Victorian Hops Bread Without Commercial Yeast

Hops Yeast Bread Recipe

I tried to make Victorian hops bread – it’s a bread recipe without commercial yeast: you’ll just need hops, potatoes, sugar, flour and water.

Related: Hops Yeast Starter – Victorian Wild Yeast Bread

Hops growing up a hazel in our garden
Hops growing up a hazel in our garden

We have wild hops in our garden, and as they’re ripe at the moment I thought I’d try out this Victorian yeast substitute recipe.

Wild hops

It’s not as easy as I thought to harvest wild hops growing high in trees and bushes! 😉

Fresh hops to make bread at home

And there’s a horrible garlic smell (dimethyl trisulfide) – like a field of ramsons in full bloom!

Fresh picked hops
Fresh picked hops

But, finally, I had picked enough hops for the Victorian hop yeast. 😀

Hop yeast starter

Victorian Hops Bread Without Commercial Yeast


  • 1 handful fresh hops
  • 1l / 1 qt water
  • 45g / 1.5 oz whole wheat flour
  • 45g / 1.5 oz sugar
  • 450g / 16 oz mashed potatoes


Boil hops in water till the hops fall to the bottom – which took about an hour. At first, the hop water is light green, then it turns into golden yellow, and finally its brown. And now the horrible garlic smell is in all rooms! 😉

Homemade hop yeast starter

Strain the hop tea, and stir in flour and sugar – it tastes very bitter and sweet at the moment. Let the hop starter stand for two days at room temperature, stirring it often. The starter has a lovely pinkish color. But after two days, the hop starter begins to smell bad – worse than the acetone smell of sourdough.

Homemade hop potato yeast alternative

After two days, stir in the mashed potatoes. Let the starter stand for another day at room temperature. Now the starter has a really bad smell!

Victorian Hops Bread Without Commercial Yeast

According to the Victorian recipe, the hop potato starter is now ready for baking: Mix one fourth of the starter with three of warm water, knead in enough flour to make a dough, let the bread rise overnight. The bread has risen a bit, but not as much as traditional sourdough bread. Preheat the oven to 200°C and bake the hop bread for about an hour. While baking, it smelled fine. But later there was the off smell again, so I had to throw it away – maybe there were bad bacteria in it. I don’t think I’ll make the hop starter again, traditional sourdough is easier to make, smells and tastes better.


More Bread Recipes Without Commercial Yeast

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