Recently I’ve delved into the world of fermenting. I’m not going crazy with it or anything, but I’ve made a batch of beet kvass that turned out all right, and right now I’m in the process of making fermented pickles and a sourdough starter. So far the latter two are going well. I’m little worried my pickles will get moldy, but it is what it is now and the only way to find out is to wait. That’s what fermenting is all about. Waiting. But it’s very rewarding. The health benefits to fermenting are wonderful, providing probiotics in the form of more than just store bought yogurt. Fermenting at home one ups anything store bought because you know what’s gone into it and that is: whatever you’re fermenting plus the brine. No icky preservatives or vinegar, and when you make the brine yourself you can choose the quality of your salt. In my case I used himalayan pink salt. It’s the only salt I use because it’s affordable and unrefined. The only exception to this is the sourdough starter which is simply flour and water. I “feed” it daily with more flour and water, but otherwise it sits in a glass jar I change every other day with cheese cloth over the top. The idea is to let the naturally occurring yeast and bacterial spores from the air feed on the sugars in the flour, thereby fermenting it. It’ll be ready in several more days when it will hopefully smell delightfully sour like sourdough bread does.
I’m even more keen on making sourdough bread from scratch now since I bought a Safeway loaf. Why? Have you seen what’s in mass produced grocery store sourdough? Autolyzed yeast, silicone dioxide, L-Cysteine Hydrochloride (WTF is that?!), vegetable oil. HOW is that even edible? I’m ashamed to have even eaten it and fed it to my family. At this point I don’t even care if my homemade stuff isn’t made with sprouted or organic flour, as long as it’s unbleached. At least then I know that my bread won’t have all that shit in it….unless there’s something I don’t know about store bought flour. Either way, the only thing I want in my sourdough is flour, water, starter and maybe some yeast to aid in rising. That’s all it needs and it’s all ever want in a bread. Not to mention is the fermenting benefits in the starter cross over in to the bread and make it more easily digestible. At any rate, I have decided that I MUST own a bread maker. Making bread by hand is fun, but it’s time consuming and makes you house bound so that you handle your dough in a timely manner in order to make it successful. At least with a bread maker I’d have fresh homemade bread, sans the chemicals, that I don’t have to babysit. Oh and the smell! The SMELL! The smell is to die for when it’s baking.
Anyway I sincerely hope my pickles turn out because the smell of real dill is quite delightful and the liquid is something I won’t feel guilty about drinking after. I would drink store bought pickle juice, but it’s mostly vinegar and doesn’t do much but make your kidneys beg for mercy. I tried my beet kvass again the other day after deciding that I didn’t like the first go around. Turns out, like wine, it gets better with age. I can drink it now, though I certainly wouldn’t fill my glass to the top. I pour myself about a third of a tall glass. It’s better to finish it and drink less than drink too much to the point where I’m making faces after every swig. That’s how you train yourself to hate something. The beets themselves aren’t any more edible though. I forgot that they weren’t cooked beforehand so they’re really hard and fibrous. Not very appetizing.
Also, I bought a plain Kombucha along with some white sugar. I plan on making a SCOBY so I can start brewing my own. Another thing that pretty much takes care of itself. I still need to find an appropriate container to let it grow in as well as a brewing station for the Komucha itself, though. So I’m waiting on that. At least I have what I need to get it started 🙂