Fermented Foods

Overnight Sourdough Spelt Bread

This overnight sourdough recipe has been pretty life changing for us. Although we appreciate the care and skill that goes into a true sourdough, we love this recipe for it’s simplicity and speed. As this is a quick ferment, the flavour is less tangy than a loaf made with a starter, but it still has all of the delicious flavour and texture of homemade bread. We love to add seeds or nuts to the bread for extra nutrition as well as taste. Poppy seeds on top create such a delicious crust, whilst pumpkin seeds bring so much flavour and a burst of green in each slice.

We’ve used spelt flour in this recipe as we love the taste and the way it bakes. Spelt does contain some gluten, although much less than normal wheat flour. We personally find it so much more digestible than other grains such as wheat or rye, so we tend to make this bread every 2 or so weeks. It’s incredible topped with our vegan turmeric butter or with mashed avocado and lemon.

Overnight Sourdough Spelt Bread

Ingredients:
4 cups wholegrain spelt flour
2 cups filtered water
1/8th teaspoon dry active yeast
1.5 tsp Himalayan sea salt
3 tablespoons poppy seeds

Method:
1. In a large ceramic mixing bowl, add the flour, yeast, salt and 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds. Mix well.
2. Add the water and mix until completely combined, make sure you don’t leave any flour unmixed at the bottom of the bowl. (Note that the ideal water quantity may change slightly depending on your flour - but ultimately it should still work with this ratio, you want the dough to be sticky but not too wet, as it will get wetter as it ferments)
3. Cover the bowl and leave for 18-24 hours, the warmer your house, the faster it will ferment, and the more flavour it will have (we cover it with a plastic bag but you could use a large cloth). You should see the dough spread out and rise slightly inside the bowl, with some air bubbles on the top.
4. The next day, when its ready to bake, preheat your oven to gas mark 6 (200 degrees celcius).
5. Gently scoop the dough into a lined and greased loaf tin, or lined cast iron pot. Cast iron pots work really well as they hold the heat better and create a crisper crust, but we often use our loaf tin as we like the shape. Sprinkle the rest of the poppy seeds on top and leave the dough to sit for 10-15 minutes.
6. Bake for 50 minutes with the lid on (or foil on top), then remove the lid and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from the baking dish and tap the bottom of the loaf, it should sound fairly hollow and be quite crisp. If you want you can cook it for another 5-10 minutes out of the tin/pot to improve the crust.
7. Allow to cool before cutting and enjoy!

Overnight Sourdough Spelt Bread
Overnight Sourdough Spelt Bread

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Purple Sauerkraut with Fennel Seeds

We're back with another fermented recipe ... this time, it's our favourite sauerkraut recipe - made with purple cabbage and infused with fennel seeds. We love eating this with just about anything, it's such a delicious addition to a meal. You can make this recipe with green cabbage too, but we love the vibrant colour of red cabbage & the fact that it's more nutritionally dense. In fact, we recently read that purple cabbage actually has more vitamin C than oranges, as well as so many antioxidants that are healing for the body. 

Eating sauerkraut regularly has really transformed my digestion over the past couple of years. During a difficult patch of stomach issues a few years ago, I dove deep into so many nutrition and holistic health books/podcasts to try and find a cure. Once I started to uncover how much our digestion is linked to our entire system, I became so determined to heal my gut and find balance again. It's pretty fascinating that our gut bacteria is so related to our brain function, immune system, happiness and so much more.

Food can be such a powerful medicine if we look at the source of illness instead of trying to suppress the symptoms. Alongside avoiding stress, one of the most important ways to strengthen our digestion is to feed our guts with friendly bacteria. Making your own fermented foods at home is such an affordable and tasty way of doing this. Especially as it's been shown to be more beneficial if the sauerkraut has been made and fermented in your local area. This is due to the relationship between the bacteria in your environment and the original bacteria in your gut. If you buy a sauerkraut that has been produced far from where you live, you may not receive the full benefits. For more fermented recipes, click here!

Purple Sauerkraut with Fennel Seeds
Purple Sauerkraut with Fennel
Purple Sauerkraut with Fennel
Purple Sauerkraut with Fennel

Vegetable to salt ratio - the magic formula for ferments
After a lot of experimenting, we've reached a good understanding of the salt/vegetable ratio for pickles and ferments. As a general rule of thumb, we always weigh our vegetables, then add 1.75% of this weight in salt. For example, 1kg of cabbage will need roughly 17.5g of salt. 500g of cabbage will need roughly 8.75g of salt. For reference, 1 teaspoon of salt is 5.7g. 

To make 1 large jar you'll need:
1 large jar, sterilised with boiling water
1 large red cabbage, sliced finely
1.75% weight ratio of good quality salt (see above)
6 whole peppercorns
3-4 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds

Method

1. Before you chop your cabbage, peel away 1-2 of good quality outer leaves and put to one side for use later.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients so that the salt is thoroughly mixed with the cabbage. If you have time, leave it for 15-30 minutes - this will help draw the moisture out of the cabbage. 
3. With clean hands (or with gloves if you don't want purple stained fingers!) begin to mix and massage the cabbage. Continue for around 5-10 minutes, until liquid squeezes out of the cabbage. This purple liquid will help the fermentation process.
4.Add all the ingredients to your sterilised jar, pushing down as you go so that no air is trapped in the bottom of the jar. Keep pushing down as you add more cabbage (the back of a wooden spoon is helpful for this). The idea is to pack everything really tightly into the jar. 
5. Once you've added all the cabbage to the jar, continue to push it down until the cabbage is submerged in some of its liquid. If your sauerkraut seems dry, leaving the jar for an hour or so between pressing down can allow more of the liquid to release. 
6. Fold the cabbage leaves you set aside at the beginning to form a 'lid' that will fit in your jar. Place this on top of the sauerkraut and again, push the ingredients down with the back of the wooden spoon. Add a weight on top of the cabbage to keep it submerged in liquid. We use a small glass with some weights inside. Cover the jar with a fine cheesecloth. 
4.Now it's time to let the cabbage ferment! Around 7 days is the perfect amount of time. If you live in a very hot climate then you may need less time. Everyday, check on your jar and firmly push down the sauerkraut with the back of a wooden spoon. You should see air bubbles rise from the bottom of the jar. The cabbage should remain submerged in liquid.
5. After around 5-7 days, taste the sauerkraut to see if it suits your taste buds. 
6.Once your satisfied with your flavour, secure the jar with a tight lid and store in the fridge. It's now ready to be eaten and shared and should last for months if sealed well. The flavour generally improves after the sauerkraut has been in the fridge for a few days. 

Purple Sauerkraut with Fennel
Purple Sauerkraut with Fennel
Purple Sauerkraut with Fennel
Purple Sauerkraut with Fennel

Have you ever fermented anything at home? We'd love to hear your experiences! 

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Cashew Cheese Burrata

We've been experimenting with some dairy-free cheese recipes recently, which has been so much fun! This cashew cheese has been our favourite so far - it has the creamy texture of a soft cheese, but with a delicious nutty flavour. It's fermented over a few days, so it's full of healthy bacteria to help digestion and keep our tummies happy.We love incorporating fermented foods into our meals, not only because they are delicious, but they are also so healing for the gut. This cheese uses a probiotic to ferment, so it's a simple process and a great recipe to try if you're new to fermenting. The fermentation does take a few days, but please don't let this put you off...  It really is so simple to make & it's fun hanging the cheese in your kitchen and seeing it change!  

Cashew Cheese Burrata and Raw Crackers
Cashew Cheese Burrata and Raw Crackers

Cashew Cheese Burrata

(Recipe adapted from The Plant Power Way: Italia)
Ingredients
1 1/2 cups of cashews
1 acidophilus probiotic capsule
1 teaspoon of good quality salt
3/4 cup of plant milk (coconut or oat works well)
1 teaspoon of coconut oil

Method
1. Soak the cashews in water overnight. The next day, drain and rinse the nuts.
2. Add the cashews, acidophilus powder, salt, 1/4 cup of milk, coconut oil to a high speed blender. Blend on a high speed until the mixture is smooth. 
3. Fold the mixture into the center of a piece of fine cheesecloth. Gather the edges and tie them into a bundle with string. 
4. Hang the cheese bundle from a hook for 24 -48 hours. A thin rind should set up on the outside of the bundle. Place a small dish underneath it to catch any moisture drips. 
5. In a small bowl, place the remaining 1/2 cup of milk. Add the cheese bundle to the mix bath and place it in the fridge for 1 - 3 days. 
6. Remove the bundle from the milk bath and place it on a cutting board. Unfold the cheesecloth and cut the cheese into slices using a sharp knife. Enjoy! 
7. Consume within 3-4 days. 

Have you ever eaten/made vegan cheese? We'd love to hear your experiences! 

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