In previous posts I have talked about kefir and its miraculous health benefits. Recently my happy living kitchen pet has made some new chums.
From a ginger beer starter, I made an exceptionally awesome blueberry soda. The recipe is here. This is brewed using a traditional fermentation technique and gives a naturally fizzy drink without alcohol. It really was very refreshing and tasted great.
The ginger beer I attempted, however, did not go so well. It tasted good, but lacked fizz. I will try it again once I find some good instructions or advice.
The other fermented friend who has moved in is the sourdough starter. I did a great sourdough workshop through Highland Heritage last weekend, and I have been completely converted. The whole family loves home-made sourdough, and it will probably be our main source of bread from now on. Where I used to make a couple of loaves a week of yeast bread with the breadmaker, I plan to do a weekly bake of 6-8 loaves of sourdough. The breadmaker will no doubt still get a run, for our much-loved fruit loaf and ‘not cross buns’.
The main attraction of the sourdough is how simple it is to make. It contains only flour, water and salt. The breadmaker recipes call for things like bread improver, gluten flour, oil, sugar and powdered milk, making it quite a close relative of supermarket bread. Sourdough is a much more natural product, and the starter bubbles quietly in the fridge through the week, ready to do its stuff on baking day.
I’ll be baking on Saturday morning after mixing the dough tomorrow night. Then I should have some photos to add.
There are a lot of options to explore with fermentation and living cultures. I have really only just scratched the surface. These are ancient methods of processing foods, and the health benefits are only know beginning to be understood.