Chewy Sourdough Bagels

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Sourdough Bagels-9

Bagels are a very special bread that originated in the Jewish communities of eastern Europe as far back as the early 1600s . These special breads are first boiled prior to baking, which makes them chewier and with a lovely, shiny crust. Bagels have always been one of my favourite treats, next to doughnuts, of course.

About a decade ago I toyed with making bagels risen with yeast. They were delicious but I didn’t make more than a few batches before moving onto something else. It wasn’t until discovering the art of sourdough that bread making became an obsession for me. I find traditional food practices fascinating and find great purpose in learning to prepare foods that have been made daily for centuries.

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I am rather proud of these bagels. The crumb is soft and moist, yet perfectly chewy and the crust is malty and caramelised and crispy. Just the way a good bagel should be. The only thing  missing is a bit of smokey flavour from a wood fired oven. A hot pizza stone is not a bad trade off, and if you love pizza and sourdough bread, a pizza stone is a very useful tool and a great investment.

Bagels might seem intimidating to make, but they are actually very simple to prepare. You just need to do the process once in order for it all to make sense. The second attempt will be much easier on the brain and these will soon become a really straight forward and highly requested staple in your household.

Being sourdough, these bagels are more digestible and nutritious than a store-bought bagel, and way better on the budget. The overnight rise in the fridge also creates a more complex and delicious flavour. Another plus is that they can be made and shaped and then frozen, so you don’t have to commit to baking 16 bagels all at once.

I find it easiest to think of bagel making as a two-day process, similar to sourdough bread-making. The dough is made one day, and the bagels are baked the following day.

Sourdough Bagels

  • Servings: makes 16 bagels
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For the sponge:

125g bubbly ripe starter (fed 6-12 hours prior)

100g rye flour

400g high grade white flour or strong flour

big pinch diastatic malt powder (optional)

500ml warm filtered water (about 30 degrees Celsius)

 

For the dough:

20g sea salt (3 tsp)

30g raw sugar or barley malt syrup (2 TBLS)

350g-450g high grade white flour or strong flour

OR

100g rye or wholemeal flour AND 325g-425g high grade white flour or strong flour

 

For boiling:

3 litres water

1/4 cup honey or barley malt syrup or raw sugar (optional, it adds colour and flavour)

1 TBLS baking soda (to encourage rapid boiling)

sesame seeds or poppy seeds or sunflower seeds for topping (optional)

DAY 1: Making the Dough

  1. To make the sponge: In a large glass or plastic bowl combine the starter, water and flours and malt powder if using. Mix vigorously with a dough whisk or wooden spoon for about a minute until smooth and aerated. Place the bowl into a plastic shopping bag and tie it closed. Leave the sponge in a warm spot to rise for 6-12 hours or until it has noticeably doubled in volume.
  2. For the dough: Add the salt and sugar or barley malt syrup to your sponge mixture and mix vigorously until evenly mixed in. Start to add the extra flour 1/4 at a time and mix the dough until each 1/4 cup of flour is absorbed fully. If using additional wholemeal or rye flour, start with this first and then move onto the white flour. After the first 100g or so of added flour, you can tip the dough out on the bench and continue to add the flour by kneading it in by hand. If you have a stand mixer and dough hook, this could be a very useful tool for bagel making!
  3. Continue to add the flour 1/4 at a time until the dough stops getting stuck to your hands and the bench. It will feel tacky and moist, but should not be gluey or get stuck. I have found 405g of additional flour to be my magic number, but you may have a different number.
  4. Once the dough feels slightly tacky but not too sticky stop adding flour and continue to knead for an additional 5-7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place the dough back into the bowl or leave it on the bench and cover it with the plastic bag. Allow to rest and proof for 30-45 minutes (if your house is very cold, you may need to leave it in a warm spot in a covered bowl for this time).
  5. Line a baking sheet with baking paper and lightly dust it with flour, or lightly dust your bench with flour. Divide the dough into 16 equal portions. Roll these portions out into a log about 18cm long and place onto the floured baking paper or floured bench surface. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Shape the bagels: Take one of the logs of dough and wrap it around your fingers, overlapping the ends by about 4 cm. Your fingers will be through the centre of the bagel. Gently press the ends together and then roll the seam on the bench a few times to fuse the ends together. You can use a little water before overlapping if the dough isn’t sticking to itself. Place the shaped bagels 2cm apart onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Cover with a large plastic bag (I use a large unscented bin liner to put the baking tray into in order to keep the rising bagels moist). Once covered, leave to rise for another 30 minutes.
  7. Place covered baking tray into the fridge and allow to proof overnight in the fridge for 12-36 hours. If freezing, place the tray of bagels into the freezer. Once frozen I remove the bagels from the tray and pop them into a bag and leave in the freezer until ready to use. Remove bagels from the freezer 1-2 hours before you are planning to boil and bake.

DAY 2: Boiling & Baking the Bagels

  1. Preheat oven 45 minutes before baking to 250 degrees Celsius or 230 Celsius Fan Forced (500F or 450F Fan forced). A good, hot oven is important for bagels. Place oven rack on second lowest setting and place a pizza stone onto it if using. Line a board or the bench with clean, dry tea towel for the wet bagels to rest on after boiling.
  2. EITHER dust a pizza peel with cornmeal and sesame seeds, OR line a baking sheet with parchment
  3. Fill a large, wide pot (like a soup or stock pot) with the 3 litres of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add honey or barley malt syrup or sugar, if using. Slowly add the baking soda a tsp at a time to prevent boiling over. Leave the heat on high to ensure rapid boiling the whole time.
  4. Remove bagels from the fridge and carefully lower them 3-4 at a time into the boiling pot. Boil bagels for 1 minute on each side, turning them once with the slotted spoon.
  5. Remove bagels from the pot and line them up on the towel. Sprinkle bagels with toppings now, as they are the stickiest at this point. Proceed with the remaining bagels, until all of them are done and sprinkled.
  6. Transfer bagels to either the prepared pizza peel or lined baking sheet and either slide bagels onto the hot pizza stone OR bake on the tray.
  7. BAKING TIMES: Pizza Stone method will take much less time. I find my oven set at 230 Celsius Fan Forced only takes about 10-12 minutes to bake when using a pizza stone. HOWEVER, baking on a tray may take up to 20-25 minutes and the tray may need to be rotated halfway through. Keep an eye on the bagels and check around the 15 minute mark for the tray method to see how quickly they are baking. With either method the bagels should have a lovely and rich caramel colour on the outside. You will need to trial this in your own oven and make note of the time needed. You may also need to raise or lower your oven rack depending on the heat distribution.
  8. Once cooked, remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before scoffing at least two. Be sure to cool completely before storing them.

 

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What’s Going On

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IMG_3728Things have been very quiet on here. If you follow my Instagram you will know I have still been doing a fair bit with food and fibre, as well as the odd workshop. My partner asked about the blog the other day and suggested I do a simple blog post just to give an update and to let people know what my plans are over the next while.

Keeping up with the blog has been impossible over the winter with the constant illnesses my kids and I have been struggling with. The kids and I seem to have become really sensitive to dust, mould and mildew, causing us all to have low level illness and coughs and asthma all winter with some really nasty viruses thrown in the mix. At the best of times being a mother of three is full-on and I never manage any uninterrupted time to gain momentum on anything. I’m hoping to plan some basic posts and workshops that I can easily work around my kids and family life, both of which I am really enjoying.

Despite the constant posts about sourdough, I have actually had to cut all bread out of my diet in order to make some massive changes to combat my anxiety and eczema (though, I may have eaten a cream-filled sourdough doughnut this afternoon). The diet change has actually been a move to a ketogenic, high fat – low carb diet. I have used this way of eating before to help minimise stress on my thyroid and kidneys/adrenal glands during terrible bouts of sleep deprivation from my lovely children who haven’t yet discovered the pleasure of sleeping. The main benefit has been a complete reduction in anxiety, which at times has been debilitating.

While I actually find it easy to avoid eating breads and pastries, I love the process of sourdough baking and have needed to find ways to continue making it each week. Sourdough baking and dyeing wool and fabric are my therapy. I still bake a small amount for my family, but have started offloading excess sourdough bagels and doughnuts to some very grateful friends. A recipe will be coming to the blog for sourdough bagels in the coming weeks. I will also be updating my sourdough routine, because over the years I have tweaked the process and recipes I use. And I have some great tips for getting successful sourdough bread.

So, with all of that in the mix, what are my plans over the next little while?

I am planning some beginner and intermediate sourdough workshops, which will include other staple bread items other than just sourdough loaves of bread (pizza dough, bagels, pastries). I will also do some more fermentation workshops. Subscribe to the blog and follow me on Instagram to find out when those will be.

I also intend to do a few more wool and natural dye workshops before the year is over and will be teaching those through The Neighbourhood Studio. Follow Eloise on Instagram and be sure to check out her website. Eloise also offers great screen printing workshops and services.

I have been slowly making more bags and dyeing some wool and intend to start up my Etsy Shop again. Sewing, knitting, printing and working with natural dyes and acid reactive dyes are my first love and I am very excited to be getting a bit more time to make items for myself as well as some items to sell.

As I am writing this, my partner has just discovered rats in our garage, so I must run and make sure all of my fabrics and fibres are safely tucked away! Please get in touch if you have any questions about anything. And keep following along because I will be doing a bit more on here as my kids continue to get a bit older and more independent.

 

Homegrown Kitchen Cookbook Giveaway Winner Announced 

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Congratulations to Alice for winning the Homegrown Kitchen Cookbook giveaway! Alice, please email me and we can sort out getting the parcel of goodies to you!

A huge thank you to everyone who entered and for all of your lovely comments and support. It means so much! I wish I had a book and yarn for each and every one of you. More textile giveaways to come in the not too distant future! 

GIVEAWAY: Homegrown Kitchen Cookbook by Nicola Galloway – Giveaway Closed

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You know those invaluable cookbooks that live on your bench and have been dog-eared dozens of times with food stains and marks found on almost every page? This new Homegrown Kitchen Cookbook by Nicola Galloway has already become that for me after only mere weeks of having it in my possession. The love and effort put into this book by Nicola is so obvious throughout and her passion for cooking good food is infectious. This is a book I feel fortunate to have and a book that far exceeds any expectations I had prior to receiving it.

When I started on my journey into gut health and healing foods 5 years ago the Homegrown Kitchen blog by Nicola Galloway was one of my staple resources. It is still one of my favourite food blogs today and I use it on a weekly basis. Nicola’s way of cooking is beautifully honest and accessible. Her recipes are healthy, hearty and most of all DELICIOUS (definitely need all caps there). It is hugely exciting to see this amazing knowledge along with so many new recipes compiled into a sturdy hard-cover book.

This cookbook is a wonderful collection of everyday recipes that are not only inspiring, but also simple to make and use inexpensive ingredients that are easy to source. I have made a dozen or more recipes from this book several times already, including the no-knead super seeded sourdough (pictured), lacto-fermented beetroot pickle, labneh, rustic sourdough, yogurt scones and sourdough crumpets. This cookbook is more than just yummy recipes. It is a fantastic resource in which you can find recipes that I guarantee will become staples in your daily food-making. Nicola also includes in-depth but easy-to-follow instructions on basics like sourdough, yogurt-making, and fermentation as well as dozens of recipes which show you how to use these essential basics in every day cooking and baking. This is a perfect book for anyone, whether a beginner in the kitchen or a skilled foodie.

Nicola’s Homegrown Kitchen Cookbook can be found here and you can also find her over on her blog and on Instagram and Facebook.

GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED, THANK YOU

****GIVEAWAY DETAILS****

Nicola has kindly gifted a cookbook to be offered in a giveaway to one of my blog readers. I will also be including a naturally dyed tote bag and two x 100gm skeins of naturally dyed DK weight alpaca/merino yarn to go with the book in the giveaway (foodies and textile addicts unite!). I am happy to cover the cost to ship around the world, so please feel free to enter the giveaway no matter where you are!

To enter the draw, just leave a comment below. I will draw the winner at random in the weekend, so you have until Friday 12th May, 8pm (NZ time) to enter.

The lucky winner is Alice! Thank you to all for entering and for your lovely comments!

****************************

 

Basic Noodle Omlette + Anxiety

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Things may seem rather quiet around here, but I can promise you that the quietness on my blog is a reflection of the busyness in my life and the chaos in my head. I have found the jump from two kids to three mind boggling. It is exhausting, relentless, and tedious at times. Conversely it is also wonderful and fun and hilarious. But if I am to be honest, more often than not, I am overwhelmed. Postnatal depression and anxiety is a beast like that.

There are many things that can trigger PND and anxiety, and there have been some huge challenges and events for me over the past 12 months alone. Anxiety and depression have been an on and off battle for me for as long as I can remember but a few years ago I managed to get to a great place in managing it.

With the help of a great practitioner I discovered the huge benefits of fermented foods and nutrient dense foods.  I had no idea at the time how a few simple but crucial changes could make such a massive difference to my mental wellbeing. These changes brought about 3 years of having absolutely no anxiety or depression whatsoever. Those 3 years were fabulous and incredibly freeing and helped me realise how poor my mental health had been for so many years.

Needless to say, it was such a blow to regress and succumb to terrible anxiety during and after my (very unexpected) pregnancy with my third child. I felt so nauseous and exhausted in my pregnancy that I couldn’t manage to feed myself properly or think about doing anything except the absolute essentials. I was also working very part-time on call as a midwife while mothering a toddler full-time and didn’t discharge my last client until 6 days before my baby boy was born (he came along much earlier than anticipated)! When I look back at what was happening, it is no surprise that I developed PND on top of everything else.

Thankfully I am coping better each day and managing to get back into fermentation and nutrition, which honestly reduces my anxiety and depression almost entirely. My fabric dyeing adventures and knitting projects have also been my saviour. I find creating to be one of the most important things for my mental health. But fixing my gut imbalance has been pivotal in managing my anxiety and depression and I am so grateful to have the knowledge I do in order to improve my mental health. I have always loved to cook, but food has become so much more than fuel. I love the quote by Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

For now, I will leave you with one of my regular lunch meals, which is also a great breakfast or dinner meal too. It is loaded with protein and healthy fats, which I have found very helpful to combat the extreme hunger produced by extreme mothering! Protein and healthy fats have been important in helping my brain function well. I look forward to sharing more on this topic in future posts.

This recipe is for a basic noodle omlette, which can be added to and improvised depending on what you have on hand and also what your preferences are. I would love to know what you think of this dish and feel free to leave a comment on any variations you try!

And on a last but very important note, if any of you are experiencing or have experienced depression and/or anxiety, you have all of my love and support! It is a brutal thing to endure. I have no reservations in talking openly about mental health. It shouldn’t be a taboo topic. Big love from me.

Basic Noodle Omlette

  • Servings: 1 large or 2 small
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ghee or coconut oil for cooking

1 garlic clove – minced

2 large free-range eggs – beaten

1 tsp fish sauce or tamari or soy sauce

1 green spring onion – finely sliced

small handful of cilantro/fresh coriander – chopped

1 large handful of cooked pea starch cellophane noodles or rice vermicelli noodles (in a pinch you can use rice sticks or slightly thicker rice noodles or even egg noodles) – follow cooking instructions on the packet and undercook the noodles ever so slightly

To serve:

A wedge of lemon or lime

Fresh mung bean sprouts

Kimchi

Fresh coriander

Options for different add ins:

1 small carrot – grated

handful of tofu or tempeh – sliced into thin pieces

4-6 prawns – peeled and de-veined

peas

mung bean sprouts

Hoisin sauce

  1. Cook your noodles slightly less than the time given on the cooking instructions so the noodles are just about cooked but not soft or mushy. Rinse in cold water after cooking and set aside to drain.
  2. Beat the eggs in a bowl and add the fish sauce or tamari or soy sauce and mix well.
  3. Heat ghee or coconut oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Once hot add the tofu, tempeh or prawns and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side (the tofu or tempeh should be golden or the prawns should be cooked). If not using tofu, tempeh or prawns, proceed with step 4.
  4. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. You can add grated carrot and peas at this point too if using. Add noodles and spread them around the pan and then quickly pour the eggs over the noodles. Reduce the heat slightly to a medium/low. Sprinkle the spring onion and fresh coriander on top and use a spatula to press the beaten egg mixture to spread them evenly over the noodles. Cook for about 2-3 minutes. At this point the top of the omelette will still be undercooked and you can flip half of the omelette over on itself or you can flip the whole omelette over like a pancake. Continue to cook for another minute or so and flip over again. Cook until the egg is just cooked but not burned.
  5. Serve with a squeeze of lime or lemon, some mung bean sprouts, fresh coriander and kimchi. You can also add a little bit of hoisin sauce.

 

Probiotic Coconut Yogurt: Plain or Chocolate!

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Have you tried making coconut yogurt but haven’t had much luck? I get questions from a large number of people about the secrets to making a consistently good coconut yogurt that is tangy and thick and that doesn’t separate. My method is EASY and I get a perfect batch every time. You don’t need any fancy equipment and you don’t even need to have probiotic capsules on hand. This method uses leftover coconut yogurt which you can find in the supermarket for a lot less than a bottle of probiotic capsules (thank-you Hannah from the Facebook fermentation group for that bit of advice!). I have also included the probiotic capsules in the method too incase you have those on hand and prefer to use those. Also, please feel free to share any tips and tricks in the comments, as well as any other brands of coconut cream that you have had good and consistent success with. Knowledge is power and I am a firm believer in sharing it freely!

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All coconut creams and milks are not created equal. Some brands have added thickeners, emulsifiers and fillers while others have minimal ingredients in them. There are a few things to consider when buying coconut cream and I can give you three recommendations for brands available in New Zealand. Ayam Premium Coconut Cream, Kara UHT Coconut Cream (in the Tetra Pak), or Trade Aid Coconut MILK (sorry, no photo of the can) are three coconut products that work very well for coconut yogurt. There are a few pros and cons to each. I have also used Pams and Fia Fia brand in the past, but I found they had a funny aftertaste which was more than a little unpleasant.

AYAM – This produces the thickest yogurt (so thick it is like cream cheese). It is 100% pure coconut kernel extract and comes in an easy open tin. The flavour is beautiful. One of the cons is that it is possibly harder to find for some. As well,  at around $2.50-$3.50 per 270ml can it is the most expensive option.

TRADE AID – This coconut milk (which is the same as a cream) also produces a very thick yogurt and has minimal ingredients. I also like that it is a fair trade item and is also in a tin that can be recycled. It is slightly less expensive than the Ayam brand. One con is that, again, it can be harder to find for some.

KARA – This coconut cream is the easiest to find and is by far the best price point. It produces a lovely coconut yogurt but isn’t as thick as the previous two. However, in NZ we cannot recycle Tetra Paks and it has to go in the bin (or you can use it as a mould when making homemade soap!). This coconut cream also has more thickeners and emulsifiers than the other two, which is not ideal for some people.

There is some confusion as to whether a thickener needs to be added (such as xanthan or guar gum, or even tapioca and potato starch) to get a thick yogurt, but in my experience, I have never added anything to thicken it and I can stand a spoon up in the yogurt once it has fermented and then set in the fridge. I also try to avoid xanthan and guar gum as they can be an irritant to the gut. 

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Some of the common problems encountered when making coconut yogurt and what may have gone wrong:

  • It separated – this can be from overheating or over fermenting. Using an Easiyo is a classic way to overheat and get separation. With tweaking, this method can work, but I like minimal equipment in my kitchen so only use a jar on the bench top with nothing else. One tip I have for this method is to make sure your coconut cream mixture is at room temperature and only add HOT not boiling water to the Easiyo, or you may find that your mixture has separated a few hours later.
  • Separating can also occur when using a coconut cream which has water added to it. The water separates during fermentation and also as the cream rises to the top.
  • Using too many probiotics can also cause separation (4 billion microorgaisms per cup of coconut cream is a good amount – check your package for this info)
  • The coconut cream didn’t ferment – the probiotics are likely too old or dead, which also means they aren’t doing anything for your guts if you are taking them daily. This is a great way to test them!
  • The yogurt is tangy but didn’t thicken – I have found this comes down to the brand and ingredients/quality of the coconut cream, which is why I am only suggesting these three brands which I have made succesful coconut yogurt from many, many times over the past few years.

Basic Coconut Cream Yogurt

  • Servings: Makes around 500mls
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This recipe can easily be double or tripled for a larger batch of coconut cream yogurt.

400-540mls of coconut cream of one of the above mentioned brands (Ayam Premium, Trade Aid Coconut Milk or Kara UHT)

2 TBLS probiotic coconut cream yogurt (good quality store-bought or a previous batch)

OR 3-4 probiotic capsules (4 billion microorganisms approx per cup of coconut cream- check package for this info – I have had good luck with Bio Kult brand probiotics)

Method:

  1. Shake the can(s) or carton of unopened coconut cream well. Open and place into a clean glass jar. Place 2 TBLS of probiotic coconut cream yogurt OR 3-4 probiotic capsules  into the coconut cream and stir well. Screw on the lid and leave the coconut cream to ferment in a warm spot or on the kitchen bench out of direct sunlight. If left in a warm spot it will ferment more quickly and usually takes between 12-24 hours to develop a nice tang. If left on the kitchen bench it can take 24-72 hours to ferment fully. It should thicken up a little and you may see little tiny air bubbles on the sides, which is a good sign of active lactic acid bacteria.
  2. Open the jar and test it every 12-24 hours until you like the tanginess/flavour. It will also continue to get a little more tangy in the fridge.
  3. Place it into the fridge and allow it to chill completely before eating it. It will thicken up more once chilled.

Consume within about 7-10 days.

Chocolate Coconut Cream Yogurt

  • Servings: Makes around 500mls
  • Print

This recipe can easily be double for a larger batch of coconut cream yogurt.

400-540mls of coconut cream of one of the above mentioned brands (Ayam Premium, Trade Aid Coconut Milk or Kara UHT)

1 TBLS honey

60 grams of good quality dark chocolate – chopped into small pieces

2 TBLS probiotic coconut cream yogurt (good quality store-bought or a previous batch)

OR 3-4 probiotic capsules (4 billion microorganisms approx per cup of coconut cream – check package for this info – I have had good luck with Bio Kult brand probiotics)

Method:

  1. Place chopped dark chocolate into a mixing bowl. In a saucepan, combine coconut cream and honey and slowly bring to a simmer over a medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. As soon as the coconut cream begins to show signs of simmering, remove it from the heat and pour it over the chocolate in the mixing bowl. Swirl the mixing bowl gently a couple of times and then leave the mixture to soften and melt undisturbed for 3-5 minutes.
  2. With a whisk, gently move the mixture around. Once you can see that the chocolate is melting and swirling into the coconut cream, whisk it in a circular motion a bit more vigorously. Continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate is totally melted and evenly mixed into the cream. It should look a bit like chocolate sauce. Cover the mixture with a tea towel and allow it to cool to about 40 degrees (if you dip your pinky finger into the mix it should feel warm, but not at all hot).
  3. Once the coconut cream & chocolate mixture is warm to the touch, add the 2 TBLS coconut yogurt OR probiotic capsules and mix well. Screw on the lid and leave the coconut cream to ferment in a warm spot or on the kitchen bench out of direct sunlight. If left in a warm spot it will ferment more quickly and usually takes between 12-24 hours to develop a nice tang. If left on the kitchen bench it can take 24-72 hours to ferment fully. It should thicken up a little and you may see little tiny air bubbles on the sides, which is a good sign of active lactic acid bacteria.
  4. Open the jar and test it every 12-24 hours until you like the tanginess/flavour. It will also continue to get a little more tangy in the fridge.
  5. Place it into the fridge and allow it to chill completely before eating it. It will thicken up more once chilled.

Consume within 7-10 days