Thursday, July 3, 2014

More Detailed RECIPES

General Notes:

The timing of all ferments is temperature sensitive.  The warmer the location they are fermenting in the faster they will ferment.  The cooler the slower.  Most ferments will have a hard time fermenting below 65 degrees and even 70 is a bit low.  Just as 85 degrees you will find them fermenting fairly rapidly and 90 it might just be too warm and they may spoil before they can ferment.  

Be sure to use non-iodized salt.  We like Redmond's Real Salt.

Use non-chlorinated water.  Chlorinated water may work, but you may find it hard to have consistent results.

Softer vegetables are harder to ferment (cucumbers, zucchini, kale) but they can be fermented successfully.  Use of a grape leaf or oak leaf (tanins) will help maintain the crispness.  

With all vegetable ferments be sure to have liquid covering the top of the vegetables.  This is to prevent spoilage.  If, after fermenting is complete and you see that either too much liquid fizzed out or the vegetables reabsorbed the liquid, open up the ferment and add more non-chlorinated water and let sit at room temperature for another day or two and then move to cold storage.  

All that being said, give it a go and have fun!  Once  you make a few good batches you should feel give yourself a pat on the back and really get going. 
Ginger Carrots

4 1/2 C grated carrots
1 tsp freshly grated ginger 
2 tsp sea salt 
2 T whey (Optional, if used cut salt to 1 tsp) 

Mix all ingredients, and pound them with a meat hammer or wooden pounder, to get some of the juices out. Pack tightly into a quart jar, leaving an inch of head space. Add water if necessary to cover the carrots. Close jar tightly, and leave at room temperature for three to five days to ferment. Transfer to cold storage.

Pickled Beets

6 medium beets 
1 C water 
2 tsp sea salt 
2 T whey (Optional, if used cut salt to 1 tsp) 
2 tsp. cardamom pods (optional) 

Peel and dice beets (grated beets will ferment too quickly). Pack them in a quart jar. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over beets, adding water as needed to cover them well. Leave one inch of headspace in the jar. Close jar tightly, and allow to ferment at room temperature for about 5-9 days before moving to cold storage. The beets are tasty; the liquid (called beet kvass) isn’t so much, but is very healthful, even diluted quite a bit with water or juice. 

Pickled Peppers 

10-25 various peppers, hot or otherwise 
2 tsp sea salt 
1 C water 
2 T whey (Optional, if used cut salt to 1 tsp) 
spices as desired; cumin is especially good 

Cut peppers into pieces (whatever size you want when you take them out). Press firmly into a quart jar. Combine other ingredients and pour over the peppers, adding more water as needed to cover them. Leave an inch of headspace. Close jar tightly, and ferment for 5-9 days at room temperature before moving to cold storage. 


Firm cabbage 
1 T sea salt per head of cabbage 
2 T whey (Optional, if used cut salt to 2 tsp) 
Spices as desired. Some suggest juniper berries, which taste lousy but may help the cabbage remain more crisp 

Slice or grate cabbage (your preference). Add salt and let sit for 5-10 minutes. In a bowl or bucket, pound the cabbage until the you can see the cabbage juice. Add spices, and pack very tightly into jars (wide mouth jars are very helpful). Add water to the jar as needed to cover the cabbage, leaving an inch of headspace. Close jars tightly, and leave to ferment for 5-9 days before moving to cold storage. 

Water kefir (Probiotic "soda" for kids)

2 quarts water 
½ C sugar [white or Raw Evaporated Cane (blonde)] 
about 2 T water kefir buds 

Some sources insist white sugar is required for water kefir. Other sources use sucanat and other unrefined sugars without a second thought. The molasses in unrefined sugar will change the taste, and color the otherwise transparent kefir buds. We have found that the molasses is hard on the buds. Experiment with both, if you like. Also, please note that kefir buds don't respond well to the oils from skin, so don't touch them

To make water kefir, mix water and sugar in a jar until mostly dissolved. Add kefir buds, and cover with cheesecloth (it needs to breathe). Keep in a dark place for three days. Be sure to not contaminate kefir by having it in close proximity to other ferments (anything other than water kefir).

Strain out buds for a new batch by placing non-metal strain over a clean two quart jar and pouring water kefir through strain to catch the kefir buds. Make a new batch to ferment by adding strained buds to 2 qts sugar water (as detailed above).

You can now flavor the cultured batch (without the buds) by adding dried fruit, fresh fruit, juice, or juice concentrate.  Google it, there are tons of options.  Here is what we do:  Add 1 teaspoon of sugar and 1-2 tablespoons frozen juice concentrate and stir.  Close lid tightly and let sit for 1 day.  Move flavored kefir to the fridge and enjoy.


1 gallon freshly brewed tea, at room temperature 
1 C sugar 
kombucha mother/SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeasts)
½ C kombucha from a previous batch, or white vinegar 

The same notes on sugar that apply to water kefir apply to kombucha as well. Black tea is traditional, but green tea and herbal teas will also work, even if they raise the ire of kombucha purists. Jasmine Green Tea and various flavored Riobus are wonderful!  The caffeine and other harmful substances in black tea are largely consumed and transformed by the fermentation process. 
Bring 1 quart of water to boil or light simmer. Pour into ½ gallon mason jar, add tea and let steep for 15-20 min. Add sugar and stir to dissolve. Add the remaining cool water to fill to 2 inches below the top of the jar. If needed, let tea cool to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Add the SCOBY and ¼ cup of previous batch or vinegar. Cover with cheese cloth/butter muslin and let sit for 5-7 days (if you can still taste the tea really well it probably needs to sit longer).
After the first ferment of 5-7 days remove the mother and enough kombucha for the next batch. If you want you can now ferment the kombucha a second time with some additional sugar and juice to flavor, you may find that, depending on your starting tea, you will not need or want a second ferment (jasmine green and various riobus teas taste wonderful alone). For a half gallon of kombucha add 1-2 tablespoons of sugar, SLOWLY as it will fizz up. You can flavor it with almost anything of your choice. We don't have access to nice organic juices so we use regular juice concentrate (1-2 Tbls) from our local grocery store. You can use juice, pieces of fruit (dried or fresh), use your imagination, look on the computer. After you add the flavor close the lid tightly and let sit for a day. We have found it to be at its peak of perfection about 2-3 days out.

You may find strings of premature mother in the result. You can drink these, or pull them out. With the proper environment these may even make a new mother for you. Note that your mother will grow as you brew successive batches. You'll see the mother will have several layers, one for each batch. Many people choose to remove older layers on occasion, to keep the size of their mother down somewhat (put it in the compost or give it to the chickens, or a neighbor so they can start brewing). You can touch the kombucha mother, with clean hands, without danger of hurting it. If you want to change teas you may have to do it slowly, by using mostly the same tea with a tsp of new adding more each batch

Sourdough Starter

1/2 C freshly ground flour
1/4-1/2 C non-chlorinated water
quart jar (a few of them)
cheese cloth

One potential advantage of using less water is that it will be easier to see the bubbles in the starter to see how active it is.

Stir together flour and water in quart size jar and cover with cheese cloth.  Set in warm place and leave alone for several hours.  The next morning add more flour and water (same quantities) and cover again and let sit.  In the evening change the budding starter over to a clean jar and add more flour and water (same quantities) and cover with cheese cloth.  Continue to do this for several days.  The starter will go through a VERY foamy stage (this is good!) and might look a bit scary.  Keep feeding it and changing it over to a clean jar once a day for the first 4 or 5 days.  After a week you can make pancakes or waffles with the starter (recipe below).  After two weeks you can start making bread (though four weeks it will be much better).

Sourdough Pancakes or Waffles 

4-6 C Starter (fairly thick)
flour (as needed)
2 eggs
1/3 C Oil (we use Coconut Oil)
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
1/4 C Sugar (optional)

Feed starter in the evening sufficiently to make four cups of doughy starter.  Leave covered in a warm place overnight. In the morning, set aside a bit of starter for future use.

Now add flour if needed to get the starter to a thick but still easily stirrable consistency.  Add the remaining ingredients and stir until combined.  This process is a bit different since you have a batter you are already starting with, but with enough stirring it should combine well.  
Cook normally as you would pancakes or waffels. 

Sourdough Bread 

1 C sourdough starter (cake batter consistency)
1 T salt
3 C freshly ground flour  
1-2 C Water 

Set aside some starter for the next use.  Now, in a large mixing bowl add starter and salt.  Stir to combine.  Add four cups flour and water to make a fairly thick batter.  You should still be able to stir it without worry of breaking a plastic or wooden spoon.  It should be thick but spoonable.  

Pour into a greased bread pan.  Cover with a light lint free cloth and let sit in a warm area for 2-6 hours.  The warmer it is the less time it needs to sit.  Do not exceed 115 degrees during rising.  It should rise about 1-2 inches (maybe more if it a good active starter).  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Carefully transfer bread pan to heated oven and cook uncovered for 30 min.  After 30 min check internal temperature with meat thermometer.  Bread is done when it reads 175-180.  If crust is getting too hard/dark cover with tin foil.

Please experiment with this recipe.  There are so many different ways to make a good loaf of sourdough bread. As long as you set some starter aside for a new batch you can't go wrong. Enjoy!