Recommended Culturing Products
This great little lid is quite functional - it fits most wide mouth mason, Kerr and
Ball canning jars and is perfect to convert your jar into a strainer or sprouter!
Just tip jar and let the kefir strain out, leaving the grains behind or sprout
wheat or other grains to eat and use in making more digestible breads at
home. Made of culture-friendly food-grade plastic.
We always have some of this stuff on hand at our home. Cheesecloth (butter
muslin) always comes in handy with straining, and can double as a
breathable lid for your cultures. This is the unbleached, natural good stuff. We
love this stuff because you can wash it and re-use it - very cost friendly and
Also a perfect filter for jelly, cheese making and storage, making Greek yogurt
(thick yogurt) and even meat roasting, basting, stuffing and poaching.
Soup socks are another perfect option for keeping something in thats
immersed in some kind of liquid medium. Soup socks are a lot like the
cheesecloth, but they're more stretchy and not as tightly woven (and also
reusable for quite a few times). If you've ever made home-made soup you
know the chicken and bones fall apart everywhere- sticking the whole chicken
plus your veggies and fresh herbs in these stretchy re-usable socks keeps
everything intact. What a brilliant creation. Great for sticking in fruits or veggies
for flavoring your kefir or kombucha.
With some of this unbleached natural twine you can make your own bags out
of muslin to hang herbs, garlic etc in to dry, make potpourri bags, use as a
natural re-usable bag to hold loose leaf tea or spices in soup preparation.
Also useful in home beer and wine making.
Muslin also comes in already made drawstring bags, which double great as
re-usable bags for keeping any household items like buttons, toys, fishing
tackle. We offer packs of these in our supplies section of our store, too.
We like to also use these to carry snacks in, instead of using (and wasting)
tons of plastic bags.
Re-usable stainless steel tea infuser (or soup infuser). Loose leaf tea is so
much less expensive, and there are now so many varieties online and in
stores. Or grow your own (chamomile, mint, etc is easy to grow!) Coupled with
this reusable infuser you can really start saving if you love tea.
Straining and Filtering
Kefir, Yogurt and Cheese Making
One of the most reliable, recommended and affordable of the yogurt machines
out there. Some mention that you can place a glass jar inside it too, if you wish
to avoid fermenting your batches in the plastic container it comes with. Makes
up to 2 liters at a time.
After discovering that yogurt machines can be finicky and heat up too hot, we've
come to rely on this trusty cooler - also which seems to perform the best for
regular cooler usage too (outperforming other comparable coolers). We just
fill it with water thats 110°F, stick in our jars and in 4 hours we have tons of
beautiful home-made yogurt. Of course, there's bigger sizes but this one holds
4 of the quart jars, which is a good starting amount for most, and fits perfect in
the backseat floor area of a car when you use it for 'real' cooler purposes.
This little cheese press device converts 3 cups of kefir or yogurt into 1 cup of
kefir/yogurt cheese in about 24 hours (which is a nice healthy probiotic
alternative to commercial cream cheese or sour cream).
The best and cutest popsicle molds (bpa free). Everyone seems to adore
these because of their perfect size, cute shapes and colors and of course the
fact that you can make tasty, fun treats at home over and over with these.
Homemade frozen yogurt, kefir and kombucha popsicles taste SO much better
than regular popsicles of course too! :) Or just freeze some fruit juice in these
molds for a quick cheap summer treat!
An airlock is a great cheap little necessity if you are thinking of fermenting
beer, wine, or lacto fermented veggies such as sauerkraut or pickles! We
make our own sauerkraut with this.
This also helps in bottling kombucha, gingerbeer, and water kefir to build
carbonation and prevent explosion of jars.
This is a great yogurt book if you're wondering what to do with all your yogurt
(or kefir). It's filled mainly with recipes to use with your home-made yogurt,
such as yogurt dressings, yogurt dishes, etc.
Jars, Bottling, Canning and Storage
This company sells a myriad of wonderful cheese-making kits and supplies
(New England Cheese Making Supply Co). They also have things like acid
meters, thermometers, yogurt supplies, home pasteurizing equipment and
When sterilizing milk that we've found matters is a thermometer that can rest
away from the edges and bottom of the pan, hands free. For some reason its
difficult to find clip thermometers - this one is rated well for accuracy, and has
the elusive clip. Digital thermometers can be unreliable, we always use our
basic clip thermometer or a candy/deep fryer thermometer.
Many digital thermometers are unreliable but this one is rated one of the best
(and priced well too).This is excellent for making yogurt or bread. Also comes
with the handy clip so that the probe can rest right where you need it.
Water Kefir and Kombucha
Reusable straws - great to have around for water kefir and kombucha. Always
come in handy, and never have to buy straws again - made of reusable,
durable polycarbonate (dishwasher safe).
Nutrition and Literature
Sourdough and Baking
Really the best unbleached baking cups out there currently and by far the best
price. They permit baking without greasing the pan, are reusable 3-4 times,
coated with natural silicone (non-toxic when incinerated, not chrome-bearing
chemical quilon) and of course they're unbleached. Now that's a baking cup!
Our favorite cooking vessel. If we could choose one pot to take with us to an
island this would be it. Clay bakeware makes outstanding crunchy
sourdough bread, succulent roast chickens, perfectly oven-roasted veggies,
and any type of casserole. Whatever goes in the oven for us goes in this
basically. There are many clay bakers out there, all different shapes and sizes,
we recommend this one for its versatile size and affordability (some are very
Our second favorite cooking vessel. We did our research before purchasing,
and we've been very happy with it. A couple reasons why it's worth investing in
this dutch oven over out there. It has a knob/handle that withstands high heat
(you need this for baking bread - most don't have this), it has unique
self-basting spikes on the underside of the lid for distribution of juices
throughout cooking, it has a natural non stick surface that is more resistant to
scratches and chips. It won't discolor or rust and never needs seasoning like
cast iron. It's also suitable for use on any cooking surface, including induction
(making up for the one thing the clay baker can't do). We fry and roast and do
just about everything stove-related with this. This is pricey, but still cheaper
than some brands and is worth the investment.
Excellent stainless steel strainer (culture friendly material). We own one
ourselves - the sturdy strong handle, fine mesh size and multiple size choices
of this strainer makes this ideal for straining kefir and kombucha. Also rests
nicely atop most standard bowls due to the hanging knob opposite the handle.
Bulk quantity unbleached coffee filters still remains one of the best (and
cheapest) options for finely straining kombucha to get the most pure
kombucha to bottle for drinking, leaving all yeasty strings behind. Just rest
inside a strainer like the one above.
This little cast iron griddle is perfect for pancakes, english muffins, panini,
pita bread and tortillas. Cast iron has a naturally non-stick surface, cooks
much more evenly and allows everything to brown more easily too. It's difficult
to burn things because of its slow steady heat. We get beautiful golden
pancakes and even perfectly seared steaks and bacon on ours - cast iron is
really quite helpful to have on hand in the kitchen. Never got good results with
tortillas until we used this. This can also double as a baking stone in the oven!
Popular little Belgian waffle maker. Same thoughts apply as the
aforementioned one above! Makes waffles with larger holes.
Your standard traditional waffle maker, we own this one and it continues to
serve us well. These can have a bad rep for being a gimmick item - but if you
like to save money, and like sourdough waffles, you will get quite a lot of use
out of it. We use ours monthly, making huge batches of waffles to freeze, pop
in the toaster and enjoy at a moments notice.
If you want fresh flour or specialty flour (rice, bean, etc) at home, this is the little
grain mill to get the job done. One of the best on the market, very durable,
reliable and easy to use.
As mentioned in the jar section on this page, with the airtight clamp and swing
top lid, this is a perfect storage jar for sourdough. You can rest the lid closed,
without sealing it tight, allowing your sourdough to breathe and release
trapped gas, but without letting in dust or invading critters of any kind. With this
type of jar you don't have to bother with cloth or paper lids.
Great for storing herbs spices and jams, these swing top jars by Bormioli
Rocco can handle being used to can as well. They come in many sizes and
beautiful shapes. With the airtight clamp and swing top lid, this is also a
perfect storage jar for sourdough. It even works well for kefir and kombucha
storage, since you can rest the lid closed, but air build-up can still escape. And
then if you want to achieve carbonation, simply close the lid completely for an
airtight fit. Attractive to boot, with clear thick-walled glass.
Some things like butter crocks have stood the test of time for centuries. This
one is affordable, a nice size and keeps your butter preserved at room temp
for accessible, spreadable butter. Also can be used to store sourdough at
room temp if you are feeding it regularly.
Cooking oil mister. Reusable, economical, environmentally friendly and
attractive as well. This one we particularly like because it has the capability to
hold just oil, or oil with blends of herbs or spices, without clogging up. Nothing
like home-made infused oil to spray onto fresh salad greens or bbq's! Having
the ability to spray oil comes in extremely handy for any type of baking.
All-around one of the best little canning sets with everything you need to begin
your basic canning at home.
There are many options for gluten free flours out there these days. This one
(by Ogran) in particular bakes well and tastes wonderful. Other great options
King Arthur flour is known for their fine, fresh flours and gourmet choices.
Their bread flour is considered one of the best amongst the dedicated
hobby home bakers.
Digital multi-function food scale. Serious bakers always have a scale on
hand. Measuring truly accurate amounts of flour, starter and other ingredients
can only be done by weight. The best thing about this scale is that its
affordable, comes in tons of colors, its easy to use and can be used to weigh
other things such as your mail, freezing portions of meat, etc.
Many digital thermometers are unreliable but this one is rated one of the best
(and priced well too). As mentioned above, this is excellent for making yogurt
or bread. Perfect for inserting into the loaf to check internal temp, indicating
when its ready to come out of the oven.
This brand of organic flavoring syrups is a delicious easy way to add flavor to
your kefir, yogurt, and of course kombucha and water kefir as well (and
popsicles). Of course fresh fruit and ingredients (or juices) are optimal but for
difficult to recreate, fun flavors try the Hazelnut, Huckleberry, Pomegranate and
Swing top / flip cap bottles are great for building carbonation in your water
kefir or kombucha. This comes in a pack of 12 and each holds 16 oz (2 cups) -
just right for bottling and flavoring!
Water Kefir LOVES this stuff. Organic whole cane sugar (rapadura), but the
water kefir seems to respond best to this one in particular. They actually
compost their sugar cane instead of heating it (like most other companies),
which preserves more of the nutritional value of the sugar, and is probably the
reason the kefir grains prefer this most!
In the winter, water kefir seems to enjoy blackstrap molasses more (or you
may enjoy the molasses flavor more). In either case, this is a great choice -
organic blackstrap is the way to go.
If you have soft water or are having trouble kefiring, adding baking soda and/or
calcium carbonate can help supplement your water kefir grains diet to help
them function and kefir properly. This one is priced well and in powder form -
easy to scoop the amount you want out.
Unbleached parchment paper is such a versatile thing to have on hand for
baking. It prevents any type of cookie, muffin or bread from sticking to the pan
or the paper itself (good for fries, fish sticks, etc too). Reusable a couple times
before you need to toss- we use this stuff all the time.
Even better than parchment is this reusable non-stick silicone baking mat -
doesn't work well for wrapping around things, but is perfect for all your flat
baking tray needs.
This silicone muffin pan is perfect for baking your muffins in a non-stick,
reusable pan. For now silicone is considered safer than traditional non-stick
pans. When all is said and done, the best method is probably still cast iron (or
glass that is greased) if you want non-stick cookware without strange
chemicals leaching into your food.
Organic bulk green tea (not loose leaf) at a good price for brewing your
kombucha. White tea lends a delicate and delicious flavor to kombucha too
(but is more pricey). This brand also offers a good affordable bulk white tea.
South African Rooibos (Red Bush) tea is a good option if you are looking for a
non-caffeinated tea to brew kombucha with (some people have good success,
though kombucha does best in green and black tea).
Kombucha does very well with a blend of black tea and green tea, or all black
tea as well. Choice Organics makes a nice Black Tea.
This is an especially great set of culture-friendly bamboo wooden tongs with
gentle grips on the ends- made well and perfect for grabbing your slippery
kombucha mushrooms out of their jar (metal and rubber are less gentle and
more slippery to use).
Bamboo strainers are a good alternative if you want to avoid all plastic and
metal materials when straining your ferments - may or may not work well with
We don't recommend plastic strainers usually because virtually ALL plastic
strainers' holes are too large. This is best for kombucha or water kefir (if your
grains are consistently large - though yeast strings or kefir grains may pass
through), has a sturdy handle and is also collapsible. We do have a special
nylon/plastic strainer in our supplies section of our store which works perfect
for all of our cultures and has a finer mesh.
This little ice cream maker gives you the most bang for your buck. This will
process up to 4 quarts of ice cream (or frozen yogurt/kefir) at a time. For a fun
one for kids, we had to stick this other one in here too - the Play and Freeze is
such a cute idea.
Flexible ice packs - you can cut to fit whatever you need to stick them in or
around. This is great for all kinds of purposes including wrapping around
ferment jars to cool them in the summer.
This insulated bottle sleeve is great in the winter or summer to help regulate
the temperature of your fermentations such as milk / water kefir or kombucha.
Comfortably holds a quart jar.
There are so many jars to choose from out there, but we recommend
thick-walled glass jars which offer more protection against explosion when
storing and bottling your ferments. Brands that make superb jars include Ball,
Kerr, Bormioli Rocco and Anchor Hocking. This pack is a good size to start out
with if you can't find it at your local store. We have jars available in our supplies
section of our store, too.
Glassware is wonderful for storing, baking, freezing and heating. We try to use
glass as much as possible as its healthier. The largest sizes are perfect to
bake round cakes and bread in too.
Although almost twice as much as the above set, we stuck this set in here
because it has clear lids and tests better for sealing.
A refractometer is more accurate but much more costly than a hydrometer.
This is a nice one if you are wanting to really get into the science behind the
brewing of cultures.
Organic Turkish apricots are one of our water kefir's favorite fruit. Barry Farm
offers many, many other high quality and usually organic dried fruits to try in
your kefir or kombucha as well at very good prices. You can purchase small or
bulk from them.
Knudsen Family Just Juice is our favorite line of juice because it is just that...
just the juice of the fruit on the label! Why so few companies do this is beyond
us, but this is healthy stuff and excellent for flavoring your bottled kefir or
This is one of the best brands of flavor extracts and amazingly its cheaper
than non-organic store brands when you get it bulk online. For example this
Fair Trade Certified vanilla extract is the product of premium organic vanilla
beans grown in southern India by small farmers who are committed to
sustainable, bio-dynamic agriculture. They have many other flavored extracts
This little guy is called a piloncillo - a popular unrefined pure cane sugar that
is perfect for feeding to your water kefir (with possible origins in Mexico - also
where piloncillos originated). Each cone is the equivalent of 3/4 cup brown
sugar - perfect to plop in a ferment of 3 quarts worth. We've noticed in our tests
that unless it is whole cane sugar, any other form of brown sugar behaves
about the same, so sucanat, turbinado or simple brown sugar are equally
good (brown sugar being the most affordable).
Perfect for loose leaf tea. Fill your own empty tea paper filters and seal them
with an iron, or fold them over the lip of your pot or mug (great for kombucha).
When in doubt, just peel it, but otherwise Veggie Wash is a nice way to
remove some of the pesticides, waxes, chemicals and soil (which is
especially important if you're dropping a lemon into your kombucha or water
kefir, for example).
We like this measuring cup because you can push sticky stuff out of it without
touching it with anything else (great for cultures where contamination is an
issue). Perfect for measuring honey, molasses, yogurt starter, kefir grains or
One of THE best maple syrups out there - and we're talking Vermont fresh
from the tree quality. You will be dining on cloud 9 pouring this over your fresh
sourdough waffles and pancakes!
Raw honey has substantial health benefits both for your skin and for
consumption. Although we recommend finding local raw honey (which also
can help improve seasonal allergies), this is an excellent and highly
recommended choice of raw honey.
Absolutely the best tasting jams out there (and that's not just our opinion). A
little background: Bonne Maman products are exported to over 100 countries
and are top rated in taste tests. Their preserves and jellies are made with no
colorings, artificial preservatives, pulps, purees, juices or concentrates.
For reasons unknown to us it is difficult to find WHOLE milk in powder form.
This one is whole, comes from Holland and is excellent to coat and store
dried or frozen milk kefir grains in, to protect them from the elements. Also
excellent to add to your milk kefir to make a creamier, thicker kefir (try 1/8-1/4
cup per pint or quart). There is also dried whole goat milk for this purpose as
We tentatively recommend this coconut water. Compared to the other brands
most agree it has the truest fresh young coconut flavor and is handy to use to
make coconut kefir if you cannot purchase young coconuts. However, the
background of this company is vague, and some of the times we tested this
we turned up with rancid coconut kefir. We highly recommend just buying the
real thing if you can.
As for sourdough books and bread-making and baking books there are hundreds to choose from.
Check out your local library, you may be pleasantly surprised that they have many of them. Here are
some of our favorites (we've actually read) with very brief explanations as to why:
Classic Sourdoughs is a very easy to understand beginner's book with a wide
range of simple, functional recipes (bread, pizza, pretzels, etc).
World class pastry chef and owner of La Brea Bakery divulges many of her tips
and scrumptious exotic recipes - all based on sourdough starter baking. This
book is heavy on skill, labor and detail.
For getting serious with baking this is the right place to start. Beautiful photos,
well-presented facts and tips, lots of interesting recipes - highly discussed
amongst bread forums.
The other book (besides the one above) that is the best place to begin delving
into some serious knowledge with baking. It is presented well and easy to
Emphasizes old-world traditional breads - full of pictures and unique rustic
A very fun sourdough cookbook full interesting scraps of information, history
and of course scrumptious cabin in the woods, no-nonsense hot off the
griddle recipes. One of the best.
Can't sum it up much better than it's title: Wild Bread, Handbaked sourdough
artisan breads in your own kitchen. The author is very informative and put a lot
of heart into the book - a favorite for many.
A bowl with a pouring spout and nice grip on the handle and bottom - really
nice to have for collecting your strained ferments and then being able to pour
them into your bottling jars. This one holds 8 cups and even has measuring
notches inside - convenient and handy bowl.
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One of the best books to get as a guide for making (and even selling) all kinds
of cheese. Kefir can be used to make some of the easiest and tastiest cheese.
Just as it says - this is a well-liked easy to read book of homemade cheese
recipes: From Cheddar and Brie to Butter and Yogurt.
Some seriously creative (and yummy basic ) recipes - over 500 ice creams,
sorbets, granitas, drinks, etc in this book. The best book to get started and get
inspired for making any kind of frozen treat from your kefir or yogurt.
We've found this to be the most reliable brand for fresh, unsweetened organic
coconut shreds (water kefir likes munching on this, and it makes the flavor
delicious). We've noticed many other brands and even organic bulk bins in
stores tend to have rancid/old coconut shreds that do not do well with the
Cranberry Juice Concentrate is delicious and has many health benefits (and
high vitamin C), this one is our favorite because no funny stuff is added. Juice
concentrate is better for flavoring than juice in the case of milk kefir since you
can use a smaller amount, and not risk diluting or making the milk kefir too
runny and loosing its creaminess. They also make pomegranate, blueberry
Some people have had good success kefiring with milk alternatives such as goat, soy, rice, hemp
and almond milk with their kefir grains. We recommend these ones for their taste, being
unsweetened, gluten-free (some aren't), mostly organic (not Almond Breeze) and overall popularity
and company backgrounds.
If you don't want to bother with all the added ingredients found in most
milk-alternative beverages you can make your own soy, rice, almond (or oat,
hemp, bean, etc) milk. This is one of the highest rated machines out there to
do the job and is still priced reasonably too, for everything it can do.
For making your own juice (veggie or fruit) this juicer is really the way to go -
one of the best juicers for serious juicing without breaking the bank. For
flavoring (and secondary fermenting) with your bottled kefir this device can
really create some interesting and incredibly healthy and fresh juices. Ideal for
fresh grape juice for kefir d'uva and ginger juice for Ginger Beer Plants or
ginger flavored water kefir (most water kefir grains loves ginger).
This dehydrator stills remains one of the best on the market and is perfectly
suited for drying (and not worrying about preservatives/sulfites) any kind of fruit
or veggie you pick up at your store or farmers market (or garden!). Dried fruits
and veggies without sulfites are perfect for added nutrients and flavor in your
water kefir and kombucha ferments.
If you have any doubts about dropping dead from your own efforts at
home-canning, this is the canning bible everyone recommends. It's full of
wonderful recipes, has lots of pictures and is presented in the most
comprehensive way for beginners. Check your library first, but we ended up
buying it because of the long request wait and the usefulness of it (and
inevitably crumbs and spills find their way onto our cookbooks anyways!).
Preserving food without freezing or canning. I personally love this book - it has
a lot of fermenting and old-world techniques for preserving foods such as
using salt, oil, sugar, alcohol, vinegar, drying, cold storage, and lactic
fermentation. Essential for anyone serious about preserving, storing and
ultimately saving money.
Best jam book if you ever need inspiration or a unique recipe! From Strawberry
Jam to Red Grapefruit Marmalade, Hazelnut and Chocolate Spread, or Fig
Bars, it goes from the traditional basics to the unexpected originals. It even
includes recipes for fruit leather and methods for preserving nuts.
Fascinating and fun book full of helpful and truly unique fermenting advice. It
focuses on the flavor, nutrition, and craft of live-culture foods. There aren't a
whole lot of books out there on this topic - we ended up owning this we liked it
One of the best for an inside look into the slow-food and natural/local food
movements, what's causing it and why.
We love this book - its stuffed with all kinds of tips and tid bits of cooking info -
almost like a short-hand google for your kitchen. Highly recommended by
many, not just us.
The popular and classic read if you are at all interested in where food comes
from these days and the 'dilemmas' we deal with as consumers - very
fascinating and actually a pretty entertaining read with Pollan's journalist
writing style and dry humor.
One of the best for simply educating oneself in homestead skills and just
basic practical skills of all kinds.
John Seymour was a world-renowned man who persevered to live a
sustainable life and then instructed others later in his life on how to do so.
Incredibly, most of what he learned was self-taught and researched along the
way. This book shares his thoughts, encourages and helps others get started
on adopting his ideas and many skills.
A very popular book for those interested in eating as natural, wholesome and
healthy of a diet as possible (and understanding the 'why's' behind the
nutrition. She discusses things such as soaking grains, fermenting foods,
eating raw, best methods to for cooking foods, etc.
We liked this book for its compact and interesting analysis of why
this author believes certain groups of people around the world are
the healthiest. In summary it is mostly tips of eating whole, fresh,
unadulterated foods in balance and moderation, which we agree
A fascinating and well-written popular book on how to garden all year round
right at home. Though it may or may not save money, there is nothing tastier,
healthier and more rewarding than home-grown food.
In a day where we have so much technology, we still know so very little about
health, and for most of us unfortunately even less about our furry friends. This
is a wonderful book to begin educating yourself on animal nutrition.
Easily one of the best books in print on raw milk - enlightening and
succinct, detailing on the history, politics and science of raw milk
(from pasture-fed cows), including discussing the safety and health
benefits of raw milk.
Copyright © 2010 Yemoos Nourishing Cultures. All rights reserved.
These are all products we recommended from our own research and own personal use.
- Each item is what we've found to be the 'crème de la crème' in its category.
- All the products in some way aid in fermenting, are sustainable, or are eco-friendly (and in
many cases all three).
- We live on a tight budget so you'll find most of our recommendations are reasonably priced
- Have something you think we should recommend? Let us know in our 'Suggestions and
This is a popular little hydrometer that does the job of measuring
sugar/alcohol content of your brewing (great for water kefir, kombucha,
gingerbeer plant, wine or beer). It's a bit fragile but for under $5 it's quite the
deal for how well it works.
The problem with many ph test strips is that due to the hype in testing body
acidity/alkilinity there are many cheap and unreliable 'gimmick' brands out
there. If you are wanting to accurately test the Ph of any of your cultures or
even for other purposes this brand is used by chemists and is as accurate if
not more so than as a descent ph meter (unless you're willing to shell out