Raisin Yeast Water (Part 1)

So it turns out that you can grow yeast that’s strong enough to make bread out of raisins.

I kid you not.

Once I saw this picture online, I knew I had to figure out how to do it.

My first attempt didn’t go very well.  Neither did my second, third or fourth. I either had NO activity, or I grew mould.

I posted on Facebook and asked a few of my friends for their solutions, and finally I figured it out.

Here’s my first loaf of super-yummy bread made with yeast water:

Bread made with homemade raisin yeast water

Bread made with homemade raisin yeast water


Since then, I’ve been making a new kind every few days, experimenting with different yeast-water flavours, like orange, and smoky tea.

But the easiest one to start with by far is Raisin Yeast Water.


What you'll need to make Raisin Yeast Water

What you'll need to make Raisin Yeast Water

You’ll need a very clean jar with a lid (or you can put a saucer on top of the jar), natural honey, organic or natural raisins, pineapple juice, bottled water.

The key parts here are to use organic ingredients as much as possible, and bottled water, and to make sure that your jar is super-very clean. Anything ‘foreign’ or with ‘preservatives’ will prevent the yeast from growing. Also make sure the jar is big enough so that there’ll be space at the top once the ingredients have been added.

Also important is that your lid should NOT be put on tightly, as the mixture needs air to grow yeast. I’ve got a candy jar and we’ve removed the metal part of clasp for the lid, and so I just place the lid on top of the jar. You could use a saucer, or you could use a metal lid that is NOT screwed on properly. Just something to keep bugs and dust OUT, but allows air IN.


So into your jar, put 2 tablespoons of raisins, 1 tablespoon of honey (to help it grow faster), 2 tablespoons of pineapple juice (to even out the acid/pH of the water and help things grow), and 1.5 cups of bottled water.

Stir, put the top on loosely, and put your bottle on your counter in the kitchen in warm place. The warmest part of the kitchen right now (January) is on the counter near the stove, because we boil the kettle for tea about 5 times a day.

Raisin Yeast Water, mixed (Day 1)

Important: Using a clean spoon each time, lift the lid and stir your creation 3-5 times per day, as you remember. This helps aerate the mixture, and keeps yeasts that are growing ‘mixed in’ with the batch and not just sitting on top.

Now you have to wait. Patience is super important here.  It’s going to take 3-7 days before it starts to take action (faster in summer, longer in winter).

This is Day 1. Saturday afternoon at 2:30 pm. I’ll add more pictures in a few days to show you how it looks as it goes along.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Melody January 28, 2012 at 4:18 pm

This is definitely a very important factor if you want to make alot of bread, wonder if this is how it was done back in the day when our grandparents where growing up .. my grandmother grew up in Timmins, Ontairio so I am sure they did something to make the yeast for the bread they made… I am looking forward to giving this a go!


Softpoise December 4, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Hi there,
Just wanted to ask if the raisins you used were coated or glazed with oil. Do you think it makes any difference or one has to use non-coated organic raisins?


Shelley December 4, 2012 at 12:59 pm

this definitely needs organic raisins, as they still have some the ‘wild’ yeast on them apparently! once you’ve got a yeast water that’s working fine, you can replenish it with other things (like I use orange peel). But raisins seem to have the best wild yeast for starting … at least from what i’ve read 🙂


Ian March 11, 2014 at 5:43 am

Thanks for the information.
I started my first attempt about four days ago. My end result was, mould growing on the raisins.
Can you tell from your experience, what has caused this to grow on my raisins after they had started to float?
Thanks for the information.
Kind regards


Shelley March 11, 2014 at 6:35 am

Hi Ian, right after they float there should be the little bubbles the same day. If not, and you get mould instead (which totally happened to me several times), it’s probably because there was a contaminant in there … the jar wasn’t clean enough (use the dishwasher), you didn’t use bottled water, you didn’t use organic raisins (which have the wild yeast on them), you didn’t add pineapple juice to stabilize the pH, or finally, the honey was contaminated. i know, lot of steps, right? It took me i think 4 tries to get it to work, but once I had yeast water growing, it kept growing …
let me know how your next attempt works
all best


Abe December 24, 2014 at 11:48 am

I have experience with sourdough and would like to try raisin yeast water. Once made how is it maintained? Do you jet feed it by adding more water indefinitely like sourdough?


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