First sourdough bread!

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Monday I prepared my first sourdough starter with rye flour. It lived on our bathroom heater, so the wild yeast multiplied like crazy and the sourdough was ready for a test run after four days – it was full of millions of tiny bubbles and the smell had turned from vinegar to freshly cut sour apples.

As recommended I added some normal baking yeast to this first use of my sourdough culture. Apart from that it contains nothing but flour, water, and some salt. I’m looking forward to slicing it tomorrow and eating some of it with butter and homegrown cress :)

The bread weighs more than one kilogramme! I need to find someone to help me eat this, as I won’t be able to eat all of it before the next baking day and our freezer compartment is really tiny (and we don’t own a toaster – I don’t like untoasted defrosted bread).

Next week I’ll try to make a bread without extra yeast. I’d also love to add some spelt flour – I prefer mixed bread over pure rye. Do I have to add yeast when I add flour other than the type I used for the starter?

The Bottle Gourd Experiment, Day 1

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After two years of harvesting a handful of tiny carrots/kohlrabi/potatoes and bitter lettuce I decided to try something different in 2015: bottle gourds. The seeds arrived a few days ago; today I put three of them in some water to prepare them for germination. Tomorrow I’ll let them dry and plant them into some moist soil on Monday.

I have not yet decided whether I’ll try to keep them all inside our kitchen or whether I’ll get the courage to ask our landlords aka church people if I may use the handrail of the side entrance stairs as a ranking aid.¬† At the moment I’m thinking about keeping one or two inside and the other one or two outside next to the stairs. As I want them to produce nice, round calabashes they’ll need a ranking aid. So for the one(s) in the kitchen I’ll have to sacrifice the old loft-bed ladder I’m using to air (or store) once-worn but still clean outer wear like skirts in our small bedroom.¬† With some tweaking and pushing it should fit between the wall and the kitchen counter (the side with all the other plants) so the gourds will be able to grow next to the window. It’s just an east window, but our kitchen is pretty warm in summer and should provide the right climate!

As for a planter, I own a plastic basket which became jobless today (it used to be our waste paper receptacle, but we found a bigger cardboard box at the grocery store); lined with a plastic bag or something similar it should be a suitable home for at least one of the plants. For outside … there is a seemingly abandoned crate I might nick for that purpose.

Yay for bottle gourds! If this experiment succeeds it might make some people very happy. 180 days of waiting …

 

green kitchen: update

Remember last year’s post about my attempts to turn our kitchen into a greenhouse? I think it’s time for an update:

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One of my many hobbies: filling all kinds of old containers with green life. Mostly ivy, sempervivum, and some fern, aloe vera, moss, and a green plant I can’t name (but it multiplies on its own). I love ivy. And how adorable is the sempervivum in the little milk jug? Not sure yet what to do with the old tea kettle in the background¬† I found recently – use it to brew ginger tea, or plant ivy (or maybe lavender) inside?

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Ivy in a cracked glass pitcher we don’t use anymore as it leaks (so I just put already potted ivy inside instead of filling the pitcher itself with soil the way I’d have preferred to).

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As I said, this kind of plant multiplies. It starts to grow a “child” dangling from the mother plant, which you then put into water until it grows its own roots; then it can be potted and cut off. This little family lives on top of our fridge, next to the coffee making thing.