival today, I had many requests for the recipe for the hop yeast based bread I took along to serve with samples of the preserves we made.

The recipe is courtesy of Mavis Beattie of New Norfolk and is one that has been in her daily for generations.

The bread has a really good crumb and texture, and it keeps fresh for longer than an average loaf of bread, no count courtesy of the potatoes in the yeast.

This is a photo of the leftover loaf I cut in half when we arrived home.  Quite remarkable really that it survived so well, considering the container it was travelling in was turned unceremoniously upside down as we rounded a corner.

I’m also posting the recipe for Labna, also much requested.


Mavis Beattie’s Bread Recipe with Hop Yeast

Hop Yeast starter

1 organic potato – unpeeled (scrubbed), 1 tablespoon hops and water to cover well. Boil until cooked. Cool.

Mix 1 tablespoon flour and 1 tablespoon sugar to a smooth paste using a little of the cooled liquid. Tip this mixture into a saucepan containing the cooled hop/potato mixture. Mash everything and pour into the bottle in which you have put 4 organic sultanas. Set in a warm place to work.

I use a 2 litre plastic lemonade or tonic water screw top bottle. It takes the pressure better than a glass bottle.

Hop and potato yeast – to feed plant (after about 4 days)

Boil a medium potato in about 3 cups water until tender. Place a small handful of hops in a mixing bowl. Pour over the boiling potato water. Allow to cool. Hops should have sunk to the bottom.

When cool, add liquid only to 1 tablespoon flour and 1 tablespoon sugar. Mix together and top up the starter. Fill the bottle to no more than ¾. Screw the lid down firmly.

Mixture is ready to bake when you undo the bottle and the ‘starter’ rushes out.

To make Hop-Potato Yeast Bread (basic recipe)

 Put 1 cup flour in a mixing bowl. Pour in about 1 – 1 ½ cups of bubbling starter. Mix, then leave overnight in a warm place (I sit mine in a cupboard on top of the hot water cylinder).

Next morning – add about 1 pint water (warm) alternately with extra 4 to 5 cups flour to make a soft dough.

If not using bread-mix flour, add a small handful of salt. Mix to a soft-firm dough, leave to rise.

Knock back and put in bread tins. When risen, cook 30 to 40 minutes (20 minutes on High 200 degrees C, and 10 to 20 minutes on 180 degrees C.

Oil can be added, any kind of flour can be used.


Labna (Yoghurt Cheese)

1 litre Greek yoghurt

Juice 1 lemon

2 teaspoons salt

1½ tablespoons olive oil

Olive oil, extra and sunflower oil

Combine yoghurt, lemon juice, salt and olive oil in a bowl and mix well.

Rinse a piece of muslin in boiling water. Drain, allow to cool, then lay it out, double thickness, in a large colander in a bowl. Pour yoghurt mixture into this, and tie top to form a bag. Hang this bag over the bowl and leave for 2 days in a cool place. If you live in a warm climate, or in summer in cooler climates, this may need to take place in the fridge.

Roll the resulting yoghurt cheese into walnut sized balls and place in a sterilised 1 litre jar.

Make an oil mixture of 85% sunflower oil and 15% olive oil, estimating how much will be needed to cover the balls.   Pour over, making sure there are no air pockets). Seal and store in the fridge for 2 to 3 weeks.

Makes 400g approximately.

NOTE: always be sure to keep the yoghurt cheese, even minute portions, covered by the oil). (i.e.. when you remove any of the balls, wipe clean any smears on the inside of the jar and be sure that the balls remaining are totally submerged in the oil).


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