So I wish I could say that my sourdough bread is on point now but, unfortunately not so. That being said I do think that I have figured out a formula for my next batch. I recently heard that it takes making sourdough 10 times to get into the rhythm. I am pretty determined but did get a little defeated last bake so I took a little break and am ready to get back at it, this week actually.
I have had much better success with my sauerkraut. I am working on my 3rd batch and I am happy to report that my honey has been asking for more. So basically I am having to have it on rotation at all times. This time I am making it with purple cabbage which turns out to be a super cool fluorescent pink. I just love how very easy and yummy sauerkraut is!
I followed the simple recipe from my little book "Wild Fermentation" by Sandor Ellix Katz which you can find here: www.wildfermentation.com
Ingredients for one gallon:
Cabbage (approximately 5 pounds)
Sea salt (approximately 3 tablespoons)
Ceramic crock or food-grade plastic bucket. Cylindrical shape is what your looking for.
Plate that fits inside crock or bucket.
One gallon jug filled with water.
Chop or grate cabbage, finely is what i've found works best, with or without hearts, however you like it. I love the purple cabbage as it turns into bright pink kraut.
Sprinkle salt on the cabbage as you chop it. The salt makes the cabbage sweat, and this creates the brine (salty water) in which the cabbage can ferment and sour without rotting. Do not use iodized salt because iodine inhibits bacterial action.
Three tablespoons of salt is a rough average. According to the food scientists, the sauerkraut process works best in 2-3 percent brine solution. I never measure the salt, I just shake some on after I chop up each quarter cabbage. I use more salt, in the summer, less in the winter. It is possible to make krautwithoutsalt, using ground kelp and other sea vegetables instead.
Add other vegetables (onions, garlic, other greens, brussel sprouts, small whole heads of cabbage, whatever) and herbs and spices (caraway seeds, dill seeds, anything) as you like. Experiment.
Mix ingredients together and pack into crock/bucket.
Pack just a bit into the crock at a time and tamp it down hard using your fists or a bean masher. The tamping packs the kraut tight in the bucket and helps force water to of the cabbage.
Cover kraut with a plate or some other lid that fits snugly inside the bucket. Place a clean weight, like a gallon jug filled with water on the cover. This weight is what will keep the cabbage submerged in the brine. Cover the whole thing with a cloth or pillow case to keep dust and flies out.
Press down on the weight periodically until the brine rises above the cover. This can take a while, as the salt slowly draws water out of the cabbage. Some cabbage, particularly if it is old, simply contains less water. If for some reason the brine doesn't rise above the plate level by the next day, add enough salt water to bring the brine level above the plate.
Check the kraut after a few days. If any moldy scum appears on the surface, scraps it away. Taste the kraut. It should start to be tangy after a few days, and the taste gets stronger as time passes. The process is faster in summer, slower in winter.
Scoop out a bowlful at a time and keep it in the fridge. Each time you scoop out some kraut out of the bucket, you have to repack it carefully. Make sure the kraut is packed tight in the bucket, the surface is level, and the cover and weight are clean. Sometimes brine evaporates, so if the kraut is not submerged below brine just add salted water as necessary.
Develop a rhythm
Start a new batch before the previous batch runs out, especially if you have a partner who is loving it and eating it by the bowlful. I take what remains in the bucket out, pack the bucket with fresh salted cabbage, then pour the old kraut and its juices over the new kraut. This gives the new batch a boost with an active culture starter.
I have also had great success with keeping my S.C.O.B.Y alive and having a rotation of kombucha going, for my last batch I added black cherry tea which added a really yummy flavor to the tea.
I hope you have enjoyed my sauerkraut and fermentation frenzy update and I hope you have success getting probiotics from home made sources.