Archive for December 15th, 2012

Getting some culture

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

The Wombat has embarked on a new project.  She is growing things.

A few months ago, I purchased Sandor Katz’s The Art of Fermentation.  I am here to report on my first few projects.

KEFIR:  For the past few years, I have been stretching my store-bought kefir ($5.49/quart!) by adding a cup at a time to fresh milk and leaving it sit out for a day.  But last week, I order my very own kefir grains, which arrived  from Ohio today.  I added some milk and in a mere 24 hours, I should have some new kefir to make into smoothies.  Yum.  I am, however, a little concerned about the beasties when I leave this Friday for two and a half weeks…

KOMBUCHA:  Last Saturday, I started a kombucha culture from store-bought.  By this morning, it had an oozy little film on the surface and it smelled just like it should.  I have added some more sweetened tea today and transferred it to a larger container.   I hope it will grow well until I have to refrigerate it for my trip…

MILLET PORRIDGE:   Well, Mr Katz gives an appealing description of millet porridge.  And, generally, the Wombat really loves her porridge — oatmeal, cream of wheat, cream of rice, and jook are all delicious!  So, I ground up some millet, added some water, and let it sit for a couple days until it fermented a bit, and then added more water and cooked it.  And it made my whole house smell unpleasantly of cheese.   Although cheese can be delicious, H pointed out that the smell of cheese is not always a good thing — when your feet, your yoga clothes, or a wound smell like cheese, this is a bad sign.  Well, my millet porridge smelled unappealingly of cheese and tasted bitter.  I decided that I would not feel guilty about throwing it out.  The Wombat does not care for cheesy millet porridge.

RED WINE VINEGAR:  Last Saturday, I picked up a cheap 1.5L bottle of red wine at CostCo for my first vinegar experiment.  I poured the wine into a large, 2-gal glass wide-mouth jar, added a cup or so of raw cider vinegar and covered with a towel to await transformation.  It is starting to smell more like vinegar.  On Monday, I will take a sample to the lab to test the pH and see how things are coming along.