One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

As mentioned last week, I have a few fermentation and culturing projects in the works.  So far my sauerkraut is just sitting there.  It hasn’t developed any mold or weird odors, so I’m crossing my fingers that it will be okay.  I’ll probably give it a taste in a week or so.

My kombucha starter is also just hanging out.  My house is a bit chilly, so I expect it to take the full 28 days for the culture to develop.

My sourdough starter, on the other hand, was a complete failure.  It got bubbly like it was supposed to, but it never expanded.  I let it go for nearly two weeks, feeding it almost daily.  Then, all of the sudden, it developed a black liquid on top.  It was pretty gross, so I just tossed it.  Since I have no intention of purchasing a grain mill and grinding my own wheat any time soon, I will probably just cheat and make a starter with store-bought yeast.

I purchased a packet of piima culture recently as well.  According to Nourishing Traditions, adding piima culture to milk can add back the nutrients lost during pasteurization.  I followed the directions that came with the culture (instead of the instructions in Nourishing Traditions) and added 1/8 tsp of culture to 1 cup of milk.  I let it sit for about 36 hours on the kitchen counter.  My thermometer indicated that the temp hovered around 70 degrees — right on target.  It looks like the milk has turned into yogurt, but I’m not really sure.  Room temperature milk always smells slightly ripe, so I don’t know if it’s okay or if it’s gone bad.  I put in the fridge and may work up the nerve to give it a taste tomorrow.  If it’s okay, I plan to use the starter to make a quart of piima milk.

I’m really trying hard to incorporate fermented and cultured foods into our diets, but sometimes I get frustrated with these experiments.  Ingredients are not cheap, so I hate when something doesn’t turn out and I have to throw it away.  Also, I’m not always entirely sure what I’m looking for.  Maybe my sourdough starter was okay and I just let it sit out too long?  Is my piima starter exactly as it should be or has it gone bad?



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