Recipe: Ginger Beer

A traditional fermented drink that can be made as either a soft drink or an alcoholic drink.


100-300 grams ginger root, peeled and grated
1 whole lemon, zested and juiced OR 2 tsp cream of tartar mixed with lemon extract or zest to make a lemon juice substitute.
500 grams sugar
water to 10 litres

fermentation starter (see below)


1.Simmer the ginger, lemon zest and sugar in about 1.5L water for about 10 minutes
2.If using yeast as the fermentation starter, rehydrate the yeast in a glass of warm water for 5 minutes
3.Add the lemon juice, cream of tartar and water to the fermenter (see note)
4.Let the mixture sit in a closed container until it has started bubbling well, which should take 8-12 hours with yeast, or longer with kefir grains
5.Bottle into PET bottles or other soft plastic food-safe bottles
6.When the bottles are hard (not just firm), put them into the fridge
7.Serve cool

Fermentation Process

Fermentation starter: use kefir grains or tibicos or ginger beer plant or ale yeast or bread yeast
Lemon juice is to provide acidity (as well as flavor)
Fermenter: You can use an old PET water bottle, but a food-grade bucket will do, or a large stainless-steel pot; don`t use copper or aluminium
The water used should be free of chlorine if possible - e.g. boiled and cooled, or filtered, or bottled spring water. This is because chlorine (or chloramine) will inhibit the fermentation a little. Use what you`ve got, but best results will be obtained without the chlorine.
Once the ginger beer is fermenting, as evidenced by lots of tiny bubbles rising to the surface, it can be used as a leavening agent. Simply replace the water and yeast in a bread recipe with ginger beer, and leave to rise as normal.
If left to ferment longer (about a week) a yeasty colony called a Ginger Beer Plant will develop. Carbonation will also increase, greatly raising the chances for bottle (or other container) exploding.

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