Science Experiments: Kefir, Cold Brew and Sourdough

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My counter is beginning to look like a science classroom. I’ve been making my kefir, and the grains are growing. When I received the little cauliflower-like blossoms, I had a scant tablespoon if not less. Now, they have grown to about a tablespoon. And, they are making a good two cups of kefir daily. They are busy little grains, and Ashok and I both are enjoying our daily kefir.

Tonight I had a sweet, fresh cantaloupe, and I blended it with a about 3/4 of a cup of kefir. It was really good, and the cantaloupe sugar totally eliminated the sour taste. But I’m starting to really like the sour taste of the creamy yogurt-like liquid. I no longer sweeten it at all like I did when I first started making it. In fact, I put fruit in it one day and let it ferment for a second day. I had read that the fruit would sweeten it naturally. But I actually wasn’t that impressed. I decided to just let it be natural and slightly sour.

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My friend Michael emailed me after I wrote the first blog about my kefir and said I should try making a sourdough starter while my other cultured food was percolating. I hesitated at first. I actually baked sourdough bread when I was in my late 20s and was an avid bread baker. But I’ve long since gotten out of that habit due to the fact that one person can’t really eat all of that bread without becoming a fat cow. But I researched it anyway and started salivating over homemade sourdough waffles and buttery sourdough toast. The wild yeast actually pre-digests the gluten, so sourdough bread is less of an issue for digestion for those who are gluten-sensitive. Besides, I could give away beautiful homemade bread for gifts. I don’t have to eat it all!

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So, now I have a bowlful of somewhat bubbly sourdough starter – a mix of water and flour. It’s so easy, but mine is not coming along as fast as the recipe says. They say it may take as long as 3 weeks to get it going good. Meanwhile, I “feed” it every 12 hours with new flour and water waiting for the starter to double in size. When it does, I’ll be ready for baking… and sharing!! So now I can not only give my friends kefir grains as they grow, I can give them sourdough starter.

 

I also have another batch of cold brew coffee “percolating”. I’ve decided that I like it stronger than the original recipe, so tonight I’m using a cup of coffee grounds for the 3-cup French Press. It was actually pretty good today using about 2 3/4 cup coffee grounds, but I thought I’d try this to see if I like it even better. All of these things that I’m doing are unpredictable, and you can’t really follow a recipe. I like it because I can “brew” or “culture” to my tastes. It’s sort of like a relationship. Whatever I bring to it – time, temperature, amount of ingredients – reacts with its natural tendencies to create something unique. It’s really interesting!

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My brother Terry made Ceviche Saturday night. It’s a Mexican food that’s “cooked” by marinating fish in a citrus juice. I’ve had it before, but I had a new appreciation for the technique due to my experiences current experimentation. So, I may have to add that to my overnight “no-cook” food creations. It’s all healthy, and it’s great because I don’t have to turn up the heat on anything to make it hotter in this house.

Tonight I came home and removed the grains from my kefir and poured fresh milk over the grains so I have a new batch tomorrow evening. I sipped on my refrigerated kefir from yesterday while I “fed” the not-yet-super-bubbly sourdough starter and poured water and coffee in my french press for tomorrow morning’s wakeup call. Now all I have to do is relax and go to sleep. My goodies percolate while I’m snoring. What can be easier than that??

6 thoughts on “Science Experiments: Kefir, Cold Brew and Sourdough

  1. You’ve inspired me to get my toddy pot out for some cold-brew coffee! My grandma was obsessed with Amish friendship cake which also requires a fermenting process. After creating the starter, you are supposed to use one cup to make the cake, one cup to give to a friend to start their own process and save one cup for the next batch of cakes. I think I gained 15lbs with that one. 🙂 xx

  2. There is also a gluten free sourdough that you make with rice flour, instead of wheat. These are also available from your local home brew shop

  3. Catching up on my reading. Have you tried to make Kombucha? That’s something I’ve been researching.. I drink the store bought brands but would like to try and make it. I have tried baking bread with no success in the past. Probably just as well.. as you said – one person does not need all of the bread.

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