Pickling & Fermenting

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Food Glorious Food

What good is surviving if you end up eating rat corpses? And what about booze! In our FOOD section, you'll find lots of good info on stocking up the essentials, making your own hootch, doing a bit of gardening and micro-farming (even if you have a crappy coldwater walkup in downtown Manhattan), recipes, dry goods and how to make good meals out of same, and of course - pickles.

Bulgar Wheat Sourdough Bread

 This is a more European style sourdough - dense and flavor-rich.  It takes a couple days.

European Sourdogh


  • ½ cup Bulgar wheat
  • 2 cup water (90°F-110°F)
  • 1 cup starter
  • 2 cup wheat flour
  • 2 cup bread flour
  • ½ cup oat bran
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt

First day:

  1. Soak the bulgar wheat in 1 cup of luke warm water for about 20 min in a big bowl.
  2. Add the starter, 1 more cup of luke warm water, and 2 cups wheat flour - stir thoroughly.
  3. Cover with cheese cloth and place somewhere warm.

Second day (8-12 hours later):

  1. Stir in oat bran, salt, and olive oil.
  2. Slowly stir in the bread flour until the dough is too thick for stirring.
  3. Knead the dough on a clean dry surface adding flour as needed until the dough is nice and elastic (this will take around 20 min) - it will spring back if you press your thumb in!
  4. Clean, dry, and oil the big bowl.
  5. Place the dough ball in the oiled bowl and turn it to cover it with oil.
  6. Cover with an oiled plastic bag and let rise in a warm place - dough will double in size.

Second day part 2:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 400° F.
  2. Fill small oven safe dish with a cup of water and place in oven - for a humid baking environment.
  3. Punch down dough.
  4. Knead a bit more and roll into desired loaf form.
  5. Place in loaf pan, on cookie sheet, or on pizza stone.
  6. Bake for around an hour or until the bread is golden brown and sounds hollow when you thump on it.

This sourdough bread is delicious when served warm with butter and honey!  It stays super delicious for only a day on the counter - refrigerated it will last longer.  It is also extremely filling!

I recommend taking the day-old bread and making melba or crostini!

Sourdough Rye Recipe

Here is the recipe I promised:


  • ½ of a yellow onion
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup sourdough starter
  • 3 cups dark rye flour
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 cup warm water (98°F to 110°F)

First Day

Dice the onion and caramelize in olive oil on low heat in a cast iron pan with a lid - let cool (do not add salt.)

Dissolve the molasses into the warm water in a nice big Pyrex bowl.  Add your starter.  With a fork, slowly add 1½ cups of rye flour and the cooled onions.  The consistency should be like muffin batter.

Cover with a tea towel and put on top of the refrigerator for 24 hours... really.

Second Day

Take the bowl off the top of the refrigerator and uncover.  Notice that a nice brown film has formed on top - don't worry.  Mix in 1½ cups of rye flour slowly with a fork.  When it gets to thick to use the fork, use your hands (make sure they are clean.)

Cover a clean flat surface with bread flour and begin kneading.  Add flour as you go.  You will need to knead for about 15 min to a half hour - you might want a friend to take over at some point.  The dough will become elastic.  If you press in you finger it will reshape itself.

Wash and dry the Pyrex bowl.  Coat the bowl with oil.  Place the loaf in the bowl, turn to coat with oil, cover, and put back on top the 'fridge.  Let rise for 12 - 24 hours.

Third Day

Take down, uncover, clean hands, clean surface - knead again a little bit, with a little bit of flour and a sprinkle of salt.  Form into a loaf shape and place on a pizza stone - I sprinkled some oat bran and pepper on the stone first.  Score the top of the loaf with some slashes - this helps it to rise.  Make sure your Pyrex bowl is still oiled - flip it over to cover the bread loaf.  Place on top the 'fridge and let rise until 2x the size ~ 2-4 hours depending on how warm your place is.

Place a pie pan filled with water into the bottom of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Remove the bowl from the bread.  Sprinkle some oats on top of the loaf and press in lightly.

Bake for about an hour.  The bread will have a nice hollow sound when you thump it and the crust will be a toasty brown.

sourdough molasses rye homeade bread - yummy!

Let sit for 20 minutes then dig in!  Serve with cold butter.

Now that's a sour Rye!

 Well my starter has come of age.  They grow up so fast.

The first loaf I baked came out pretty blasée, so I thought I would get a bit crazy with this one.  I made it with basically the same process, but I used almost all dark rye flour, I poured in about 2 tbsps of molasses in the first ferment, and aged the hell out of it.

Oh my!  That is a tasty rye!

My house smelled like a brewery, but I think this might be the most delicious sourdough I have ever had.  Yippee!

I will post a more accurate recipe later...  I am just so excited!

Adventures in Sourdough III - Kneading and Baking with your Starter

 This is not a recipe for the impatient.  It is, however, a delightful distraction if you work from home and want an excuse to take a few breaks.  The whole thing takes a couple days.  You prep, wait overnight, first knead in the early afternoon, second knead late afternoon, bake in the evening and viola!  Fresh bread just in time for dinner.

I am winging this mother and hoping for the best.  With that being said let us dive in!

Part 1 - around 10 minutes.

  1. Warm up a bowl - hot water into a Pyrex bowl until warm.
  2. Pour out "warming water" and add a fresh cup of warm (98 - 110F) water.  If you don't have a thermometer, this is a touch warmer that body temp - think "luke warm."
  3. Mix 1 1/2cups of the flour of your choice - I used whole wheat.
  4. Mix in 1cup of your starter.
  5. Cover with cheese cloth and place in a warm place for 12-24 hours.  Yes...HOURS!


Part 2 - Next day, around 25 minutes

  1. Mix in 1cup of flour (I used unbleached bread flour.)
  2. Mix in 1tbsp of oil or fat (I used duck fat)
  3. Stir in flour until the mixture is too stiff to stir with a fork.  If you are lucky enough to have a KitchenAid with a dough hook - you probably already know how to make bread.
  4. Sprinkle in some salt (around 1/2 -1tsp.)
  5. Turn on some form of entertainment that will last for around 20min.
  6. Knead with your hands on a clean surface adding flour when the dough gets sticky.
  7. Keep kneading....
  8. Keep kneading....
  9. Keep kneading...
  10. You want to knead until the dough springs back when you poke it.  It takes 13-25 minutes.
  11. Oil a big bowl.
  12. Place the springy dough ball in the bowl and turn it to cover with oil.
  13. Cover the bowl with wax paper and tape in place if needed.
  14. Place the bowl in a warm place until the dough doubles in size - around 3 hours, depending on the warmth of your place.


Part 3 - Second knead, form into loaf

It will look like this:
Sourdough doubled in size and then some!
Punch it down and knead adding a little flour to keep it from being too sticky.
Form it into a loaf like this:
Unbaked sourdough loaf-ball.
I slashed it across the top for a fancy effect.
Cover with the big bowl and place it back into its warm spot for an hour or two - it will grow!

Part 4 - Baking it... finally.

Pop that sucker in an oven pre-heated to 395F.
Bake for around an hour or until brown.  It will sound hollow when you tap on it.
The finished product:
Homemade sourdough bread and soup... totally worth it.
The bread was fluffy and mild; suprisingly not that sour.  I guess my starter has to age a bit.   Ryan said it reminded him of Roman brand bread.  I agree.  Next time I will be a bit more adventurous with my ingredients!



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