The Newbie’s Guide to Cultured Food: My First Month

Newbie

I’m totally new to cultured foods. Until a couple months ago I had never heard of kefir or kombucha, and had no idea how easy and inexpensive it was to make yogurt at home. (I would’ve eaten a lot more yogurt in college had I known…) Getting into cultured foods has had its ups and down. I’ve made plenty of rookie mistakes, but I have been greatly rewarded with awesome results and a feeling of accomplishment!

I have very little experience with cooking. I love cake decorating and can make some of the world’s best cake pops, but that is my only culinary claim to fame. I’m used to having very little time to cook for myself, and was surprised and very pleased to find that culturing didn’t require me to spend hours of my newfound free time in the kitchen.

So far I’ve made water kefir, Filmjӧlk yogurt, and San Francisco sourdough bread. The yogurt has been the easiest to make by far. The first two batches I made were horribly sour, which was discouraging, but each batch tastes way better than the last. I’ve been told by our awesome Customer Support Representatives that this is normal, and that it is possible to experiment with the starter to milk ratio to get different results. This week my yogurt is much milder, and I can’t wait to try some new flavors!

Making water kefir

The first time I tried water kefir I loved it. It was made into lemonade and still slightly sweet. The first time I made it myself, however, was not the same. I tried using rapadura as my sugar and was very unhappy with the result. Some people prefer the taste of water kefir made with rapadura, but I am NOT one of those people. I experimented with a couple different types of sugar and have found that they offer a pretty diverse range of tastes. In the end I will probably stick with organic sugar.

authentic water kefir spill

I brought my sourdough starter and water kefir grains on my family vacation last week to introduce my family to culturing. They still think that the whole culturing process is a little weird. They were all great sports though and tried both my water kefir lemonade and my sourdough. They all agreed that the water kefir tasted much better than they expected. My teenage brother loved it! The sourdough made a great game night snack. It was my first time making sourdough, and it didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to, but it tasted great! I still need to adjust the amount of flour I use to make it and the amount of time I let it rise. We spent the entire day exploring and left the bread to rise for way too long.

The most amazing thing about culturing to me is how fun and simple it can be. I went from being a recent college grad with little to no cooking experience to making homemade yogurt and sourdough in less than a month! Next step: homemade skincare!

 

Making Fermented Carrot Sticks with the Cutting Edge Culture

IMG_7601

I haven’t worked with a lot of starter cultures for fermented vegetables. In fact, I’ve written extensively on the Cultures for Health site and elsewhere about how to ferment vegetables simply with salt and water. I just really dig natural, wild fermentation. But I’m always open to trying different things and seeing how they match… 

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Raw Sprout Safety Tips

Raw Sprouts

Concern over the safety of sprouts has become an issue for very good reason – commercially grown sprouts made people sick. This problem led to some experts’ warning against the consumption of sprouts while others shrugged it off as a one-off problem.

A Closer Look: Greek Yogurt Maker

Greek Yogurt

“Wonderful product. Much nicer than a cheese cloth. Easy to use. Made wonderful yogurt!!!” -Debbie Today we are going to take a closer look at the Cultures for Health Greek Yogurt Maker.

Weekly Recap – May 30th Edition

blog gathering

It’s time for the weekly recap.  Leave your favorite links or ideas in the comments below!