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Kelly Bohling

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Fermentation

Kombucha

Kombucha starter

In 2020, we started making kombucha at home from a a SCOBY (we found ours from Cultures For Health). We now like to make two gallons at a time and let it ferment for just a couple weeks.

Readying bottles for Kombucha.

Our favorite juice to use for the secondary fermentation is cranberry grape, which makes the kombucha taste like Jolly Ranchers.

Full kombucha bottles.

We like to re-use commercial kombucha bottles because the bottles have strong enough walls to withstand fermentation pressure, and the caps give a good seal. In the summer our kitchen stays relatively warm, so the secondary fermentation usually is less than twenty-four hours.


Water Kefir

Different varieties of water kefir.

I've been making water kefir for years after buying grains from someone on Etsy. Cultures for Health also sells water kefir grains. My favorite juice to use for the secondary fermentation is grape juice.

Lots of head on this water kefir.

Sometimes the conditions in my kitchen are such that the kefir ferments really quickly and gets a sizeable head. I really don't mind it, though - it's kinda fun!


Sourdough

Sourdough starter.

I really like using the gluten-free sourdough starter from Cultures For Health. You feed it with filtered water and brown rice flour, and it works remarkably well in bread and other baked goods. In cooler times of the year, I put my starter in front of the heat register to keep it happy. One of my favorite recipes to use extra starter in is the Chocolate Sourdough Cake from King Arthur Flour.

Sourdough bread.

My go-to gluten-free sandwich bread recipe is the Honey Almond Sourdough in The Gluten-Free Gourmet Bakes Bread by Bette Hagman.


Sauerkraut

Cat fermenting normally.

Musetta sometimes fancies herself as a "fur"mentable. (Yes, we cleaned the bowl before the next photo.)

Cabbage for sauerkraut.

We enjoy making homemade sauerkraut, although we did have to get an enormous crock bowl for a whole head of cabbage to fit in.

Sauerkraut in a jar.

My favorite method of fermenting vegetables (including sauerkraut) is lactofermentation. Enough salt is added to make a brine that deters unwanted types of bacteria, but allows beneficial lactobacteria to ferment the veggies. The result is a lovely sour, slightly carbonated flavor with plenty of crunch. I prefer using wide-mouth canning jars and glass jar weights. I like how easy they are to clean and sanitize.


Nukazuke - Rice Bran Pickles

Chopped up pickle.

In the summer of 2020, I tried my hand at the Japanese nukazuke method, or fermenting vegetables in rice bran. While time-intensive, it was a fascinating experiment with a very different fermentation method than I had done before. I found the book Kansha by Elizabeth Andoh extremely helpful! Her chapter on nukazuke is very thorough, and she gives many good suggestions for adjustments depending on the availability of certain ingredients. I especially enjoyed cucumbers and radishes in this style.


Ginger Beer Plant

Ginger beer fermenting.

I absolutely love ginger beer, and I have kept a ginger beer plant going for several years now. This particular culture is a little obscure, but I've had good luck with Yemoo's. They include very detailed directions, along with a variety of recipes to try. This is my favorite way of making ginger beer and it's a fun one to keep around, since it nearly went extinct decades ago.

Sourdough starter by the vent.

All the ferments huddling around the heat vent! On the left is the second fermentation for the ginger beer plant.

A variety of fermented foods on the counter.

Fermentables family photo, from left to right:

Kimchi, Ginger Beer Plant, Sauerkraut, Water Kefir, Nuka Pot

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