On my way to study and putting in place the knowledge obtained from “The Noma guide to fermentation” i did face an interesting twist while I was brewing my own Kombucha starter, and I’ll get there in a minute, before I would like to clear up this simple and intriguing process that takes place while making kombuchas for that one of you that may not be confident with.
“Kombucha is a beverage of probable Manchurian origins as old as 5000years B.C. obtained from fermented tea by a microbial consortium composed of several bacteria and yeasts. This mixed consortium forms a powerful symbiosis capable of inhibiting the growth of potentially contaminating bacteria. The fermentation process also leads to the formation of a polymeric cellulose pellicle due to the activity of certain strains of Acetobacter sp. The tea fermentation process by the microbial consortium was able to show an increase in certain biological activities which have been already studied, as said before, Bacteria and yeasts present in the medium create a powerful symbiosis capable of inhibiting the growth of contaminating microorganisms (Vitas, Malbasa, Grahovac, & Loncar, 2013). It is composed of two phases: a floating biofilm and a sour liquid phase. Acetic acid, gluconic acid, and ethanol are the main components in the liquid, but also in the biofilm due to its great water absorption capacity (Czaja, Krystynowicz, Bielecki, & Brown, 2006). Under aerobic conditions the symbiotic consortium of Kombucha is able to convert sugar and tea in a period from 7 to 10 days in a lightly carbonated, slightly sour, and refreshing drink, which is composed of several acids, 14 amino acids, vitamins, and some hydrolytic enzymes (Malbaša, Lončar, Vitas, & Čanadanović‐Brunet, 2011).”(Silvia Alejandra Villarreal-Soto, Sandra Beaufort, Jalloul Bouajila, Jean-Pierre Souchard, Patricia Taillandier 2018 )
And this is it, or at least as much as we need to understand what’s going on.
Kombucha is the product of fermentation.
As vinegars, sourdough starters and many more, it’s a process that develops a live and multifunctional product.
Now, has been done for millenniums, often with twists, but always going back to the original tea infusion to be able to regenerate the original bacterial flora.
As studied from the guys at Noma there are many recipes out there that include sugary ingredients and that lead to intriguing results.
I didn’t know what I was doing while I was doing it, but from a batch of candied walnuts I did save the leftover syrup and considering a ratio of 50% sugar I then use it to replace the sugar level in the kombucha fermentation.
So, now, when you let the walnuts syrup to rest, 3 layers will separate, one layer will be the solids, one layer will be the clear syrup and one layer will contain the oil content derived from the nuts.
At this stage, all the three layers will be anyway, anyhow separated by the physical roles that define their chemical composition.
once mixed and poured with the kombucha batch…something magic just happened…
after 15 days the result is a grey, weird looking, but definitely healthy kombucha, that is cloudy if shaken, but stay clear if posed.
The sediment stays at the bottom of the bottle still, unchanged, but for the oil layer?
The oil seems to be completely incorporated in this intriguing and velvety result, (over sweet at the first two trials), I did get it right with the third experiment.
This could be an amazing twist if we consider the infinite number of uses that could be obtained from this preparation in terms of dressings.
The taste of the nuts is clean, the drink fizzy and absolutely mouth coating.