Kombucha Tips & Tricks of the Week – 11.07.2012

Taking A Break From Culturing Mushroom Tea Brewing

  From time to time, the home brewer of KT may wish to take a break from the process
of mushroom tea culturing.  There areseveral methods one may use for short term storage of the mushroom culture. If the time frame for stopping production is a week to a month then the process isas simple as making up a fresh batch of tea/sugar solution and leaving the
batch to sit in a cool place.

The temperature should be a little lower than optimal to slowdown the culturing process, yet not too much, to make the culture go into a dormant state.

Upon return or desire to restart production cycle, simply make fresh kombucha tea
solution as per directions.  The tea that is a couple of weeks old may be too strong with vinegar to be drinkable; however, it should start a new batch easily.  Make sure to check and adjust the pH when breaking the brewing cycle.

If the time frame is between a month or two, then follow this process…

  Make a fresh batch of tea solution and start a new batch, as normal, 2 to 3 days before departure or ending the brewing production.  After the third day, place whole brewing container into the refrigerator and leave until return. Use a lid or covering that will not allow for excessive evaporation, say a loose fitting lid or covering part of the opening with plastic wrap. Storing the KT in the refrigerator will slow down, but not stop, the culturing/brewing process. After returning to brewing production, the SCOBY cultures may need a cycle or two to completely return from their dormant state.

Though suggested by some authors on kombucha, one may freeze the mushroom cultures and return to them when ready.  We do not recommend freezing the cultures, as this puts great strain on the bacteria and yeast colonies, destroying many cell walls and in turn reducing the amount of active cultures present.  Better, the have a friend maintain the mushroom cultures in your abstinence or obtain a new culture from a quality source, like organic-kombucha.com or organic-cultures.com when ready to begin brewing kombucha tea again.

Since one can regulate the temperature of the brewing process, extending the length of time needed for culturing.  Example would be storing the brewing jars in a dry cool place to slow the process when traveling.  In most cases, simply discarding the old tea below 4.5 pH upon return, and starting a new batch is all that is needed to restart your production of your very own raw kombucha tea beverage.

Copyright 2006 – Organic-kombucha.com

Traditional Tempeh? Don’t Have no Banana Trees in My Backyard…

New July, 2014 Follow Up…

This has been a great method, developed by Organic Cultures, for wrapping soy beans inoculated with tempeh spores. The culturing/fermentation times are shorter, which could be in part from the wild yeast spores on the burdock leaf. Burdock wrapping of the tempeh cakes makes it easier and faster to produce vs. filling p[plastic bags

The burdock leaf is prefect this time of year for trying this tempeh production method yourself. Hurry though as the burdock will start the flowering and seed production cycles soon, which is still OK for wrapping the soy beans. This method is more like the traditional recipe and replaces plastic bags and the mess of poking all the holes

Once the cakes are inoculated and growing tempeh spores medium, simply place cakes into a freezer bag and freeze. We find it best to take the finished cakes out right before you plan to use them and allow thawing about half way through. Letting the cake thaw completely seems to make a softer lower grade product.

Let us know in the comments how this method goes for you. Remember to identify correctly the plant used or have someone knowledgeable in herbal medicine assist you.

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As with most of North America, we cannot produce tempeh in the traditional manor.  Traditional tempeh is a mix of cooked soybeans inoculated with the proper spore starter.  The inoculated tempe mixture is wrapped in fresh banana leaves to ferment outside for a day or two.

Here in the USA, it is common use plastic bags with perforated with holes for fermenting the soy cakes; however, this is not following traditional ways or sustainable methods.  The following experiment, brought about by looking for an alternative, is as follows: …

Experiment #:  Tempe1012AB274 –
Alternative Sources for Tempeh Fermentation

Equipment Used: Dehulled split soybeans, tempeh spores, burdock leaves, common kitchen and lab utensils and glassware.

– Experiment started via the standard tempeh recipe found on our organic-cultures.com website.  Once soy beans are cooked and processed, the steps changed from placing tempeh mixture in perforated plastic bags to encasing the spore inoculated soy beans in a sustainable and eco-friendly wrapping.

burdock leaf  –  Cakes then wrapped in fresh burdock leaf.  Found single layer of leaf material breaks and needs more holding strength.  Some blanch the burdock leaves; in this case, we did not.  Used two to three leaves placed opposed to each other.  Proper amount of tempe spore soybean mixture placed within leaf ‘basket’.  Secure with toothpicks or bamboo.  Amount of mixture can very due to size of leaves, however, for better fermentation times use around a 1/3 cup or 4 oz/ 113gr per leaf.

– Fermented cakes for 29 hours at 75 degrees F on breathable rack lightly covered with layer of plastic film to keep moisture in.  Cakes need air circulation but not enough to dry out.  Cover with additional layers of burdock leaves for future testing.

– Extra mixture placed in glass baking tray vs. plastic bags, mixture pressed down to better inoculate soybeans and covered lightly with plastic wrap.  Within same time frame as above, soybeans showed complete growth with pure white ‘fuzzy’ growth on top of the soy beans.  This method seemed faster for quick use or where a sliced ‘cake’ packaged in plastic bags, is not desired.  Allows easier mixing of a sauce or marinade with the fermented tempeh.  In our test, we mixed the tempeh with BBQ sauce, pressed into cakes, battered and deep fried.  Not the healthiest tempeh recipe it is a great vegan substitution for meat!  With a cultured dipping sauce, it makes a very nice appetizer or snack.

tempeh spore cake
Buy Tempeh Spore StarterRagi Tempe Spore Starter