Saturday, 5 January 2013

' begins!

I finally did it!! I did too much reading. When I read too much I get overwhelmed AND it seems like assholes...everyone has an opinion on how kombucha should be made. So I gave up reading and just started doing.

I was initially going to make my 'booch with tap water but some people seem against that so I made a special trip out for bottled water. My first batch I will make with bottled water but fucked if I am going to do that every single time so I will do my next batch with tap water to see how it turns out. I might leave the tap water out overnight just to decholrinate it.

I boiled up about 3 quarts/3 liters of water....liters and quarts are about the same size and I didn't want to stress the amount so it was about 3ish quarts/liters of bottled spring water.

I used 5 Orange Pekoe black tea bags of regular old Tetley tea. Only tea no-nos are decaf, herbal or anything that has added stuff like essential oils. Apparently, Earl Grey doesn't really work either but I have no idea why. I didn't have any Earl Grey so it doesn't matter.

I steeped the tea for 5 minutes. Some people said to steep it 10-15 minutes but then I read something that said something along the lines of "you wouldn't drink over-steeped bitter tea, so why would you use it for 'booch?" true dat! the same people also said they have been make booch with tapwater for kinda people!

After the tea steeped I removed the tea bags...hehehehe...TEA BAG! and I stirred in 1 cup of plain white sugar. Yup, plain white table sugar. FEAR NOT! The sugar is food for the yeasties to eat. It eats up all the sugar and very little is left in the final 'booch. Don't use anything else like Splenda or other shit, just use the real white sugar. I saved all my "conventional baking" supplies when I did my cupboard clean out so I still have lots of white sugar kicking around.

I figured if I was going to be doing this and I would be growing "babies" I needed to name my SCOBY. I named my SCOBY "Harold". Harold is precious to me and in a high-larious addition to the 'booch making process, my Mama decided making kombucha was her bag too so she bought her own SCOBY from her local health food store. This is an option, you can also grow one from a store bought bottle of 'booch which I was going to do before I was gifted Harold (thanks again K.P!) ANYWAYS...My Mama named her SCOBY...she named it Agnes! BAHAHAHA Agnes is Harold's other half...they are SCOBY lovers! So entertaining! Agnes is working on her own fermentation process right now on top of my mom's fridge.

After the tea had cooled I transferred it all to my 1 gallon glass vessel that I bought the other day. I extracted Harold from his tiny mason jar home, poured the started liquid that came with him into the sweetened cooled tea then carefully placed him on the top of the liquid. I washed my hands, rinsed them, then poured white vinegar over my hands and shook them mostly dry (clean hands, clean jar, clean shit... all important!)

Harold felt like a wet marshmallow, slimy but firm and quite ummm substantial...someone loved and took care of Harold before giving him to me *mushmush*. After getting him set up I covered the top of the glass vessel with a dish cloth and secured it with an elastic band. Then I placed him in his new home to hang out and do his thing. Harold told me he likes a warm, dark place away from direct sunlight. Typical initial fermentation takes between 7-10 days depending on how warm your house is. It's pretty warm here so I am guessing that it will be on the shorter end of the fermentation time but we'll see!

Now I leave him to do his thing and begin making my tasty tasty 'booch. I will be doing a second ferment since I like fizzy 'booch. The 'booch won't be fizzy if you do not do a secondary ferment (as is my understanding). A second ferment isn't that difficult. You take the 'booch, put it in bottles (I have been saving my old GT bottles for just this purpose), add a teaspoon of sugar to each bottle (same as the first time, it's "food" and will get eaten up) along with whatever flavouring you want. I will be doing a blackberry one since I love the gingerberry GT 'booch so much. A second ferment takes another couple to 7 days for it to be complete so I won't be drinking my own 'booch for at least a couple weeks but, the process has begun!

I will keep y'all up to date with Harold's progress, spying on him and taking pictures (so happy he is in clear glass container) and I will see if my Mama will take pictures of Agnes' progress so we can compare our SCOBY lovers.

In non-bacterial news...if you still have your Christmas tree up....TAKE IT DOWN! Sweet Zuzel. I'll never understand the people that leave it up until February. TAKE IT DOWN!

Also...I made RAW BALLZ! Sorry...I didn't take pictures. This isn't one of those fancy ass blogs where I take lovely arty picture of shit in measuring cups and what not. My counter was messy and hoarded and I barely had enough space to take work but I will share the recipe and promise you that they are mega easy and you can use lots of different things in them.

RAW BALLZ!  yields like 12-20 balls depending on how big you like your ballz *winkwinknudgenudgehowsyourfather*

- 1 cup pitted medjool (I buy the non-pitted kind and just pit em myself) cut in half
- 1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds or you can omit the seeds and double the nuts
- 1/2 cup walnuts or almonds or 1/4 cup walnuts and 1/4 almonds or really any nuts you want...the gist is you need 1 cup of seeds or nuts...whatever kinds and in what ratios you want, it doesn't matter just end up with a 1 cup of them.
- 6 tbsps of cocoa powder...I buy Nutivas brand organic raw cacao powder but the dutch processed stuff from the grocery store works fine, I am just picky with what I buy and I have no idea what the difference between cocoa and cacao is.
- 1/2 tbsp of vanilla or more if you are like me and like vanilla and/or you can add other extracts, this time I added peppermint extract for my mint loving husbie or you could add a tbsp of cinnamon (I don't recommend cinnamon and mint but do what you like!) or pumpkin pie spice...really, this recipe has a billion hacks and I promise if you follow the basic formula it will be yummo!
- optionals: a few tbsps of ground flax seeds, coconut flakes, protein powder, sesame seeds (if you are a wanker since sesame seeds are for wankers!) etc - this time I added a 1/4 cup of dessicated coconut. Pick one of the optionals... not all of them.

- process your combinations of nuts and seeds until finely ground...oh yeah, you need a food processor for this...doubtful it would work in a blender or magic bullet but you could try...if it's a fucking flop... NMP (not my problem). Don't over process them into butter, you want just a nice ground seed/nut meal.

- Add cocoa/cacao powder, extracts, other spices (if using) and blend again until mixed evenly (a couple seconds...not too long)

- Now add your cup of dates and process the whole lot until a dough forms or about a minute. I have made these a few times and this time a dough ball didn't form BUT FEAR not after about a minute in the FP the oils will be released from the seeds and nuts and dates will be a sticky ground up mess so it may look crumbly but it will be ok...I promise.

- I put the mix in a bowl or you can just work from the FP bowl if you want less dishes. Grab a handful of the mixture and squeeze it into ballz in your hand. Don't worry, they'll stick. If you wanted to get decadent (see: fat) you could shake some Enjoy Life mini chips into the mix before rolling into balls but I promise they are mega chocolately enough without. Enjoy Life chocolate is  THE SHIT! and only 3 non-creepy ingredients. They are yummo and worth the outrageous price.

- I put the rolled balls on a plate and then freeze em. Once frozen I transfer to a wide mouth mason jar and freeze (I don't really store food in plastic anymore...such a hippie, I know)

That's it! Raw BALLZ! Super easy, endless possibilities and mega chocolately! No one who has tried these has disliked them. If you think you can't control yourself, don't make these....1 cup of seeds/nuts is a lot to devour in one day...but you know yourself better than me.

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