The grain that makes up this bread has had another life the last 5 days. It’s been making beer. . Well, I say beer, but the liquid I make from it doesn’t resemble commercial beer much. Firstly, it’s only got one ingredient – spelt. Secondly, it’s created following a super-low-tech 5,000-year-old process, one part of which is using partially-baked bread. Thirdly, it’s unpasteurised and probiotic. . It’s much lower in alcohol than what we think of as beer today. It tastes different too – it’s sharp. . Once the ‘beer’ has been made, I collect all the spent grain and use it to make bread. The bread is, I imagine, slightly less carby than ‘normal’ bread as some of the spent grain in it has previously been malted (i.e. turned from complex to simple sugar). The flavour is more sour than my sourdoughs. The texture is chewy – like that of sprouted bread (if you’ve ever eaten that, you’ll know what I mean). . It is *really* good. . And it feels like I made it from nothing as we have beer too! . Such a satisfying process.

The grain that makes up this bread has had another life the last 5 days. It’s been making beer.
.
Well, I say beer, but the liquid I make from it doesn’t resemble commercial beer much. Firstly, it’s only got one ingredient – spelt. Secondly, it’s created following a super-low-tech 5,000-year-old process, one part of which is using partially-baked bread. Thirdly, it’s unpasteurised and probiotic.
.
It’s much lower in alcohol than what we think of as beer today. It tastes different too – it’s sharp.
.
Once the ‘beer’ has been made, I collect all the spent grain and use it to make bread. The bread is, I imagine, slightly less carby than ‘normal’ bread as some of the spent grain in it has previously been malted (i.e. turned from complex to simple sugar). The flavour is more sour than my sourdoughs. The texture is chewy – like that of sprouted bread (if you’ve ever eaten that, you’ll know what I mean).
.
It is *really* good.
.
And it feels like I made it from nothing as we have beer too!
.
Such a satisfying process.

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This is Cal. Or Hydrated Lime. Or Pickling Lime. Or Calcium Hydroxide. Or Slaked Lime. . It looks pretty inconsequential, but this powder has an incredible story to tell. . Cal (or its predecessor wood ash) is used by Mexicans in the processing their staple food, corn. Cooking corn with cal (called nixtamalisation) means the vitamin B3 in it becomes available. If your staple is corn, that’s super important as vitamin B3 deficiency is pretty horrible. . When corn started to be taken up by populations outside of Mexico as a food source, the ancestral processing method was *not* taken up with it. And because of this, in the early 1900s the B3 deficiency disease pellagra was at epidemic levels in Northern Italy. . Because corn was cheap it become a monocrop, completely displacing the traditional carbohydrate sources (beans, wheat, spelt, millet, rye, barley and buckwheat) of the locals. And because they were eating unprocessed corn all day, every day, pellagra, and its horrible symptoms, were widespread. For many years no-one knew why. . This page of history has *so* much to teach us. The twin pieces of wisdom that we ignore at our peril are that monocropping is not a desirable thing and not listening to traditional wisdom is perilous. . I started sharing my kitchen, values and processing techniques here because I believe that indigenous wisdom has much to teach us, and that we need to harken to its message; to follow its models, in order to thrive (let alone survive) as a species. Cal and corn are such a clear example of this. . I’m nixtamilising corn today for the first time. As I work, I feel an immense respect for the deep wisdom of our ancestral heritage.

This is Cal. Or Hydrated Lime. Or Pickling Lime. Or Calcium Hydroxide. Or Slaked Lime.
.
It looks pretty inconsequential, but this powder has an incredible story to tell.
.
Cal (or its predecessor wood ash) is used by Mexicans in the processing their staple food, corn. Cooking corn with cal (called nixtamalisation) means the vitamin B3 in it becomes available. If your staple is corn, that’s super important as vitamin B3 deficiency is pretty horrible.
.
When corn started to be taken up by populations outside of Mexico as a food source, the ancestral processing method was *not* taken up with it. And because of this, in the early 1900s the B3 deficiency disease pellagra was at epidemic levels in Northern Italy.
.
Because corn was cheap it become a monocrop, completely displacing the traditional carbohydrate sources (beans, wheat, spelt, millet, rye, barley and buckwheat) of the locals. And because they were eating unprocessed corn all day, every day, pellagra, and its horrible symptoms, were widespread. For many years no-one knew why.
.
This page of history has *so* much to teach us. The twin pieces of wisdom that we ignore at our peril are that monocropping is not a desirable thing and not listening to traditional wisdom is perilous.
.
I started sharing my kitchen, values and processing techniques here because I believe that indigenous wisdom has much to teach us, and that we need to harken to its message; to follow its models, in order to thrive (let alone survive) as a species. Cal and corn are such a clear example of this.
.
I’m nixtamilising corn today for the first time. As I work, I feel an immense respect for the deep wisdom of our ancestral heritage.

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I am trying to take plastic completely out of my kitchen. The freezer is its last hiding place. Finally, ridding it from there has made its way to the top of my to-do list. . We pick up meat from our farmer every 2 weeks. On returning home from this pick up I’m ready with the wax-covered paper and string. . What do you think of my handy work? . These will go in the freezer and I’ll be using them over the next 2 weeks. I’ll report back on whether it works.

I am trying to take plastic completely out of my kitchen. The freezer is its last hiding place. Finally, ridding it from there has made its way to the top of my to-do list.
.
We pick up meat from our farmer every 2 weeks. On returning home from this pick up I’m ready with the wax-covered paper and string.
.
What do you think of my handy work?
.
These will go in the freezer and I’ll be using them over the next 2 weeks. I’ll report back on whether it works.

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I don’t know what to call this. So much of the food I make these days has no name :-) . It’s whole millet, ground, covered in water and the left in a warm place to ferment. I stir it like this once a day. After about five day the water is tart, probiotic and delicious and the millet is soft, super-digestible and makes lovely porridge. . It’s a bit like Sowans, a bit like Bors and a bit like Ogi. Perhaps I should amalgamate all three names? Sbogi?

I don’t know what to call this. So much of the food I make these days has no name 🙂
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It’s whole millet, ground, covered in water and the left in a warm place to ferment. I stir it like this once a day. After about five day the water is tart, probiotic and delicious and the millet is soft, super-digestible and makes lovely porridge.
.
It’s a bit like Sowans, a bit like Bors and a bit like Ogi. Perhaps I should amalgamate all three names? Sbogi?

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Soft crumb, nutty spelt, sourdough tang (and digestibility), smokey barley and crunchy hazelnut. . We’ve eaten this every which way. Still warm (cheating, I know, but sometimes I just can’t resist), spread with lard for lunch, as sandwiches, toasted with butter and cinnamon…now I’m thinking about how good it’d be in a bread and butter pudding! . You can make it (how cool would this look in your kitchen?!) and eat it (yum) too. I’ve written up all the details, with clear instructions and lots of photos. The link is in my profile.

Soft crumb, nutty spelt, sourdough tang (and digestibility), smokey barley and crunchy hazelnut.
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We’ve eaten this every which way. Still warm (cheating, I know, but sometimes I just can’t resist), spread with lard for lunch, as sandwiches, toasted with butter and cinnamon…now I’m thinking about how good it’d be in a bread and butter pudding!
.
You can make it (how cool would this look in your kitchen?!) and eat it (yum) too. I’ve written up all the details, with clear instructions and lots of photos. The link is in my profile.

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Lasagna with home-made sourdough spelt pasta. . The pasta is egg-free and made with organic, Italian spelt. It was put through the hand-crank #imperia pasta machine by my 7-year-old and I. The sauce is beef mince from my #farmerman Flavio @valledelsasso complimented with a tomato sauce bought at our town’s contadini market (from @radiciumane), tuscan onions and oregano from my crazily-growing plant. . I grated some parmesan (which is always from raw milk here) on the top because I love the crunch and taste. . Tomato doesn’t happen that often in our house, because, as we’ve worked out, my son is lectin-sensitive. A long health journey has taught me, that in our case at least, food intolerances can be complicated and health is a continuum, not static. Every so often we find out where our boundaries are with tests like this. Having food this way – fermented, local and organic – gives us the sure knowledge that we’re giving every ingredient the chance to tell its tale clearly. . More pictures of the lasagna process in my story today (and saved in pasta-making highlight).

Lasagna with home-made sourdough spelt pasta.
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The pasta is egg-free and made with organic, Italian spelt. It was put through the hand-crank #imperia pasta machine by my 7-year-old and I. The sauce is beef mince from my #farmerman Flavio @valledelsasso complimented with a tomato sauce bought at our town’s contadini market (from @radiciumane), tuscan onions and oregano from my crazily-growing plant.
.
I grated some parmesan (which is always from raw milk here) on the top because I love the crunch and taste.
.
Tomato doesn’t happen that often in our house, because, as we’ve worked out, my son is lectin-sensitive. A long health journey has taught me, that in our case at least, food intolerances can be complicated and health is a continuum, not static. Every so often we find out where our boundaries are with tests like this. Having food this way – fermented, local and organic – gives us the sure knowledge that we’re giving every ingredient the chance to tell its tale clearly.
.
More pictures of the lasagna process in my story today (and saved in pasta-making highlight).

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Making Spelt Sourdough Pasta with my 7-year old son. He can *almost* do it himself but the pasta-maker is a hand-crank and we can’t channel Italian-Nonna enough to operate it single-handedly! Anyhow, it’s much more fun as teamwork. . We have to clear the decks, literally, so there’s enough room to lay out the sheets of pasta to dry. And I have to accept flour everywhere! . I’ve upped the pre-fermented, sourdough, portion of this dough to 50%. Once that is mixed into the main dough (which is egg-free), I leave it an hour to sit. . We’re planning a lasagna with this. I’ve never done one with home-made (let alone sourdough spelt) pasta before.

Making Spelt Sourdough Pasta with my 7-year old son. He can *almost* do it himself but the pasta-maker is a hand-crank and we can’t channel Italian-Nonna enough to operate it single-handedly! Anyhow, it’s much more fun as teamwork.
.
We have to clear the decks, literally, so there’s enough room to lay out the sheets of pasta to dry. And I have to accept flour everywhere!
.
I’ve upped the pre-fermented, sourdough, portion of this dough to 50%. Once that is mixed into the main dough (which is egg-free), I leave it an hour to sit.
.
We’re planning a lasagna with this. I’ve never done one with home-made (let alone sourdough spelt) pasta before.

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Spelt Sourdough Pizza. I made a bit more dough than I usually do this time, and felt super-indulgent as I bit into the thick, crunchy, warm, soft cushion that held my local food goodies. . If you have a starter, sourdough pizza is not hard. You can find my recipe – where I hand hold you through the steps and cooking options – via the link in my bio. . And if you’ve not done it before, trust me, eating your own home-made pizza is *so* rewarding (as well as darn tasty!)

Spelt Sourdough Pizza. I made a bit more dough than I usually do this time, and felt super-indulgent as I bit into the thick, crunchy, warm, soft cushion that held my local food goodies.
.
If you have a starter, sourdough pizza is not hard. You can find my recipe – where I hand hold you through the steps and cooking options – via the link in my bio.
.
And if you’ve not done it before, trust me, eating your own home-made pizza is *so* rewarding (as well as darn tasty!)

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Lunch: Fennel seed-studded sausage from the farm in the hills (it is *so* good – one day I’ll get to making salume myself), salad with leaves from @radiciumane, topped with capers and olives (because I live in Italy!), served with home-made local spelt sourdough, spread with home-rendered lard (from the same piggies who gave us the sausage, those of my #farmerman @valledelsasso) . 5,000-year old beer would’ve been really good with this, but it isn’t quite ready yet – you can see the filtering and second-fermenting in my story today.

Lunch: Fennel seed-studded sausage from the farm in the hills (it is *so* good – one day I’ll get to making salume myself), salad with leaves from @radiciumane, topped with capers and olives (because I live in Italy!), served with home-made local spelt sourdough, spread with home-rendered lard (from the same piggies who gave us the sausage, those of my #farmerman @valledelsasso)
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5,000-year old beer would’ve been really good with this, but it isn’t quite ready yet – you can see the filtering and second-fermenting in my story today.

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New batch of the ancient fermented grain beer, Bouza! . I’m still following #wildfermentation instructions (because @sandorkraut is The King!) but again using local spelt instead of wheat. I’ve flavoured these three ways: One is cacao nibs, another barley malt and caraway seeds and the last chestnut and rye malt. . I took some videos of how I strain it and will post them into my story tomorrow. For now this will sit for a day or so to bubble up and I’ll get on with making bread from the spent grain.

New batch of the ancient fermented grain beer, Bouza!
.
I’m still following #wildfermentation instructions (because @sandorkraut is The King!) but again using local spelt instead of wheat. I’ve flavoured these three ways: One is cacao nibs, another barley malt and caraway seeds and the last chestnut and rye malt.
.
I took some videos of how I strain it and will post them into my story tomorrow. For now this will sit for a day or so to bubble up and I’ll get on with making bread from the spent grain.

Read More