Simple Spelt Sourdough Bread

OK ok, you’ve seen several recipes for spreads, jams and curds to put on bread. Here is the very carrier, a simple straight forward Spelt Sourdough bread.

I’ve found the recipe in Andrew Whitley’s book: Bread Matters. A very good book if you feel like getting serious about baking your own traditional breads. After baking rye sourdough breads as described by Sandor Ellix Katz with varying results over the past years, this spelt bread seems to work every single time. The other benefit is the short and simple fermentation process here. Normally the making of rye sourdough bread will take three fermentation steps over up to 24 hours. For a good working 100% rye sourdough bread recipe visit my dear friend and colleague’s, Rani Silva, website!
This easy spelt sourdough recipe here only requires a one step fermentation of 12 hours.

Grain millOnce you’ve tried this recipe a few times and have bought the above mentioned book, you might consider the purchase of a grain mill. After years of slogging with a hand-operated Jupiter one, I’m now blessed with a Hawo’s Queen 2 electrical mill. Thanks Mum and Santa! 🙂
The difference it makes to have freshly ground flour for baking sourdough bread is tremendous! Apparently, most of the vital nutrients in grains oxidise and break down very shortly after the milling into flour.

Due to the sourdough fermentation the spelt and its gluten seem to be well digestible even by people like my dear wife, Lydia, who is normally very sensitive to gluten.

For this bread you will require a rye flour sourdough starter. Yes: rye. If you don’t have ‘weird’ friends who keep such a pet in their fridge or your house sitter threw your 300 year old sourdough starter out… (like Lydia managed to do once ;-)), make your own!

It should only take you 4-5 days in a warm spot (28-30°C) in your kitchen. A sourdough starter relies on the wild yeasts present on the grains/flour and in your kitchen environment. Each grain (wheat, spelt, rye, rice, barley…) and locality will develop a different sourdough culture, depending on the yeasts present.

Start with 25 g rye wholemeal flour and 50 g of warm (40°C) water. Stir it well. Keep it in a plastic tub with a simple lid that snaps into place or can easily flip open when pressure builds inside.

Each day add 25 g rye flour and 50 g or warm water, stir and return to its warm spot.

On day 4 your starter should start bubbling and taste lightly sour/fruity.rye sourdough starter

You can start using it in recipes now or keep it in the fridge until you need it. Then pull it out to warm to room temperature and add 1/2 cup or rye flour and 1/2 cup of warm water. Stir it well and wait til it starts bubbling again. This can take 8-12 hours. You are now ready to use your starter in a recipe like the one below by Andrew Whitley.

I suggest you double this recipe and bake two breads at a time. These loaves have a tendency to disappear rather fast. Should you have too much, just slice one loaf after a day or two and freeze it for later toasting and use.

Simple Spelt Sourdough Bread

★★★★★

Prep Time: 12 hours | Cook Time: 40 mins | Servings: 1 loaf | Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients:
80 g Rye Sourdough starter

350 g warm water

500 g stoneground wholmeal flour, Spelt

8 g sea salt

50 g seeds, optional (Sunflower-, Pumpkin-, Sesame-, Poppy seeds…)

Directions:
To make the bread, disperse your refreshed rye sourdough starter and salt with a whisk in the water and then mix in the flour and seeds. Knead to develop the gluten and adjust the moisture so that the dough is very soft.

Sourdough

Any structure that you create by tight moulding will largely subside during a long proof, so do not expect a fine-domed top to a loaf such as this.

Dough before rising

Dough in tins before rising

Place the dough in a greased and flour dusted loaf tin, cover it with a loose plastic bag and leave to rise. Do not put the tin in an especially warm place unless you want to hurry the process along. At an average kitchen temperature of about 20°C, this dough should rise in 10-12 hours. In winter I tend to put it onto the cupboard shelf above the crock pot with our continuous bone broth.

Before baking

The risen dough in the tins

Bake in a hot oven at 230°C, reducing the temperature to 200°C after 10 minutes or so. Bake at 200°C for another 30 min for a total baking time of 40 min.

Freshly baked bread

The finished bread

Since all the flour in this loaf has been fermented for a long period, the crumb will be markedly sticky immediately after baking, so it is better to leave it for a day before cutting it. Its keeping quality, however, is remarkable. Even better, the science suggests that a long rise with lactic acid bacteria from the rye sourdough starter and its unique micro-biom will neutralise almost all the phytic acid present in the wholemeal flour bran, making important minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium and zinc more available to your body than they would be in an ordinary yeasted wholemeal bread.
———————-

So there you have it! Feel free to post your success stories or accidents below!

Best of Success and Bon Apetit!

Spelt Sourdough Bread

 

Home made Raspberry Limonade

Raspberry Limonade

The summer is performing at its very best here in New Zealand. Time to brew some refreshing drinks! Yes, beer has been made with freshly harvested stingy nettles earlier this summer, thanks to Amy McComb of Plantrhythms! Want the recipe? Let me know by dropping a comment below!

Back to our low alcoholic treat. I found the inspiration for this one while listening to the audio version of Sandor Ellix Katz’ book: The Art of Fermentation – driving my new pony home to Warkworth from Wellington. 11 hours of fermentation wisdom pouring into my ears while crossing the beautiful North Island of NZ.

German rocket vs...

By the time I got home I was ready for a cool drink and a massage. I’ll leave you to figuring out the details of the massage and provide the recipe for the drink.

This recipe works well year round with organic frozen berries. Any kind of berries will do, as long as they are organically grown. I’ve so far experimented with raspberries, blueberries, blackcurrants, strawberries, acai – all with great results.

Limonade

If you happen to have an abundant supply of fresh berries, you might get away without adding any cultures to start the fermentation process, as there usually are plenty of wild yeasts living on unsprayed berries. I used frozen berries and added the whey from my milk kefir (Vegans beware!), a splash of Kombucha and some Coconut Kefir.

Originally home-made lemonades were made just with whey. Milk Kefir provides a higher percentage of yeast strains that will happily start an alcoholic fermentation, in comparison to for example: Caspian Sea Yoghurt. For any of these cultures, please get in touch with your local Weston A. Price Foundation chapter or drop me a line here. The reasoning with adding more than one starter culture was to get a more vibrant fermentation going fast. In my opinion, it will also provide the limonade with a richer pro-biotic profile.

Be aware that the whey will highly likely introduce some fat to your limonade, specifically if you make your kefir with full fat raw non-homogenised milk, as we do. You can see the that effect in some of the pictures. Whey is the clear liquid separating from the fermented milk solids, see picture below:

Kefir

Yes, you can leave out the kefir whey if you don’t tolerate milk products. In that case I suggest you stick to Kombucha and Coconut Kefir. The coconut kefir that Anita and Terry make in New Zealand (in the same facility that René’s Kombucha is brewed, btw.) is made with the Body Ecology kefir starter. This is a laboratory made dairy-free blend of highly effective pro-biotic cultures.

OK, enough Blurb! If you want to hear more and taste a whole variety of cultured foods and beverages I suggest you check out my Event Calendar, there should be at least one Traditional Cultured Foods demo & degustation class in the pipeline. If not, drop me a line and we’ll see if we can organise one in your area.

Raspberry Limonade

Raspberry Limonade
Makes 3 liters
Ingredients:
250 ml lime juice or lemon juice
1 cup frozen raspberries or other organic berries
20-50 ml whey from kefir
30 ml coconut kefir
30 ml kombucha
1.5 cup coconut sugar
3 l filtered water

Directions:
Stir well in a 3 liter glass jar to dissolve the coconut sugar.
Cover with a cloth and let ferment for 24-48 hours. Stir occasionally.
Filter out the berries and bottle in plastic bottles.
Store in fridge and wait 1-2 days for fizz to build up.
Open carefully.
Enjoy on ice!

Limonade

The plastic bottles are essential!
I know, I know… I’ve made a conscious decision to bottle my Kombucha in glass bottles. Yet plastic bottles allow you to gage the pressure building up inside of them. Glass bottles might explode if not refrigerated! I’m NOT kidding. Be safe! I have had more than one thick-walled glass bottle explode from too much pressure building up inside.
Collect/recycle plastic bottles from a local cafe and then re-use them for your fermented beverage projects!

Have fun and be safe!
PS: Yes, due to the yeasts in the pro-biotic cultures your home-made limonade might have small amounts of natural alcohol in it.

Liquid Inspiration: Orange Blossom Mead

I’m going to blame this one on Sandor Ellix Katz and his infectious Passion for the realm of fermented food and drink. I have to say, I’ve caught the ‘Bug’! If you think my liquid fermentation experiments started and ended with this recipe here, you are wrong.

Even my beloved wife Lydia is now drinking beer – the herbal home-brewed kind!
While I’m writing this a 20l can of Lemon Balm and Nettle Beer is happily bubbling in our kitchen, see below! Give it a week and then a few more in bottles and our New Years Bubbles will be ready! If you happen to be at Prana on New Years you might be lucky to catch a sample drop of it 🙂

Lemon Balm Nettle Beer

It came to my utter surprise and DELIGHT that one could make beer from any medicinal herb or flower growing around one’s house and garden. The fermentation process actually enhances many of the medicinal properties of plants. For a marvelous introduction to the subject, I urge you to demand this book from Santa: Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers, by Stephen Harrod Buhner.
I’m not talking of the ‘buy-your-cousin-a-beer-making-kit-for-Christmas’ type of beer. These beers, and meads here, do not require hops or any other German purity standards. Simply put, these are sweet herbal teas fermented by beer yeast. Making tea isn’t that hard, is it?! Neither is brewing your own beer!

In basic terms, the difference in making beer or mead is in the choice of sweetener. While I often use organic golden sugar, malt extract or coconut sugar for my herbal beers, it is honey only for meads. For an elaborate exploration of the mead subject I can recommend the reading of: The Compleat Meadmaker, by Ken Schramm. That is advanced reading though, AFTER you’ve made a few batches 😉

One issue I perceive with most people’s perception of fermentation is the fear of getting the ‘wrong’ bugs multiplying and of dying a mysterious death from it. Your chances of having that happen to you are a million times higher in a hospital near you than from your own alcoholic fermentation experiments!
So stick to the simple rule of ‘cleanliness yes! sterility no!’
On that note: I strongly believe in ‘Simple is Best’, so I bought only one packet of beer yeast ever and just keep the yeast sludge from each brew for the next, beer or mead. Over time this will, in my arrogant opinion, accumulate a much stronger variety of yeasts (with wild additions from your home environment) than any store-bought package will ever supply.
You’ll probably get more refined and sublime flavours from your isolated industrial yeasts, yet self-sufficiency has its benefits too 🙂

What is said above, in terms of simplicity, carries through this whole post. Do not get to hung up in the finest details of beer brewing, yeast and temperature control. Rather start playing in this new (actually: ancient!) medium and allow mother nature to guide you. That will come with a few messed up batches. I’d rather risk that than allowing chlorine bleach into our house.

I could wax on about the finer details and different experiences, yet I feel at this point, you are actually ready to get cranking yourself.
So get your hands on some brewing equipment! At a very minimum that should be:

  • a 20l food grade plastic bucket with lid (recycled coconut oil/mayonnaise buckets from your local health food shop/supermarket deli)
  • a 20l food grade plastic jerry can with srew cap and tap (recycled bulk dish soap or vinegar container from your local health food shop. Rinse well and extensively!) This will be your fermenter, see picture above!
  • an air lock or just some cling wrap with a rubber band
  • a bunch of clean recycled wine or juice bottles with screw cap
  • I assume you have a large stainless steel pot or water kettle

Orange Blossoms

This recipe here was inspired by our orange tree going nuts with flowers (the one behind the bottles in the picture across the top of this page). To lighten its load a bit I picked a decent amount of them, juiced some tangelos from the tree behind our house, took the Auckland city honey from Marie-Christine’s bee keeper husband and went ahead. No orange blossoms in your garden or pantry? Leave them out or substitute with anything else, like fresh turmeric, tulsi tea, fennel flowers… get inspired!

And here is your recipe:

Orange Blossom Mead

Ingredients:
360 grams fresh orange blossoms
1.2 liters tangelo or orange juice, freshly squeezed
4 liters raw honey (5.9 kg )
3 tangelos, outer rind only
3 bags of organic black tea
200 ml lime juice
16 liters hot water

Directions:
Put flowers and tangelo rind in a gauze bag. Place together with tangelo juice and honey into a 20 liter bucket.
Add hot water and stir well to dissolve the honey. Keep temperature at or below 70°C!
Now add black tea bags and let cool down. Once cooled to room temperature take out the bags with the flowers and tea and add beer yeast.
Transfer to your 20l jerry can and let ferment at room temperature for 7-10 days. Taste it occasionally!
Once the intense bubbling/fermentation has ceased bottle directly from the tap of your fermenter, without additional sugar in the bottles (this will be a still drink). Let the bottles sit undisturbed in a dark and cool place to have the yeast settle and the mead mature.
Ready to drink right then! Alcohol probably 8-10% or more 🙂
Keep the yeast sediment from your fermenter with some liquid in a 1 liter plastic container in your fridge till you are ready for another batch of beer or mead.

The mead will get more dry and clear as it sits in the bottle. More flavour overtones will develop over the months to come. Store the bottles in a dark and relatively cool place. I have my collection under our house (no frost where we live).
Should you notice considerable pressure building up in your bottles (bulging lids and the odd exploding bottle), put them in your fridge before opening carefully upside down, over a glass in the sink, to catch the foam, and slowly release the content into your glass. Be safe! 😉

DO NOT SHAKE your finished mead bottles! The sediment is yeast and is best left alone.

Enjoy and don’t worry! Have a home brew!

Happy without mead

KimChi – more than pepped-up Sauerkraut!

Here is another stunning fermented vegetable recipe. I am pleased to announce it is purely plant-based, so no fish sauce or other ingredients of dubious origin have been used 🙂

KimChiAt first I was concerned that all the spicy ingredients, which are natural anti-biotics would stunt the fermentation process. And yes, it slows the fermentation down a wee bit but not too much – if you leave it out at room temperature like sauerkraut. The batch in the picture above and to the left was made like  sauerkraut and worked out perfectly.

You have the option though to make the KimChi without adding the spicy chili paste to it initially. Let the vegetable mix ferment in peace first and store the chili paste in a thick-walled glass jar (it might burn holes in any fragile vessel *Twinkle*) Once the fermentation has stopped – after 3-4 days, add the chili paste to taste.
The chili paste can be kept indefinitely in the fridge.

Here comes the recipe. It is the shortened form of a very thorough description I found years ago on this website: www.treelight.com/health/nutrition/UltimateKimchi.html

KimChi
Makes 3-4l of KimChi

Vegetables

  • 1 head cabbage, shredded finely
  • 3 carrots, shredded
  • 2 cucumbers or zucchini, shredded
  • 3 heads broccoli, shredded
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 2 small oranges, juiced
  • 2 t sea salt (more if needed)
  • 1T Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ¼ c Sesame seeds
Chili Paste

  • 3.5 red onions
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 small hand ginger
  • 4 soft flesh pieces of preserved lemons, optional
  • 2T Apple Cider Vinegar
  • fresh or frozen chilies, amount according to desired heat
  • ½ t natural sea salt
  • 1T toasted sesame oil, to cover the finished product when storing in a glass jar
  1. Prepare the vegetables by massaging with sea salt like Sauerkraut. Add diced apple, orange juice, sesame seeds and Apple Cider Vinegar and mix well.
  2. Prepare chili paste in a blender and balance flavours. Keep the toasted sesame oil aside for later!
  3. Now mix some of the chili paste with the vegetable mixture and massage with your hands. Test flavour and add more if desired. Keep left over chili paste in a glass jar. Cover top with a layer of toasted sesame oil to prevent oxidization and store in fridge.
  4. This Kimchi can be eaten immediately. Stored in the fridge in a sealed glass jar it will develop a stronger flavour over time and even ferment. Alternatively weigh the top down as when making Sauerkraut (cover top with plastic bag to keep the bugs out!) and leave it sitting in a bowl to catch any bubbling liquids that might escape the jar (see picture below!) on your kitchen counter or in your hot water closet for a week or so. Then take the weight and cover off. Seal the jar with a lid and transfer to fridge.

KimChi bowlAlternatively ferment Kimchi vegetables first, like in the Sauerkraut recipe. After 3-4 days you can add the chili paste and transfer the jar into your fridge.

What else can I say but:
‘Best of Success!’

René
🙂

Turmeric, Cauliflower and Carrot Brine Pickles

Have you ever wondered how those delicious pickled cucumbers or vegies were made when you grew up? I certainly did.
If you happen to ask any chef about pickles, they will highly likely start talking about vinegar, sugar etc. The art of preserving and enhancing vegetables with a salt brine, creating a lactic fermentation process is almost forgotten.

Large jar

Thank Heavens and himself for Sandor Ellix Katz’ book: ‘Wild Fermentation’!!! It reconnected me with more than one traditional way of preserving and enhancing food.

These brine pickles have become an absolute staple in our kitchen. And here we go:

Cauliflower and Turmeric Brine Pickle
adapted from Sandor Ellix Katz’ recipe for Sour Pickles
Time frame 1 – 4 weeks
Will make enough to fill a 4.5l jar/crock pot.

  • 2-3 heads of organic cauliflower, cut to small florets, stalks peeled and diced
  • 1kg organic carrots, sliced into thin ‘coins’
  • 500g fresh turmeric.
  • 3-5 heads of garlic, peeled, cloves cut in half
  • ½ t Grape tannin powder (home brewing supply shops). Or a handful fresh grape-, cherry-, oak-, and/or horseradish leaves (if available).
  • 20+ black peppercorns
  • 1T black mustard seeds
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs of curry leaves, optional
  • 6 T sea salt and 2 liters filtered water (keep ratio to 3T salt/liter of water, if more liquid is required!)
  • 2-3 cabbage leaves, outer
  1. Chop cauliflower into small florets. Peel the stems and dice. Using a mandolin, grate/cut Turmeric into small matchsticks.
  2. In a large bowl mix all the vegetables, turmeric and garlic. Keep a few cloves of garlic aside to put on top of the finished crock. Keep cabbage leaves aside.
  3. Dissolve the sea salt (6T/90ml) in 2 liters of water to create a brine solution. Stir until salt is thoroughly dissolved.
    This concentration works well in most applications: 3T sea salt/1 liter water
  4. Clean the crock, then place at the bottom of it some of the mustard seeds, fresh grape leaves and a pinch of black peppercorns.
  5. Place the mixed vegetables in the crock. Disperse some more of the black mustard seeds, bay leaves and black pepper throughout. Finish with the remaining garlic cloves on the top.
  6. Pour brine over the vegetables. Fill the jar/crock almost to the top. Put folded cabbage leaves on the very top of the mix and press down. The cabbage leaves should be partially covered by the brine. Now put lid in place and close the crock/jar.
    Cabbage leaves on top
    The jar in the picture has been fermenting for a week or so. You can see that some of the brine has been forced out by the fermentation. You can top that up with fresh brine (3T sea salt/liter of water)
  7. If the crock pot does not have a tight fitting lid or you are using a traditional Sauerkraut crock pot, place a clean plate over the vegetables  then weigh it down with a jug filled with water or a boiled rock. If the brine doesn’t cover the weighed-down plate, add more brine mixed at the same ratio of just under 1 T sea salt to each cup of water.
  8. Cover the crock with a cloth to keep out dust and flies and store it in a cool place.
  9. Check the crock every day. Skim any mold from the surface, but don’t worry if you can’t get it all. If there’s mold, be sure to rinse the plate and weight. Taste the pickles after a few days.

10. Enjoy the pickles as they continue to ferment. Continue to check the crock/jar every day.

11. Eventually, after one to four weeks (depending on the temperature), the pickles will be fully sour. Continue to enjoy them, moving them to the fridge to slow down fermentation.

The same recipe works to create different colours, e.g. with zucchini (add tannin to keep crisp!!!), beetroot, carrots and garlic. This will be a deep purple pickle! Experiment with greens too! Silver beet pickles beautifully!

Purple Pickles

Feel free to play with other spices too! Ginger, coriander seeds, juniper berries etc.

Cauliflower Turmeric

This one was made at the last Raw Chef Training Level 1 http://wp.me/P1RysK-5F

I find it not necessary to weigh down the top of the pickles etc.. It is usually fine to fill the jar to the top with vegies and brine and then just seal the lid, put the jar into a bowl to ferment – to catch the brine that gets squeezed out during fermentation.

For metal lids I use a double sheet of cling film over the top of the jar before putting on the lid. That prevents the salt brine from corroding the lid.

Pickles

Enjoy your pickles as a side dish, vegetable part of your meal or a yummy snack between meals!

René
🙂

PS: Yes, we’ll make these kind of pickles at the Raw Chef Trainings, Level 1.

Kombucha 101

A great blog post on Kombucha and its benefits! Sure you’ll enjoy the read as much as I did.
Rene
🙂

How would you feel if someone told you to drink this:

Welcome to the wonderful, yet sometimes frightening world, of Kombucha.

What exactly IS Kombucha?!?!  Well, according to Synergy, a leading manufacturer…

Kombucha is alternately known as a Chinese tea, a plant, or a mushroom. But it’s not really any of these. It’s a living culture of beneficial microorganisms, and in Kombucha’s case, the whole is infinitely greater than the sum of its parts! Our Kombucha is delicately cultured – some liken it to fermentation – for 30 days. During this period, essential nutrients form like active enzymes, viable probiotics, amino acids, antioxidants and polyphenols. All of these combine to create an elixir that immediately works with the body to restore balance and vitality. Kombucha has been used for hundreds of years throughout the world as a daily health tonic. The culture resembles a light brown, tough, gelatinous disk—and because…

View original post 431 more words

Grain-free Almond Bread recipe – GAPS

Here is my latest creation, still warm and fresh from the oven: a sweet almond bread that follows the guidelines of the ‘Gut and Psychology Syndrome’ nutritional program.

Freshly baked Almond Bread

I am thrilled about the healing potential of this approach: Autism, Dyslexia, ADD, ADHD, Bi-Polar, Leaky Gut, Auto-immune conditions etc.. Please read up for yourself on Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s website: www.gaps.me!

Lydia and I have been experimenting lately with all kinds of fermented raw milk products, like Kefir, Yoghurt, Sour Cream and Viili. With a steady supply of local grass-fed raw buffalo milk and cream (check out the picture below!) and organic jersey cow cream. A true joy!

Stocks and Broth from different organic sources and game have become another staple in our diet. So much that I will be teaching a half-day workshop on it in Mahurangi West on September 29th, 2012. Check out the details here. If you or one of your family members falls into the GAPS symptom category go ahead and book you space by contacting us here or directly on our Events page.

A bowl of Broth

Yet here is the recipe for the ultimate pleasing sweet almond bread for anyone (your kids included) on the GAPS nutritional program. Please check the allowed foods for the phase you are currently in!

Almond Bread sliced

Sweet Almond Banana Bread

  • 750ml/3c organic almond flour
  • 1/4c homemade yoghurt (we use raw buffalo milk)
  • 3 eggs, from pastured hens or ducks
  • pinch of natural sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of raw organic honey, local is best!
  • 1/4t organic vanilla powder
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2T Kombucha, optional
  • 1T chia seeds
  1. Whisk the eggs. While whisking add the yoghurt, then the honey, vanilla powder, salt and kombucha.
  2. With a fork mash the bananas into the mixture.
  3. Now mix in the almond flour with a whisk or fork until the dough resembles the consistency of a porridge.
  4. Let sit for 30min to 1hour. Cover with a tea towel.
  5. Grease a bread tin with butter or coconut oil, line with baking paper and fill with the dough. Smooth the top with a spoon or rubber spatula and sprinkle with the chia seeds.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 150°C, then bake the almond bread on one of the low rails for 1 hour at 150°C. To check if the bread is finished baking, poke a wooden skewer into the middle of the bread. No dough should stick on it when you pull it out.
  7. Let the bread cool down in the tin, then lift out and carefully remove the paper. Let it sit upside down on a rack to allow excess moisture to evaporate.
  8. Keep wrapped in a cotton towel, so the bread can breathe.
  9. Enjoy with buffalo cream! 😉

Thick Buffalo Cream!!!

Water Kefir – explosive life force in a bottle

Here is the latest addition to my fermented product offerings. I’m still experimenting with certain variations. So take the recipes here as a launching pad. Should you require water kefir crystals/grains to get started please get in touch here. I just received an e-mail from Darlene in the Sacramento, CA area offering to ship live water kefir grains. Anyone on her continent I’m happy to put you in touch for a supply. She will send them all over America.

Water kefir crystals - surplus

A quick word about sugar based ferments (Water Kefir and Kombucha) – not approved by anyone but common sense. As good as these beverages are in boosting our intestinal happiness and gut flora, they are based on the fermentation of sugar and create not only a rich pro-biotic tonic. The liquid will also contain sugars and a small amount of alcohol. Dealing with certain dis-eases like cancer, sugar and alcohol are two of the least things you want to consume. Cancer cells feed on sugar!!!

I am not a dietitian or badge-wearing nutritionist, use your discerning mind and understanding here. And by all means listen to well-informed people like this one: Jerry Brunetti! Other easy fermented foods without the use of sugar are Sauerkraut, raw milk yoghurt (get in touch for raw milk sources in Auckland, NZ!), milk kefir, cabbage rejuvelac, brined pickles etc.

Attend my ‘Fermented Foods’ workshops or pay Sandor Ellix Katz a visit and buy his book ‘Wild Fermentation’!

Water kefir linup

f.l.t.r.: bottled water kefir, sauerkraut, Kombucha, water kefir – fermenting (dried mango slices)

So here we go:

Water Kefir

  • 9 T kefir crystals
  • 4 T of golden raw organic sugar
  • 1 lemon, cut in half
  • 1 dried fig or two dried organic apricots
  • 1 sea shell
  • Enough cold drinking water to fill the jar
  1. Place all ingredients in a 1.5 liter glass jar. Leave on the bench for 24 hours.
  2. Strain off the fermented water kefir into bottles and leave on the bench for another 24 hours to mature. Serve chilled.
  3. Replace the lemon halves with fresh ones. After 2-3 days/cycles replace the fig/apricots. Add new sugar and water for the next cycle.
Water Kefir jar

you can see the lemon, pineapple slices, vanilla pod, sea shell…

Here is another recipe from my fellow ‘fermentationista’ Lee:

Water Kefir the Lee-way

  • 1 cup boiled water (to dissolve the sugar, molasses and baking soda)
  • 1/2 C organic sugar
  • 1 tsp organic black strap molasses
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
    Mix together to dissolve.
  • 5 cups cold water (we’re on tank water)
  • 1/2 C water kefir grains
  • Slice of lemon (I remove the peel because I can’t find organic lemons yet)
  • 100 grms (or to taste) fresh ginger sliced.

I left it ferment for about 2.5 days before bottling it and the grains have now doubled!

Notes:
I must admit that it’s not my original recipe. I did make adjustments.

It originally said a couple of dried figs but I’m not keen on dried fruit. Also a piece of eggshell, which I omitted because it is for minerals but we’re on tank water so I thought that should be enough.
LOL, also it said 1/3 – 1/2 Cups sugar but I’ve done 1/2 each time. It really does seem to be a good recipe for growing them.”
End of Quote.

Feel free to experiment further. Lee’s cultures definitely proliferate quicker. I had a phase when I added exhausted vanilla beans from vanilla essence bottles to the mix, and dried pineapple slices and replace the sugar with my home-made quince and guava syrup (see pictures!) The resulting flavour was marvelous yet the little crystals did not thrive.

Water Kefir

A last word to the packaging. This is where the heading of this post originates from. It seems to be necessary to refrigerate the finished product. I’m normally using bail-top bottles for water kefir. They usually allow you 3 seconds to pour the drink before the liquid starts foaming up and rushes out the bottle neck. We lately had several bottles which had rested at room temperature for longer than a day. These did not allow ANY time to pour the liquid. Once we flipped the lid, the surrounding area – us included – was dripping wet with water kefir. Very Funny! 😉

Water Kefir bottles

So be careful when opening your bottles or do not close them tightly in the first place. The remaining sugar is still being transformed into carbon dioxide and alcohol. A safe way of handling the problem can be old fashioned corks from emptied wine bottles. They will blow off when the pressure in the bottle increases. Still no guarantee against water kefir showers 😉

Good Luck and have FUN!!!

René
😉

Water kefir linup

Fermented Foods – nourishing traditions re-discovered

[Please be aware that this is an old post from 2012 in preparation for one of my still very popular ‘Traditional Cultured Foods’ workshops!]

Have you ever pondered the miracle of digestion?

How is it that we can eat certain foods and in a matter of, literally, seconds we feel a surge of energy? While at other times we eat things for comfort yet we feel horrible shortly after.

How come?

You have probably heard the term ‘gut flora’ before. Did you know that our intestinal tract, where most of the digestion and assimilation of food happens, contains Trillions of micro-organisms? These little critters outnumber our human body cells by a factor of 10! Means 90% of the cells and the genetic material we contain in our body is our gut flora!!!

In an ideal world our bodies live in perfect symbiosis with these friendly micro-organisms. They even take charge of the health of our gut lining and the cells it consists of. While we in return are supposed to provide a healthy nourishing living environment for them.

So where shall we look first to improve our state of health and wellbeing?

Right! Our GUT FLORA 🙂

Unfortunately most of us have a less than optimal cultural mix in our digestive tract. Many environmental factors, the contraceptive pill, anti-biotics, alcohol, stress, etc. can devastate the healthy and beneficial bacteria in our gut. This opportunity is used by toxic and foreign bacteria to populate our gut. That means the percentage of beneficial bacteria can drop dramatically with severe health implications. For a more complete explanation please inform yourself on Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride’s website, her books on  GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) and many youtube videos.

Fermented foods variety

One key factor in one’s nutrition on the way to restored wellbeing is Fermented Foods. Our ancestor’s diet consisted of a variety of fermented foods and beverages. Through the commercialisation of the world’s ‘food’ supply many of these traditional fermented foods are not any longer part of everybody’s diet. Fermenting food was a prime way of preserving food and simultaneously increased its digestibility and nutritional profile. That’s how our symbiotic relationship with our beneficial gut flora evolved. We are meant to consume fermented foods on a regular basis!

A glass of Kombucha

Kombucha with Curry Cashews

The Weston A. Price Foundation is doing excellent work in educating the public about this important factor in our nutrition. And so am I 🙂

We have secured the beautiful Mahurangi West Hall as our regular venue for one-day workshops and raw food chef trainings. It is a historical building, in the most scenic setting, newly renovated with all the creature comforts (including our dear, yet superfluous dishwasher).

Mahurangi West Hall

So what’s on the menu? Shortened as of today, 18.8.2012!

  • Sauerkraut, of course!
  • Coconut yoghurt
  • Sour Beets and other fermented vegetable

    Sour Beets

    Sour Beets

  • Kim Chi
  • Natto
  • Kombucha

    A glass of Kombucha

    Kombucha

  • Water kefir

    Water Kefir

    Water Kefir

  • Kefir (dairy) and yoghurt from organic milk
  • wild-fermented sourdough

    Sourdough

    Sourdough

  • Gundru from Nepal/Tibet

    Gundru

    Gundru

  • Cider
  • Chinese Pickles
  • Japanese Nuka Bran Pickles
  • Quinoa Chicha
  • and more… What is crossed out we’ll deal with in future workshops!

This will be a very interactive workshop, balancing demo with hands-on preparation. You will take home the absolute confidence that fermented foods are easy to make and can be a regular staple in your diet.
As always, samples of all our organic food and the full recipe booklet is included. We will have a late lunch at the end of the workshop sampling our creations.

The workshop starts at 10am. We will be finished by 3pm.
That will give you enough time in the morning to visit the Matakana Market and get your knives sharpened there by Mike. 🙂

To ensure a very private atmosphere and an optimal learning environment this class is limited to only 12 students.
We are receiving bookings already. This workshop is going to be sold out shortly.

Your investment is $300+gst for the half day, including an organic lunch and samples as well as the comprehensive recipe booklet.

For bookings please refer to our Event Calendar page.

Bookings are essential for this workshop! Your payment confirms your booking. Due to the high demand and limited space we are not able to hold spaces which are not paid for in advance.

Feel free to get in touch with questions and booking requests here.

OK, I’ll better get back to all those bubbling vessels in our kitchen and hot water cupboard 😉 This is the most Fun I have had in preparing a workshop. I’m determined to pass that Joy on to you!

See you on August 25th for a nourishing Fermented Foods workshop!

Much Love,
René
🙂

Water Kefir, Kombucha, Curry Cashews

Fermented Foods – a pro-biotic feast!

Ever wondered how to keep your immune system and your digestion happy and powerful at the same time?

Here is your answer: Pro-biotic cultures in your food.

They come in many delicious disguises like: Kombucha, Sauerkraut, KimChi, Coconut Yoghurt, Cabbage Rejuvelac, Natto, nut cheeses and a few others.

A glowingly vibrant cabbage

And here is the good news! We’ll be teaching a raw food demo class about and with these friendly little helpers on Thursday, April 26th, 2012.

The demo will mainly deal with the preparation, cultivation, care and culinary use of the first five in the list above – and we will easily fill 2.5 hours with doing that 🙂

This class will give you the knowledge, tools and techniques to maintain high levels of natural pro-biotic cultures in your diet. While supporting your overall well-being it will simultaneously add a whole new dimension to your culinary repertoire.

Mark this date in your calendar and book your space today!

Thursday, April 26th, 7 – 9.30pm,
Wise Cicada Cafe, 23 Crowhurst Street, Newmarket
Auckland, New Zealand

Investment: $60 – including all samples and comprehensive recipe booklet
Our demo classes are limited to 20 students only.
Bookings are essential!

Reserve your place today by contacting us here!
…or by ringing René on 027 555 1622.

See you there or before!

René

🙂

PS: We will have both cultures and finished products for sale at the class.