Started kombucha. "Bloomed" from one plain bottle I bought. 1 gallon for ~$4, instead of buying individual bottles.
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I'm not bracken, but you can definitely make a kombucha SCOBY starter from a regular bottle of kombucha. Best instructions are in Sandor Ellix Katz book The Art of Fermentation.
Oh, I completely missed this!
Yes, it's SHOCKINGLY easy.
1. Buy a bottle of plain (not flavored) store bought kombucha. I have had good luck with Origin and Synergy in the past.
2. Pour into a clean glass jar
3. Cover with a papertowel and rubberband
4. Leave for 2 weeks. Come back, and your weird alien pancake is all ready!
To make your 'bucha:
Prep 1 gallon sweet tea- best results with black or green tea. Chai and herbals have compounds which inhibit bacterial growth, and you can end up with the wrong things growing instead. I do 4 cups water, steep 5 bags in for 15 min, then mix into a large glass jar (I saved a massive olive jar, works great). I mix with 1.5 cups sugar. Then add cold water to fill to 1 gallon. Be sure the tea isn't hot, or your Scoby will die. Once cool enough, with very clean hands, gently lower the scoby into the tea. Add the liquid it was floating in, too- good beasities still in there. Cover with paper towel and stick it in the back of a cupboard somewhere. Obvious things to consider- it'll absorb whats in the air. Don't stick it in with the cleaning supplies.
It'll take anywhere from 1 week to 1 month to ferment adequately. Just taste and see. Depends on temp, your culture, etc etc.
When it's done fermenting, take your scoby out and move it to the fridge. Your scoby will have grown a second scoby- the "baby". I usually keep the new one and compost the old one or give it away. Or, if we're doing lots of kombucha (ex was a huge fan), I would wait a week and stagger my batches with the mother and baby, until I had multiple jars in cycle.
Always store your scoby between batches in some of the finished liquid. Be sure to do a new batch every once in a while, or the scoby will "starve:
If you rebottle from the big jar:
a- do not use metal. For any of this. Acid + metal = bad
b- do not screw on any lids too tightly. Pressure can build. This can be disasterous (think glass exploding in fridge)
Anyway, it's pretty easy all in all. No fancy lids or one way valves required =)