Friday, February 19, 2010

Before and After

If you have not yet read Nourishing Traditions, please do! If your library doesn't have it, try inter-library loan, but if you can't get it there, you can get it here: http:///There is a lot of conversation about the concepts in the book going on in blog-land currently. A dear friend gave me a copy of the book a few years ago. It is quite an education. So, I am now "into" soaking grains before cooking them. Last night, before I went to bed, I set up the following:

whole wheat sourdough bread sponge
corn meal soaking for today's cornbread
1 pound of navy beans soaking
some cream from my goat milk sitting out to get warmed up for butter making
my breakfast oatmeal
a small batch of kefir, brewing

Here is the bread sponge as it looked after soaking all night:

Bread dough divided into 5 pieces:

Bread after baking:

Corn meal soaking:

Corn bread after baking:

Navy beans soaking:

Bean with bacon soup after cooking:

Cream warmed after a night sitting out:

Finished butter:

Breakfast oatmeal soaking:

Bowl of oatmeal for my breakfast:

Kefir brewing:

Strained liquid kefir in drinking glasses for tomorrow:

Buttermilk and skimmed milk cooking to make ricotta:

Finished, salted, ricotta:

Here are more details about the various projects:

Overnight Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

The night before, in a large bowl mix:

10 cups freshly ground wheat berries
1 cup sourdough starter ~ you can get FREE sourdough starter here:

6 cups lukewarm water

Stir that up, cover bowl with a plastic bag and let it sit in a warm room overnight.

The next morning, when you get around to it, add the following:

1 Tablespoon yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup very warm water
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup honey
2 Tablespoons sea salt
Unbleached all-purpose flour - enough to make a nice kneadable dough

Knead for about 15 minutes. Return to the bowl, which has been washed and oiled. Turn the dough over so that the top is oily. Cover with a plastic bag and let sit in a warm place until doubled, or it "sighs" when you poke it with your finger.

Divide into 5 equal pieces. Form into loaves and place them in greased/sprayed bread pans.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. When the loaves are doubled and nice and springy to the touch, put them in the oven and reduce the heat to 350 dregrees F. Bake for 45 minutes. Cool on wire racks.


The night before, stir the following together:

1 cup whole corn meal
1 1/3 cup milk
1 Tablespoon liquid kefir

When you get ready to bake it the next day, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.


3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons melted butter
1 large egg
5 teaspoons non-aluminum baking powder (Rumford)

Stir that all up well with a fork, pour into greased baking dish and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the top starts to brown and when you touch the center, you can tell it is firm inside.

Bean with Bacon Soup

Sort and rinse 1 pound of navy beans and cover well with water and add 1 good glug of lemon juice. Let this soak until the next day.

Make some little slices of bacon and dice half of a large onion and cook them together in a cast iron dutch oven or other large heavy-bottomed pan.

Drain and rinse the beans.

Add them to the pot and put in enough water to cover the beans plus 1 to 2 inches more. Bring to a boil, cover, and lower heat and allow to simmer for at least 2 hours. Then add salt and pepper to taste.


I have quit milking my goats for now, until they freshen in May. I had a few jars of milk sitting in the fridge long enough that the cream had risen. Now, goat milk is sort of naturally homogenized, and the cream does not rise readily or soon. I have been considering buying a cream separator, and was glad for the opportunity to make butter to see if we would like it. We do, by the way. It is wonderful! I used my turkey baster to take the cream from the milk. It was rather thin cream, so did not yield very much butter, but it worked just fine. Once I have the separator, the cream will be heavier.

Here is a link showing exactly how I made the butter. Easy - shmeazy!

My butter is white because it is from goat's milk. I could add butter coloring if I wished.

Breakfast Oatmeal

In a small saucepan combine:

1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup water
1 Tablespoon liquid kefir
sprinkle of sea salt
A few raisins
1 Tablespoon sunflower seed kernels

Let that sit, covered, overnight and cook it the next morning. I topped mine with:

Fresh goat milk
pat of butter
drizzle of raw honey



I have explained about kefir elsewhere on this blog, so look there for information. I am currently only doing a little bit of kefir because of the milk supply problem. I have quite a few quarts of milk frozen to tide us over and also 2 gallons of liquid kefir to use until May when we hope to be milking again. Most of my kefir grains are in the fridge splooshed down into some milk and covered with extra-virgin olive oil for the duration, but I have a little bit that I am still brewing, and you can see that in these photos.

Ricotta Cheese (sort of)

Technically, ricotta is made with whey left after cheese making, but you can do it with whole milk also. I had the buttermilk left, and also the skim milk from the butter making, so decided to make ricotta. It is very easy.

Put your milk in a stainless, heavy-bottomed pan. Gently heat to a simmer and then add 1/2 cup white vinegar for each gallon of milk. Remove from heat. Let it cool for 15 minutes and strain through a cloth. Gather up the cloth and press with the back of a spoon to expel most of the remaining liquid.

Put the curds in a bowl and salt to taste. Be careful not to add too much salt.

This cheese can be used in many things... stuffed shells, salads, pizza (along with mozzarella), lasagna.

So, there you have it! Before and After!


  1. Isnt soaked oatmeal the bomb? I love it. IT seems like it is sweeter and not so mushy. I look at my counter sometimes and think good grief, there is so much stuff fermenting.

  2. Oh, yes. It is very good! That is funny about your counter being full of fermenting stuff. I tried to make sauerkraut the other day and it went bad. :( I've succeeded before, so I am not sure what went wrong. I have some more cabbage, though, so I'll try again. Do you make it?

  3. Yes I make sauerkraut. I also do it NT. I have had it go bad too. This time it went fine. We havn't got into the habit of eating it everyday though. I use a zip lock baggie filled with brine to hold the cabbage under the liquid. Do you do that?
    I tried the carrots and they were awful.
    Have you tried them? I do think soaking grains is the thing to do.
    Have you ever made diastatic malt? You can use it in place of the sugar.
    Here is a link:

  4. Where do you get your wheat berries? Do you grind them yourself? Bread looks wonderful!

  5. I belong to a food co-op and get my wheat berries there. They order from

    Thank you! The nice thing about sourdough is that it keeps much longer at room temperature without going stale. It is as good, or better, today, than it was yesterday.

  6. Oh, and yes, I do grind my own wheat. I have one of these:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...