11/27 Orange kombucha

This batch of kombucha tea lacked the oolong flavor, was sour and almost lemon like in flavor.  We are not sure if it was the tea is different (it smells different – more grassy) or human error.  Both the large and medium batch that was brewed last week tasted watery with a lemon flavor.  We could not taste the usual nutty oolong tea.

From the large batch, we made 8 bottles of orange kombucha using 1/3 cup of orange juice and 1 tablespoon of sugar.  We made 4 bottles of rootbeer kombucha as well, using an organic rootbeer syrup Two bottles contained 4 tablespoons of syrup and 1/2 tablespoon sugar (old caps) and two bottles contained 5 tablespoons of syrup and 1/2 tablespoon sugar (new caps).



The medium batch also tasted off but we made 8 bottles with 1/2 tablespoon of sugar and will see how this turns out.

Update:  We pulled the orange after 5 days.  It has that odd lemony flavor but works okay with the orange – still not up to usual quality.  The rootbeer was gross and we dumped it.  That will not happen again.


11/21 Chocolate Chip and House Sourdough bread

Today we made some more house bread (2 rounds) and a chocolate chip machine loaf. Here’s our Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bread recipe. It’s one of our favorites. I want to try a quick bread with banana and chocolate soon, or maybe just add some banana to this recipe.

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Bread

(from the Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso Plus Recipe Book Chocolate Bread recipe)

  • 320 g milk
  • 1 large egg (beaten)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 545 g bread flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp Rapid Rise yeast

Extra Ingredients:

  • 90g (9 tbsp) chocolate chips (I used 115 g or 2/3 cup this time)

I did he Homemade Cycle with a 30 minute Rest, a 30 minute Knead, adding the chips slowly between 15 and 10 minutes remaining, let it rise 3 times (0:35, 0:20, 0:40) and baked it for 1:10.

Update: Hmmm, it just finished baking and it cracked on top. It also looks a little overdone on the sides. It didn’t seem to rise enough before starting to bake. I think with the extra kneading, chocolate and sugar it needs longer rise times, even with the Rapid Rise yeast. I think next time we’ll use ASF (Active Dry or the slower rising instant) yeast and do a 1 hr Rise 1 and a 2 hr Rise 2. We’ll see when we slice it if the 1:10 baking time was right. … ugh, we just sliced it and it pretty much sucks. First of all it tastes salty so I need to be more careful measuring. Next it has no chocolate chips. That’s right, by adding them early I beat them into non-existence. I continue to struggle with the additional ingredients. Especially with the chocolate chips, it’s less important that they be evenly mixed in than left intact. It was also overdone. So this was an epic fail in just about every way. Next time we’ll go back to the original recipe, using the Course 1 White setting, adding the chips at the beep, etc.

11/20 Apple Cinnamon Pecan and House Sourdough breads

Today we made some house sourdough with the usual 320g starter, 420g water, 600g bread flour, 200g wheat flour, 2 tbsp sugar, 2 tsp salt. We let one round rest for a couple hours, punched it down and it’s been rising for about 3 hours now. Will bake that at 425 degrees, covered for 20 minutes with an additional 10 minutes uncovered. The other half of the dough went back in the machine for some sandwich bread or toast. I’m eating that now, toasted with some butter and raspberry/strawberry jelly. Good stuff!!

We’re also doing an Apple-Cinnamon-Pecan loaf in the machine with the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 14 cup vegetable oil (will try butter next time)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (recipe called for 2)
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon (oops, recipe called for 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 tsp salt (recipe called for 1/2 tsp)
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 2 12 teaspoons yeast (one packet Red Star Active Dry)
  • 1 23 cups peeled and diced apples (recipe calls for 1 1/3)
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans (this was my own addition)

Bread machine Homemade Cycle settings: Rest: 20:00 (30:00 next time), Knead: 20:00, Shape: ON, Rise 1: 1:00, Rise 2: 1:00, Rise 3: 0:00, Bake: 1:20, Warm: ON


11/19 Apple Pie Kombucha

We still have dozens of apples so we made more apple pie this week. The tea for next weeks batch will be strong and next week we’ll use less (adjusted in “How we do it”). So we used 1/3 cup of apple-cinnamon-lemon puree with 1 tbsp sugar for the apple and 1 tsp of sugar for the plain.

The apple pie was pulled at 6 days which was about right.  The lemon cut the sweetness.  The plain was pulled and refrigerated on 12/5.  We tried to pull them earlier but they were too sweet.  So 16 days is about right for the plain.

11/19 Thanksgiving Bread!

This week we show our gratitude to our friends and neighbors by heaping loaves of bread on them 🙂

We’ve kneaded 2 batches (4 loaves), 2 House Wheat (320/420/800) and 2 Olive (320/380/800/1.25 cups). For the olives we set the machine for 25 minutes of kneading and after 10-15 minutes started folding in the olives. The olives contain a lot of oil so they seem to get beat up less when added early before the dough gets too glutenous. We’ll do all four as rounds, baking the plain 30 minutes (first 20 minutes covered) and the olive 35 minutes (first 25 minutes covered) at 425 F.

We’re also making more dessert breads today. The cranberry-orange-pecan quick bread came out great, maybe a little sweet but otherwise awesome. I’ll do that one again with less sugar. I also want to do a chocolate bread and another apple.

11/18 Cranberry Orange Pecan and Apple Cinnamon breads

Tis the season for quick breads with fresh cranberries and apples! Becky took Babs apple picking and they got a lot of good ones! We tried the Zojirushi recipe for Apple Cinnamon bread and it was pretty good but it contains buttermilk and that seems to create a greasy crust. Today we are trying another simple recipe that uses milk instead. I made some changes to the recipe, adding a bit more cinnamon, sugar and apple. It’s a yeast recipe and hopefully a good place to start …

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp sugar (I did 3)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (I did 1)
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (I used 1 tbsp)
  • 2 1/2 tsp yeast (I used a packet of Red Star Active Dry Yeast)
  • 1 1/3 cups peeled and diced apples (I did 1 2/3)

We used the bread machine on setting “Course #1 White” with medium crust and added the apples at the beep (5 minutes before kneading finishes). Unfortunately as we’re learning with all our added ingredient recipes, the bread machine doesn’t quite get it done. So from now on we’ll use the Homemade course and set the time for 1.5 hours until we figure out the exact times.

We also made a quick bread today in the machine. We used this recipe from ChowHound.com

  • https://www.chowhound.com/recipes/cranberry-orange-quick-bread-29110
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar (next time we’ll use less, it was very sweet!)
  • Finely grated zest of 1 medium orange
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (from about 2 medium oranges) (we used orange juice)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick), melted and cooled slightly, plus more for coating the pan
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups cranberries, thawed if frozen and sliced in half (we used 2 cups of large fresh cranberries, cut in half)
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)

I tried using the “Cake” Course of the bread machine but it didn’t get done enough so I had to finish it off in the oven. Next time I’ll use the homemade cycle. It turned out really good although next time we’ll reduce the sugar a little.


11/11 Olive Sourdough, Apple Cinnamon and Chocolate Cherry Breads

photo: Chocolate Cherry (top), Olive Sourdough (bottom)

Today we made sourdough (prep’d yesterday, baking today) in the oven and two dessert breads in the bread machine. The first desert bread was Apple Cinnamon with the apples Barbara picked with Becky a couple days ago. I don’t think I used enough apples. Next time we’ll try two cups. Barbara thinks the sweetness is about right and I think it’s not sweet enough so it’s just right! 🙂

We tried the Cinnamon-Apple-Pecan Bread recipe from The Bread Lover’s Bread Machine Cookbook by Beth Hensperger.

Cinnamon-Apple-Pecan Bread

For 1 1/2 lb loaf

  • 1 1/8 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp walnut oil
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 3 tbsp light brown sugar
  • 1  tbsp gluten
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp SAF yeast or 2 1/2 tsp bread machine yeast

Added ingredients (add at beep)

  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apples (or pre-chopped apple nuggets)
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans

We diced the enough apples for 1 cup but next time we’ll try 2 cups of cubed apples and a little more cinnamon. Maybe some extra brown sugar if I can sneak it in. It came out pretty good but the bread machine really needs help combining the extra ingredients (we add those at the buzzer, 5 minutes before kneading is complete).

Chocolate Cherry Bread

(from the Zojirushi Home Bakery Virtuoso Plus Recipe Book Chocolate Bread recipe)

  • 320 g milk
  • 1 large egg (beaten)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 545 g bread flour
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp Rapid Rise yeast

Extra Ingredients:

  • 90g (9 tbsp) chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried cherries

Course I (White)

We added 3/4 cup Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips and 1/2 cup of chopped dried cherries. It’s cooking now. I really had to help the bread machine fold in the extra ingredients (added at the buzzer). Otherwise it just beats them to death at the bottom of the pan. This is especially key for our olive bread but vital to the chocolate too to get them evenly mixed into the dough. It’s cooking now. I think it’ll be good!

Update: Turned out great! Maybe less cherries next time.

Bab’s House Olive Sourdough

  • 380g water
  • 320g starter
  • 600g white bread flour
  • 200g wheat flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups sliced olives (thickly sliced)

The olive bread we made last night with the usual house recipe but with 1 1/3 cups of olives (we cut down after the disaster last time but that was actually due to a beatdown by the bread machine), we lowered the water to 380 grams which after mixing seemed about right. We left it in the fridge overnight and took it out this morning. By mid-day it was still cold so I punched it down and shaped it into two 8″ boules. We baked the first one at 425 F for 25 minutes with covered (this was an accident but a mistake we’ll repeat from now on when we have added ingredients, especially wet ones like olives which really slow things down and increase the chance of undercooking), and the usual 10 minutes uncovered to get the crust golden brown. We haven’t cut into it yet but you can see it at the top of this post. The second one is ready to go in the oven now. I think this one is going to be good.

11/11 Apple Cinnamon Kombucha

This week we increased the large batch to 1.5 gallons and and our 1 gallon batch is now the “small batch”

Will be making apple juice w the apples I picked w Becky and Ginger from apple trees on Jules’ Aptos vineyard home.

OK here’s the new recipe for the nute:

Large batch:

  • 1.5 gallons (24 cups) water
  • 48 grams tea
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups starter buch

Small batch:

  • 1 gallon (16 cups) water
  • 32 grams tea
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups starter buch

At least I’m hoping that’s the water situation. I figure we lose a cup of water in the tea so hopefully we’ll add an additional cup. We can only brew 20 cups at a time so we’ll have to add 4 cups of cold water to the big batch.

Barbara pureed the apples she picked w Becky and Ginger from apple trees on Jules’ Aptos vineyard home and created a concoction of apple puree, sugar, cinnamon, water and a squeeze of lemon. We’ll use 1/3 cup of that with 1/2 tbsp of sugar. The small batch we’ll flavor with just 1 tsp sugar.





11/10 Cheesy Jalapeno Sourdough

Trying less water this time to make up for the oil and moisture in the cheese and jalapenos…

  • 380g water
  • 320g starter
  • 600g white bread flour
  • 200g wheat flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded strong cheddar cheese
  • 1 large jalapeno pepper de-seeded (leave ribs in for hotness) and diced

We’ll bake 1 round at 425F for about 35 minutes (cloched the first 20) and 1 loaf in the machine for 1 hour

Post bake update: The pan loaf turned out great although next time we’re going to try 2 1/2 cups of cheese, maybe some Parmesan and 2-3 jalapenos. The times on both seemed just right and produced brown and tasty crust. The less seemed good too (so far, we’ve only cut into the machine loaf). I think his is going to be a favorite, especially once we perfect the recipe.

11/3 Passion Fruit Kombucha

We made passion fruit juice from crop of passion fruit from the vine in our backyard.  For the large batch used 1/3 cup passion fruit juice, 1 Tablespoon sugar.  For the small batch we did the usual house plain with 1/2 tablespoon of sugar.