Lacto-Fermented Jalapeno's

I have a serious addiction to spicy. A story my family loves to tell about my addiction dates back to when I was an infant, not yet one with a pacifier in my mouth. Sitting in a famous Mexican restaurant in Dallas my mother had taken the chip bowl away from me to ensure I would eat whatever mess, rice and beans I’m sure, they were about to spoon feed me. But tiny me didn’t get a rats backside about the chips, I just wanted the salsa. If they had really been paying attention they would have noticed I wasn’t really eating the chips anyway. I continued to dip the same chip into the salsa bowl until rendered soggy and useless. Upon taking the chips, I proceeded to use my pacifier as a vessel for shoveling the spiciest salsa on the table into my tiny mouth. They all laughed, so I’m told, and let me do my thing. No one was stopping this Texas born baby from getting her fix.

Still to this day I want to feel the burn, sweat, contemplate if this will be my last meal because it’s just too much to handle. When I order at Thai and Indian restaurants I usually get blown off when I request they use the traditional amount of heat when preparing the dish I’ve ordered. And then there are the restaurants that know me and know this lil white girl can absolutely handle her spice just fine.

Bless you kind humans.

Jalapenos aren’t particularly spicy to me, but I add them to just about everything in an attempt to bump up the heat level of whatever I’m eating. I throw it on my breakfasts, chili, salads; if I’m eating the jar of jalapenos is probably close by.

Once I began my fermentation journey, I realized I could procure a jar of the goods as long as I had fresh jalapenos, a jar, and salt around.

It’s that simple.

And the best part is, you can keep the recipe as simple, or complicate it, as you like. Over the years I’ve played around with adding different flavors to it just to make them even more delectable. Now a days I pretty much stick to the same recipe, or same ingredients, because I’m fermenting jalapenos regularly. About twice a month to be exact.

Ingredients

Fresh Jalapenos ( as little or as much as you want)

Good Salt (real salt or celtic grey is fine)

Fresh rough chopped onion or dried onion flakes

Fresh crushed garlic

Filtered water

A glass container large enough to hold however much you’re fermenting

Directions

  • Slice fresh jalapenos (I like mine pretty thin. Just remember, the thinner they are the faster they will ferment and that’s not always the best thing)

  • Rough chop onion and crush garlic if using fresh

  • Place your fresh ingredients in a glass jar of your choosing, packing things in decently but not too tight

  • Fill jar with your brine (traditional fermentation brine is 1-3T of good salt dissolved in 1 qt of water, I like my jalapeno brine on the saltier side so using the full 3T per qt of water)

  • Seal to finger tight and label with the day you set it up.

  • Burp 1-2 times a day so your jar doesn’t explode.

  • Ferment as long as you like. My home ferments ferment rather quickly 3-4 days usually.

Told ya’ll. All ferments are just about that simple. Not to mention you just upped the enzyme level, nutrient bioavailability, wild crafted probiotics from your own home environment, and have a quick and tasty pickled jalapeno! You can practically smell the enthusiasm I have for fermenting ha. I really do love it and hope you do too! If you haven’t tried to do one yet, get on it!

Enjoy friends,

~ Hippie Hayden

How to Grow Your Own SCOBY | Kombucha

I went to an itty bitty VERY Baptist college when I first ventured into kombucha. Did I mention it was small and Baptist? If you know anything about the Baptist faith, because yes it is it’s own religion entirely, you know that they’re tee-totaler’s. I, however, was the ugly duckling of campus as a reformed Presbyterian; man oh man did my theology professors love me. Not. We were required to live on campus all four years which included, for many of us, our twenty-first year of life. I was a good little Presbyterian and obeyed their rules. I didn’t bring or hide alcohol in my townhome……like the majority of my Baptist counterparts. I swear there was enough booze hidden in most peoples homes to pickle the entire campus. But I digress. When I first ventured into my home fermentation journey, I started with Kombucha and naturally wanted to grow my own SCOBY. Bottled kombucha at Whole Paycheck was just that, my whole paycheck; so brewing my own appealed to me to save a lot of money as well. My very Baptist, very prudish roommates were convinced I was brewing satan’s liquor in our kitchen as I found out by being informed, mid class, that apartment life was in the middle of raiding my home on the hunt for this home brewed booze. Needless to say, they found nothing and soon were educated that the round, rubbery, slimy, disk thing sitting in a jar on the counter was nothing more than tea, sugar, and water. No alcohol content is present at the end of kombucha fermenting, or most lacto fermented beverages for that matter. Definitely one of my fondest memories from my college experience. It’ll make a great story for the kids one day. The time when mom was raided by apartment life and campus police for having………tea.

For those of you who aren’t submersed into the world of fermentation, SCOBY stand for: Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast. It’s a pretty generic term for the powerhouse that is a SCOBY. When I dove head first into the home fermentation world there wasn’t much on the internet at the time, especially about growing your own SCOBY. If anything, there were more words of caution that growing your own was nigh impossible and you might as well buy one on the internet or get one from a friend if they happened to have extras. It was a little mysterious as to how SCOBY’s came about exactly, kind of like kefir grains. Needless to say, I ignored the nay sayers and took a giant leap of fermentation faith. I formulated this recipe entirely on my own with a little college ingenuity thinking this must be how it worked. So I bought a bottle of plain kombucha that had a decent amount of yeast on the bottle, brought it home, and put on my thinking cap.

After having done this a few different times in my life, I can attest that you don’t need a plain kombucha flavor to make this successful. If you have some that does happened to be second fermented with a different flavor, it will work just as well and it won’t make your batches from here on out that same flavor. I will caution you not to use any flavors that might have straight up pureed fruit in them, like the GT Mystic Mango; that might not yield the best of results. I probably also wouldn’t use any of the chlorophyll ones either, unless you want a green SCOBY ha.

These are the only things you need to grow your own SCOBY for home kombucha brew.

Ingredients:

1 Bottle of kombucha with a decent amount of yeast at the bottom (plain if you have it but any other clear flavors will work)

1 Bag of plain black tea and plain green tea (no earl grey, the oils will mess up the SCOBY formation)

1 C filtered water (Chlorine free if you can and not tap)

1/4 C Organic sugar

1 Wide mouth quart mason jar

Directions:

  • Bring the water to a boil

  • Pour into the quart mason jar, careful not to shatter the glass, and dissolve the sugar into the hot water

  • Add the two tea bags and let the tea mixture sit out till room temp. I mean it when I say room temp. Let it sit all day if you have too.

  • Once the tea is room temp add the bottom half of your kombucha (roughly 8oz) to the jar and mix it a round a bit.

  • Cover the jar with cheese cloth, a dishtowel, or coffee filter and secure.

  • Let it sit out and grow.

It’s really is as simple as that. I’ve never had a failure in ten years of growing my own SCOBY’s and brewing my own kombucha. Ideally you’ll only have to do this once, but I’ve had to grow a few new ones over the years with moves or long breaks in brewing (although you can absolutely store them to use later). You’ll want to let it get about 1.5-2” in thickness before you take it out and move it into a larger vessel for brewing. And it will duplicate pretty much every time you brew a batch of kombucha. Before long you’ll have more SCOBY’s than you know what to do with and then I’ll teach ya’ll have to make dog treats with your hotel of SCOBY’s.

It will take about two weeks for it to grow. Sometimes less, depending on how much natural yeast is in the air of your home. Once it’s strong and fully grown it will be ready for it’s first feeding. I do this by simply making a normal gallon of kombucha brew tea and sticking the new SCOBY in that tea mixture. You can drink what brews or pitch it and drink the next batch, totally up to you. I usually drink the first batch as it’s never not been strong normal komobucha for me.

If you want to find all of my favorite jars and other brewing equipment (although you probably already have everything you need in your kitchen) check our my “favorites” tab and find everything there!

Alrighty ya’ll, this is part one! So go grow some SCOBY’s and check back here for a post on how to brew your first batch of kombucha! After that we’ll talk all about second fermentation and different flavors!

Tell me if you’ve done this before and how it’s worked out for you; if you’ve done anything different etc! And let me know if you’re just jumping into the world of home brewing and taking a stab at growing your own SCOBY! I promise it really is this simple!

Enjoy, friends

~ Hippie Hayden

Sourdough Sandwich Bread

Kneading and baking bread is a holy experience. I have a habit of listening to my favorite podcasts, music, or poetry reading while I mix, knead, and bake my weekly bread, that in itself is a holy rhythm, a liturgy if you will. I’m making a few extra loaves this week to bring to friends and stocking the freezer with pre-made goodies to enjoy during the week, like cinnamon rolls and english muffins. My starter died when we went out of town for a few days and I completely forget to feed it and stash it in the fridge. Since then I’ve been patiently feeding and building it up, making it nice and strong so it could rise bread loaves well. Yesterday something told me it was ready, so I put down my work and resumed my favorite habit. I know some people don’t like the act of kneading bread, that I simply don’t understand and don’t identify with. It bring me so much peace. I hope that you can find the same kind of solace and refreshment from something as simple as bread making that I do.

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This is not a fancy artisan loaf recipe. This is a simple, country honey whole wheat sandwich bread loaf. It does look simple, but the flavor, if allowed to develop, is out of this world. I like to let mine rise for about 24 hours, sometimes a little less, so the sourdough flavor is bold. If you don’t like a borderline San Franciscan sourdough flavor, you can let it sour/rise for only 12 hours, or until it’s a height you like.

The flours I work with are all non gmo, organic heirloom varieties, freshly milled the day I’m going to use it using a nutrimill. This guarantees you’re getting the most nutrition possible out of your grains. I prefer spelt, einkorn, farro, and kamut. You can look in the “shopping guide” tab and find where I like to buy grains in bulk.

Also, if you’re not someone who enjoys kneading bread by hand, or certain physical limitations make that difficult I highly recommend this mixer specifically for bread kneading. It’s a huge time saver for those who don’t like kneading by hand or who need to save some time cranking out a few more loaves of bread for bigger families etc.

Ingredients:

2C 12 hour sourdough starter (12 hour meaning fed and doubled before pouring off)

1C Water

1/4C Honey

1/4C Butter

1T Salt

6C Flour (I do 2C Whole Grain and 4C unbleached)

Directions:

  • Mix starter, water, salt, and honey together

  • *Add your whole grain flour to the liquid and butter and mix thoroughly

  • Add two more cups of flour, mix well

  • Turn the sticky ball out on to a well floured surface and knead remaining two cups of flour or until it reaches the right texture. (not too sticky and not too firm)

  • Knead for roughly 10 minutes

  • Let the dough rest for 30 minutes and check after to see if it needs more flour

  • Add more flour if necessary and knead or

  • Divide the dough in half, knead each half and form into into loaf sizes

  • Grease your hands with butter and the loaves slightly so they don’t dry out while rising

  • Put into load pans that are greased and floured

  • Let the loaves rise till doubled in size covered with a damp cloth (12-24 hours, remember sourdough bread is a much slower rise than commercial yeast bread)

  • After rising, dust with flour is desired and score (I also score the top otherwise the sides will crack and that’s just not pretty)

  • In a 400 degree oven, bake the loaves for 40 minutes or until the top is a decent shade of light to medium brown.

* Start with four cups of flour and evaluate how much the dough needs from there. Baking is finicky and changes with the weather. Some days you may use all six cups or more, some you may use less. Your hands will tell you what is right!

Simple enough, right? We absolutely love this recipe. Anytime I have fresh hot loaves out of the oven we can’t hardly wait to slice into it before it’s properly cooled. More often than not half a loaf is gone in a matter minute, as well as a decent amount of good butter!

These loaves make great gifts to bring with you to friends homes for dinner or to accompany a simple bowl of good soup. It also makes a mean grilled cheese and toast for any meal of the day! In fact, I’m going to go slice off a hunk now and slather it with good butter.

Enjoy friends,

~Hippie Hayden