Showing posts with label fermenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fermenting. Show all posts

Monday, February 17, 2014

Kombucha brewed with Homemade Mother Scoby and 2nd Flavored Ferment.


maybe it's just a "FAD"
(it's reported to go back 2000 years)

maybe i'm looking for "HEALTHY"
(full of probiotics for a healthy digestive system)


it's like a 3rd grade science project

so...after you've successfully made your own "homemade Mother Scoby", you are ready to brew some Kombucha that you've been paying 3$ - 4$ per bottle.  this is a little documentation of what to expect for the novice brewer...from a novice brewer.
UPDATE...i just posted an EVEN EASIER way to make a Homemade SCOBY HERE

note...this is what i do, but Cultures for Health has great kombucha brewing info.

1-2 cups starter kombucha
(this is kombucha from a previous batch or you should receive some with your new scoby)
8 bags of black tea
1 cup granulated sugar
a gallon size glass jar
clean cloth or paper towel and rubber band

isn't she a beauty !

FIRST...brew a gallon of black or green tea, i used black.
boil water.  turn off heat.  add 8 tea bags.  let brew 10 minutes.  remove tea bags.  add sugar.  stir.
LET COME TO ROOM TEMP...important!!!
add sugar/tea to clean gallon size glass jar.

carefully, WITH VERY CLEAN HANDS proceed. can clean your hands with anti-bacterial soap, but must rinse them very well with a splash of diluted white vinegar and rinse very well again.  scobys do not like anti-bacterial soap.   put scoby into tea mixture (shiny side up, if there is one) with about 1-2 cups of the "starter kombucha"(previously brewed kombutcha).  leave about 2-3 inch head room.  see photos.
cover with double paper towel or clean cloth and secure with a rubber band.
place out of direct sunlight, but in a warm-ish part of the house.  NOT the garage or where any strange airborne weirdness may be floating around.  just a nice clean area is fine.
leave UNDISTURBED.  do not poke at it.
the first brew should take about 10 to 16 days.  you will need to do a taste test after 7 days.  dip a clean (new) straw in, put your finger over the end and draw some liquid out.  DO NOT suck it out with your mouth.  you do not want any contaminates.  if it is too sweet, test it again in a few days.  i have found that 14-16 days works for me.  i have also noticed that a "SENIOR" SCOBY (one that has gone a few rounds) will brew faster than a newish scoby.

DAY #1...scoby floating
DAY #2...scoby sank to the bottom
DAY #5...scoby sideways with possible baby scoby growing on surface
DAY #7...scoby is moving back up

i found a great site "Cultures For Health" that has info for trouble shooting.  Scoby on the bottom, sideways scoby and floating scoby are all OKAY.  new baby scoby should form at the surface.

DAY #8 scoby is up top...under the new scoby
DAY #14  new scoby is the top layer about 1/4 inch thick
kombucha seems done.  not too sweet with just a slight effervescence.
time to bottle, add flavors and start second fermentation

first things first...prepare another batch of sweetened tea do this a few hours before you are ready to bottle your second ferment.  prepare sweetened tea as described above and let it come to room temp... so you can put the new baby in and start another batch.  give the mother away, stick it in with the baby in the new batch or store it in 2 cups of the newly brewed kombucha in a smaller jar until ready to use.  some say to keep it in the fridge with a solid lid, some say never put it in the fridge...  mine is in a smaller jar with a breathable top, just waiting....growing, but still looks very healthy.  NOTE...i have since learned NOT to put in the fridge and i now have 3 in the SCOBY HOTEL as shown below.  i have ALSO learned that the hotel will grow another baby scoby.  i have scobys on scobys.
 you'll always have a scoby for a new brew IN CASE ONE GOES BAD.
remove scoby...ewe
just kidding.  it's really not as gross as i thought it would be.  they might be separate or fused together.  place both scobys on a clean plate while you are bottling...then put them in your new sweetened tea with 1-2 cups of the just finished kombucha.
mother scoby on top, baby scoby weird!
choose lock top bottles for safety and better effervescence.
they should be your best.  i have also used clean bottles from store bought kombucha.  they are much easier to clean and DO hold some effervescence.

again, Cultures for Health has some good ideas and more explicit  instructions.
AND...Caroline Lunger at Mygutsy has a great tutorial for the 2nd fermentation.
Kombucha Girl has a wealth of great information.
Spoon Full of Sugar Free has some great flavor ideas.

you can buy some organic juice...make your own flavors.
my first batch i opted for Organic Peach Lemonade...great, but now i make my own.
whatever flavor you choose...the ratio should be 10-20% juice in the bottle you are using. (example of  added juice quantity is in very top photo.)
so far i have used the peach lemonade, crystallized ginger pieces, coconut syrup and homemade ginger vanilla syrup.
after you remove your scobys (new baby and mother) STRAIN kombucha into bottles.   use a filtered funnel for this job.  i use a few layers of cheese cloth. about 1-2 cups to put in your new batch.  seal the bottles and let the them sit on the counter for 3-6 days.  check one of the bottles after 2 days.  mine usually take 5-6 days to regain a little fizz and lose sweetness from the flavored juice..  you want to test for taste, fizz factor AND to make sure they are not going to explode from over fermentation.

NOTE...a small mini SCOBY will form in each bottle and there will be sediment at the bottom.  when serving, use a small strainer for a nice clean experience..

UPDATE....i've made about 9-10 batches now and have found that my favorite flavor is homemade ginger vanilla bean simple syrup with a splash of fresh squeezed lemon.
i let them sit on the counter for about 5-7 days.


NOTE...i don't like it to be too too syrupy/sweet for this application.
2 cups water
1 big cup of sugar
1 1 1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste
OR 1 vanilla bean pod split
about 3 inches of ginger root, grated
put everything in a sauce pan and bring to a boil.  turn down heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes.  turn off heat and let come to room temp.  taste.  you might like more sugar.
i add about an inch of this in the bottle along with a good splash of fresh lemon juice.

pardon the lazy iPhone photo, but i wanted to catch the beautiful effervescence...too busy for the "beauty shot".

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Easiest Homemade SCOBY for Homemade Kombucha


go out and buy a bottle of GT's ORIGINAL RAW KOMBUCHA

pour it into a sterilized 1 quart jar
cover with cloth or double paper towel, secure with rubber band
put it in a nice warmish place.
do not disturb the jar.
WAIT at least 2-3 weeks
(mine was in the jar for 24 days.  photo below)
DONE...proceed to brewing homemade kombucha

 raw GT scoby day 24
about 1/2 of the original kombucha liquid has evaporated...or been eaten? 
there seems to be a few layers in there.


surprize!...3 scobys developed after 24 days
i thought i better put them in a hotel of some sort, so i added 2 cups tea sweetened with 1/8th cup sugar and put them in a new clean jar (along with the liquid they were growing in)  until i have time for another brewing...i already have 2 separate gallon jars brewing now....YIKES !

 it seems this looks like a super "clean" it needs to grow some "ewe factor".  i will let you know what happens after the first brew...

UPDATE... 11-5-13
as you can see from the photo, i started this experiment 8-14-13.  then i moved them to a hotel for a few weeks.  on 9-17-13 i started the batch with the new scobys.  i put all three small discs in to brew.  within a few days the new larger baby scoby started to form.
I WAITED ABOUT 16 DAYS for the brew to finish...


UPDATE 1-31-14
i have continued to this date to make 6 more DELICIOUS batches...
AND... my scoby hotel is more like a "RESORT"

in conclusion...there is no need to hunt down a scoby or pay for a kit with shipping and handling.  all you need is a little patience and a few bucks for a bottle of GT's RAW ORIGINAL KOMBUCHA

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Copy Cat Sparkling Daily Cleanse Probiotic Drink

quite similar to the "Kevita" Lemon-Cayenne Daily Cleanse...
which, by the way, is about 3.25 a bottle.

i was tired of spending all that $ AND i was collecting way too many bottles.  so...i decided to experiment with the probiotic lemonade recipe i found HERE at Flock in the City.  a few red pepper flakes and fresh ginger did the trick.


tart crisp vitamin C lemon juice
with probiotic whey...
fresh ginger for a zing that will sooth an ailing stomach after a indulgent meal
AND the spicy red pepper will boost that metabolism.

i'll call this


2 cups fresh lemon juice, strained of pulp (10-12 lemons?)
1 cup whey from strained yogurt
1 cup organic pure cane sugar
1 cup fresh grated ginger...washed, but no need to peel
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
enough filtered water to fill up 1 gallon jug

put 2 quarts filtered water and 1 cup grated fresh ginger in a pot and heat to a boil.  simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes.  turn off  the heat.  add your red pepper flakes while it is hot/warm.  let it all steep for a little while.  taste it.  you might want to strain it before it comes to room temp due to the "heat-spicy" factor....remember, this will have lemon juice and more water added so it can be on the "spicy"side.  then strain it to make "spicy ginger water".

squeeze lemons to equal 2 cups strained juice.

in a one gallon size glass jar (like the one shown) add strained spicy ginger water, 1 cup sugar, 2 cups strained lemon juice and 1 cup whey.  stir until sugar is dissolved.  now add enough filtered water to fill the gallon jar...leave about 1 1/2 to 2 inches, as shown in photo.  i like to cover the top with a double layer of saran and clasp down the lid WITHOUT THE RUBBER GASKET.  this leaves it "almost airtight" but allows air to escape if necessary so that it will not run the risk of exploding due to the carbonation from fermentation.
leave this out on the counter...not in direct sunlight.  it should take 3-4 days in the large jar.  i like to stir it once a day.  after the third day you will see some action...some bubbles.  this is good.  give it a little stir.  now strain this through some cheesecloth into some airtight bottles (lock-top) that are made for carbonated drinks.  i use a ladle  and a funnel because the one gallon jar is very heavy and awkward.  straining is not absolutely necessary, but it keeps the drink a little more clear of the "white cloud" that can settle at the bottom.  i like to use Grolsch Beer bottles or the 32oz lock top bottles.  leave the filled bottles out for another day or two.  check one after a day and see if you have THE FIZZ FACTOR.  open carefully.  be sure to move these to the fridge.  this will definitely slow any further fermentation and carbonation.  the weather can be a factor.  my bottles take a few more days on the counter when it's cooler.
NOTE...i have left some bottles on the counter for an extra 3-4 days to get some good fizz action.  sometimes i get more fizz if the bottle has been in the fridge for a week.  sometimes i get more fizzz from the larger bottles.  sometimes i get fizz in a reused glass "kevita" bottle.  it all has to do with the sugar content, the ripe lemons, the weather, the timing, the bottles etc....

FINAL NOTE...i am fairly new to this.  i am not an expert.  this recipe and method works very well for me.  if you have any questions i will answer them in my novice way, but please google around for more safety issues and or further information.  try the lovely bloggers at Flock in the City and Food Renegade.  also...if you have any input or tricks of the trade...i would love to hear it.

example of locking top covered with a double layer of saran...NO rubber gasket.  this makes it "almost air-tight", but allows pressure to release so there will be no explosions.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Homemade Mother Scoby for Kombucha

well...i said i wouldn't go there, but curiosity got the best of me.
i have fallen into the fermented-probiotic-kombucha craze...
it's fascinating 
i love all the kombucha drinks that are now available everywhere, but they cost 3-4 bucks apiece.  i only drink one a day, the math...that's about 102$ a month and 1,200$ a year...WHAT?!
 am i crazy ?!!  i guess it's the same for anybody with their triple shot skinny no whip morning latte addiction, but that's insane.
SO...i researched and researched how to make homemade kombucha.
you need a scoby.
most sites suggest you buy one from the internet.  i even heard you could get one from Craig's list.
i don't want some weird fungus mushroom alien thing that someone else grew in some unknown environment.  i want to be in control of my own bacteria yeast growing blob.
i thought i would let you know from a novice point of view how easy and fascinating this little project is... AND i wanted to document what i did and how i grew such a beautiful specimen.

*here's where i throw in the disclaimer...*
i am not an expert on the situation.  i am a beginner...just like you?
there are plenty of fabulous blogs out there with a wealth of IMPORTANT information.  a few i have referred to are...Food, Balanced, Mother and Cultures for to name a few.


2 cups filtered water
2 black tea bags
1 big Tbsp sugar...i used pure NOT use honey or any substitute!

leave the bottle of GT's out to come to room temperature.
boil the 2 cups water.  steep the tea for about 10-15 minutes.  remove tea bags, add sugar and stir to dissolve and let come to room temp.
sterilize a large enough glass jar to hold 4 cups of liquid.  if you use antibacterial soap.  make sure it is well rinsed.  then rinse it with vinegar and water.  then rinse it again.  for extra protection i sterilized in the oven at 220F degrees for 20 minutes.

pour tea/sugar into sterilized jar.  pour the whole bottle of store bought GT's kombucha into the tea jar.  make sure you got all the gross kombucha goodies into the tea.  cover with double paper towel or cloth and secure with a rubber band.  let sit in a warm darkish place.  do not disturb.  some say "dark" place, but i have it where it will not be disturbed and i can still take photos.
NOTE...when i moved it into a little more light it seemed to grow i'm not sure.  just do not move it around while it is growing.

DAY #1

DAY #3
DAY #8
DAY #15
 DAY #20a
DAY #20b
now this is a good lookin' SCOBY !
i think it should be almost ready...
DAY #24
behold..."THE MOTHER SCOBY"...

DAY #24
just about 1/2 inch...looks healthy

i think we're ready for lift off...

now...if you are still interested,
i will be documenting my first batch of  HOMEMADE KOMBUCHA
this will take about 7-10 days for the first fermentation, then another few days to flavor it and get some fizz action... i have read.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Homemade Ginger Ale or Beer...or HOOCH

the non-alcoholic kind

positively the most satisfying best tasting ginger ale i've ever had in my life!
and it's HEALTHY. you might have guessed i'm on a quest for the best, funnest, most interesting and out of the ordinary drinks of the NON-ALCOHOLIC NATURE.

as stated in a previous post... 
the most important person at your summer party is the designated driver.
if that person is bored and ain't havin' a good time...if THAT person wants to go...everybody goes...

so take some time and make some special concoctions to keep the party going.

start with a "ginger bug"...wait...
make a "wort"...
add the "BUG" to the "WORT"...wait...
bottle and wait some more...
in about 2'll have  HOOCH
i like saying "hooch", but this is KID FRIENDLY.  i read that you'd have to drink a gallon or two of the stuff just to possibly equal 1 light beer.  i'm not an expert, i'm just going by what i have researched on quite a few different if you are worried, please do some more research and please let me know.


1 heaping Tbsp fresh grated ginger, (clean or peel knob)
1 large Tbsp of sugar
filtered water

fill a quart mason(sterilized) jar 2/3 full with filtered water.  add ginger and sugar, stir until the sugar dissolves.  cover, as shown, with canning ring and cheese cloth...or a rubber band and cheese cloth.
before you go to sleep, give it another stir.
in the morning add another 1 Tbsp ginger and 1 Tbsp sugar...stir.
repeat this for 3-4 days or until you see some action happening on the surface.  there will be some visible fermenting bubbling "action".  if this does not happen within 5 days, you might want to consider starting over.
NOTE...always try to use sterilized equipment so as not to introduce any odd bacterias...even when going in for a simple stirring.  just a good wash with antibacterial soap should do, but i sterilize the jar in the oven for 15 minutes at 220 degrees.


1 1/2 to 2 cups pure cane sugar
1/3 cup fresh grated ginger
2 qts filtered water

bring this mixture to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.  let this steep (covered for  while) and come to room temperature.

NOTE...this is NOT AN ALCOHOL version.
i just like saying GINGER HOOCH

1 cup strained "ginger bug"
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice, strained
"ginger wort" from recipe above

add above items into 1 gallon glass jar.  fill the rest with filtered water.  stir to combine.  cover with cheesecloth and rubber band and let sit on the counter for 5 days.  taste it the 2nd or 3rd day.  does it need more sugar or lemon or ginger?
i added juice from 2 more lemons, a little more grated ginger and 1/8 cup sugar.
stir very morning and night for 3-7 days.
i waited 5 days

now strain the gallon of liquid into glass bottles with locking tops (as shown) Grolsch beer bottles.  it's cheaper to buy the Grolsch beer and have someone drink it then buy the bottles alone.  strain into pourable container then USE A FUNNEL.
let this sit somewhere safe...i read in a lot of blogs that said thiese could possibly explode...YIKES!   so, depending on the weather and where you live...keep a close eye on them.  i had one plastic bottle so that i could squeeze it to check the pressure and i tested a sealed glass bottle after 5 days. .  
after 5 days...a little effervescent fizz
after 9 days...a little more fizz

after 17 days of tender loving care....?
bubbles...beautiful  effervescent bubbles.  nothing like the fake store bought stuff.  these were very gentle sparkles and the flavor is far beyond...

this is best served "NEAT"...chilled sans ice

Monday, May 20, 2013

Probiotic Lemonade. Crisp tart refreshing AND healthy

not gist any ol' boring lemonade...
you know me by now... i can't make anything "ordinary".



well, i must say, i've been bitten by the "fermenting bug".
lately, i've been spending too much money on all those drinks that say, probiotic...fermented...kombucha...chia this and 100% pure of that...
i almost got suckered into a 16oz bottle of pineapple apple mint juice for $11.49.

come on's just JUICE !
did the ingredients read


i thought i better investigate how to make it myself.  is it cost effective?  after you have the proper bottles and gallon jars this lemonade sure is...
AND it's right up my alley being that it's like a third grade science project and there's loads of health benefits.
i eat so much pork belly and chocolate, i need all the help i can get.

fermenting still scares me just a bit.  it goes against my hypersensitivity about fresh, fresh fresh.  if it's been out on the counter too long or doesn't have a label with date, it usually gets tossed.  i'm learning more, but from what i've read, we can surely use the good bacterias that occur.
i will not attempt to tell you all the health benefits of probitics and fermenting, but if you're interested here are two helpful sites Wellness Mama and She that explain a little.

above is a visual difference of the 2 sugars.  SUCANAT and RAW HONEY.  sucanat, or raw cane sugar, is a bit like light brown sugar in taste and can be found most anywhere, but regular white sugar will do. must be a true sugar...not a sugar substitute.  most of the sugar gets eaten up in the fermenting process so don't be worried about drinking a sugary beverage.

recipe and info found at Food Renegade
AND many thanks to Tamatha at  FLOCK IN THE CITY for answering my novice questions.

12 lemons...(you'll need about 2 cups juice)
3/4 cups raw honey or sucanat or pure cane sugar
1 cup whey
1 gallon filtered water

the recipe calls for sucanat, but i wanted to try raw honey.  honey is not a suggested means of sugar due to the possible problem with bacteria.  use at your discretion.  i did not know this until after the fact....but, shhhh...i liked the honey better and i'm still alive.

first you will need some whey.  EASY.  strain some "live active" yogurt.  save the liquid whey and enjoy the "Greek Yogurt".

combine all ingredients in a LARGE gallon jar with lid.  stir to dissolve sugar.  cover tightly with a lid and let this sit out on the counter for 2 to 3 days...maybe even 5 if you want some fizz.  note...i am not the food fermenting expert and conditions might be different where you live, but here in So Cal. i left the honey one out for 5 1/2 days and it was "effervescently" delicious.

the honey one has a slight fizz on the tongue and a slightly "more unique?" flavor.  i have to had a slight "lite beer" aroma.  maybe because it was on the counter for 5 days.  the sucanat one was on the counter for 3 days and had no fizz, but a lovely, bright, crisp lemonade flavor.  i don't like sweet drinks and i never drink plain juice, BUT these 2 batches were just right.  i tested a bit out on friends, but i have surprisingly been gulping the rest down myself.
i read this should be consumed within a week, BUT i also read it will last for a month.  i don't really know the exact expiration.

strain your favorite yogurt.  it must contain "live active" cultures.  above is my contraption using muslin, the inside of an OXO salad spinner, and a stock pot to catch the whey.
sterilize your jar.  clean with anti-bacterial soap, then put in the oven for 20 minutes at 220F.  cool completely before filling.
juice 12 lemons...strain seeds and pulp.
fill gallon jar and close lid.  wait 2 to 3 days...
above is a photo of the one with honey after 5 days.  you can see the thin layer of bubbles that i suppose is showing the fermentation.

NOTE...if it's too tart add it to some sweetened tea or muddle some fresh berries.  throw in a sprig of rosemary, thyme, a cinnamon about adding a split vanilla bean pod to the finished product.

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