sourdough starter

This is the 29th post to the 30 ways with kombucha in 30 days that I have decided to take up for the month of September. You may read more about the ‘challenge’ I gave myself here. 

You can check out Yvonne’s recipe on Day 27: Making Jello with Kombucha & Day 28: Kombucha Gummies in our Worldwide Share Group for cultures event.  If you’re not in our group, just ask to join and we’ll promptly add you.

After 2 rounds of suspected gluten sensitivity, I’ve been mostly buying gluten free products. I’ve stopped buying bread for almost a year now. Although we occasionally eat bread products outside, but I only take it in very small amounts. Bread is like my entire childhood. I ate it every day before school. I have a very strong attachment to it, and I miss the crisp crust and soft chewy center.

Bread can be so flexible. A simple snack with just nut butter and jelly, or a complete meal like the Vietnamese Banh Mi (one of my favourites). I really enjoy making things from scratch and was baking my own bread for almost the whole year. But after finding out about the possibility of gluten sensitivity. I cut down on baking and mostly do gluten free flours and products now.

Credits: © N. Saum, n.saum@yahoo.com.mx

 

The thing about baking gluten free is the need for a crazy range of different flours and powders to create the effect we want similar to shelf stable bread that we get from the supermarkets. A cup of this flour, 2 tbsp of that, and another 1 tsp of gum, plus 3 tbsp of another kind of flour. The costs for each bag of flour really does add up and really, its not for the frugal homes.

I came across a couple of research articles recently, which says that gluten sensitive people may be able take sourdough bread that has fermented for a longer time and the protein may have been broken down.

According to this article from Natural News:

The key is a long fermentation process – up to a month with bakers like Jack Bezian. When bread is leavened naturally with lactobacilli, it transforms wheat flour into a nutrient-rich edible which is abundant in vitamins B, C and E, bioavailable protein, fatty acids and minerals. With true sourdough, bone and tooth destroying phytates are minimized as well.

This piqued my curiosity, and since my cravings are back, I decided to try making a starter from scratch. Feed it, and let it grow, while experimenting with recipes and seeing how my stomach would react to it. If this goes well, I’ll be a happy loaf baker once again. 😉

Yeast is essential in bread baking. It is what helps the dough to rise, giving it the little air pockets that gives the bread the fluffy texture that we love. Yeast is also a by product created during fermentation. By combining both, kombucha is a great way for us to begin a sourdough starter in our home. By using kombucha instead of water, we have already provided the starter with the beneficial bacteria to start the fermentation process, while also providing the yeast to start the growth.

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Sourdough bread that I used to bake weekly before I had gluten sensitivity

Having a sourdough starter in the kitchen is the perfect weapon to force one into baking more regularly.  Since the starter requires daily feeding, and you’ll be discarding quite a bit of the starter to get the yeast going. There are plenty of recipes on how to use the starters in different recipes so as to not let it go to waste if you’re not intending on making bread so often.

Here’s some inspiration of what to do with the ‘discarded’ sourdough starters.

I’m heeding all the warnings that sourdough can quickly takeover the home if we start with a bigger quantity or over feed it. I decided to start with a smaller quantity in my Quart mason jar so I can observe the growth daily before I start making sourdough in larger quantities. Its good to experiment in smaller quantities and observe which flours work best before proceeding onto the next steps.

I already have quite a few fermenting jars going in my home, and I don’t think my husband is ready to let fermenting take over our lives. He knows how much I enjoy it, and how it makes me feel better, but I’m sure he doesn’t appreciate how my jars are taking over the fridge, the counters, and….. ermm…. the televsion console too. Oops!

Let’s get to the recipe!

sourdough starter

I will be taking photos and posting the observation and progression of this starter over the next couple of days. So bookmark this link if you would like to see how its daily growth & photos.

 


 

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Clean carpets with kombucha vinegar

Day 14 & 15 combined: Kombucha Soap & Carpet Cleaner

This is the 14th & 15th post to the 30 ways with kombucha in 30 days that I have decided to take up for the month of September. You may read more about the ‘challenge’ I gave myself here. 

From time to time I will sharing some posts from other sites and other people as well. What started out as a challenge to push myself to find more ways to use kombucha has ended up using more kombucha in experimenting than drinking. I ended up tossing quite a good amount as a result of experiments hat came out bad. I feel so bad for the wastage. But its all for the good for experimenting and sharing what works and what don’t so others don’t have to go through it again.

Yesterday, Day 14 of the challenge, I saw an interesting post in one of the fermenting groups that I am part of online. A lady, Doreen, she made soap out of kombucha. It was a cold processed soap with kombucha, coconut oil, honey and oats. She shared the recipe in our fermenting group at  the Worldwide Share group. The recipe consist of kombucha, coconut oil, honey, oats. All known to be moisturizing and healing for the skin.

Check out her recipe here. Its a closed group, so you will need to be a member of the group to view it. Just click request to join, and I will approve it when I see it. If you do not have a starter culture, do join the group and let us know where you are. We have members all over the world, and we share worldwide, at the cost of postage. If you have specifics that you need or have questions that you’d like to ask, feel free to ask in the group, we are all very open to sharing our knowledge and our ‘culture’ is to share cultures. (pun intended!) :)


 

For today, Day 15 of the challenge, we use kombucha as a carpet cleaner.

Clean carpets with kombucha vinegar
Clean carpets with kombucha vinegar

This works best for fresh stains or spills when its still wet.

What you will need:

1 part Kombucha vinegar, strained to ensure no yeasty bits to clog spray

1 part Plain water

Spray bottle with mist setting

Plenty of towels

How to: 

1) Use a clean cloth/towel to blot out as much liquid as possible. Do not let it sit for too long as the color, stain, and odor may start seeping in.

2) Apply a firm pressure over the towel to absorb as much liquid as possible. Do not rub at the spot as it will spread the stain other areas.

3) Once you get the stain as dry as possible, mist the vinegar  generously over the spot. Let it soak in for 5 to 10 mins.

4) Using clean towels, soak up the vinegar. A little elbow grease needed here! If its a tough stain, rub or scrub, and apply pressure as needed.

5) Again, get as much liquid out as possible, and allow it to dry. The vinegar smell will go away as the liquid dries off.

Be careful with white carpets or clothes, as kombucha is made of tea and may leave a slight yellow stain. If needed, after blotting up kombucha, spray water generously and blot dry again.

Note: If you have a steam cleaner, even better, this can be used in the steam cleaner with 2 parts kombucha to 10 parts water.


 

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Previous articles in the challenge: 

Day 1: All Purpose Spray

Day 2: Soak Produce to Remove Dirt & Bugs

Day 3: Kombucha Coleslaw

Day 4: Hair Rinse

Day 5: Facial Toner 

Day 6: Fermenter’s Overnight Oats

Day 7: All Natural Shower Cleaner

Day 8: Kombucha Vinaigrette

Day 9: Remove the smell our of food jars

Day 10: Using Kombucha to Marinate meats

Day 11: Clean your shower head

Day 12: Make the fluffiest cake

Day 13: Laundry refresher

 

 

probiotic colesale

This is the 3rd post to the 30 ways with kombucha in 30 days that I have decided to take up for the month of September.

Today’s post is going to come in a form of a recipe. I love making stuff from scratch and knowing exactly what goes into my food. As with this month’s theme, if you’re having an excess of kombucha, or are just interested to find ways on how to incorporate more probiotics into your diet, this post is absolutely for you.

probiotic colesale
Kombucha coleslaw

I love working on this ‘challenge’ because its making me push the boundaries of the usual routine. Kombucha is something we all know of as a drink. While working on this, I was wondered whether I would be able to find 30 uses for it. I didn’t want to share something that doesn’t work. I have to research well and push myself to experiment to get out the best recipes to share.

In many ways you will find many similarities between Apple Cider Vinegar and Kombucha. Previously, I usually see a recipe that calls for ACV and I head out to get a bottle. We tend to forget what we are brewing is also a vinegar if left to brew for a longer duration. Their properties, benefits, and what they do for the body is very similar.

Throughout this 30 posts, you will see many ideas that are used for Apple Cider Vinegar here. I was very skeptical whether kombucha would be up to par with what ACV can do, thus all the testing and experimenting. Feel free to swap kombucha with ACV or Jun, whichever you have excess of. Do remember to get Raw Apple Cider Vinegar though, for the probiotic properties.

Also, with this recipe, I intentionally used the vegetables in those quantities. I wanted to have some leftovers. I needed to! I’m sure many of you may have guessed it…To make SAUERKRAUT. This hobby is an addiction…. if you have enough space and glass jars to last you though all the variations.

purple cabbage sauerkraut
Tri Colour Sauerkraut

You can get my recipe for sauerkraut here.

I forgot to set aside a cabbage leaf to weight the sauerkraut down, so I’m using spinach leaves instead. Weighed it all down with a saucer and a lemon to hold the saucer down through the fermenting process. It is recommended to fill to the neck of the jar, but silly me ran out of cabbages again. Used too much on the coleslaw. Sigh. But the coleslaw was good too! No complaints!

For this sauerkraut, I added more salt. Hopefully it will keep the cabbage crunchier. Also, I added 1 tsp of coriander seeds and 1 tsp of juniper seeds.  A friend of mine, Gillian, recommended it. Can’t wait t0 try it!

2 recipe ideas in 1 post! You guys must be feeling lucky today! :)

Have you tried purple cabbage? Do you have your own kombucha coleslaw recipe? Share it with us via the comments below.

If you enjoyed reading, follow us on Facebook for updates: His Savvy Wife 

Day 1 post: Kombucha All Purpose Cleaner

Day 2 post: Using kombucha to clean your fresh produce. 

 

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I think many people do not make things from scratch because they are afraid of making it wrongly. A couple days back, my mum told me about drinking Lemon Honey and that she heard the benefits but she doesn’t know how to do it. She says she loves to drink some and her current supply, which she bought in a concentrated pre-made tube is finishing.

Many people may see my recipe as “So simple, don’t know why its even considered a recipe at all.” Sometimes I look at what I put up here, and in many ways, I feel embarrassed that its so simple, why do I even need to share it. You’d think all these are common sense, that everyone should already know how to do it.

But in this instance, no. Many people may match 2+2 =4. But there will always be doubters and because they are unsure, they would check it again with the calculator or even ask a friend. Then confirm the answer. Then there are others who’d rather buy from the store just for the convenience. So in every way, I try to keep the recipes as simple as possible here. Spending the least amount of time & ingredients, to recreate my favorite foods.

Why cannot just buy from store?

1) When you prepare your own food. You appreciate it more. You enjoy it and want to share it with someone.

2) You know exactly what went into it. Maybe I’m paranoid with ingredients. But do we really need MSG for yummy food? Or those preservatives just to keep the food for 2 years more, when I’m about to eat it tonight?

Many times, due to the fact that companies are trying to preserve food to give them a longer shelf life, is the very reason why we are suffering from food allergies. By making from scratch and cooking at home, we are enjoying food as close to the purest form as possible. The RAW diet is of course enjoying food in the purest form. I still cook my food. So not pure,  but you get the idea. :)

Again, what good is a recipe, if it looks so beautiful and so complicated that no one attempts them? 

I go through tubs of honey at home with all the food I have ongoing. I use approximately 1kg honey per week. I finished this tub while making this recipe, and not wanting to waste the remaining honey, I dumped in 2 green tea bags and pop the tub into the fridge. Take a look at my Quick & Easy Ice Tea recipe and you’ll see why. Enjoyed a nice honey green tea the next day. :)

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Honey Green Tea

Being the fermentation enthusiast that I am, I made a jar of lemon honey for my mum and encouraged her to allow fermentation to take place before enjoying it.

For a thirst quencher during hot weather, stir a tablespoon or 2 of it into room temperature water. Do note that when you add honey to ice cold water, it tends to solidify and you will find it very hard to mix into your drink. Hot water kills all the good enzymes present in raw honey. Use room to slightly warm temperature to allow it to mix well first. Then add ice if you prefer.

Or if you start to feel an itchy throat coming up, a tablespoon of the honey will help bring a little relief.

Lemons are a good source of Vitamin C, alkalizing, and great for detoxing.

Honey is anti microbial and anti fungal. Great for skin, and indigestion. And it tastes so good!

I don’t know why would anyone not like to eat honey. That’s my sweet tooth talking.

There’s just so many ways to use this. The combinations are endless.

Again, take this as the most basic recipe, and add your own combinations!

Please share in the comments if you have one that you like.

Fermenting Superstitions

So I called up my Mom and we were talking about fermenting and the Asian traditions. I was telling her about how I’ve started my current veggie ferments and that my kombucha is on its way. Apparently, these stuff has some superstitions to it. Or like what Singaporeans say, ‘Pantang’.

I’m not too sure where these ideas originated, but she told me I cannot start a new batch when I am having my period. It will spoil the brew and I will have to throw it away. Its said that when you start a batch, as you mix the ingredients, you have to be clear and pure. It seems that many Asian cultures believe that when a woman is at that time of the month, she is ‘dirty’ or not pure. For eg, women are not supposed to enter places of worship during their periods, because the blood flowing out is dirty and she is suppose to let her body cleanse herself before she can enter the sacred places.

She also told me that the elderly women do better ferments because they are going into their menopause. I always knew the older folks do better ferments, but I always thought it was due to experience and knowledge in whatever they were doing!

Personally, I believe in happy & positive thoughts when brewing, creates a good booch. The law of attraction, right?  Talking and encouraging your cultures, may sometimes help too. I’m guilty of both! And I don’t think I’m the only one. I don’t think anybody would understand it unless they are fermenters themselves. Our cultures are like our pets. We look after them, we feed them, they grow, and return us with good health. We give them pet names, buy them good ‘homes’,  lovely glass jars & crockpots and watch them grow.

Fermenters! If you are reading this… Do you know of any other superstitions with regards to fermenting? What are some of the things you do that are considered ‘superstitious’ when you are starting a new batch? I’d love to know, please drop me a message or comment below.

Stay happy & keep brewing!

Sauerkraut updates

Some updates on my sauerkraut experiment.

On day 2

It started bubbling and the sauerkraut heaved (rised) to the top of the jar, I had to use a clean spoon and pressed everything down back to under the brine again.

Back into the cabinet again.

On day 3:

Again, there’s bubbles forming in the sauerkraut and it went all the way up to the top of the jar.

Pressed it down with a clean spoon and back into the cabinet.

On day 4:

Again, I needed to press it down.

But when I opened the bottle, and took a sniff of it, it had kind of a strong odor.

I got a little worried and decided to do a taste test.

Oh my, that fizz, that tangy bite.

It tasted like a sour-ish coleslaw and I decided to fridge it at that point.

I’m guessing  that the heat in Singapore may have helped them ferment quicker than how it would in other countries.

Slightly lower temperatures are always preferred but I don’t quite have a choice in Singapore being warm all the time.

I’ll have to see how it goes in the year end when its supposed to be cooler.

It does continue fermenting in the fridge at a very slow pace. So it may get a wee bit more sour over time.

I have been taking a heaping tablespoon (sometimes 2!) of sauerkraut every meal with my rice, noodles and such. Its almost like a side dish or like pickles that you would eat with your japanese/korean meals. I can’t believe how something so beneficial can taste so good! Be warned though, the smell can be kind of put you off in the beginning. Just go for it, trust me. Had it not been for my friend, Ginger, encouraging me all the way, I would have chickened out again this time. I threw away my first batch for the same reason.

Not anymore. And I’m probably going to do up new variations now.

Loving it! Click here to get the recipe.

Have you done sauerkraut before? Did you like it?

IMG_7152

IMG_7152 My 2nd attempt. The first attempt months back, did not go too well. I avoided it since. However, if you’re like me, going through an probiotic drought, and missing out on the goodness from fermented foods, this is probably the best way to start again. I had an active kitchen back in the States. By active, I meant cultures of sorts all over the kitchen. I had starters, scoby hotels, and all that goodies brewing in all corners & all counters of available space. I was consuming them, my health was getting better each day. My friends said I was running on batteries. I was full of energy and my mind was clear as day. Coming back to Singapore, my work consumed me. I had a cultured disaster. Or call it a culture apocalypse.  Mold took over my counters and I had to throw out every living bacteria I had in the kitchen. With nothing left and waiting for someone to send me new starters, my health didn’t get too well either. No, I’m not sick. Its just the energy levels felt low, and I go through a brain fog, once in awhile. A friend from my online fermenting groups suggested that I tried Sauerkraut. ( Thanks Ginger! ) Made from cabbages & salt, and given a little time, this lacto-fermented vegetables has proven to bring many health benefits, including:

  • Fiber from vegetables
  • loaded with Vitamin C & K
  • energy booster
  • strengthens immune system
  • live probiotics

The benefits of live probiotics is endless. There has been so much buzz in the natural/alternative health communities about taking the these products and enjoying the health benefits of it. I will share more on my research and experimentation on  that later on. But for beginners to the world of natural health, please try this with me. You need nothing more than a jar, salt, and cabbages. Simple & Nutritious. Exactly what I need in my life now. I’ll update here as the days goes so you can see the process with me. After 24 hours: Lots of bubbles. Cabbages rose abit to the surface and I pushed it down again. We want to keep them under the water level.

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