Winter Fermentation Projects

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From the Editor: Please welcome Rosalyn, CFH Content Development Manager and Cultured Kitchen-Keeper.

I was invited to participate in a Holiday Craft Fair this month. What a fun way to show off my fermenting projects!  My first problem was: what to choose? Fortunately, fermentation is something you can do year-round, with just the simplest of ingredients.  And, it’s so simple… the most time-consuming part is done by the bacteria!

This was also a great opportunity for me to try out some of the fun recipes I’ve come across recently.

I started with some Christmas Kraut: cabbage, red bell pepper, green beans, and a handful of cranberries for extra color and because they are seasonal. I added some daikon radish for a little extra zing as well. How do they look?

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Rosalyn

Rosalyn

Rosalyn has homeschooled both of her children, now grown, and continues to teach classes to homeschool groups and do homeschool consulting. She is also a nutritional coach, and enjoys helping people learn about healthy foods and how to prepare them. She is an avid cook and likes to experiment with new ways of putting together whole foods and cultured products. Kombucha is a favorite, in many flavors. Summer finds her kitchen full of fermenting vegetables, and year-round she makes yogurt, milk and water kefir, buttermilk, and sour cream.

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Searching for the Perfect Pickle…

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Well, you know you are a cultured food nut when you think that a jar of fermented pickles is a healthy snack.

We love pickles in my house. My whole family has always loved pickles. But of all the different kinds of cultured foods I have attempted, this one is the most unpredictable and the hardest to figure out. One year I made two dozen jars of perfectly crunchy dill pickles… and they were gone by November. I have never been able to re-create them.

Last year I did five different batches of pickles, using various methods of pickling, fermenting, brining, etc., and various sets of ingredients. Some of them came out pretty well but not quite salty enough. Some bubbled over so much that the brine seeped out of the jars and I had to refill, and the resulting pickles were pretty much inedible. One set tasted delicious, but were so mushy we had to eat them with spoons.

This year I cautiously tried a new approach: natural salt-brine kosher dills from our own website. I had just two quarts worth of bumpy cucumbers from my garden ready to do something with, and this was perfect.

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Rosalyn

Rosalyn

Rosalyn has homeschooled both of her children, now grown, and continues to teach classes to homeschool groups and do homeschool consulting. She is also a nutritional coach, and enjoys helping people learn about healthy foods and how to prepare them. She is an avid cook and likes to experiment with new ways of putting together whole foods and cultured products. Kombucha is a favorite, in many flavors. Summer finds her kitchen full of fermenting vegetables, and year-round she makes yogurt, milk and water kefir, buttermilk, and sour cream.

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The Results: Does Dried Milk Powder Successfully Thicken Yogurt?

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Note from Shannon: Please welcome Rosalyn, CFH Content Development Manager and Cultured Kitchen-Keeper.

This is part three of my experiment to find out whether you can mix dried cow milk with fresh goat milk to get a thicker yogurt – and vice versa. If you missed the introduction, check out part one. If you want to read more about the experiment, check out part two.

So, as I described in part two, I set up six incubations:

  • 1 cup of cow milk + 1 tablespoon of cow yogurt
  • 1 cup of cow milk + 1 tablespoon of cow yogurt + 1 tablespoon of dried cow milk
  • 1 cup of cow milk + 1 tablespoon of cow yogurt + 1 tablespoon of dried goat milk
  • 1 cup of goat milk + 1 tablespoon of goat yogurt
  • 1 cup of goat milk + 1 tablespoon of goat yogurt + 1 tablespoons of dried cow milk
  • 1 cup of goat milk + 1 tablespoon of goat yogurt + 1 tablespoons of dried goat milk

I let them sit at room temperature for 12 hours. At this point the plain cow milk yogurt looked pretty firm and was pulling away from the side of the container in a single mass. It wasn’t as thick as the yogurt I make with half-and-half, but I wasn’t expecting it to be.

So I let it sit for another 6 hours, because it was pretty cool in my kitchen, and viili yogurt does take its own sweet time to set up. No change after 6 hours though, so I gave it another 6, for a total of 24 hours. (This is not an unusual time for viili. I sometimes let my half-and-half yogurt go that long if I want a really thick, tart result.) At the 24-hour point I inspected each jar, and I also tasted it to get an impression of its tartness and texture.

Here are the results…

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Rosalyn

Rosalyn

Rosalyn has homeschooled both of her children, now grown, and continues to teach classes to homeschool groups and do homeschool consulting. She is also a nutritional coach, and enjoys helping people learn about healthy foods and how to prepare them. She is an avid cook and likes to experiment with new ways of putting together whole foods and cultured products. Kombucha is a favorite, in many flavors. Summer finds her kitchen full of fermenting vegetables, and year-round she makes yogurt, milk and water kefir, buttermilk, and sour cream.

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The Experiment: Does Dried Milk Powder Successfully Thicken Yogurt?

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Note from Shannon: Please welcome Rosalyn, CFH Content Development Manager and Cultured Kitchen-Keeper.

Welcome to part two of my experiment to find out whether you can mix dried cow milk with fresh goat milk to get a thicker yogurt – and vice versa. Be sure to check out part one, if you missed it.

I am fortunate to have a good source of both cow and goat milk. I chose to use pasteurized milk, since that is what is most accessible to most of our customers, and also because I did not want to add in the extra variable of the native bacteria and enzymes in the raw milk. For this experiment, I purchased a quart each of cow and goat milk: locally produced, grass-fed, vat-pasteurized.

The yogurt culture I decided to experiment with was our mesophilic viili culture. This is the one I use the most, and I have a strain that I re-culture about every 5 or 6 days in half-and-half, with great results. To start out with, I used a tablespoon of viili (from cow half-and-half) to make 1 cup of goat milk yogurt. This was so I would have some goat yogurt to use with the goat milk. There was a small component of cow milk in it because of the starter, but I wanted to get as close as possible to a full goat milk culture. It came out pretty thin, by the way: more of a kefir-ish consistency. (But it smelled and tasted great!)

Once I had my goat milk culture and cow milk culture ready to go, I set up the experiment:

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Rosalyn

Rosalyn

Rosalyn has homeschooled both of her children, now grown, and continues to teach classes to homeschool groups and do homeschool consulting. She is also a nutritional coach, and enjoys helping people learn about healthy foods and how to prepare them. She is an avid cook and likes to experiment with new ways of putting together whole foods and cultured products. Kombucha is a favorite, in many flavors. Summer finds her kitchen full of fermenting vegetables, and year-round she makes yogurt, milk and water kefir, buttermilk, and sour cream.

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