Where’s the Baby? (the Kombucha baby)

Brewing Kombucha TeaI tried making kombucha years ago. I followed the directions to the letter and a baby (second) SCOBY never formed. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong and why my kombucha failed every time. Finally, I just gave up.

About a year ago, I decided to give it another try and I was determined to make it work this time. I checked it everyday, waiting for the baby to form. And . . . no baby. Grrr… What was I doing wrong and why couldn’t I make kombucha?!

I talked to a friend who was brewing successful kombucha by the gallons. I learned two things. First, a baby is not the determining factor in producing successful kombucha. What?! Do you mean that my kombucha was likely successful all along, but I was looking for a baby SCOBY as the predictor?! *sigh* I tasted my brew and it was delicious!

The second thing I learned is that forming a baby SCOBY is a very sensitive process. Even a bump can disrupt the formation. I had no idea! I started my next batch, put it up in the cupboard over the refrigerator and didn’t touch it at all — not once during the brew time. I also gave my husband strict instructions to STAY OUT of that cupboard.

Bonni

Bonni

Bonni started on the cultured foods path quite few years ago, beginning with sauerkraut. Since then, she has cultured yogurt, milk kefir, water kefir, kombucha, a variety of veggies, sour cream and gluten-free sourdough. She is a busy homeschool mom to her daughter, so is always looking for the most efficient and least time consuming ways to manage all of her culturing.

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Beyond Yogurt: Making Probiotic Mayonnaise

In my last post, I talked about making yogurt. We have 11 different kinds of yogurt here at Cultures for Health. Any one of them will work for these recipes. Did you know that you can do more with yogurt than just eat it? It’s true! I’m going to tell you how to make two things out of yogurt, using items you probably have in your kitchen right now. How cool is that?!

Would you like to make your own homemade, probiotic mayo? How about some delicious probiotic yogurt cheese? Did you know that it’s super simple? It is! Really!!

In order to make mayo, you first need to make yogurt cheese. It doesn’t get much easier than this. Take a half pint of yogurt (or more if you want more cheese), pour it into a tea towel, cheese cloth or something similar, tie it to a wooden spoon and hang it in a large glass measuring cup or mason jar to drip. Let it sit and drip (about 8 hours or longer for a dryer cheese). The whey will separate from the yogurt.

What you have left from this process is whey, that we will use in a moment, and yogurt cheese. You can flavor the cheese in a variety of ways. Simply add sea salt for a tasty cream cheese or add any type of herbs and spices for a delicious spreadable cheese. Eat it on crackers or fill a stalk of celery with it. Delish!!

Now on to the mayo. This is a bit more complicated, but don’t worry. It’s not that difficult. You have to remember one thing, and I can’t stress this enough, when it’s time to add the oil you must, must, must stream it in verrrrrrryyyyy sloooooowwwwwllllly.

Okay, here we go!

Ingredients

  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tsp organic Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 TBL lemon juice
  • 1 TBL liquid whey
  • 1 cup expeller pressed sunflower oil, light olive oil, macadamia nut oil or other light tasting oil
  • Large pinch of sea salt

Put all ingredients EXCEPT OIL into a blender or small food processor. I hear stick blenders work well, too. Turn on to combine ingredients, then ever so slowly (even slower than that) stream (drip) in oil and blend until thick. Leave this out on the counter to culture for 6-8 hours.

Now you can leave it plain or get creative by folding in herbs and spices. Try 1/3 tsp. cayenne pepper or dill or basil or cilantro or garlic or onion or hot sauce or curry powder or a combination…use your imagination.

There are times your mayo just doesn’t turn out thick. There are a variety of reasons and even when you’ve made perfect mayo 101 times, you can still have a batch that just doesn’t thicken. Have no fear what you’ve made is still completely usable! Add herbs and spices and maybe a little vinegar of choice for a delicious dressing.

Go ahead and give it a try! I know you’re gonna love it!!

Bonni

Bonni

Bonni started on the cultured foods path quite few years ago, beginning with sauerkraut. Since then, she has cultured yogurt, milk kefir, water kefir, kombucha, a variety of veggies, sour cream and gluten-free sourdough. She is a busy homeschool mom to her daughter, so is always looking for the most efficient and least time consuming ways to manage all of her culturing.

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Do You Like Yogurt?

Homemade YogurtI do. In fact, I like it quite a lot . . . sometimes. You see, I’m the kind of person who goes yogurt crazy for a week and then I’m done for a few weeks or a month, sometimes longer. I’m probably in the minority. You love yogurt all the time, right? Well, even so, keep reading. You might like what I have to share.

I prefer not to buy yogurt in the grocery store because I want to know where my ingredients come from. For the longest time I ignored my yogurt cravings, not wanting to maintain a mother culture.

When I started working for CFH a few months ago, I decided to try one of our direct-set yogurt cultures because it sounded like it would meet my needs. I could have yogurt occasionally and there is no mother culture to maintain! How cool is that?!

I read our informational page and watched the awesome video in preparation for yogurt making. Yes, I’ve made yogurt before, but if you’ve read my previous posts you know that I get nervous whenever I try anything different or new.

Everything was straightforward and simple! Heat the milk, cool the milk, mix in the culture. Then I poured it into four half-pint mason jars and put it into my Excalibur dehydrator at about 105º F, set my kitchen time and waited. I checked it at 6 hours and decided to go for the full seven. I removed it from the dehydrator when the time was up, put it in the fridge and waited.

That evening I decided to have a snack. Stirring the yogurt, I was impressed with the creaminess of it. This looked good. Then I tasted and all I can say is YUM. It was delicious. I had chosen our Mild Flavor Yogurt Culture and this was truly mild. It was so rich, creamy and mild I’ve been eating it plain. I’ve still got two half-pints left, but they’ll be gone soon. I think I’ll try the Traditional Flavor Yogurt Starter next time.

If any of you are like me, or if you’re a little nervous about making yogurt for the first time, why not give a direct-set culture a try!

Bonni

Bonni

Bonni started on the cultured foods path quite few years ago, beginning with sauerkraut. Since then, she has cultured yogurt, milk kefir, water kefir, kombucha, a variety of veggies, sour cream and gluten-free sourdough. She is a busy homeschool mom to her daughter, so is always looking for the most efficient and least time consuming ways to manage all of her culturing.

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Homemade Salad Dressing Recipes

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People tell me that I’m a good cook. My husband talks about how flavorful my foods are, but things weren’t always that way. I used to be a pretty basic cook. I found recipes with five ingredients or less and made those, following the recipe to the letter.

A couple years ago a shift happened. It came from watching cooking shows, reading recipes (mostly on the internet), watching other people when I was at their home, and experimenting with different ingredients and spices. Experimenting was a huge leap for me. That was probably the thing that changed my cooking most.

I had mixed up oil and vinegar for a salad, but I had never made a dressing and certainly not on a daily basis. I thought it was too much work to mix it up every time we had a salad, so I didn’t bother. One day, while at a friends with my daughter for a playdate, she was preparing a salad. She pulled out a salad bowl and started mixing up a homemade salad dressing. I watched her like a hawk, memorizing everything she did.

I took that process home in my head and decided to alter it and make it my own. Here is my process.

  • A few tablespoons (eyeball it) of extra virgin olive oil
  • A tablespoon or two of vinegar – I change this up all the time, using red wine vinegar, white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar or any vinegar I might have on hand and feel inspired to use.
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Herbs & spices: I choose herbs/spices based on what I’m making for dinner, selecting ones that either match or compliment the herbs/spices I’m using in the main dish. Try parsley, basil, oregano, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne, or anything that you think will work well. Get creative!
  • Then I add the secret ingredient . . . homemade, cultured sour cream. YUM. You can find the culture here. I drop in a dollop, probably about a teaspoon or two. This allows the oil and vinegar to combine and adds a wonderful flavor.

My husband raves about my dressing and thinks it’s about the best ever. He makes a pretty mean blue cheese dressing, too. And I think it’s about the best blue cheese dressing ever.  For this, you can use our Blue Cheese Starter Kit to make your own blue cheese. You will also need homemade cultured sour cream. Here is his process.

  • 1/2 pint cultured sour cream
  • 1/2 pint (homemade) mayo
  • Garlic powder and onion powder to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-2 cups blue cheese, depending on your taste – mix in half, then fold in the other half
  • Let sit in fridge overnight to allow flavor to develop
  • Add water to thin if necessary

Enjoy!

Bonni

Bonni

Bonni started on the cultured foods path quite few years ago, beginning with sauerkraut. Since then, she has cultured yogurt, milk kefir, water kefir, kombucha, a variety of veggies, sour cream and gluten-free sourdough. She is a busy homeschool mom to her daughter, so is always looking for the most efficient and least time consuming ways to manage all of her culturing.

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