Since I wrote about my first adventures with sourdough a few months ago, I’ve made bread at least once or twice a week and have experimented with numerous recipes. I LOVE my starter, which I was lucky enough to get from Meg at our neighboring Rockland’s Farm. Her mother started it over fifteen years ago and has been growing and sharing it ever since. It’s so beautiful and bubbly and has that wonderful tangy, lively smell. It makes me so happy to feed it every day, just like a living thing (but don’t worry, I haven’t named it–yet.)
In addition to bread baking I’ve been doing lots of reading and researching on probiotic food and have been looking for ways to increase it in our diet. I admit to becoming a wee bit obsessed with the whole cultured food concept and it’s numerous health benefits. Fermented foods are loaded with nutrients and the beneficial bacteria our bodies need for digestion and immunity. Humans have been using fermentation as a way of preserving food for thousands of years, yet in the last several decades these methods have been largely disregarded and replaced by artificial means, such as processing the food well beyond it’s natural state and adding chemicals to prevent spoilage.
I won’t go off on a tangent here about the toll all of this has taken on our collective health in this country, because plenty of other people are already writing about that all over the place. Let’s just say I’m quickly becoming a convert, and I’m really looking forward to preserving much of next year’s garden bounty by techniques of culturing in addition to canning and freezing. In the meantime, I discovered a recipe for a German Chocolate Kefir cake from Cultured Food Life, a great website with tons of information on the topic. Yes, the cake is actually made with kefir– and it is yummy!