Lately, I have been growing more interested in fermented foods, not only cheese. I’ve been consuming more of them—kimchi has become a necessity on my breakfast plate, and I am on a quest to find the best natto, Japanese fermented soy beans, in San Francisco.
In November, cheesemaker Sacha Laurin gave me a young kombucha mother culture to take home and grow. I had to leave it dormant in the fridge while I traveled, but kombucha was the first thing on my mind when I returned to SF! There was minimal equipment to gather. After 10 days of fermenting in the bucket (I gave it a couple extra days because this was the mother’s first batch. Sacha tells me she usually does 8 days of fermentation in the bucket), I transferred the kombucha to the bottles to ferment another week or so. When I transferred it to the bottles, I thought it still tasted a little too sweet, and there was a pretty strong vinegar component. It’s all about trial and error. We shall see next week what the finished product tastes like!
For those of you who might be interested in what I did this time, here’s the recipe:
- 1 gallon of cooled black tea. I used the random Chinese tea Mr. Cheesemonger brought home a couple months ago.
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 large food service-grade bucket, enough to hold at least 1 gallon
- 1 dish towel
- 1 elastic band, or string to tie the towel over the bucket top
- 1 kombucha mother
- 5 champagne bottles
- bottle capping equipment (There are so many options out there!)
I brewed the tea in a pot on the stove, and let it cool overnight. The next morning, I added the sugar, and dumped the whole thing in the bucket. My single kombucha mother had developed into three, so I slid them all in with the mix and covered the top with the towel and string. It was great watching the kombucha grow and develop over the next 10 days. The mothers floated to the top after about three days, and then radically changed from smooth, white discs to a blistery, roiling, almost fleshy-looking mass . Toward the end of the fermentation, the mix was getting carbonated, and I could see bubbles just underneath the now-merged mothers.
After 10 days, I bottled everything after sanitizing the bottles with boiling water. Now, the kombucha bottles (I have about 5 of them) are fermenting for a second round in my china cabinet. I am so excited to taste them! I think I can try the first bottle this coming weekend.
You want to see it? I warn you, it’s kind of gross.