At our home, our cultures are given our constant time and care. We like to think of them as part of our family, (as odd-looking as they may be!) - because really, they are just like any other pet or child that requires time, nourishment and care. We lovingly refer to our cultures as 'The Greeshka', after a story from one of our favorite authors, where a strange collective entity of creatures join together to be better as a group (how fitting for these little symbiotic colonies of bacteria and yeast!).
Our sourdough lives quietly amongst our other cultures and is perhaps the most 'normal' looking of them all. Sourdough doesn't directly supply probiotics like our other cultures (because the high heat of baking destroys them), but it is the traditional and natural method of fermenting and raising dough (and boy, is it tasty!). It's so fascinating to watch a jar of flour and water transform into a bubbly, sponge-looking matrix. Some studies are now showing that whole grain sourdough is even better for your health than regular whole grain bread, because it has a more natural and gradual impact on blood sugar. This is due to the balance between bacteria and yeast (regular bread just has yeast) and the trace acids that the bacteria impart in the bread, which also give it it's sour nature.
It's important to be able to rely on your starter to raise your dough and impart a variety of wonderful flavors (from sweet and mild to sour and tangy). We feed and care for our sourdough weekly (sometimes daily), making sure that its always fresh, strong and healthy.
Our sourdough starter is fed with freshly-milled organic flours (we have our own mill) . This is so the starter is getting the freshest and most balanced food-supply. All nutrients of the grains are intact, and none of the oils found in the germ are rancid like flour which has sat on store shelves. Our basic starter is fed with freshly-milled whole wheat, and our gluten-free option is fed with freshly-milled brown rice. We also keep a spelt flour starter on hand for ourselves from time to time. We handle our starter gently (they are living, and part of our family, besides!) and we only use wood, food-grade plastic and stainless steel (and canning jars just like you see in our supplies, as their little homes).
Even though its meant to raise bread, sourdough also imparts a wonderful tangy rich flavor to waffles and pancakes - which we've grown to love (and our dogs would agree). We also bake our own bread with it, usually making large batches of bread, waffles and pancakes which we then separate with wax paper and freeze. This is so convenient because we can then dig out our home-made creations and satisfy our sourdough cravings at a moments notice - we just pop it into the toaster (pancakes too!) spread a little butter, garlic, cream cheese, honey, jam or maple syrup and munch away!
If you've already received sourdough us, check out our map to see where its relatives reside!
Why is there a cost for your cultures? You may ask, why do we charge for our cultures - isn't it a tradition to share and give these cultures away? While we would love to be able to offer all of them for free to everyone, we like to compare it to an 'adoption fee'. Putting a cost to the cultures covers the time and care we put into them daily, enables us to afford the best ingredients to ensure the best cultures (raw milk, whole cane sugar, organic tea, fresh home-ground flours). It also aids us people from all around the world the opportunity to try these cultures, and encourages those who people from all around the world the opportunity to try these cultures, and encourages those who invest in a culture to take the time and effort to care for their cultures. We also enjoy sharing our cultures locally, giving away our cultures to our family, friends, and neighbors whenever we can.
We'd like to leave you with one last note that we hope you'll be comforted to know that whatever you may spend or donate here goes right back towards our land, our animals, our garden and ultimately our cultures, time, research and ability to give you our very best. You can observe more of who and what you are supporting in our Photo Album. We truly believe what goes around comes around. Just as in culturing, however much we share with others is what can be shared back, and then some.