During the cold and flu season, consume kombucha.
The newest member of my family is SCOBY or Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. This SCOBY was a present from one of my best friends, and he has since been quietly boiling away in the kitchen’s shadowy nooks. With a thick, pancake-like layer on top known as the SCOBY, steeped tea is allowed to ferment to create kombucha. It will take just over 7 days for this living, cream-to-light brown jelly-like substance—which also happens to be a mixture of beneficial bacteria and yeast—to produce what is allegedly the world’s wonder beverage.
Kombucha is probiotic, much like the majority of fermented foods. The gut and immune system are related, thus it is highly beneficial for your gut. Making kombucha is a rather easy procedure. You simply make a pot of sweet tea, add the live bacteria, and let it rest covered with a permeable cloth (not muslin) for 7 days until bubbles, a sign of activity, form. The yeast consumes the brew’s carbohydrates and generates food for the bacteria. The SCOBY mat traps the natural carbonation produced by this interaction within the jar or bottle. Additionally, the mat stops any evaporation. The finished fermented beverage has a flavour that ranges from sweet-sour to somewhat vinegary, with only a whiff of alcohol.
When you first start out, you should trust your nose and your taste buds. The kombucha should have a sweet-vinegary sharp aroma as it ferments. Things have probably gone wrong if it doesn’t smell sulphurous or like rotten eggs, and you’ll probably need to borrow, steal, or beg for another SCOBY to start over.
Small brown patches, sediment buildup at the bottom, brown yeast strands adhering to the base, or all of the above, may be present on a healthy SCOBY. Because some completely normal yeast globules may resemble mould, you should trust your gut and not get alarmed. A dark area in the kitchen is ideal for fermenting kombucha since the ideal temperature ranges from 24 to 29 degrees Celsius.
The SCOBY and the kombucha tea are separated after the seven-day fermentation process, and a reserve cup of the fermented tea is used to produce a new batch of kombucha. The tea is filtered and then placed into plastic bottles for a second fermentation that lasts one to three days, depending on whether flavourings are added.
At this point, the fermentation continues, and the continuing carbonation is firming up the bottle’s exterior a little. Simply place the bottles in the refrigerator to halt the fermentation after you have achieved a flavour that is a satisfying balance of sweet and sour and is to your liking.
Every batch of kombucha causes the SCOBY to continue to develop. If it becomes too thick, you can peel off the additional layer and begin brewing another batch, or you can give it to a friend who might be considering adding kombucha to their regular diet. For your kombucha, you may experiment with a variety of dark teas and flavourings. You may also substitute vinegar with fermented kombucha, a naturally occurring vinegar that tastes fantastic in salad dressings.
It’s necessary to get your kombucha from a reputable maker since they will not only guide you through the process and provide their own personal brewing tips and tricks with you, but they will also make sure that it is wrapped securely for transport with the tea, which is also extremely important.
During the second fermentation stage of this batch of Winter Kombucha, I added orange peel, cloves, a cinnamon quill, and ginger syrup from a batch of candied ginger.
Basic Kombucha Recipe Requirements:
- Water 7 cups
- Sugar 1/2 cup
- Regular Indian Tea 4 tea bags or 1 tbsp loose tea
- SCOBY 1
- Tea from the SCOBY 1/2 cup- 1 cup
- Seasonal Flavouring
- Syrup from a jar of candied ginger 1 tsp, or more
- Orange peel 1 long peel
- Cloves 2
- Cinnamon quill 1
Heat the water to just below boiling, then add the tea and steep for 5-10 minutes. Add the sugar to the boiling tea and whisk until completely dissolved. Allow this to cool. If you’re using loose tea, filter it once the sugar has dissolved.
Wait until the water is lukewarm before touching it. Pour the tea into a big mason jar or a wide-mouthed glass jug. With clean hands, place the SCOBY over the brewed tea and fill it off with tea from the last batch of SCOBY. Fasten with elastic bands a flimsy kitchen towel or paper napkins over this. This is done to allow the kombucha to breathe. Muslin fabric should not be used.
Keep in a cool, dry location away from direct sunlight. After 7 days, begin sampling to get a sense of how your kombucha tastes. Once you’ve found the flavour you desire, decant only a third of your first batch into a bottle and leave it at room temperature to carbonate, or move it to the refrigerator to stop the fermentation.
Continue for another 7 days by topping it up with sweet tea. You can decant more the next time, but leave the 1/2 cup-1 cup combination behind and keep brewing as needed.
Once decanted, add the kombucha flavourings, taste, and let it carbonate at room temperature for a day or three before moving it to the refrigerator. Serve to unwitting visitors as flavoured tea, and if they enjoy it, explain to them what it is.