Sourdough Storage, Tips, & Tricks!

If you are one of my regular customers or you use my recipes to make your own bread, here are some ideas to help use your loaves for maximum benefit. Sourdough is special so we don’t want to waste a crumb!

First, don’t put your boules in plastic until they are completely cool. I do this right before bed the day I bake it. The bread is still gassing off and it will create condensation in the bag and ruin your crust. When you are ready to store it, a ziplock works a bit better than plastic wrap.

I leave my bread in the pantry for about 4 days, and if it isn’t already gone, I let it spend the rest of its life in the fridge. It will mold more easily than commercial bread because it’s not full of dead junk 🙂

Sourdough freezes well. If you would like to freeze all or part of the loaf, wrap it in 2 layers of plastic wrap and then put that into a freezer bag. This works well for singles or small families who won’t eat a whole loaf in a week. When you are ready to defrost it, just set it on the counter. The crust will not be quite as crisp, but a quick trip to the toaster fixes that. 

To refresh a full loaf, remove it from the freezer and let it defrost on the counter. Once it has come to room temp., place it in a cold oven and preheat to 500 degrees then set a timer for 8 minutes. Regardless of whether the oven has come to temperature or not, check the bead to see if the crust has crisped up and the interior has softened. If it has, remove it or you can give it another few minutes. This method will revive your bread to like it was just baked!

When I slice my boules, I find it easiest to cut them into fourths first. That way you won’t be trying to keep the cut straight on such a big slice. Cut the whole thing in half with a sturdy, serrated knife, and then each half, in half one more time for four equal parts. Now you can slice it easily and the pieces fit into the toaster. The Hokkaido sandwich bread is easy to slice because it has a tight crumb. Don’t despair if it feels hard after being refrigerated. This is because it contains butter and will come right back to life if you toast it on the lowest setting.

You can use fresh bread crumbs for recipes or dry them for long storage

When I get down to the last little butt ends, I save them for bread crumbs. You can freeze them until you are ready to prepare them. To make the bread crumbs, simply cut or tear the bread into 1 inch-ish pieces and give them a whirl in the blender or food processor until they are nice and fine. Now spread them thinly onto a cookie sheet and put them in a safe place for a day or two until they have completely dried out. A cold oven seems like an obvious place to put them, but if you forget and turn the oven on, they can catch fire and cause serious undue stress. Don’t do that, lol. When they are dry, put them in a mason jar or ziplock. They will keep indefinitely!

Left-over sourdough also makes fantastic croutons. Cube the bread and put a few tablespoons of olive oil and a cube or two of butter in a skillet. Add the bread to your skillet and turn the heat on low. Use a spatula to turn the cubes occasionally. The bread will dry out and toast very slowly. When each cube is crispy, sprinkle over a little salt. When the croutons are cool, you can bag them up for salads but your family will probably want to eat them like chips so hide them if you have menu plans!

Preserved Lemons

I really like easy fermentation and preservation projects that illustrate how simple things in the kitchen can be. I always aim to demystify what food marketing has worked so hard to convince us is difficult. This is one of those recipes. Actually, it’s really just a process. There is no strict recipe you have to follow. Just a couple of rules like making sure your lemons are clean and jar is sterile.

Why do you want to make these lemons when there are always fresh ones at the market? Well first off, there are some super delicious recipes that actually call for this product. Look up Moroccan Chicken with Preserved Lemon and Olives. There are several versions to try that will give you a new way to mix up your menu planning. More than one classic dish though, these give you a way to preserve the season’s bounty. It feels like even more fun to use lemons that wouldn’t have surely gone to waste from a neighbor’s overflowing tree!

I mainly use these where I would normally use fresh lemon but might not always have them on hand. I add the thinly sliced rind to salsa and salads and use a whole lemon each time I make bone broth or veggie stock. The acid helps the other ingredients give up their nutrients into the liquid. They are salty and have a stronger flavor than fresh so a little goes a long way. So let’s get on to the instructions.

You don’t need much special equipment for preserved lemons. Grab a nice big jar and give it a good wash in hot soapy water to make sure it’s squeaky clean. Find something to push the lemons down in the jar with. Pull out your paring knife, and a weight you’d use for fermenting veggies. If you don’t have one of these weights, I have lots of info on how to fashion one from things you already have in your kitchen in my Sauerkraut recipe.

The other ingredient you need for preservation is salt. Use the best salt you can afford for this since the extra minerals will add nutrition to your project. Real Salt is a great brand. You can also source Celtic Sea Salt or Himalayan Salt at any health food store. It’s just a few dollars more than table salt but wildly more nutritious.

And of course, you need freshly washed lemons!!

Start by slicing a few of your lemons. I slice part of them into quarters without cutting through them and part in actual quarters so there will be different sizes for different uses when they are done.

I don’t cut up all my lemons at once because it’s hard to tell how many you’ll need to fill the jar. Just know it will be more than you think!

Next, start adding the lemons to the sterilized jar. Add one layer and sprinkle in some salt. Add more salt than you would if you were salting prepared food but not so much that it completely covers the lemons.

After you finish each layer of lemons and have added salt, press the lemons down so that they take up less space in the jar and start to express their juice.

Continue adding, salting, and pressing until your jar is nearly overfull.

Now it’s time to add your weight.

Once your jar is weighted, you’ll leave it in a cool place for 4-6 weeks. During the first week or so, you’ll want to vent and shake the jar. Especially if you aren’t using a canning jar with a vent. You can see in my photo that this is a repurposed jar so I’ll be careful to vent it every morning until I notice that it’s not releasing any gas. Exploding jars make these projects the opposite of fun!

Once your project is finished, remove the weight and it will keep nearly indefinitely in the fridge. Just be sure the lemons are always covered in the salty juice. If they start to get a little dry on top, feel free to add a little more salt and water or fresh lemon juice.

These are last year’s lemons. They are almost gone so I’ll be ready for the next batch when they are ready this spring!

Sourdough Starter Maintenance

The number one question I get about sourdough is not about making bread! It’s about how to keep starter alive and active when you don’t want to bake every day. There are some real challenges with the standard methods. Many suggest you use huge amounts of flour and water to feed a large amount which results in tons of discard. They also often recommend that you leave your starter on the counter full-time which means you have to attend to it every day. This daily feeding makes tons of waste when you aren’t baking, but possibly more distressing… If you forget about it for a few days, you find your little bacteria friend dried out or runny and dead looking.

So, I have a process that solves all of these problems. It was born from making leaven for my bakery that I have adapted for infrequent bakers.

And speaking of leaven, let me clarify what that is before I start the instructions.  Active starter and leaven are basically the same things. Leaven is just starter mixed with flour and water in specific measurements and allowed to ferment overnight so that it is ready to make bread. I’m going to use the word leaven and starter sort of interchangeably throughout this writing but know that when I say starter, I am referring to what you keep long-term in a mason jar, and when I say leaven, I mean what you are measuring and growing for bread.

Now, let’s imagine that you took the time to grow a starter or maybe you bought some from me, and now you really, realllllly don’t want to kill it. You also don’t want to make bread every darn day. The key is training it to keep happily in the fridge.

Interestingly, the bacteria in your starter will adapt to thriving in the cold once you start using this method. This means that it will ultimately remain stronger in the refrigerator for longer and you won’t have to work as hard to get it active when you want to make leaven.

If your starter has been in the fridge for a week or more (or has been hanging out on the counter) and looks very thin with few bubbles, start these simple instructions to revive it about 4 days before you want to make bread. Stay tuned till the end to learn how you can eliminate the need for this lead time.

Reviving Starter
Before bed on day 1, take just 12 grams of starter from your jar and put it in a non-reactive bowl. Add 50 grams of water and mix with a spatula until it is mostly dissolved. Add 50 grams of flour and mix well. Cover and leave the mixture to ferment overnight. Consider all the other starter in your jar discard and use it for crackers or pancakes or just throw it away.

12 grams is a tiny amount of starter!

Mix in your water

Mix in the flour

Cover and let ferment overnight

In the morning, check to see how many bubbles you are getting and how robust the starter looks. Lots of tiny bubbles will not produce the same bread as a leaven that has large bubbles that mostly stay strong when you shake the bowl a little bit. If it seems to need more strength, put it in the fridge until the evening when you will start again. If you leave it on the counter all day, the whole process will take longer.

Before bed on day 2, take just 12 grams of starter from the leaven you made the night before and put it in a non-reactive bowl. Add 50 grams of water and mix with a spatula until it is mostly dissolved. Add 50 grams of flour and mix well. Cover and leave the mixture to ferment overnight. Everything but the 12 grams that you used is now considered discard. That’s why we are making such a small amount each time.

Check again in the morning for large bubbles that hold up well. If you are not there yet, refrigerate your leaven and follow day 2’s instructions again in the evening

Continue to discard all but 12 grams of starter and mix with 50 grams of water and flour until you wake up to a super happy leaven. It shouldn’t take more than 4 days.

Very happy leaven!!

Once you are happy with the result, you are ready to make bread. However, if you want to use this leaven, you will only end up with a tiny bit of leftover to store, so I suggest feeding it one more night in larger proportions so that you have enough to use and a good amount of leftover to store.

If you are following these instructions, you will have placed your very happy starter in the fridge in the morning. On the evening that you wish to make bread, measure 25 grams of starter from the leaven you made the night before and put it in a non-reactive bowl. Add 100 grams of water and mix with a spatula until it is mostly dissolved. Add 100 grams of flour and mix well. Cover and leave the mixture to ferment overnight. 

In the morning, you will use 100 grams of leaven to make 1 loaf of the Rustic Boule. You will have about 125 grams of leaven, to keep for your next bake. Since you have been keeping the starter in the fridge the whole time, the bacteria have already begun to adapt to thriving in the cold and will hold nicely for about a week. You can also encourage it to stay strong for longer by putting the leftover 125 grams in a mason jar and straight into the fridge before it falls. Be sure that there is space for it to grow and cap the jar very loosely when you put it away because the fermentation activity will continue. Just very, very slowly.

This leaven has started to fall. Try to put your leftover in the fridge before this happens to extend the time that it stays active in cold storage.

The last step is to remove the starter from the fridge about a week later to make another loaf of bread. If you put it away when it was very robust and had large bubbles, you should be able to make leaven in 1 day. You can discard everything in the jar but 25 grams of starter, adding the 100 grams of water and bread flour. This will give you 100 grams of leaven and 125 grams of leftover to keep in the fridge.

 In my bakery, I never discard anything because I use my starter many days in the week, in varying amounts. Instead, I add anything left from my leaven back to the jar and give it a good mix. Then I put the jar immediately back into the fridge. The fresh leaven feeds what is in the jar just enough to keep it very happy. If you catch the sourdough bug and end up baking more often than once a week, you will only need to discard when your jar begins to get a little too full. Always make sure there is at least a quarter of empty space so that you don’t have an overflow and keep that cap loose so that it can’t explode.

Whew! That is a lot of information you just plowed through. If you are overwhelmed, please don’t despair. I promise that when you read through this post a few more times and then follow the directions, it will become SO EASY. Your starter will be ready for you at a moment’s notice instead of having to plan ahead.

One last tip! I highly recommend keeping about 50 grams of robust starter in the freezer as a backup. The next time you make bread, instead of discarding, put your leftover in a zip lock and put it in the freezer nice and flat. If you happen to have a catastrophe, you can always defrost and revive it by using this process starting with day 1. It is also easy to dehydrate starter by smoothing a thin layer of it on parchment and leaving it to dry out. When it is completely dry, it will easily break into pieces that are simple to store in the pantry. If you end up needing it, rehydrate it in a little water and then revive it by starting the process at day 1.

As always, if you have any questions, please message me!! I want you to have a stress-free, sourdough relationship!!

With a little practice, you’ll be turning out beautiful loaves of bread!

Praying A Jeep Cherokee Back To A Boy

I feel compelled to give an update and a huge, HUGE message of gratitude to every single person who supported my family in a crisis turned miracle yesterday. We are tired (adrenaline really has its way with your body) and so very overwhelmed as we feel the grace we experienced settle into our cells.

And before I give this update, I want to say that I am going to tell this story from my perspective but this is NOT my story. It wasn’t my trauma or my good outcome. But I am a mama and I feel ferociously protective of my people. When they hurt, I hurt… and that hurt compels me to whatever I can do to protect and cover them in support and protection. Please know that the I’s in this story are only because I am writing it – but not a reflection of whose victory this was, the force of love that is God to us in this family and my beautiful son. So with that…

This is a story all about how my life got flipped turned upside down, on a Wednesday morning, before coffee. While I was waking up slowly I was listening to David Letterman interview Kim Kardashian on Netflix. She was telling the story of the robbery she experienced in France and commented that she and her sisters were talking about what they would do in an imaginary scenario of this type at dinner the night before it happened. My blood went cold with an intuitive hit. 

I’m talking to myself internally saying, “Nope. Get that robbery, loss, violation business out of my knowing NOW” when Ashton burst into my room and said, “MOM”! He never says “mom”, only “MOMMM”. “The Jeep is gone.” 

Again, I thought “Nope. You just aren’t seeing straight”. We ran outside. No car. No beloved project that he bought and restored with his hard-earned dollars. With his best friend who passed away last year. Which he finished in Cody’s honor.

Call the police.

Call the insurance company.

Oh, yeah. Breathe too. Coffee.

Call the praying people. Create the social media posts. 

Now! The first hours are the most important.

The boy went to work. He was alive. It was just a thing. But a very, very special thing. Ick. That violation feeling is sick. I needed a minute to get full-on, freaked out hysterical. I have to cry sh!t out before I can be productive. I’m too old to let that make me feel soft or weak anymore. 

The girls couldn’t be still. They started the hunt. They drove to every field, alley, and warehouse parking lot in the IE. Does anyone need to hire some detectives?

Audree and Chloe found an abandoned car in the field by our house. They thought it could be a clue. They cautiously drove by the car and rather than finding it abandoned saw a duck head pop out of the driver’s side window. Not a stuffed duck. Not a toy. Just a real duck in an abandoned car. Audree had to avoid her desire to capture and rehabilitate the duck in the middle of her crime investigation stint, and also gave the animal control dispatch a good chuckle.

Later in the day, as the hunt continued, Chloe saw a car wash called Quack Quack and screamed, “It’s a sign”! They searched the car wash but it was a bread crumb to keep going and not quite the destination. We were all energized by some much needed laughs.

And then the outpouring of sharing and praying started. If a kid ever needed covering and a tsumani of prayers to pull a hunk of metal and rubber back to a human, he did. And he got it. Big.

I stayed home and between baking and working, pulled the clues together into a golden thread of hope. There wasn’t any more to do so I sat down and released the hope to something stronger, faith in the best outcome, before I picked him up from work.

When he got home, he went door to door, asking for ring camera footage and handing out fliers. At about 7:30, he was out of gas and laid on the couch pale. He said, “I don’t know what to do next mom”. I said, “That’s because you already did it all. Sleep and be prepared to feel like hell tomorrow from the adrenaline. Now we wait”.

He went to his room to call his FIL to be and the neighborhood kids filtered in to be close and show their support. I was winding down the bakery and getting to the dishes when I heard from his room, “I’ve got it, mom”! Got what???

We fumbled for shoes, left a neighbor with the dogs, and teleported out to my car. We drove exactly the speed limit and obeyed every traffic law but miraculously arrived at the location he’d been emailed… Quite a distance, in another city, in a quick ten minutes. Mario co-piloting and me on the phone with two different police departments, one in each ear. Chaos pinpointed by the laser vision of intention.

The car wasn’t at the exact address so we circled around a park… And there it was. There it effing was, in near perfect condition. Now what?

I was barking mama bear safety orders but the boy was on planet reunited where ears don’t work so bolted out of my car. 

This is where I’ll take a break to say I’ve done many stupid, dangerous, and hair brained things in my life and one got pushed out of the top 3 spot last night. I know this was dangerous. The seriously selfless contact that we were on the phone with at Redlands PD implored me not to stop and also knew we couldn’t do that. We were aware of danger and prepared. That’s all I have to say about that.

At this point, my daughter and her friend rolled up who I shooed (yelled) away which she also didn’t entirely obey. We sat in the locked car to wait for the police. This is when we saw an extremely equipped tow truck come by and slowwww before it passed. Then a gutsy sports car that announced it presence aggressively. And then they passed again. Goosebumps called me to action. I asked Ashton if he wanted me to get the troops on their way and he said, “Call everyone. Now”, so I did. Dad, Audree’s boyfriend, friend’s dad, Brother and SIL, one of Andrew’s cooks. Who am I missing? They all started making their way to our shared location, at the speed limit, obeying all the traffic laws.

Within 15 minutes there were at least 10 cars and 15 people surrounding us and the car, with blazing hazards on. For some reason the tow truck and gutsy sports car stopped circling.

The police showed up in one hour instead of two and listened to everyone’s details. She was fantastic. And patient. The group had a lot to say and she listened to every detail. Ashton was free to go so Bella called AAA.

And then we waited again. And again. It took for flipping ever. The final promised ETA was surpassed by 15 or 20 min. I got misty when they loaded Ashton’s Jeep, Cody’s Jeep, onto the tow truck to get it home. And then Audree called to say there was a bad accident in front of them. We sat on the freeway a long time.

Our neighboor Mario was alone with me in my car and I asked him if he thought that the AAA delay might have been another little miracle and he quietly said, “I was already thinking that, Mom”.

I know that we live in a tricky world. A lot of time it hurts here. It hurts to be human. No religion or positive thinking, or fancy mantra protects us from that. I also know there are angels and sometimes they show up in the funniest ways. They come to add grace, and hope, and healing, and sometimes help humans pray Jeep Cherokee’s back to boys.

Happy Mother’s Day!


Mother’s Day, when all my chicks have lost their downy fluff and grown flight feathers, has me feeling wistful and reflective. Raising a troupe of milky breathed babes and beginning readers was the sweetest season. I was also exhausted and smelled like puke a lot of the time. It was hard, but so, SO much fun.

Now that everyone is flying, I feel like I know a few things about having parts of my heart living outside my body that I want to share. 

When they were little, I read ALL the books and tried to “mother right”. I was intentional and planned a life that Charlotte Mason would have given her stamp of approval. Then I realized that I was outnumbered and that my plans had to be more outline and less to-do list. When they turned to teens, they had their own to-do lists! Who knew the kids wouldn’t just want to do everything my way?

Here’s what I know for sure. Individual children have individual paths to successful adulting. Some want and need lots of guidance and structure in the greenhouse of childhood and others need to (and must) make their own mistakes to learn. Under my surface desire to successfully mother by to-do list, there was something more happening. What I was really doing was trying to protect my own heart. The one, the ones… outside my body.

I’ve learned that to love is to risk heartbreak. When my kids hurt, I hurt. It’s when I hurt the most. 

In the early years of their adolescence, I tried to keep from hurting by having a lot of structure (rules). As my babies turned to teens, I constricted instead of releasing my grip a finger at a time. They resisted and it wasn’t pretty. They were trying to practice independence while still in the safety of my nest and I was trying to keep them under my wing. It looked like prudent parenting from the outside, but it was actually self-protection. I didn’t want their mistakes to break my heart. 

With time and experience, I found that everyone was so much happier when I worked on teaching values instead of writing family rule lists. I started risking the heartbreak buy loosening my grip and being a resource for solving problems and processing complicated feelings. I taught my teens that it was ok to make mistakes and that I would listen and help them through anything. ANYTHING. 

I learned that my capacity to hurt was much larger than I knew.

I found out that when I was, and am this most trusted soft place to fall, I get to know my children deeply instead of the version of them they think I will accept. That was always my goal. To know their deepest parts. This knowing is even better than baby babbles and milky breath. And if you know how I feel about babies, you know this is really saying something.

On Mother’s Day, I send unquantifiable gratitude to my own mother and the grandmas and in-law mothers in love, and aunties that let me and the women of my generation fly around with their beautiful hearts. And to the next generation, I say ~  the joy is worth the risk. I see you and know that it’s both beautiful and brutal. But we can do hard things. Happy Mother’s Day Lovelies!



Caution: Please read the following post with the humility, compassion, and empathy with which it was written. I’m still learning how to do life along with my friends and family and offer the following with tons of motherly love.

I am afraid of a lot of things. I’m a tiny lady and it makes me feel like I’m at a disadvantage in many life scenarios. I’m still working out my peace. When I was in midwifery school though, I learned how NOT to be afraid of emergencies. I learned that fear is counterproductive to purposeful action and to lean on my training.

I feel deeply today for people I see are afraid of the possibility of an emergency. I also see that as a culture, we haven’t had much training… or haven’t really suffered much if we think toilet paper will keep us safe. Travel to places where people toil in a way most people in our generation have never imagined shows that when things go to crap, it’s not toilet paper humans are wishing for.

I’m not an expert at crisis preparedness but growing up with outdoorsmen, I have a few outside of the Charmin box ideas that might help us feel less anxiety and even raise the next generation with less fear and more independence. Here are some thoughts you can take or leave like an all you can eat buffet.

Do you know how to navigate without Waze, with a compass and map? Do you know your loved one’s addresses and telephone numbers by heart without your hand-held “phone book”? Could you wrangle up some food if the supermarket was closed? If you didn’t grow up hunting, can you craft a trap? Do you know what’s edible in a field of “weeds” like dandelions or chickweed? Can you start a fire? How about at the master’s degree level without matches? Do you know how to sensibly stock up on dry goods that can be stretched into many meals? Do you know how to make water potable in a variety of circumstances? Do you know how to make effective medicine out of common plants? Are you teaching these skills to your kids? 

I’m not suggesting that we will or will not need these skills in the near future. I’m sharing that real preparation can help us ALL feel less afraid of any emergency because if something happens, we will rely on our training. Fear is a guide. It says to do something you are not doing or not to do something dangerous that you are getting ready to do. I propose that the collective anxiety we are experiencing is a beacon asking us to revisit our life skills. 

If your protected, packaged, structured upbringing failed to expose you to this kind of know-how, choose something that feels most important to learn about today… now. It’s counterproductive to panic in an emergency, so let’s stock our pantries with skills instead of just toilet paper. And then take a collective, deep breath, showing compassion to ourselves and each other in this very tricky world we live in.

Sourdough Classes 2022

If you’ve landed on this page, you have some interest in learning to make your own sourdough! You may be curious about the health benefits, have a gluten-sensitive family member, or just want to delight in turning a little flour and water into something beautiful. I’m here to help!

I’ve given lots of classes over the years and used all I’ve learned to put together programs that are fun, educational, and super effective in teaching you exactly what is needed to produce lovely loaves and other sourdough specialties. Below you will find the details for basic and advanced classes that both entertain and equip you to bake sourdough with ease.

New! Advanced Scoring Techniques

If you caught the sourdough bug during quarantine and have been baking ever since or have already taken my classes but want to up your score game, this class is for you. During this two-hour class, we will discuss scoring tools – the fancy ones and things you already have in your kitchen – and how to use them. Then, we will score and bake dough so that you can see how each technique works in real-time. You will come away with an understanding of how angle and pressure work for different lines and cuts so that you can use your own creativity rather than copying other bakers. This class works best with 1-3 participants and also is fun over Zoom if you aren’t in Southern California.

Cost – $150 per participant

Sourdough Basics (3-hour class)


Learn to make a sourdough boule or bâtard from start to finish in my kitchen or yours! This class is perfect for beginner bakers or those totally new to sourdough. 

You will learn – 

  • What sourdough is and how it differs from other bread nutritionally and practically.
  • What special equipment is needed to bake your own sourdough and what alternatives you probably already have in your kitchen.
  • What sourdough starter is and how to use, maintain, and keep it bubbling with life forever. 
  • How to create your first dough, learn the pulls and folds to develop its structure and crumb, how to prep the dough for baking, and how to score and bake it off.

Of course, bread and tea will be provided so that you can nibble while we work. 

All ingredients and equipment will be provided for the class but please read my equipment list and be sure you have all that is needed for your own future baking on hand.

Each participant will receive a mason jar of starter and a freshly baked loaf upon completion of the class.

*Please note that since sourdough bread is a 2-3 day process, we will not be able to make and bake a loaf entirely from scratch during the class. I will, however, have dough ready for you to learn the final loaf forming, proofing, and scoring for us to then bake together. You will also be preparing new dough as well, to get a hands-on feel of every part of the process. I will do the final rise, score, and bake these loaves myself which you are welcome to pick up afternoon the day after your class.


Sourdough Basics Private One On One Instruction $150

Perfect for serious students who want to learn to make weekly loaves for themselves and their families. You are welcome to include a spouse or older child in your private class at no cost. 

Sourdough Basics Group Class (up to 5 participants) $100 each

This class is great for team building, book clubs, or birthday parties. Think bunko or paint with wine night but you get to play with dough. If you host a class at my house or yours and have 4 friends or family register, the host’s class is FREE.

Advanced Sourdough (3-hour class)

This advanced class is great for those who want to perfect their sourdough skills, learn to bake enriched bread, and learn to use sourdough discard for crackers and pancakes. In the advanced class, you pick what we bake! We can work on the Hokkaido sandwich loaf or English muffins and crackers or pancakes. We will also spend time working on perfecting a rustic boule and learning more artful scoring techniques. Upon completion, you keep your rising dough for the next morning’s bake and either the crackers or pancakes we prepare together. 

All ingredients will be provided for the class but please read my equipment list and have your own bowls & tea towel or banneton, loaf pan, and skillet or baking sheets on hand.


Advanced Private One On One Instruction $150

You are welcome to include a spouse or older child in your private class at no cost.

Advanced Group Class (up to 5 participants) $100 each

If you host a class at my house or yours and have 4 friends or family register, the host’s class is FREE.

How To Sign Up

Are you ready to bake!? Email me at and I will send you a google inquiry form that will help you pick your location, date, and time. I’m thrilled to make dough, chat about nutrition, and have fun in the kitchen with you this year!

Happy 17th Birthday Audree!

4Yesterday was too packed for a proper birthday post for my Audree. Today though, I have a story about my fierce, strong, organized, bubbly, baby girl. She was born on Thanksgiving and turned 17 the day before Thanksgiving. On that special Thanksgiving, we both ate our turkey in pretty pj’s. This birthday we celebrated with our family’s favorite beans and rice.

Last spring we didn’t rehab many birds because we were moving. Instead, we did lots of releases for our preceptor Kandie. During one, the whole neighborhood gathered in anticipation of the fuzzy fluff ball they found in a gutter, returning as a full-grown, Great Horned velociraptor. 1

One of my favorite things in the world is twisting people’s usual paradigms. The goal, always with a measure of humor, is to help fellow humans realize that things aren’t always as they appear at first glance. I propose that if someone has an experience where they have to rethink something, they will be inclined to look at other, more important concepts, outside of the box in the future.

So, on this day, Audree and I rolled up with the red rescue box to a street full of very excited neighbors. As we moved through the crowd, someone asked, “Where is the person who handles the bird”? It’s true that Audree and I don’t look like your average animal wrangler. We are petite and don’t really dress the part. 

Audree, never fazed by much of anything, raised her perfectly manicured finger and replied, “That would be me”. I didn’t look back so as not to risk the gentleman feeling foolish and squelched the huge laughter in my chest.

My personal joy resulting from this tiny interaction is simply that Audree, just by being her full self, caused someone to have to twist their first impression. My belief is that this is important in the world. I’m certain it’s been important in every generation because problems tend to be solved (the big, universal ones) from stepping back and looking at things in a brand new way… and in one small moment, this happened indeed.

I’m so proud of my lovely girl. She is strong, determined, self-assured, and also feminine. Her femininity doesn’t make her fragile. It actually makes her stronger. It’s one of her super-powers which she will continue to cultivate as she embodies womanhood.

What challenge are you facing that you’ve not yet puzzled out? Could a completely new paradigm help you approach it differently? Next time you are stuck, think of my beautiful girl and consider if a bird’s eye view offers an answer.

And Happy Birthday Audree Paris Jeanette Bingaman!

National Suicide Prevention Month


I was deeply grieved to learn that ANOTHER young man – a son, a brother, a husband, a father, in my community took his life earlier this week. I didn’t know him personally but I do know people with whom he was close friends who are hurting today. 

We have a real problem, people. It’s a complex problem for which I do not claim to have the answer but I am abundantly sure that I have one devastating piece to the puzzle.

Mental illness carries a tremendous negative stigma that causes people to keep their experiences secret. I am guilty of this in that my own family has experienced great difficulty that even some of my close friends and family are not aware of. The privacy is for protection from judgment because the judgment is all but guaranteed, fierce, and only adds to already overwhelming pain.

How many Go Fund Me pages have you seen in the last week to help families whose dads, mamas, or kids have cancer? We rally around each other when our loved ones are sick, when an organ in the body is unwell. We should. We need each other.

But isn’t the brain an organ? Last time I taught biology, it was right there in the textbook! Then why when someone’s brain is unwell, do we pull away? 

Real talk here – We are AFRAID of anyone who struggles with any form of mental illness. We chalk them up as crazy and block them off, hoping their crazy doesn’t rub off somehow like a virus; probably because we are terrified to give our own crazy a centimeter of room to breathe. 

It’s not working. It’s not working because we are falling like flies. Memes intended as encouragement like “God will not give you more than you can handle” or “This too shall pass” pour pepper in wounds.

It’s not working.

I offer that shedding the stigma, actually more like stamping it out with the steel toe of a boot, might be one tiny step toward helping those who struggle. If we felt free to share when we were spinning out and thought that we would be embraced instead of judged, we might find an essential thread of hope. If we could say in plain English that death feels like the only answer, and then be surrounded by intense love instead of feared or shamed, would it change how far gone, how depleted we are before we reach out? I think so or actually, KNOW so. 

If there is no shame in heart disease, or cancer, or toe fungus, then why the shame about mental illness? 

I challenge you to ask yourself if you need an update to your thinking.

And if you are hurting, ask for help NOW. If you don’t know who can help, call The National Suicide Prevention Helpline. They are a free, nationwide, 24 hour a day service.


If you’ve shied away from someone you love that struggles with mental illness, call them now and remind them how treasured they are in your heart. It could save their life.





#NationalSuicidePreventionHelpline #SuicidePrevention #GetHelp #MentalIllness #PreventSuicide #DropTheStigma #NoShame #BeTheChange

Kombucha Baby!


Kombucha is a delicious fermented tea that has been consumed for thousands of years, most likely discovered by accident when someone left their sweetened tea sitting around too long. It’s been very popular lately so I’d venture a guess that by now you have tried it out. It’s a tart, fizzy, and addictively delicious alternative to soda, full of glorious health benefits. A drawback is that it gets expensive if you fall madly in love! 

Bottled kombucha can start at about $2 at the market, but I’ve seen it much pricier, going for up to $6 or $7 a bottle where I live in the burbs. I can imagine even higher prices in metropolitan areas. So what’s a booch lover to do? Make your own!

Before we get into the recipe, let’s look at the health benefits, which are many. It’s a bit of work to make but I think this long list will get you motivated. The most popular benefit of kombucha is that its fermentation process makes it a fantastic source of probiotics. You’ve got to be living in a cave at this point to not know we all need more good bacteria in our diet, so this is a great benefit alone… But wait, there’s more!

  • Kombucha made from (all or part) green tea offers many of the same health benefits as green tea itself like blood sugar control, and blood sugar control can help with weight loss! Additionally, science shows that it improves several markers of diabetes.
  • Kombucha is also rich in antioxidants which are very beneficial for the liver. Science shows that antioxidants in food rather than supplements may be more beneficial so booch is a delicious way to get those antioxidants in every day. 
  • Kombucha is rich in tea polyphenols and acetic acid, which have both been shown to suppress the growth of undesirable bacteria and yeasts. This is huge if you are trying to rebalance your gut.
  • Kombucha has been shown to improve “bad” LDL and “good” HDL cholesterol levels in scientific tests and it may also protect against heart disease. *Going slightly off-topic for a sec here… If there is any remaining doubt – cholesterol is SO important for good health! This is a soapbox for a different day, but let’s just be clear, we need cholesterol for a properly functioning body (especially our brain)! We were sold a bill of goods in the 80’s when we were told it was bad for us. Can we move on from this terrible science once and for all friends?
  • Finally, test-tube studies show that kombucha suppresses the growth of cancer cells. It is unknown whether drinking kombucha has any effects on cancer risk in people but it will be interesting to see the results of continued testing.

Ok, let’s get to the recipe. The first thing you need is a SCOBY – a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast. Another definition could be a living disk of disgusting looking goo. I’ve learned to love my SCOBY because I’ve had her around and given away her babies for years now but she wins no points in the looks category. 

You can get a SCOBY a couple of ways. The easiest is one is to get one from someone you know that already makes kombucha. SCOBYs multiply so there are often some to share. You can also buy a SCOBY either at the health food store or online. 

I think the last option is the most fun – grow your own! If you are down for a quick project, buy a good, live kombucha next time you are at the market. Transfer the contents with a little added sugar to a wide-mouth mason jar. Leave an inch or two of space at the top and loosely cap the jar so that gas can escape. Store it in the pantry or on the counter where you will remember to check on it now and then. Depending on the temperature of your kitchen, the kombucha will miraculously transform into a SCOBY over between a week and a month’s time. You are looking for a disk that is between a quarter to a half-inch thick and nicely firm. The liquid that remains will be too tart to drink but you can add it to your first batch of homemade kombucha as a starter.

So let’s get to the brewing! You need some simple equipment and ingredients to get started.


2-quart glass container with lid, sterilized – I have several extra-large 4-quart Ball jars that I use for fermentation. I double this recipe to make kombucha in these jars.

Small dish to hold your SCOBY – I like to use glass or stoneware, not metal.

Large container for brewing – I use a food-grade, large cambro but any bowl or pitcher works as long as it’s large enough.

Mesh Strainer

Bottles for decanting, sterilized – I like to use glass wine or sparkling water containers. Be sure they have a tight seal so that they will contain the carbonation of your finished product.

Funnel (optional)


½ cup loose tea – I like to use a combo of black and green organic tea. If your tee has fruit or flowers for added flavor that’s great! My recipe calls for more tea than you might find in other recipes. I think it produces much better kombucha this way.

½ cup raw sugar

1 quart filtered water, boiling – You will add ice after brewing to make just under 2 quarts total liquid

About 1 cup of reserved, live kombucha as starter

1 beautifully disgusting SCOBY

Start by adding the tea and sugar into your brewing container. Pour about one quart of boiling water over the tea and sugar and mix until the sugar has completely dissolved. Loosely cover the container and set it aside to brew it into a very strong tea. I leave it at least an hour, but often much longer to allow maximum extraction and to let the water cool naturally.

Once the tee is brewed, strain out the loose tea into the mason jar, pressing down on the tea leaves to get out every last drop. When I’m making large quantities at once, I use a second cambro for straining before adding the tea to my jars. It makes an extra container to wash but prevents spilling sticky tea. 

Now add ice to the sweetened tea to bring it to room temperature and then add the reserved starter kombucha. Finally, float the SCOBY on top of the tea and cover the container. I use a paper towel or cheesecloth with a rubber band. If for some reason, your SCOBY sinks a little, don’t worry about it. It will either pop up to the top overnight or you will see a new SCOBY forming in a day or two. The bacteria and yeast will do their job either way.

This is where the art of knowing when home-made kombucha is ready for bottling comes in. In a commercial environment, the fermentation process is precisely temperature controlled. At home, in your kitchen, the temp fluctuates. I have found that during temperate weather, my kombucha takes about a week. Once it starts to cool down in the fall, it can take more like 10 days, and in winter, it takes more like 2 weeks or even longer.

After a week, I slip a spoon into the container and do a taste test. You will want it to be slightly fizzy, mostly tart, but not all the way fermented, tasting like vinegar. If it’s too sweet, put the top back on the container and give it a few more days.

Once the kombucha is ready to bottle, start a new batch brewing and strain it as described above. When it’s brewed and cool, add a few tablespoons of the sweetened tee to your sterilized bottles, ready for the perfectly fermented kombucha. 

Now, gently remove the SCOBY to the sterilized dish in your equipment list and reserve a cup of kombucha for your next batch.


I like to strain the finished kombucha when I bottle it because there is always particulate material that doesn’t look too thrilling even though it’s not unhealthy to consume. Pour the strained kombucha into your sterilized bottles. I make a meditative game out of this (stupidly refusing to use a funnel) to see if I can get it all in each bottle without spilling a drop. You know I’m a weird one already. This seems like a grounding and centering exercise. If you don’t like to test your steady hands and monk style breathing, use a damned funnel.

Ok, one important bottling detail is leaving plenty of headspace in your bottles to allow carbonation to develop during the second fermentation. The reason you added the fresh sweetened tea, is so that the good bacteria could consume it now and make yummy bubbles in your final product. The headspace allows this to happen without exploding any bottles. I’m knocking on wood before I say that I’ve NEVER exploded a jar or bottle because I’m so careful about this step. I leave the bottled kombucha on the counters for its second ferment for 4-5 days to get the carbonation really fizzy. During this process, I open the bottles just a twist or 2, until I hear a tiny bit of gas escape each day. It doesn’t make the final product less carbonated but I think it’s why I’ve never come downstairs in the morning to a sticky mess of broken glass.


With everything bottled up, sterilize your fermenting vessel, add your sweetened tea, reserved kombucha, and SCOBY, and cover for the next round.

Whew! After day 4 or 5 of the second fermentation, you are DONE. Refrigerate your beautiful kombucha and drink away. I’ll add a little warning here… The daughter of my heart Mandy loves kombucha and was drinking at least a bottle a day of the store-bought sort for some time before I gave her my home-made version. She loved it and drank a ton only to find that she was experiencing an unintentional gastrointestinal cleanse later that evening. The home-made stuff is stronger!! When you start drinking your own for the first time, go easy at first. We can both drink as much as we like now because our bodies are used to it but take heed.

A final note, you can add all kinds of flavors to your second ferment. Fruit juice or puree work really well as do larger pieces of fruit. My friend makes a passion fruit version that makes me feel like I’ve been transported to a Hawian island. Go ahead and be as creative as you like and make notes on which experiments you like best. When you are ready, share your SCOBY babies so that your friends and fam can get their own booch brewing. 

As always, I’m here to answer your questions, but I hope my Julia Child style, ultra-detailed recipe has you off and running with all the info you need for first-time SUCCESS.