Home Food Experiments

Bread

The wholemeal spelt-flour sour-dough starter continues to thrive – it is a very-much-alive and hungry beast:

Raw Spelt Loaf

In between loaves of bread and to fully utilise this thriving ferment I have been making delicious light crepes and pancakes (adding milk or water, an egg, some baking powder and baking soda and rice bran oil):

Spelt Pancakes

Rolling it out to make a pizza base or making beer battered onion rings has been a satisfactory use too:

Spelt Pizza Base
Spelt Beer Battered Onion Rings

It is such a rewarding pastime – some made with organic white flour and oatmeal using the same starter; the loaves often come out of the bake in interesting, artistic forms:

The latest (and current favourite) has been some spiced, sour-dough fruit loaves using wholemeal spelt flour with the addition of mixed dried fruit. Stepping up production in the barbeque oven – an oatmeal white sour-dough loaf and a spiced fruit sour-dough loaf.

Spelt Round Loaf cooked in barbeque
 
Have there been failures?

Well, yes. My sourdough croissants were very unhappy. In fact, they were so miserable I had to throw them out. There’s still hope for some future success though – well, where would we be without hope? And our barbeque, being quite ancient, is not as precise as an electric oven and there has been one black-bottomed loaf. Fortunately my man likes ‘em dark-skinned and his bread crusty, so it wasn’t a total waste 🙂

Spelt Croissants - failed recipe
 

Yoghurt

The yoghurt starter which I made from chillies over a year ago is still providing good, tangy and firm yoghurt, and from this I often make a regular supply of Labne. I use the whey produced from this process in soups and stews as a substitute stock, and sometimes I drink it too. There are many wheys to enjoy it…!

The Back-yard Garden

Meanwhile, my small no-dig, layered garden bed is proving to be maintenance–free, providing abundant (and huge) chard, silver beet and kale leaves. I’ve found that by pureeing the leaves I can make an excellent sauce, while small chunks of the stalks make a delicious fry-up with onion, garlic, and kikoman soya sauce. My small herb garden is struggling due to slugs, but is starting to win over them. Our cherry tomatoes and chillies are on the go again. They seem to thrive as long as they are watered regularly.

Home-made no dig garden

Pureed spinach & mushrooms with tortilla

I’m composting our vegetable scraps in two standard rubbish bins (with a little effort now and again to turn the contents). All in all it’s a healthy little back yard – now covered with a shade canopy in anticipation of Western Australia’s extreme summer heat.

Composting at home

I guess it’s just good to know (as many have experienced before us) that by growing and making much of your own food from scratch you are in control of your diet, and consequently your health. It’s a good feeling.

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Daily Bread

Give Us Our Daily Bread

Sourdough White Bread

As many long distance travellers will know, the simple pleasures of life can take on extraordinary significance. I speak here of sustenance, and it doesn’t get much simpler than that ‘staff of life’ – bread (with, of course, a drizzle of olive oil if available) 🙂

Holey Sourdough White Bread

While wintering at home in ‘down under’ Australia this year we decided to try and recapture the texture and flavours of food from our Mediterranean travels.

So, in learning to make real breads, yogurt and cured olives we have now found ourselves joining the ranks of ‘real food’ fermentation aficionados.

Creating our own sourdough starter from spelt, we have learned to make a number of delicious crusty and healthy loaves of bread. As this bread-making process involves the ‘pre-digestion’ of flour, it means we can eat more of it 🙂

Sourdough Bread White

Then we chanced upon an olive tree laden with fat fruit. We returned with gleaming eyes and a bucket to carefully pick our ‘share’, then headed back home to plan our fermentation strategy. After soaking them for a few weeks in a salt brine, we transferred some of the olives into another jar and seasoned them with spices, lemons, garlic and olive oil. It wasn’t long before we were able to sit at the table and greedily devour them with our crusty bread.

Homemade Cured Olives

For yogurt, creating our own chilli starter was a bit of a challenge. We used un-homogenised extra creamy cow’s milk and some chilli stalks. After a couple of attempts our perseverance finally paid off. Now we have an ongoing supply of delicious, thick-and-creamy textured yogurt. Before it runs out, we save about a cupful to make the next batch.

We have also started making cheese curd, too, using lemons from the backyard and un-homogenised milk. This was a great introduction to making cheese and we hope to move on to more challenging cheese-making recipes.

Cheese Curd

Sliced Cheese Curd

We are finding great satisfaction in producing our own fermented food staples. Perhaps next we can experiment with making our own wine and beer . . . 🙂

Fermentation Starters

Home-made Sourdough and Yogurt Starters