Sunday, March 30, 2008

More Science Experiements

Over the past few months, my kitchen has become a science lab of sorts as I have tried to create more and more of the food we eat from what a lot of people would consider beyond scratch. Some of this has been motivated by reading ingredients on some of the things we use on a regular basis. It has become increasingly hard to find bread that does contain ingredients that I cannot pronounce in addition to high fructose corn syrup. I have had bread in my kitchen that did not go stale for a month. That freaked me out just a little bit. I have been experimenting with baking my own bread and hope to eventually be able to bake all our bread using organic ingredients. The best bread recipe I have found so far has to be started the night before you plan to bake it and then takes a whole day. It may be a while before I can manage to bake all our bread due to time constraints.

In the meantime, the most recent experiment that I have completed was making buttermilk. I have had problems with cornbread and biscuits not having the texture that I have been used to. I have decided that the buttermilk. Remember when the buttermilk you got at the grocery store was thick and creamy? Checked it lately? It is about the same consistency as regular milk and has four or five ingredients listed on the label. Yuck! Buttermilk should contain low fat milk and buttermilk culture. That's all. Of course, originally it was the liquid that was left over from churning butter, but that is no longer available in most areas. I ordered butter milk culture from New England Cheese Making Supply and followed their directions. You just bring low fat milk up to about 80 degrees, mix in the culture and leave it in a thermos overnight. I did not have a thermos so I used one of those big thermal insulated cups that you can get at convenience store in the summer. I put a thick kitchen towel over the lid to keep it a little warmer. In this weather, I probably did not even need the thermos. I most likely could have just left in in a quart jar. It turned out wonderfully. If I liked to drink buttermilk, I am sure that I would have considered it delicious. I have yet to make cornbread or biscuits but I did make a couple of buttermilk pies, one for us and one for our next door neighbors who loaned us a lawn mower with and attachment that picks up leaves. ( This was a huge favor since all those beautiful trees in my previous post are live oaks which lose all their leaves in about two weeks this time of year. We had 3 inches of leaves in some parts of our yard.)

The pies were very tasty and looked pretty good, too.

I have a few on going experiments. I am attempting once again to make cream cheese. I have done this before and always end up with a rather sour product. I have ordered fresh starter and have put the mixture in the refrigerator instead of leaving it out. It may be that I cannot make it without having strict temperature control. It is supposed to be kept at 65 degrees ant that is not going to happen. It will be interesting to see what I have this time tomorrow.

The red wine vinegar is making its 'mother' at such a rate that I have had to remove several layers of it. If anybody wants to start their own vinegar, let me know. I'll try to send you some.

I read on this blog about fermenting beans so of course I had to try it. I soaked the beans night before last in water then changed over to whey last night. I think they will be ready to cook tomorrow.
Soundtrack for this post: Anything by Domestic Science Club


lime said...

wow, that's pretty great that you are being so proactive about the food you all eat. bravo! it is a little freaky when you really start to read ingredient labels.

seventh sister said...

I'm still not a proactive as I'd like to be, but I am getting there.