Bake ancient Roman grape must bread with only 3 ingredients! This wild yeast bread with grape yeast water is so easy to make and so delicious!
Grape must bread is an ancient wild yeast bread recipe: Pliny published it in Naturalis Historia in 77 AD! 😀 Because the Romans didn’t have commercial yeast back then they usually made used must or fresh wine to make their own yeast from scratch.
‘The lees of small beer; porter, and wine; or porter alone, will ferment when mixed with flour, and good bread may be made with it.’ (The Naval Chronicle, 1799)
All you need to make this ancient Roman grape must bread, are grapes, water and flour. So it’s basically a 3-ingredient bread! Grape must bread tastes sweet and mild like other fruit yeast water breads.
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Pliny’s grape must bread recipe says to knead together fine wheat bran and white grape must, form it into small cakes and dry them in the sun. To bake bread, the dried grape must starter is ‘soaked in water, and then boiled with the finest spelt flour, after which the whole is mixed up with the meal; and it is generally thought that this is the best method of making bread.’ (The Natural History of Pliny, 1856)
Grape Yeast Water
- grapes – enough to make about 1 cup (200ml) grape juice
I used organic white grapes but you can also make grape yeast starter with red grapes. Mash the grapes with your hands or a fork. You soon have a beautiful green grape juice. Pour it into a glass jar (don’t use metal). And cover the jar with cheesecloth.
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Let Ferment For 3 Days
Let the grape yeast water ferment for 3 days at room temperature. Stir the grape yeast water twice a day to prevent the growth of mold.
After about 3 days, the grape must starter becomes brown and bubbly. In winter, it can take longer – about 5 days – until the grape yeast water is fermented.
The fermented grape yeast water smells and tastes of wine. It’s absolutely safe to taste it because it’s nothing else than young wine!
Now strain the grape yeast water through a sieve to remove the peels and seeds.
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Grape Yeast Starter
- 1 cup (200ml) grape yeast water
- 1 cup (120g) flour – all-purpose flour or bread flour
Let Ferment Overnight
Combine grape yeast water and flour in a large glass or porcelain bowl. The grape yeast starter should have a consistency like thick pancake batter. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let it ferment overnight at room temperature.
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Grape Must Bread Recipe
- about 1 1/2 cups (300g) grape yeast starter
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 4 cups (480g) flour – all-purpose flour or bread flour
Combine all 3 ingredients for the grape must bread in a large bowl. You can add 1/2 tsp salt if you want but it isn’t necessary because grape yeast water bread tastes just as well without it! Knead everything together with your hands or simply stir it together with a spoon.
Let Rise Overnight
Put the bread dough into a greased pan, cover it with a kitchen towel and let it rise overnight at room temperature until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Bake the ancient grape must bread for about 30 minutes.
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