View Full Version : a Yeast Starter for large batch of JAO?

08-15-2006, 11:53 PM
Anyone here tried a yeast starter for making 3 or 5 gallons of JAO? I understand the recipe is very specific and needs to be followed exactly but I dont see how a yeast starter could do anything but help the mead. Any thought?

David Baldwin
08-16-2006, 03:34 PM
Yes, a yeast starter will work. I've used it in JAO, and I've done it without. I currently have 10 1 gallon batches that I made exactly to the recipe for a mead making demonstration at a Renaissance Faire. They are all finished - actually a bit ahead of schedule.


08-20-2006, 12:35 PM
...but I dont see how a yeast starter could do anything but help the mead. Any thought?

I would never PRETEND to know anything about mead, but I do know a thing or two about bread. I have made bread several times a month or several times a day for 40 years.

Bread machine yeast allows a couple of the phases of the yeast life cycle to happen nearly together. When using bread machine yeast to make a loaf in a bread machine, the yeast is not softened or 'proofed' in liquid (in order to accomodate the 'lag' and 'respiratory' phases') but is merely spooned onto the dry flour. Lag and respiratory phases happen during the mixing and kneading of the dough, and the entire process of baking a loaf of bread can be conveniently performed by dumping all ingredients in a machine and turning it on. Yippeee! A wonderful loaf of fresh, fabulous bread with no tennis elbow! :D

Bread machine yeast sorta reminds me of Uncle Ben's Rice in a way. Real rice, but way faster.

I didn't mention this, but my bouncing JAO was made with Fleischmann's bread machine yeast and let me tell you, that jug is roiling (I love that word!). The entire jug looks like its full of champagne or 7-Up or something. It'll certainly be an experiment.

Especially if a person were to use bread machine yeast in JAO, there would be utterly no advantage to preparing a starter. Actually, unless you used a high-quality yeast like the one called for in the JAO recipe--Fleischmann's--you would run the risk of getting a strain of yeast that would peter out in the starter before performing adequately in the fermentation. Bread machine doughs need somewhat more controlled rising and some brands of yeast (in my experience, Red Star for example) tend to 'give out' sooner so that the dough won't overrise. Just something to be aware of. :)

Let me be clear--I am no mead maven. But, I can bake fairly good loaf of bread, charming Billy! ;D