Peach-Leaf Yeast Starter

peach leaves

This is one of those “need to know in case of zombie apocalypse” recipes.  Seriously though, we see natural disasters (tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes) happening frequently and every night you turn on the news only to hear about our down-spiraling economy.  I firmly believe we need to be able to take care of ourselves and our families. 

Just look at how many prepper and homesteading shows there are on television and people seem to be more interested in canning and gardening than they have in many, many years.  I think this surge in growing and canning  your own food is due in part to  people wanting to be more self-sufficient, because you save money, and  because people are more conscious about what they put into their bodies.  No one will argue that fresh grown produce not only taste better but is better for you. I like knowing that my fruits and vegetables have no chemicals on them.

The information for Peach-Leaf Yeast Starter is from the book Old Time Country Living and Lore

This bread made from Peach Leaf Starter and cooked over the hearth. Made by guides at Historic Washington State Park.


Steep 1 quart of fresh, well-washed peach leaves in 3 cups of boiling water for 15 minutes.  Drain, adding enough water, if necessary, to make 3 cups.  The water will have a greenish hue, but this will disappear during fermentation.

Bake 3 medium-sized potatoes.  Peel them, and  put them through a sieve or food mill.  Scald 1/2 cup of cornmeal in 1 cup of water until it boils and thickens.  Stir to prevent lumps from forming.

Put all of these ingredients in a bowl with 2 teaspoons of salt and 3 tablespoons of sugar.  Cover and allow to ferment in a warm place for 24 hours, stirring well every two or three hours.

Pour it into a glass jar, and keep it in the refrigerator.  Stir it down several times until foaming ceases.  When approximately 1/2 inch of clear liquid rises to the surface, it will be ready for use.  Stir thoroughly each time you use it.

When the starter is reduced to 1 cup, add 3 cups of water, three baked potatoes, the scalded cornmeal, salt, and sugar as you did the first time.  Leave it in a warm spot.  In about 7 hours is should become active.

Peach-leaf starter improves with age.  It is advisable to use it about twice each week.  If not, stir it every couple of days, adding 1 teaspoon of sugar.

You can make this starter into a dry yeast.  Begin by sterilizing 2 quarts of cornmeal for 1 hour in a low oven.  Mix it into the starter.  Spread it in flat pans to thickness of 1/2 inch.  When it is set, cut it into 1 1/2 inch squares.  Move them apart to dry and harden.

Wrap the cakes.  Store them in the refrigerator; they will keep a year or more.

A starter can be made from the dry yeast in this way.  In a bowl, mix 1 cake of yeast, 1/2 cup of warm water, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.  Keep it covered until you see white foam on top.  Then stir in 1/2 cups of water, 1/2 teaspoon of ginger, and 1 teaspoon of sugar. Keep it covered until you see white foam on top.  Then stir in 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 cup flour, and 1 teaspoon of sugar.  After it foams again, add 1 cups of water, 1 cup flour, and 1 teaspoon of sugar.  Allow to foam, stirring often.  Pour it into a jar and refrigerate.  Put the lid on loosely until the foaming stops.  When 1/2 inch of clear liquid has risen to the surface, the starter is ready to use.

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