When Zoe Stavri woke up with a yeast infection, she had a strange and intriguing idea: what about adding some of her vaginal candida to sourdough starter?
There's lots of reasons to suppose that this would be a bit of harmless weird self-experimentation, akin to those fun weirdos who culture cheese with their own bacteria: sourdough starter is made with random wild yeast to begin with; everyone who's ever performed cunnilingus has ingested vaginal yeast without harm; baking bread kills yeast; etc.
Very little whimsy or rationality emerged from the Internet's lizard-brain, though. Since Stavri started talking about her project on Twitter, she's been bombarded with scientifically illiterate, vagina-hating "eww gross" hate-tweets (made worse by, what else, a feature on the Daily Mail's website) (Stavri: "[Daily Mail readers] are far worse than the worst candida infection possible")
The bread turned out pretty good.
Making sourdough starter entails encouraging stuff that’s present in the flour and just sort of floating around in the air in your kitchen and on your utensils to grow. That’s what wild yeast is. If that idea sickens you, avoid all sourdough, because that’s what it’s made of, but remember, people have been making and eating sourdough for millennia, and the human race hasn’t died out yet. All I’ve done is add a little bit of my own yeast. It’s somewhere between a Type I and a Type II sourdough, because I’ve added a tiny bit of yeast to the mix, although only a trace amount.
“But candida albicans (vaginal yeast) isn’t for eating and will somehow make you sick,” you cry. Probably not. Like all bread made with yeast, once it’s cooked it’s not exactly going to go about colonising your gut with yeast. The biggest risk with using candida albicans for breadmaking is that it won’t rise–more on that later.
“But what about vaginal bacteria and all the other minging stuff that’s come out of your quim?” you ask, becoming paler and paler as you continue reading this. First things first, any bacteria which lives in your warm soft parts lives there because it likes to be warm. Body temperature warm. It dies outside of that temperature range. However, let’s assume for the sake of argument that my vagina harbours a strain of bacteria that thrives equally in the ~37°C environment of my cunt as it does at the ~22°C of my kitchen, inside a bowl of flour and water. Were this the case, it still wouldn’t matter. I’m making fucking bread. You cook bread. All of the bread will reach the bacteria-murdering threshold of >70°C for long enough to kill anything that had survived.
I’m making sourdough with my vaginal yeast [Zoe Stavri/Another Angry Woman]
Baking and eating #cuntsourdough
[Zoe Stavri/Another Angry Woman]
(Thanks, Fipi Lele!)