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Apr 16, 2009 12:54 PM

San Diego ingredient hunt "levadura de pie"

Hey guys,

First off, awesome community here and a preemptive thank you for any and all help given. A forum search didn't give me much info on this. Anyways, here 'goes

I just recently got a hold of some bread called pan "fallo" from Michoacan, Mexico (specifically the town of Zinapecuaro). It's amazing and I seriously suggest that each and every one of you have it in your lifetime. I managed to get a recipe for it from a book about the bakeries of that area. The recipe, however, is not that specific (no specified heat or time to bake). It is also completely in Spanish.

Now i'm mostly fluent in spanish, but i have no idea what "levadura de pie" could be. Levadura is yeast, but the rest is translated into "of the foot". In the book there is a paragraph that describes why this certain type of yeast is used to make the bread; translated it goes something like this: "Pasta yeast was not readily available and the majority of the people left their "foot" (mark? footprint?), they gave their time for it to ferment. Later, active, dry yeast became available, and that is what most bakeries use today". The recipe states that the entire process (rising, baking, cleaning up etc etc) takes roughly 6 hours, but it didn't mention the specifics of the time taken for each step.

Looking back through the types of yeast, what other kinds are there besides active, dry yeast? I found Brewer's yeast, but does that sound like what this is describing? The recipe calls for a LOT of yeast (1 part yeast per 1 part flour).

If in fact this is brewer's yeast, where could I find some in the San Diego area? A previous yeast discussion mentioned several brewer supply stores, but I have not been able to find any that sell yeast separately.

Also, if anyone is a native Mexican and knows anything concerning levadura de pie, or wishes to chat about the amazing culinary delights of Michoacan that can be found up here near San Diego, please let me know!


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  1. If you add equal parts 'levadura de pie' and flour, then the levadura definitely is not commercial yeast that's used for baking. You asked about brewer's yeast. There is a nutritional supplement sold as Brewer's yeast that consists of 'deactivated' (killed) yeast, so don't buy it at a health food store thinking it is for baking. I believe that all commercial baking yeast (Fleishmann's, SAF, fresh, instant, dried, etc.) is derived from brewer's yeast, highly concentrated so you use very small amounts in baking (on the order of 1-3% of the flour weight). I think that your levadura is a sourdough culture that is not very concentrated at all, so a large amount is used to inoculate the dough. But even for sourdough breads, a 1:1 ratio by weight is pretty high, so it may be that the levadura contributes something else besides just the yeast, like a different taste and texture due to the relatively long fermentation of the starter. And if the measurements are 1:1 by volume rather than weight, I would not have much hope for the recipe.

    Most languages are not very precise about leavenings, and even those that have a large vocabulary often overlap the meanings, making it difficult to understand what is going on. Could you perhaps quote the entire recipe so we could parse it out a little better?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Leucadian

      I can't really help but I can't wait to read what you find out. It sounds very interesting.Keep up posted .

    2. Why not post the same inquiry on the "Mexico" board to at least get a better English translation?

      1 Reply
      1. re: steveprez

        Lots of knowledgable bread bakers on the Home Cooking board, too.

      2. Any further information on levadura de pie?

        1. How was Michoacan, one spot I haven't visited?

          I checked a few of my Mexican cookbooks but found nothing useful about fallo or levadura de pie. I did see some stuff on google but all in Spanish and I just don't habla like I once did.

          I bet if you went to a local panadaria, one of the bakers would help you out. Google your address and click on the map that shows up. Then replace your address in the search bar and type in panadaria, I found 10 or more near me. Good luck Bill

          1. Here is an illustrated guide to creating a "mother" dough", a "preparacion de masa madre" with step-by-step instructions for creating a "pie de levadura madre":

            Go to this link:

            2 Replies
            1. re: Gypsy Jan

              Thanks Jan, that's it. It's sourdough, so the massive quantities in the OP refer to starter, not dried or fresh commercial yeast.

              1. re: Leucadian

                oh my goodness, yes!

                Sorry for not keeping up with this well... the past 2 years...

                I didn't have notifications on =( but now that I know it's sourdough (and now that i have a much larger appreciation for baking than I did 2 years ago) it should be easy to get done! Wow i had completely forgotten about this until my in-laws brought some back from Zinapecuaro, mexico this week! woo hoo! I'll share how it goes unless necroing threads is frowned upon here (assuming it's not as some replies took over a year! hah!)

                Again thank you thank you thank you!

                edit: I went back through the text again once I found it... The special thing about the levadura (sourdough starter) is that it's made using Pulque, an alcoholic maguey nectar drink that tends to be sold on the border around here.

                Imagine my surprise when I tried to do my own version using beer a while back... haha. I remember getting a big clump of brown dough with no resemblance whatsoever to bread.