Monthly Archives: June 2013

Sour Dough Starter Recipe: It’s So Easy, A Caveman Can Do It

If you are a bread hater or simply sick and tired of me talking about bread 3 months in a row, let me assure you that this bread saga will end in this month’s issue. I promise I won’t talk about it again, or at least for a while. I just want to share the recipe for the pre-ferment (or sourdough starter) as I promised last month.
Sourdough Starter Recipe:

1st day: Put 1/3 cup of unbleached all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon of rye flour and water (1/3 cup + 1tsp) in a bowl (ideally glass or ceramic, you don’t have to use fancy glass jar). If you choose not to use rye flour, use just 1/3 cup of water instead. Stir it vigorously and cover with plastic wrap.

2nd day: After 24 hours, add the same amount of flour and water to the mixture from the 1st day. Stir well and cover.

3rd day: Again add the same amount of ingredients to the mixture from the 2nd day.

4th day: You will probably start seeing bubbles in the mixture. It is the sign that the mixture has began the fermentation process, but not quite complete yet. So you need to feed the dough by adding equal amount of water and flour (by volume) every day until the yeast and the flavor has fully developed. In this case 1 cup + 1 tablespoon (1 tbs=3 tsp) of water and 1 cup of regular flour and 1 tablespoon of rye flour will be added every 24 hours. However, you have to discard about half of the mixture before adding. If you are like me, who hates wasting things, you may chose to use it for pizza dough or even bread, though flavor is not as good. If you repeat this process 3-4 more days, your mixture will have mild sweet and sour flavor. At this point, the mixture (pre-ferment or sourdough) is ready to be used for baking bread.

She is not a caveman.... My daughter Nicole  holding my bread I just baked.

My daughter Nicole holding my bread I just baked.

It may take many practice to get it right, but once you learn how to bake bread with your own pre-ferment, you will never want to buy bread again. I am aware this recipe needs more detailed instruction( sorry. So, I will try post updated version on the blog at along with baking instructions soon.
Happy baking, Kaz Isogai

Herbal Profile: Huang Qin

In Traditional Chinese Herbal medicine, good health is all about balance, the Yin and Yang being in harmony, just like your internal temperature. When your health is looked at, an herbalist will not just see if you have a problem of too much heat or too much cold, but also what kind of heat – is it dry or damp, for example. Huang Qin is used to treat damp heat conditions.

Do you have Eczema or think you might have a bladder infection because it hurts to urinate? Huang Qin may be an herb used to treat you. In English, it is known as Baical Skullcap Root. It is used to help your Yang, to literally put out the fire or inflammation inside by being both anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory. Herbalists use it in tea prescriptions and even topically depending on the symptoms. From high fever, irritability to unquenchable thirst or blood in the stool, it is often combined with other herbs to heal the problem.

Huang QinHuang Qin works in the Heart, Lung, Gall Bladder and Intestines as well as the Liver. It clears the heat in the upper part of the body in the lungs and when combined with other herbs, drains the damp heat from the lower part of the body in the stomach through the digestive system.It has also been used to calm a fetus in the womb.


– Used with Huang Lian it reduces fever and with Fang Feng, removes blood from the stool.

– With Bai Shao, it treats fever. Adding Zhi Zi, Tin Chen Hao and Huang Bai Jaundice is remedied. Adding to those Mu Dan Pi, and Da Huang, they treat bloody vomitting and nosebleeds. Last but not least, when Huang Qin and Huang Bai are dry-fried, they have more powerful effectiveness to stop excess bleeding (is this a proper translation for “Homeostatic properties?).

– Combined with Zhi Mu, they treat chronic Lung Heat cough.

– To treat fire in the Liver, it is combined with Zai Ku Cao for symptoms like dizziness and headache. And when Mu Li is added, they treat obstruction in the Liver caused by too much fire.

– To treat blood in the stool or intestinal abscess, Di Yu is added.

Cautions: contraindicated when there is heat deficiency in the lung, diarrhea, or cold in the blood with a fetus. Always consult an experienced practicing herbalist before using Traditional Chinese Herbs.

To consult Juli at Hen Sen Herbs, call (206) 328-2828 or check out our website: Hen Sen Herbs