There is generally something bubbling away in the kitchen around here. Kefir and sourdough and a bit of kimchi. I have a cup of kefir every morning and most days I make a loaf of sourdough as well. I use the bread machine because it's fast and easy.
I start by putting in some sourdough starter and 50:50 flour and water. I tend to use a mixture of some sort of seedy/granary flour and organic white. I put the bread machine on the 'Pizza' setting for three minutes so that it just mixes everything. That's done at lunchtime, then I leave it until 6.30am the next morning.
When I get up, I add the rest of the flour and the salt and set it back on the 'Pizza' setting, which is 45 minutes of kneading and warming and resting.
Then I take out the blade from the bread machine and make sure the dough is in a nice shape. I leave it until mid-morning when it has usually risen, then I stick it on a bake setting for 45 minutes, and hey presto. The advantage of sourdough is that I never need to bother with yeast. It can be a bit unpredictable though. Some flours don't rise much, some rise madly. Then there is the weather and how lively the starter is feeling.
I quite like having it in a proper loaf shape rather than a flat round, it's good for sandwiches that way, and you don't get too much crust in comparison to actual proper bread. I am not a fan of the crusts.
When I use the sourdough starter, I just top the remainder up with 50:50 flour and water. You really only need a bit of the old starter. Kefir is just as easy. Strain and put the grains into organic whole milk, leave for 24 hours, job done.
I do love the transformation when things ferment and bubble. And by all accounts the microbes are really good for the gut. I'm all about the gut health, it has such a big part to play in how we feel I think, everything from mental health to a strong immune system. The sourdough doesn't contribute obviously, as it's been cooked, but the other things are brilliant. Fermenting can make vegetables more digestible as well, and release more nutrients from them. It's a good option when there's a bit of a glut of things or when things are on special offer.
I'd love to go to South Korea one day and try all the fermented pickles there. I hear they have separate fridges, just for the kimchi, brilliant. I don't much like when vegetables are pickled in vinegar, but when they're done with salt they are absolutely delicious on the whole. And easier to make than I imagined.