Recipes from Probiotic Drinks at Home

EARL GREY KOMBUCHA WITH LEMON

EarlGreyKombuchawithLemon

The defining feature of Earl Grey tea is the addition of bergamot oil, which is the cold-pressed oil from inside the rind of the bergamot orange. The bergamot orange is known as ‘sour orange’, which tastes more bitter than a grapefruit but less sour than a lemon. Apparently Earl Grey tea was created to mimic the more expensive types of Chinese tea, and has been used in England since the 1820s.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Fermentation time: 1–5 weeks
Difficulty: Medium
Shelf life: Refrigerate for up to 3 months
Makes: About 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups)

1 x basic kombucha ingredients (page 92); replace the black tea with Earl Grey tea
1/2 lemon

Primary fermentation
Follow the instructions for basic kombucha, using Earl Grey tea instead of black tea.

Bottling
Follow the instructions for basic kombucha.

Secondary fermentation
Squeeze the lemon juice into the bottle and tightly seal the lid. Leave the bottle on the bench to build carbonation. This could take anywhere from 2–14 days, depending on
the temperature. ‘Burp’ the kombucha daily to release some pressure by opening the lid slightly and then tightening it again.

drink up
When the kombucha is as fizzy and sour as you like (this could range from a small spritz to a ferocious fizz), store it in the fridge to slow the fermentation process, and enjoy cold.

tip The bergamot oils in fragrant Earl Grey could, over time, decrease the effectiveness of the Mother. I recommend using this recipe when you have a back-up Mother. It’s best to rotate this kombucha with the basic kombucha (see page 92) that uses black tea.


basic kombucha

In kombucha brewing, the sugars convert into acids, leaving a low-sugar drink. I like to harvest the kombucha when it’s still a little sweet. However, if you want to make a vinegar or a totally sugar-free product, allow it to ferment for several weeks and use the kombucha vinegar in salad dressings.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Fermentation time: 1–5 weeks
Difficulty: Medium
Shelf life: Refrigerate for up to 3 months
Makes: About 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups)

1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) filtered water or springwater
4 black tea bags or 1 tablespoon loose-leaf black tea
3 tablespoons raw or white sugar
3 tablespoons kombucha starter culture liquid
1 kombucha Mother, a little smaller than the size of
your palm

Primary fermentation
Bring 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) of the filtered water to a simmer. Pour into a teapot or heatproof bowl, add the tea bags or tea leaves and leave to steep for 3–5 minutes. Strain the tea into a heatproof 1.5 litre (52 fl oz/6 cup) wide-mouth glass jar and discard the tea bags or tea leaves. Add the sugar to the jar and stir to dissolve. Pour in the remaining filtered water.

When the liquid has cooled to room temperature, add the kombucha starter culture liquid and Mother. Cover the jar with a piece of muslin (cheesecloth) and secure with an elastic band.

Place the jar out of direct sunlight in a cool spot where it won’t be disturbed. Leave the liquid to ferment for around 4 days in hot weather and 14–20 days in cooler weather.

Bottling
Gently remove the Mother to re-use or rest (see page 89). Retain 3 tablespoons of the kombucha liquid as the starter culture liquid for your next brew (see page 88).
Mix in any sediment that has settled at the bottom of the jar, or leave it as it is. Put a funnel in the opening of a 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cup) glass bottle with a tight-fitting lid and put
a strainer on top of the funnel. Pour the kombucha into the bottle through the strainer and discard any solids.

Secondary fermentation
Tightly seal the bottle lid and leave the bottle on the bench to build carbonation. This could take anywhere from 2–14 days, depending on the temperature. ‘Burp’ the kombucha daily to release some pressure by opening the lid slightly and then tightening it again.

drink up
When the kombucha is as fizzy and sour as you like (this could range from a small spritz to a ferocious fizz), store it in the fridge to slow the fermentation process, and enjoy cold.

Download printable recipe (PDF)

 
GINGER BUG

GingerBug

A ginger bug is the base culture you can use to make a variety of other probiotic fizzy drinks. The bug is self-perpetuating – that is, start it off right, get it bubbling and it should continue to ferment, ready and waiting for you to make your next probiotic drink. Once the ginger bug has ‘taken’ and is bubbling away (this usually takes 3–10 days), it’s ready to make into your chosen drink. The ginger bug is only active when it’s bubbling, so the key to successfully fermenting ginger beer and root beer is to use an actively bubbling ginger bug.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Fermentation time: 3–10 days
Difficulty: Hard
Shelf life: Indefinite (with correct care)
Makes: 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups)

1 large piece fresh ginger, about the size of your hand
185 g (61/2 oz/1 cup) light brown sugar or 220 g (73/4 oz/1 cup) white sugar
250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) filtered water or springwater

Primary fermentation
Add 3 tablespoons of the finely chopped ginger to a 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cup) wide-mouth glass jar.

Add 3 tablespoons of the sugar to the jar, then pour the filtered water over the mixture. Stir well to combine and dissolve the sugar.

Cover the jar with a piece of muslin (cheesecloth) and secure with an elastic band. Place the jar out of direct sunlight in a warm spot and leave to ferment.

Once a day, add 1 tablespoon of the chopped ginger and 1 tablespoon of the sugar to the ginger bug and stir well. Re-cover and leave in a warm spot to ferment. Continue this process every day until the ginger bug starts to bubble. It is then ready to use to make ginger beer or root beer.

Whenever you use the ginger bug, retain half of the liquid in the fermentation jar, ready for your next brew. 

Download printable recipe (PDF)

 
HONEY AND VANILLA AMBROSIA

HoneyVanillaAmbrosia

In Greek mythology, ambrosia is the food of the gods, giving immortality to anyone who drinks it. The combination of honey and vanilla is one of life’s great pleasures. It’s rich, warming, inviting and absolutely divine. You can make the basic milk kefir ahead of time and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to add the honey and vanilla. Alternatively, you can make the ambrosia and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Fermentation time: 3–72 hours
Difficulty: Medium
Shelf life: Refrigerate for up to 5 days
Makes: About 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups)

1 x basic milk kefir ingredients (page 72)
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract

fermentation
Follow the instructions for basic milk kefir.

Bottling
Follow the straining instructions for basic milk kefir.
Pour the milk kefir into a 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cup) glass jar
or bottle with a tight-fitting lid. Add the honey and vanilla and either blend with a hand-held stick mixer, if using a jar,
or screw on the jar or bottle lid and shake vigorously to incorporate well.

drink up
Pour the ambrosia into glasses and serve immediately. Alternatively, store in the fridge and enjoy cold.

tip You can use this recipe as a face mask. Apply
it to your face for up to 20 minutes for a natural skin conditioning treatment.


basic milk kefir

The finished milk kefir should be tangy, as well as a little zingy and tart. You may be able to feel some texture, which is the clusters of milk fats, yeasts and bacteria. It’s perfectly normal for some separation to occur – this is the curds and whey becoming apparent. If this happens, simply shake the jar to mix it together. I choose to add cream to my milk kefir to make it thick and creamy, but it’s completely optional.

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Fermentation time: 3–72 hours
Difficulty: Medium
Shelf life: Refrigerate for up to 5 days
Makes: 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups)

1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) full-cream (whole) milk
3 tablespoons thin (pouring)
cream (optional)
2 teaspoons milk kefir grains

Fermentation
Pour the milk and cream, if using, into a saucepan. Gently warm, without boiling, to body temperature – around 36.5°C (98°F) or when you can comfortably leave your (clean!) finger in the milk for about 10 seconds.

Put the milk kefir grains in a 1.5 litre (52 fl oz/6 cup) wide-mouth glass jar. Pour in the warm milk mixture and stir well. Cover the jar with a piece of muslin (cheesecloth) and secure with an elastic band.

Place the jar in a warm spot out of direct sunlight and leave the liquid to ferment for 3–72 hours, depending on the temperature and the texture of milk kefir you prefer (see page 67). Agitate the mixture as frequently as you can to reincorporate the milk kefir grains into the milk.

Bottling
Sit a strainer over a 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cup) bowl. Pour the milk kefir through the strainer so the liquid runs into the bowl and the thicker milk kefir is left in the strainer. Using a spatula, gently push the thicker milk kefir through the strainer into the bowl. The milk kefir grains will remain intact in the strainer. Set them aside to re-use or rest (see page 68).
Pour the milk kefir into a 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cup) glass jar
or bottle with a tight-fitting lid and screw on the lid.

drink up
Store the milk kefir in the fridge and enjoy cold.

Download printable recipe (PDF)