Making a sourdough starter is just the tip of the iceberg. You really need to experiment. Once your starter is ready, a recipe is great as a guide but in the end you have to allow your sense of touch to guide you. Every sourdough starter is different. Mine has the consistency of a crepe batter while others may have a more thicker consistency. The amount of flour you add will depend on your sourdough starter.
Speaking of starter, day 15's post is about SCOBY from Nourished Kitchen. Read on to found out what it is.
It's the start of Week #3, and we're focusing on my very favorite topic: ferments and cultured foods! So put away your antibacterial hand sanitizer, and let's get to work - intentionally introducing the wee beasties into our foodstuffs.
There are primarily two manners in which we can ferment our foods: 1) with a starter culture and 2) with a wild culture. Your sourdough starter, is a wild culture unless you purchased a starter (see sources) or received one from a friend. Wine yeast, baking yeast, yogurt starter, and SCOBYs all represent the first method of fermenting food, that is with a starter culture.
Today our focus is on SCOBYs. What on earth is a SCOBY? SCOBY is an acronym for Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeasts. That is, it's an assortment of various beneficial bacteria and yeasts that work synergistically together to produce a certain type of ferment. Water kefir grains, milk kefir grains, kombucha mothers and ginger beer plant are all examples of such symbiotic colonies of bacteria and yeasts. These colonies help to ferment various foods and beverages - such as milk as in the case of kefir or tea and sugar as in the case of kombucha - improving their nutrient profile by increasing B vitamins and food enzymes. Types of SCOBYs:
- Water Kefir is a SCOBY that is small, gelatinous and grain-like. Combined with water, sugar, lemon and dried fruit, it produces an effervescent, faintly sweet beverage that makes for a good substitute for sodas and soft drinks (see sources and learn how to brew it).
- Milk Kefir is a SCOBY that is likewise, small and gelatinous. It is opaque and the kefir grains have an appearance reminiscent of cottage cheese (see sources and learn how to brew it).
- Kombucha is a SCOBY that is firm, gelatinous and opaque. A combination of tea and sugar feed it and it can be flavored with herbs and fruit (see sources and learn how to brew it).
- Ginger beer plant, as opposed to a ginger bug which is a wild ferment, is a SCOBY that hails from the Caribbean and is brewed similarly to water kefir. They are VERY similar cultures.
Day #15 Check List: Find a SCOBY and Brew Some Goodness: Pick a scoby or culture, and start brewing.
- Pick up a culture online.
- See if any are available from the Nourished Kitchen Cultures & Starters Swap.
- Try a health food store or a friend or your nearest Weston A Price Foundation Chapter.
- Give some of your culture to a friend who's interested in eating better.
- Post you starter or SCOBY at the Nourished Kitchen exchange and share the fermented love.
Love and light,