Fermentation, Sourdough, and childhood favourites

Last week as part of Cee’s Share Your World post, I shared a list of my favourite childhood foods including Golden Dumplings. I was asked if I could share the recipe for this particular dish…

The recipe comes from an old cookbook my mum had at home, it was so well used that when a new addition came out a few years ago my sister and I both got ourselves a copy (and a new copy for mum). The book is the Australian Breastfeeding Association’s “NMAA Cooks Recipes for Busy Mothers“.

My copy of NMAA Cooks Recipes for busy mothers
My copy of NMAA Cooks Recipes for busy mothers

And the recipe is:

Golden Dumplings Recipe, page 192 of the cook book
Golden Dumplings Recipe, page 192 of the cook book

Since finding out I’m gluten and dairy intolerant I’ve had to experiment a lot with my favourites to see if I can adjust them to work without them. The dumplings do work reasonably well just replacing the flour with gluten free flour.

One food item I have yet to find a reasonable replacement for is bread… all the gluten free options I’ve found or attempted to make have not been anywhere near as good as their glutenous counterparts. In fact, the only way I like the gluten free bread is either fresh out of the oven or toasted.

E has been doing some reading and has found several research papers which show that people who are intolerant to gluten are sometimes able to cope with sourdough bread (not gluten free). The proposed reason for this is that the process of making the sourdough (if made the traditional way) breaks down most of the gluten proteins in the bread before baking making them easier to digest.

I’ve decided it’s worth a try if I can add something back into my diet but many of the commercially made sourdoughs are not made using the tradition long fermentation time so I’m going the home made route and making it from scratch.

I began my ‘Sourdough starter’ last Thursday and today I made pancakes with the discards from feeding it so we’ll see how I feel after them to see if I may be able to add sourdough bread into my diet…

The starter is really simple to make, you can check out a quick guide here at the Zero Waste Chef. It’s basically just flour and water and time… You start with equal parts flour and water and you “feed” it daily by adding more flour and water each day. I didn’t discard for the first few days, but starting this morning I’ll be ‘discarding’ (using to make pancakes) at least half of what’s there and feed the rest.

Making sourdough pancakes with my discarded starter.
Making sourdough pancakes with my discarded starter.

Once I feel that it’s ready (see the Zero Waste Chef link above for what to look/smell for) I’ll store it in the fridge and take it out to feed it weekly when I make my loaf of bread.

Another home fermented item I started last Thursday is a Ginger Bug. A ginger bug is a way of making soda by fermenting ginger and sugar in water to make the fizz. Once it’s ready, you mix a quarter cup of the bug with juice, tea or other drink to make the drink fizzy. You follow the same process as for the sourdough starter, ‘feeding’ the bug daily until it’s ready and then storing it in the fridge and feeding weekly. I believe my bug is ready to use today, but I’m going to give it another day or two to be sure.

My sourdough starter and ginger bug last Thursday immediately after they were made.
My sourdough starter and ginger bug last Thursday immediately after they were started.

Another simple to make at home item that I believe will get regular use in our house is vanilla essence. I started my bottle of vanilla essence just before Christmas and have been storing it in the back corner of the pantry. It’s basically just vodka with vanilla beans in it and all I need to remember to do is shake it occasionally. By the time we run out of the shop bought stuff this time it should definitely be ready to use.

The feature image at the beginning of this post shows the sourdough starter, ginger bug and vanilla essence as they look today.

Do you make any of your own products at home?


  1. Thank you for the recipes, I think my family would love to try them all. Do you like making homemade stocks/broths? You should save vegetable scraps! Great way to reduce waste and make healthy broths from scratch. Yum! Lady H. loves mushrooms and saves the really thick mushroom stems for broths. Mmmm~

    • Your welcome! Yes, I make broth occasionally. I keep meaning to make it a more regular thing but it hasn’t happened yet.

      I’m baking my first sourdough breads today so I’ll do an update this week on how it goes.

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