Ferments on the Road

Meet my favorite ferments.

From left to right….

My wheat sourdough starter (half all purpose and half whole wheat), my delicious fermented cranberry lemon honey, my gluten-free sourdough starter, and my homemade wild sour cream.

My family and I hit the road this summer for a 3,000 mile road trip to visit family, and these little guys came along for the ride.

I packed them carefully in my electric cooler and at each place we stay I’ve been able to bake bread for my family, cranberry lemon scones for the aunts, uncles, and cousins, GF bread for my SIL, and most importantly, I can keep my clabber culture going so that I can make cheese once we get home. It needs to be fed weekly and would have certainly died while we were away if I had left it at home.

Ferments can behave differently during the summer. Changes in temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, elevation, all affect how your cultures perform and you need to know them well enough to adjust your technique accordingly. At the lake where we are at a higher elevation than at home in New York, my sourdough and yeast breads rise faster, and my clabber takes longer to culture because of the cooler temperatures. Each ferment has a personality. You have to get to know it and adjust how you use it accordingly. For example, I have to watch the rise on my breads much more closely and reduce the amount of yeast that I use. I have to allow more time for my clabber to set up for fresh homemade sour cream.

I plan to start some new cheeses when I get home. And you’ll probably see some new fermented vegetables on my counter once I get back to my garden.

What’s bubbling in your kitchen this summer?

Need some ideas for what to ferment first? Or do ferments intimidate you and you don’t know where to start? Homesteading Family has some great courses to get your creative juices flowing and things bubbling in your kitchen. Check out their courses on The Art of Homemade Bread which includes sourdough, Fearless Fermenting, and Practical Homemade Dairy (affiliate links).

Wild Milk, Clabber, and Cheese

I have a wild clabber culture that I have kept going this last year with one batch of raw milk that my in-laws were able to bring me. I make a little batch of wild sour cream with it every week. If we don’t eat the sour cream, I use it up in baking to keep the culture going. I even travelled with my culture while we were away this summer to try and keep it alive since it needs to be cultured weekly.

My summer goal is to use this wild culture to make hard cheese for my son. If I had a regular source for raw milk, this would be easy. But I don’t. So my aim is to use store bought milk and my wild culture to achieve a cheese that my son can eat since store bought cultured dairy products and cheese brother him. Yet he does well on raw milk and my wild clabber culture.

We’ve done without cheese for so long, I’m really hoping that I can develop a successful recipe using my wild culture and store milk so that we can add back in some of our favorite family recipes. Let’s face it, pizza and enchiladas just aren’t the same without cheese.

So stay tuned as I post my progress. And I’m the meantime, if you’d like to delve into the world of homemade dairy, check out Homesteading Family’s Homemade Dairy Masterclass (affiliate link). It’s how I’ve learned and you definitely don’t have to have a milk animal to make all the recipes in the class. Everything I’ve made so far – butter, dairy creamer, sour cream, wild buttermilk, feta, ricotta, hard cheese, have been made all using store bought milk. And there are so many recipes that I haven’t tried yet. It’s definitely chock full of content.

And if you see this post before July 27, 2022, be sure to register for a free Practical Homemade Dairy Webinar (affiliate link) if you want to get your feet wet and see if the Masterclass is right for you.

I’m excited to make some cheese! Who wants to join me?