From the HBD Archive
From: Jay Hersh <>
Subject: Cider and it's yeast
Date: 1992-07-17 20:05:41 GMT

Sorry for the delayed reply...
In HBD #921 Andy Phillips commented:

>The traditional way of making
farmhouse (ie. homebrew) cider is simply to crush apples, press out
the juice and allow it to ferment without any additions, even yeast.
Fermentation relies on infection by wild yeasts from the air. You
could try this, but I wouldn't recommend it - there is no guarantee
that a suitable wild yeast will fall from the heavens, and there will
be plenty of other bugs waiting their chance to turn your apple juice
into cider vinegar.

Well this is slightly misleading Andy. The source of the
wild yeasts is not waiting to drop from the heavens. It is
already right there on the apples at crushing time. Right
around the stem on almoist all apples is a yellowish, powdery
substance, referred to by growers as the "bloom". This is
wild yeasts which collect on the apples, from the air, and
from insects (i.e. bees) which are responsible for the flowers
pollination to begin with.

They are not just random yeasts. They live in orchards because
they ferment fruit sugars well and are able to propagate there.
I too was skeptical at first, but Paul Correnty (Resident NE
Cider guru) convinced me to try a ferment with only the yeasts
present in the pressed cider itself. It is truly wonderful!!
(and it just got edged out for 3rd place in the AHA National
by my buddy Bob Gorman.... :-( ).

So while exposing your cider to air is not recommended, it
is quite possible to make very good cider with the wild yeasts
that occur naturaaly on the apples, and thus in the pressed cider.
One does however have to have a little more patience perhaps,
as these yeasts are slower to start, and like a long fermentation
and aging period. Also fortification prior to fermentation is
recommended as they are very voracious fermenters....

Cider Digest Coordinator (

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