The Savage Yeast
Tim Griffin, Talis Kimberley

I was taking all my baking back to Mother Nature’s way

Using wild yeast to raise my sourdough

Put some water, salt, and flour into a bowl and walked away

So the microbes could feed and breed and grow

When I came home to my kitchen from a weekend by the sea

The sourdough had got to growing exponentially

It was half across the kitchen as it fought to be released

Growing everywhere; beware the savage yeast!


I had a trendy friend who said he’d show me how to brew

Fresh kombucha in a bottle on the shelf

Put a scabby little scoby in some tea is all you do

Sure, you’re gonna get your guts in better health

And those little probiotics did their thing all nice and calm

’Til the bottle they were breeding in exploded like a bomb

It blew out half the pantry, someone might have been deceased

Had they been in there; beware the savage yeast!


I was cleaning out the fridge and it had been at least a year

With my sauerkraut fermenting in the back

It had eaten all the yogurt while the pickles fled in fear

And the kimchi lamenting the attack

I determined all fermented foods are better left alone

So I gathered my belongings and I found another home

Gonna quarantine the kitchen for a dozen years at least

If you go in there, beware the savage yeast!


Now you brewers and you bakers, when you hear the sorry tale

How the microbes may menace all you do

Will you heed the lamentation of my fermentation fail

Or will the wild yeast rise up against you too?

If you’re looking for adventure of a culinary kind

In the West or East, the savage yeast will never be confined

There can be no compromising with the rising of the beast

So if you dare to go in there, beware the savage yeast!


A while back, I wrote a song called The Smith about the development of various metals and alloys. British folk/filk singer Talis Kimberley (who is awesome BTW) liked the tune and asked to borrow some bits of it for a song she wrote about baking, called The Wild Yeast. Of course I agreed; then I heard her song and thought about how many things have gone wrong in my own kitchen, especially when fermentation is involved. So for fun I stole the tune back again to write about some of my kitchen disasters. By now the original tune is only present in bits and pieces; we call that the "folk process," which sounds more awesome than "playing it wrong." It's all terribly bardic, you see.

All of the incidents in this song really did happen in my kitchen. There is some hyperbole, but less than you might think.

Chords: Em, Am, B7