Huble's 'Recipe of Bread Yeast'

This recipe, originally written out by hand on Seebach & Huble's original letterhead, has always been assumed to be Albert Huble's. A scan of the image was featured in the Huble Homestead Heritage Cookbook, the first cookbook published by the Society.

Transcribed, this recipe reads as follows:

3 lb potatoes boil good and strain off water into some vessel – then mash and put aside to cool to lukewarm.

Then put in 1 ½ lb of sugar

3 lb of flour, 1 tablespoonful of ginger.

Mash all well together, and put in 5 cakes (dissolved in usual way) of yeast cakes, pour in potato water and stir all well

together.

Place mixture in warm place until it works thoroughly. You can then keep it anywhere.

 

The yeast can be used as is standing 15 hours.

When baking – Two cups of water

to one cup of yeast.

The note on the side says "Boil potatoes with skins on."

Making the Recipe

Like many recipes if its time, this one is quite brief. Adjustments and assumptions have been made while making this!

3 lbs of potatoes

1 ½ lbs of sugar

3 lbs of flour

5 'cakes' of yeast*

1 tbsp ginger**

*Research seemed to indicate that a packet of dry yeast was the equivalent to a fresh cake of yeast; for this recipe, we used 5 packets. 

**The recipe didn't specify, but we're operating on the assumption Huble meant ground ginger. 

A FEW NOTES & OBSERVATIONS

 

10 cups of water was used to boil the potatoes; there was 4 cups of water left after they were boiled.

ONE HOUR LATER

This recipe WILL increase in size. Use multiple bowls to split the dough once you have finished mixing. 

15 HOURS LATER

Personally, I would peel the potatoes. There doesn't seem to be any benefit to boil with the skins on. 

To confirm it is ready, drop a small amount into a glass of water. If it floats, it is ready to use as a starter/yeast.

BAKING 

Huble doesn't include a recipe, but does say to use two cups of water to one cup of yeast. With that in mind, the first batch of bread was fairly simple. Two cups of water, one cup of the starter, and then another 4 cups of flour. I used a stand mixer with a dough hook (pictured), but you could just mix it together, than knead. I let it rise for approximately 12 hours, then punched it down, and split it; 1/3 went into a loaf pan, and the other 2/3 into a dutch oven (pictured). It then rose for another 6 hours (pictured).

Once the dough finished rising, it was then put into the oven at 350°F to bake for 30 minutes. Upon further examination, it looked too pale, so it went back in for another 10 minutes.

It finished cooling, and was then cut into. The flavour was fine, maybe a bit of a stronger yeast taste than preferred. The crumb looks ok, and it was fine when toasted with butter. Some salt or a bit of sugar would likely not have hurt.  The smaller loaf was given away. 

FINAL TAKEAWAYS

This seems like a good alternative if you're craving a more sourdough flavour, but don't necessarily want to take the time to make your own starter from just flour and water. 

It makes A LOT. If you have brave friends willing to take some off your hands, a half batch is plenty. Also, peel the potatoes. You'll just end up picking out chunks of potato peel as you go.

There are no instructions from Huble about how to feed this, but if you're not using it right away, you'll definitely have to add more flour to it, as it will deflate. 

If anybody does try making please, please reach out and tell us how it went!