Science alert in the kitchen!

September 3, 2016

Mystery photo. Read on, and see what it is.

Mystery photo. Read on, and see what it is.

We have experimentation going on.

We have not gotten as much done today as we’d planned, but we have some projects under way that involve fermentation. And we’ve spent a lot more time running around, doing things like getting the propane bottle filled, making a quick run to the bank (since it’s closed on Monday), going to the farmers’ market, and stopping by WalMart to pick up stuff I bought yesterday but forgot and left at the checkout counter (apparently didn’t get all my bags, so I bought it again) and Kroger to pick up frozen toasted ravioli for Child A, who loves the stuff.

So the housecleaning will wait (housecleaning will ALWAYS wait!), but I did get the two things started I wanted to start. Well, actually three, as I’ve got a batch of yeast bread rising that’ll make a loaf for sandwiches and toast, and some rolls for tomorrow. About to start brining the chicken, which will go on the smoker early tomorrow morning about as soon as I get up. Going to put some beans on to soak before I go to bed tonight, pressure cook them tomorrow, then drain some of the liquid and put them back in the Instant Pot to make baked beans. Mac and cheese and some potato salad and a sliced tomato will just about finish things off. I might get ambitious and make a pie; I might not.

But back to the fermentation.

Up top, we have mango pickles. Now, I love a mango. I’m real fond of a pickle. I’m just intrigued at the prospect of a mango pickle, or was when another poster detailed making them on eGullet. So I decided I would try it.

Green mangoes, and one ripe one.

Green mangoes, and one ripe one.

He specified to get the greenest mangoes you can find, and I found a couple that had no red showing on them anywhere. (Along with one that did, because I want to make some pineapple mango salsa.) One then gives them a salt-water soak for 24 hours, followed by allowing them to ferment in a simple syrup for five to seven days. Mine are, obviously, in the salt-water-soak stage.

This, in general, intrigues me. It can’t be for anything but to impart the salty flavor, because don’t get any lacto-fermentation going in a salt soak for a good week or 10 days. But OK. The real fermentation will take place, much like in winemaking, in the sugar syrup; you’re just adding sugar to the natural sugar in the mango.

He says they’re crunchy and salty-sour-sweet. That all sounds good. There are no spices, beyond the sugar and salt, involved. Something in me wants to spice the sugar syrup, but I’ll stick to this guy’s directions.

Meanwhile, on the other counter, we have this:

Sourdough seed culture, or barm. Origin of "barmy," maybe?

Sourdough seed culture, or barm. Origin of “barmy,” maybe?

This is a seed culture for sourdough. I love sourdough bread, but have never made it, and I’ve gotten a notion I want to. S0, out comes the Breadmaker’s Apprentice, which details the process. One starts with the seed culture, or “barm,” a four-day process which starts with dark rye flour and pineapple juice. I didn’t want to buy a big ol’ can of pineapple juice, so I bought a couple of cans of tidbits and drained the juice off one of them. Tomorrow it gets fed with plain flour and more pineapple juice; the next two days, with flour and water.

Then you add other stuff and make a sourdough starter out of it. After another couple of days, you can use the starter and make bread, so I should be able to do that by next weekend.

Which is why I have bread proofing right now for tomorrow.

And I still have kraut brewing away, which is on Week 3 and should be ready about next Friday, when I’ll take it out and can it.

If I go to fermenting anything else in this kitchen, you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em may have to call the feds in on me.




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