Fermentation

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21 articles in category Fermentation / Subscribe

crackers-cut

When we were eating Matzo for Passover everyone in the family kind of hinted that maybe homemade crackers should be a regular deal. For some reason I had it in my head that this was much to laborious a process to become a common food in our home but really, it’s not.

crackers-after-poking

Especially since I mix up the dough in five minutes and walk away for 12-24 hours. Then, when a window of time in which I’ll be in the kitchen anyway (and not rushing to prepare a meal) presents itself, I roll and bake them. That’s actually one of the things I really like about sourdough: I can do it on my own time.

crackers-baked-overhead

Plus, with a long fermentation, the fibers and starches are broken down when the lactic acid bacteria go to work. Just like the breads in Traditionally Fermented Foods, I almost always shoot for at least a 12-24 hour fermentation period. Things like pancakes and crackers are especially easy to ferment for long periods since you don’t depend on the sourdough for leavening and the break down of gluten in the process is actually helpful.

And, with the tangy flavor sourdough imparts, these crackers are full of flavor.

Sourdough Crackers

Ingredients

Directions

Combine the flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Using a pastry cutter, fork, or clean hands, cut the fat into the flour and salt mixture until it is about the size of peas. Make a well in the flour-fat mixture.

To the well, add the water, starter, and eggs. Beat together to break up the eggs and then incorporate into the dry ingredients. Add more water or flour, if needed, to form a firm but soft dough. Cover and leave to ferment for 8-24 hours.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Generously grease two baking sheets and sprinkle them with salt. Uncover the fermented dough and divide it into eighths. Roll out the dough into a thin rectangle and transfer that to one of your baking sheets. Cut the dough into 1-2″ squares and move these apart slightly on your baking sheet. Prick crackers several times with a fork. Repeat with one more section of dough.

Place crackers in preheated oven and bake 12-18 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool before eating. Repeat process with remaining cracker dough.

Ferment-Grains-with-Kefir

So today is the day that Traditionally Fermented Foods is available to all. To mark the occasion, I just wanted to share why, when my publisher asked me what I wanted to write about, I chose food fermentation.

Dried-Fruit-Kvass

The thing about fermented foods that I would tell everyone, if I could, is that there isn’t just one thing about fermented foods that makes them miraculous. It is their health-giving properties, making vegetables and dairy full of probiotics and enzymes; grains and legumes easier on our systems. It is the ability to preserve all manner of foods while enhancing vitamins and retaining minerals. It is the ease with which these age-old practices turn a kitchen into a life-giving, sustainable food system. And what brings it all together is the absolute deliciousness that fermentation imbues into every meal of the day.

English-Muffins-Griddle

I really believe the practice of fermentation is a gift to the home cook and most especially the homesteader. Fermentation has been in my life for over a decade now and has taught me the importance of living food, how to use fermentation to preserve food without refrigeration, and how to turn homegrown, local foods into the most delicious part of every single meal and snack throughout the day.

Fermented-Herb-Sauce

Traditionally Fermented Foods is all that I know and love about this age-old practice. It is 85 delicious recipes but it is also a guide to harnessing the biology of this natural process to preserve the nutrients in vegetables, fruits, grains, and dairy while making them an absolute delight even to the pickiest eater. My hope is that it would inspire and inform your own pursuit of traditional foods, homegrown health, and sustainable food ways.

And, fifteen months after I began this work, it is now available for your own home kitchen.