I have a question: has anyone made their own wine vinegars? Is it worth the effort? How about Kombucha? Others?
I've made saeurkraut, kimchee, pickles, buttermilk, creme fraiche, sour cream, etc. All fun and easy to make, but definitely wondering about vinegar. We're not super consumers of either wine (can't find bulk, BTW) or vinegar so curious about others' experiences. Also looking for a substitute for the soda addiction.... I have a ISI but easily go through a cartridge's worth of fizz a day, so a bit wasteful I think.
(moved post from grocery shopping)
Yikes, I have never even thought about to try making vinegar -- very ambitious!
This is a response to the fizz question: on another blog (Chocolate & Zucchini) the author recently posted about "water kefir" and suggested it as an alternative to soda. I have not tried it but am intrigued. Let me know if you try it!
I've attempted making my own Kombucha before, but found it time-consuming to maintain properly and the resulting liquid to be less fizzy than the store-bought kind. Constantly changing the liquid and removing the daughter "blooms" made me feel like I had acquired another pet;) It may be worth it if you drink Kombucha regularly. I just would not recommend the tea mixture I tried out.
Haven't tried making vinegar, would be interested in hearing how it goes if you try it.
Can you share your recipe for sour cream with us? Love the Chocolate and Zucchini blog, BTW. Lots of great recipes on that site.
First the disclaimer---Highly suggest checking out Helwig's book or read what others on the web have posted, for second opinions, and more information :-)). This may be a little sketchy, and I may have left something out. I've been doing this so long it's instinctual.
Anyhow, I use instructions from "Complete Guide to Making Cheese, Butter, and Yogurt at Home" by Richard Helwig: Mix 2 cups light cream with 2 tablespoons of CULTURED buttermilk, let sit at least 24 hours at room temperature. Sometimes I'll set the glass jar w/cream in a bowl of 80˚ water to warm it up, then stick it in the oven with the light on. Next day you put the now "sour" cream in the fridge for a day or so. Gets better with age.
Creme Fraiche is the same except with heavy cream--boy is it decadent!
You have to use cultured buttermilk for it to ferment, and can't use ultra-homogenized dairy. I use Straus's Half and Half.
Some suggest heating the cream, others don't. It always works for me this way. I usually make sour cream or creme fraiche with the last of an old batch of buttermilk, at the same time I'm making more buttermilk. I suspect having well cultured, "aged" buttermilk as the starter makes a difference.
What you say about Kombucha makes sense from what I've read. May not be worth it.
The vinegar, I just don't know. Would be a good excuse to drink more wine, though!
Sorry, as usual, I am long winded.
Thanks for the sour cream recipe, Jay! I've made creme fraiche before but didn't realize sour cream was just a 'lighter' version of this recipe. Good to know. Only problem for me is that the buttermilk in my area is always packaged in a Tetra-Pak type of container (the typical plastic/paper milk container). I haven't been able to tell if Tetra-Pak is any better from a recycling point-of-view vs. just buying a container of sour cream in a #5 plastic tub. Hmmm. Will need to investigate this further.
Before I turn you off from making your own Kombucha, let me add that I'm not a regular drinker of the stuff, so it may be my own bias coming through in regards to the maintenance. I like the taste of GT's Kombucha and found that my homemade version paled in comparison. But, perhaps a different sweetened tea mixture will make all the difference?
Well, let me ponder adopting a kombucha pet a bit more....
Strawberries + Creme Fraiche = ymmm.
If Tetra Pak is the only way you can get cultured buttermilk it boils down to how often you'd use the buttermilk, I guess. I started with store bought, but since then have made dozens of quarts of HM buttermilk in a glass bottle. I use it for most of the bread I make. It lasts a long time in the fridge, just getting thicker, more cultured, as it sits. BTW for the HM buttermilk, I make the milk from nonfat, non-instant powdered milk, a bulk purchase. Same as for yogurt.
If you don't use buttermilk, then your current choice makes sense. I've never researched trying to make sour cream with a cultured sour cream starter. Worth looking into. Doubt it, though.
**OK, so found at least one reference to using sour cream: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Relish/How-To-Make-Sour-Cream-And-Cream-Cheese-Recipes.aspx Might be worth an experiment. Oh, and their "cream cheese" is really yogurt cheese. Nothing wrong with that, just different. Helwig has a recipe.
Hope everyone's out of the way of these awful storms!
If you do make a HM cheese, the leftover whey is great to use in a variety of things, including bread, and fermenting veggies, e.g., saeurkraut. Sally Fallon has written on this. Sandor Katz, aka SandorKraut, is the acknowledged guru of fermenting almost any veggie, not just cabbage! Anybody say Probiotics?
Vinegar sounds interesting. I found a vendor for bulk vinegar so I'm holding off for now, but I'd try it if it was much tastier than store bought. I am going to try to cultivate my own wild yeast. Here's the link on his to do it:
http://www.wildyeastblog.com/2007/07/13/raising-a-starter/ I'm on the second day and it's bubbling! I can't wait to try it in the bread machine and see if I can make sourdough. I wonder if the kids will like it...
If you can't find dry, regular old milk will do. I just am cheap; also we drink very little milk, so shelf stable is good. Make sure it's cultured buttermilk, too. For buttermilk these instructions OK: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Cultured-Buttermilk
Well, I pampered that yeast culture for 2 weeks and never got it really going. I suspect that my house just wasn't warm enough. The article that I read said that you really need to start it in the summertime. Anyway, I ended up giving up on it because...drumroll...I found bulk yeast at my organic market! Yippee! I'll probably try the experiment again in the future. It would make a great science fair project. I'll let you know if I have any success. :)