Loh Yi Jun, junandtonic.com | Boon Loke, Scoby Farm
Breaking Bread is a brand new show that aims to foster any and all geeky discussions surrounding food. Whether it’s figuring out the intricacies of our kuih-muih, deep-diving into Malaysian coffee culture, or hunting for the best Laksas in town, this show shines a light on the food we eat and how it ties to the very fabric of our Malaysian culture and identity. This week, we’ll be delving into all things Kombucha, a delicious 2000 year old fermented drink that can be brewed at home.
Yakult Kombucha Recipe
Makes 1.5 litres of kombucha
• 1.2L water
• 150g sugar, granulated or caster
• 3 tea bags, black tea works best, you could alternatively use 15-20g of loose tea leaves
• 1 SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast), which you can get from anyone you know who makes kombucha
• 100ml starter tea, from the previous batch of kombucha
• 2 bottles (160ml) Yakult
1. To make the tea base, add the water and sugar to a pot or saucepan and bring to a boil. Take it off the heat, add in the tea bags, and let it steep for an hour or two, until the water is cool to touch. Then, remove the tea bags and pour the sweet tea into a glass jar, preferably one with a large mouth.
2. Add in the SCOBY along with the starter tea, cover the jar with a few layers of cloth tightly secured with a rubber band or string, and leave to ferment for 1-2 weeks at room temperature, away from direct sunlight.
3. The SCOBY with turn the sugar in the tea into alcohol, and then into various acids. So with time, the kombucha will turn increasingly sour. Start tasting the kombucha after 7 days, and depending on your desired level of sweetness vs. sourness, you can halt the fermentation process and proceed to the next step.
4. Remove the SCOBY from the now fermented tea, along with a bit of the tea itself. You can place the SCOBY in another jar of sweet tea to immediately begin brewing another batch. But if you’re not quite ready for this level of kombucha commitment, you can keep the SCOBY in an airtight container in the refrigerator, along with some starter tea, where it’ll happily hang out for a few weeks.
5. As for the fermented tea itself, mix in the Yakult, and transfer this into an airtight glass bottle (or two if it doesn't fit in one). Leave the kombucha out at room temperature for 2-3 days, which will further ferment and carbonate the tea. Then transfer it to the refrigerator to chill, and it's ready to drink! If you see the kombucha split into 2 layers – clear liquid on top and a murky sediment underneath that – don’t worry, this is normal! You can strain the liquid through a few layers of cheesecloth and discard the sediment, though it’s perfectly drinkable if you just give it a quick stir so it all comes together.
Produced by: Othniel Ting
Presented by: Loh Yi Jun