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Learning about fermentation at Gartur Stitch Farm
One of the hazards about having your own business is that everything becomes about the business.
I knit a blanket and I'm suddenly charting the patterns out for newsletter subscribers, I want to learn to hand letter and I am sharing the results day by day on my business instagram. . . it is insidious, it is pervasive, it is really not very good if you want hobbies that take you away from the cares and stresses of the business.
So this year I am making the effort to learn about things - for I love learning, I have a great wish to know lots of details about all kinds of things - that have nothing to do with my business.
I started with fermentation.
Because I take steroids every day the natural helpful bacteria in my body is a bit underpowered and I am prone to yucky infections, especially when stressed.
I decided that I needed to up my intake of good natural bacteria.
I had been meaning to learn how to make fermented foods for ages but the worry of it all getting a bit too funky and out of hand and a genuine fear of poisoning people was holding me back.
Then I saw that there was a course at local Gartur Stitch Farm dealing with all kinds of fermented foods - from sourdough bread and sauerkraut to kombucha and kefir - so I booked a place.
It was such a great decision to go - Kat Goldin who runs the courses is a natural teacher, she is so down to earth and fuss free that you become confident in your own ability to do things.
Over the day we learned to make sauerkraut and fermented carrots, sourdough bread and kombucha, we had a delicious lunch featuring lots of fermented foods.
We got to take away the things we made along with starters to set us on our way when we got home and a pack of recipes.
Now I have kombucha brewing away on my kitchen counter, there are fermented vegetables in the fridge but the real revelation is the sourdough bread.
I had tried making sourdough before, but I had felt that I was a slave to it - making a loaf seemed to take days and days and I was always feeding and worrying about the starter.
I only eat bread at weekends (because I can't seem to stop eating it if it is in the house) and with my previous attempt I seemed to be constantly making loaves and loaves - none of which was that great if I am honest.
The bread we made at Gartur - from Muriel the starter - was simply mixed up, stirred about a bit and shaped on the Saturday and then taken home to be put in the fridge and baked on the Sunday morning. It was a revelation.
As was the fact that I can use the sourdough starter to make pancakes and scones and don't need to be its slave.
I baked another loaf this morning. Making it took 10 minutes tops.
It looks like this and is scenting the whole house with bready goodness.
You can check out the courses at Gartur Farm here - there is everything from bread making to crochet.
If you are wanting to have a day away from it all, in beautiful countryside, with great food, good company and to come away with a new skill - this is your place.