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Making Organic Sourdough

After many years of bread making, I have finally learned (thanks to Sara at Cotna Eco Retreat) how to make sourdough this year - using a wonderful old starter made from organic rye flour and pure spring water. As usual, I've tweaked the original bread recipe just because I like to make things simple and we both prefer denser breads. 
♥ Scroll down for the recipe ♥
Feeding the starter. I keep the starter in the fridge until ready to use, then add organic rye flour and warm water.
This is how it looks when mixed in...
And this is after around 8 hours.
The starter gets added to the other bread ingredients and forms the dough.  I use Shipton Mill organic flours and mix it up for variety. Our favourites are stoneground wholemeal, extra coarse wholemeal, wholemeal spelt, light malthouse and dark rye.
This is how it looks after being left usually overnight.
I line the banneton (proofing basket) I like to use polenta and sesame seeds, instead of the traditional semolina.
The dough after …
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Brewing Our Own Botanical Beers

This year we have taken the opportunity to get homebrewing again and so far, we've made over 200 pints... All vegan and organic, using mainly foraged herbs and flowers, along with organic sugar and malt extract, yeast and pure spring water.
We started out making our old favourite - nettle, goosegrass and ginger with a few dandelion petals thrown in for good measure.  Next up was the very popular lemon balm and lavender and then we decided to purchase some dried hops...we visited a small organic brewery where we were treated to a little tour and were able to buy a couple of different types of hops - one quite bitter and the other more floral. This resulted in a light, hoppy lemon balm bitter.    Our fourth brew was using the floral hops with rosemary and lavender, then using the floral hops again - we made a hops and lavender beer, which wasn't so good. We think the bitter hops would have worked better...nevertheless it's still very drinkable. Our latest beer (in the photo…

How To Build Community

It's been over 8 months since we moved to this fabulous place and we are continually amazed by the wonderful people who come along and share our space.
We absolutely love the sense of community and being around such thoughtful, creative people.

We've spent lots of time outside...




 And helping to make shared meals...





We have made many new friends...






Had the kidlets visit...