Creature of Habit

I am instinctively a creature of habit. I crave a routine. It is self imposed. If I am derailed it is sometimes no big deal, I mean, I can be flexible, but I have my preferences just like anyone else.

When my routine is in chaos… well, you can guess. So am I.

Some of my habits, my “domestic habits” are making sourdough bread and brewing my own kombucha. Both of these things bring me a certain satisfaction as a maker. I can be more sustainable. But it is also about growth and a journey. There multiple steps in each process. I personally have excellent outcomes, sometimes, and sometimes the results are left to be desired. I find solace in the process. I like the steps. I also like the variance and specific challenges that both sourdough and kombucha provide. They are both dependent on outside factors like the weather, like time, like what they have been fed… lets be real- who isn’t dependent on what they have been fed.

Today, is brew day. That’s the day that I brew new kombucha (1st ferment) and flavor old kombucha (2nd ferment). As far as the kombucha goes, I tend to stick to some very specific flavor profiles. The reason I do this is that I already did all the trial and error. I tried all the different fruits, fresh fruits, frozen fruits. I tried different teas, different sugar substitutes but I go back to the same thing. Habit, I guess. My process is the same everytime. That might be why I find it challenging to write about it. I put it in my weekly’s- what else is there to say.

I typically make one of three types of kombucha. My go to: lemon ginger. In the summer when I have lots of fresh herbs on hand- I add herbs. My second, herbal tea infused uses 1 of two teas I buy locally called “montana gold” or “evening in missoula”. Finally my third and last is a seasonal fruit of either rhubarb or huckleberry. Very specific times of year.

Right now, it’s rhubarb time. In 2 weeks, it will be huckleberry time.

I brewed today:

  • Instructions: ( if its your first brew check weekly’s)
  • Bring a clean kettle to boil with 3 cups of water.
  • Prepare the vessel you will brew in, I use a gallon jar (16 cups). I sterilize it by cleaning it with mild soap and very hot water.
  • Then I pour 1 cup of granulated sugar into the bottom of the dry jar.
  • Once boiling I pour the 3 cups of water over the sugar and add 4-5 black tea bags. It can be the cheap kind. (I started making my own kombucha for 2 reasons: 1. IT IS SO CHEAP TO MAKE with minimal effort. 2. Mine tastes better than theirs)
  • Steep the tea in the sugar water for 10 minutes. It should be very dark.
  • Fill the vessel with cool water 3/4 of the way.
  • Once the sweet tea mixture has reached room temp add your scoby and some of your previous brew. Cover, and place in your kombucha cave (somewhere dark, with a relatively consistent temperature)
  • Now, flavor your previous brew. I am fan of efficiency. I flavor and bottle at the same time. Today I used some mint and some rhubarb sauce. I’ll tell you about the sauce.
  • Rhubarb sauce
    • Chop whatever rhubarb you have. I had about 3 cups once it was all chopped.
    • Place the rhubarb, 1/2 c water, and 1/2 c sugar in a sauce pan.
    • Bring to a boil, stir frequently.
    • Once the rhubarb starts to dissolve, turn off the heat but leave the pan on the hot burner. As the sauce starts to cool, smoosh (technical terms here) the soft rhubarb against the side of the pan.
    • Once cool- transfer to a jar. Refrigerate and put on all the things.
    • ( in this case I used 1-2 tablespoons per jar depending on the size of the jar of kombucha I was making)

So, like I said- the brew, some mint, and some rhubarb sauce. Twist the lids on tightly and leave in a dark place for 2-3 days. Refrigerate for at least one day before you crack it open. Drink a little booch, everyday.

Today was an unusual brew day. It also fell on “feed your mother” day. So I started my sponge for my sourdough as well.

I keep my mother in a wide mouth mason jar, she likes it there. I fed her half a cup of flour and about 1/4 cup warm water. I stirred until completely combined and smooth then I covered her loosely with the the lid and left her in the sink (in case of overflow). Usually she bubbles just right to the top, but when its hot- she sometimes overflows.

Tomorrow morning, I will mix my sponge from my fed sourdough, and tomorrow night I will bake my bread. Ah, habits. I’m looking forward to tomorrow.

Be smart. Be kind. Stay healthy and safe. Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Get your vaccine. Make habits.

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