Today we simply go to the store and pick up packets of yeast, or a jar if we bake alot, and bring it home but what about our ancestors? Below are two recipes from the Godey's Lady's Book Receipts & Helpful Hints. ©1870
In two quarts of water let two ounces of hops boil for half an hour, strain the liquor, and let it stand in a wide earthenware bowl. When lukewarm, add a small quantity of salt, say half a handful, and one-quarter of a pound of sugar. Take some of the liquor and well mix up in it half a pound of best flour, beating this up thoroughly in the whole afterwards. The next day but one put in one and one half pound of boiled and mashed potatoes; let it stand one more day, after which it may be bottled for use. It should be kept near the fire while making, so as to keep it about the temperature of new milk, and it should also be frequently stirred during the process of making. When bottled, it should be kept in a cool place.
Put one pint of dry hops into three pints of water to boil. Peel eight potatoes and put them on in a separate pan to boil. When the potatoes are done, the hop tea will be the right strength. Strain the tea from the hops and set it to cool. Mash the potatoes free from lumps, add one pint of flour, one teaspoonful of salt, and one tablespoon of sugar (brown). Pour the tea over this mixture, stir well together, add one cup of yeast, baker's will do, though I always have enough of my old yeast to set new with. Let it rise in a large open vessel in a warm place, stir occasionally, and when it is well risen, and begins to fall in the centre, put in a close jug and cork tight.