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A Day in the Life of a Fermenting Freak

Pea pods, cauliflower and green beans fermenting away!

I have people ask a lot how I find time to do everything I do.  In actuality, fermenting is the easiest thing I do.  It just takes a little prep time and a lot of wait time.  I’ll break what I do down into daily and weekly.  On a regular day, I spend about half an hour tinkering with my ferments.

Daily

  • Feed my sourdough
Sourdough does better when it’s kept on the counter and fed regularly.  If I’m not planning on making anything that requires an active sourdough starter (like bread), I just fed it first thing in the morning and before going to bed, trying to keep no more than 12 hours between feeds.  1/4 cup starter, 1/4 cup water, scant 1/4 cup brown rice flour.  The discarded starter goes in the fridge to use later (for crepes, pancakes, cheese pie).  GNOWFGLINS.com has an excellent e-book on sourdough that has many uses for this sourdough starter. 
  • Water kefir
Depending on how warm it is, my water kefir usually takes 2 days to ferment a quart of sugar water during the winter.  I taste it daily to make sure it’s still a bit sweet.  If it sits in spent water for too long water kefir can starve.  I also move any second ferment water kefir to the fridge that needs it.  This only takes a few minutes as well.  If I’m using apple cider, it’s just a matter of filling a jar and plopping the grains in.  If I’m using sugar water, it’s as simple as boiling water and mixing in the sugar and molasses.  Just remember to let it cool before adding the kefir grains.
Weekly
  • Milk kefir
Milk kefir only ferments for 24 hours but I don’t make it every day.  Usually I make it 2-3 times a week.  It goes in the fridge between ferments just stored in water.  For just a day or 2 water is fine.  If it’s longer than that, I’ll store it in milk.  When I make milk kefir, I remove the kefir from the fridge and discard the water and give the grains a quick gentle rinse.  They go into a quart of milk and are then left on the counter.  
  • Vegetable ferments
I usually start this on the weekend.  Most ferments really only take a few minutes to prepare.  I either chop by hand or shred using my food processor, pack things into jars and stick them on the counter.  I usually only takes 5-20 mins from start to finish.  The veggies then do their thing without any tinkering from me.  I prefer using a vegetable culture like Caldwell’s to whey.
  • Kombucha
I have an continuous kombucha pot and it works great for me to remove 1 or 2 quarts at a time a couple times a week.  I might need to expand my systems since we’re going through more kombucha than that.  I remove the kombucha and replace it with sweetened tea that I make by the gallon once a week or as needed.  
  • Yogurt
I make a gallon of yogurt weekly.  I usually heat the milk up to 165F instead of using raw milk so that I don’t mix them up and accidentally eat the pure culture.  My oldest once ate all of my villi mother.  The mother is what I need to culture future batches.  Raw milk contains other friendly bacteria that makes the culture impure.  It also contains enzymes making the yogurt more runny.  The kids like a firmer yogurt and it’s easier for me to keep track of what is what if I just make all the yogurt from heated milk.  Right now my yogurt of choice is filmjolk, a room temp yogurt that doesn’t need anything special to keep it warm.
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