We only had one day for the workshop and sourdough takes longer than a day to make as it needs to ferment for 12-24 hours, so we kind of started in the middle and worked around to the start of the process. I'll document the workshop in the order we did things and try to explain as I go along.
The sourdough "sponge" had been made the night before, by adding flour etc to the starter, so for us to make bread we just had to add more flour to the sponge until it had the consistency of dough.
|adding flour to the sponge|
|the dough in the loaf tins before rising|
|the finished loaves|
|pikelet mixture (note bubbles from the bicarb!)|
|cooking the pikelets in ghee|
|the previous sponge mixed with water|
|adding flour and salt....|
|and lots of seeds....|
|and more seeds!|
|The finished sponge|
Finally we learnt how to make a starter from scratch. At the end of the workshop we were given a blob of dough to take home as a starter, and it will keep in the fridge for several weeks, but if we ever need to make a new starter, this is the way that Elisabeth suggested: mix flour, raw milk and keffir, leave in a warm place for a few days until it bubbles. Elisabeth did not recommend "feeding" the starter, as so many others do, she reckons it fine to just make it up and leave it to get started. If you don't have milk or kefir, you can use water and yoghurt, respectively, as substitutes. After you make the first loaf, keep some of the dough in the fridge as the starter for the next loaf.
|the sourdough starter|
Elisabeth recommended using very ripe fruit for maximum sugar content. Crush the fruit in the bottom of a fermenter and top up with sugar and water. Sugar content will determine alcohol content, so this needs to be worked out quite carefully. Elisabeth added wine yeast, but some people at the workshop had made it without wine yeast (just using the natural yeast on the skin of the fruit), so this may not be necessary, however the wine will keep better with a nice high alcohol content, which can be achieved more consistently if yeast is added. She also discussed various additives which seemed to defeat the purpose of making it yourself, so I'd probably do a little more research before I have a go. I do still enjoy making fermented drinks using whey (eg citrus and ginger drinks), but for very sugary fruit this isn't possible. I would also be interested in trying to make vinegar from the wine as I can't find a good source of balsamic vinegar and I go through an awful lot of apple cider vinegar too!
|fruit in the fermenter|
The workshop was really interesting, I particularly enjoyed learning about sourdough and I feel now that its not as complicated as I initially feared! Its also given me some tips to improve my sauerkraut and I will try kimchi too. If you're interested in doing one of Elisabeth's courses, she does travel around SE QLD if you can gather a group of around 16 people who are interested, so get in touch with her if you want to organise a workshop (Elisabeth's website). If you know of similar workshops in your area, leave a comment so that other people can find out more.
Do you make any fermented foods?