All posts tagged: fermented beverages

KA POW – the explosive power of fizzy ferments!

In the same week that Putin annexed Crimea my home-made kvass detonated. Kvass, a typical Russian beverage, entails soaking dark rye bread in water overnight, straining the juices, adding sugar and leaving it to ferment. The recipe I used was a more modern interpretation of this ancient beverage and called for the addition of cultivated, packaged yeast and not the traditional sourdough starter. This combination – rather like modern Ukrainian-Russian relations – was explosive. We were away on holiday so thankfully no one got hurt. Had someone been standing next to our fridge they would almost certainly have been seriously injured or worse. The build up of carbon created by the mixture of sugar and cultivated, packaged yeast tore the glass apart at high velocity, which in turn forced the fridge door open and out shot small, sharp shards of glass. Every available surface area in the immediate vicinity was covered in a sickly brown liquid. Our Ukrainian baby-sitter, alone in the stillness of her bedroom above the kitchen and already nervy about events in …

SCOBY-doby-do and the origins of the mysterious symbiotic!

If you’ve never heard of a SCOBY fear not –   it’s not like they’re up for sale on super-market shelves, displayed behind counters in the corner shop or neatly aligned on tables in the local farmer’s market. SCOBYs are part of the collaborative economy and are passed on or shared between friends rather than being big commercial bruisers capable of making the Big Bucks, big time. Health food gurus, fermentation fans and food bloggers may be familiar with them. The vast majority, however, may be forgiven for thinking that a SCOBY is a Scooby-dooby-doo typo. SCOBY is, in fact, an acronym standing for “Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast” and SCOBY’s are an essential element in the fermentation of some milks, tonics and foods. Harry Marshall-Ward a Victorian botanist was the first to identify and classify them through the study of the Ginger Beer Plant. To recall most wild fermented foods and beverages are fermented either by yeasts (such as wine) or by lactic acid bacteria (such as kimchi). In the case of a SCOBY …