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Folklore: Ginger Beer Plant/ Bee

Paul Burke 12 Dec 09 - 05:54 PM
Phil Edwards 12 Dec 09 - 06:22 PM
GUEST 12 Dec 09 - 07:12 PM
Geoff the Duck 13 Dec 09 - 07:46 AM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 13 Dec 09 - 08:18 AM
Richard Mellish 13 Dec 09 - 09:37 AM
GUEST 13 Dec 09 - 02:02 PM
GUEST,999--Sourdough bread how-to for the beginner 13 Dec 09 - 08:44 PM
Peter Stockport 14 Dec 09 - 01:47 PM
GUEST 14 Dec 09 - 06:09 PM
Peter Stockport 14 Dec 09 - 07:11 PM
Ringer 15 Dec 09 - 07:20 AM
Marje 15 Dec 09 - 12:38 PM
Paul Burke 15 Dec 09 - 03:41 PM
Tig 15 Dec 09 - 06:17 PM
GUEST 15 Dec 09 - 06:38 PM
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Subject: Folklore: Ginger Beer Plant/ Bee
From: Paul Burke
Date: 12 Dec 09 - 05:54 PM

Back in the 70s/80s/The Time Before the Fall people used to share strange cultures that made ginger beer or a funny sort of bread. Do they (you) still do it now? We used to have one of the bread sort, and it became rather controlling- it had to be tended and fed, and produced far more bread than we could ever eat. We handed it on to someoone else in the end, and never spoke to them again... well, that last bit isn't quite true.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ginger Beer Plant/ Bee
From: Phil Edwards
Date: 12 Dec 09 - 06:22 PM

Yeast is the word you're looking for. When I was a kid I used to make gallons of ginger beer on this basis - you start with some dried yeast, powdered ginger and water, feed the yeast beast daily with sugar, and by the end of the week you've got enough to split in two and make quite a large amount of ginger beer with half, while starting the next week's plant with the other half.

The sourdough method of making bread, which you're describing, is particularly unusual in that you don't start with shop-bought yeast - I think generally you start with a lump of sourdough acquired from someone who wanted to get rid of it, although there may be some way of starting it off on your own.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ginger Beer Plant/ Bee
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Dec 09 - 07:12 PM

Ah - in the years that the magic dragon was puffing by the sea, there was what was known as the "Mung Jar."

All "first generation" roaches went into a small pot, a metal Kodak film canister (preferably the yellow Kodachrome type)which would enventualy be filled...and the contents mixed and blended slightly with fresh to create a "second generation" which would then again be saved... (preferably in a white and blue-capped Ektachrome canister) until a noble great grandson "third generation" would roll into the paper ... which was cause for great jubilation ... as the joint got a jumpin'.

The rancid, acridly fetid stench, those moist, bacteria laden botanicles emitted would have staunched even the most fanatical of possum poofters ... if the promised Nervana were not near.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ginger Beer Plant/ Bee
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 13 Dec 09 - 07:46 AM

Paul - here is a link to explain some of your query - Ginger beer plant.
Essentially brewers use yeast which produces alcohol and carbon dioxide from sugar. Most of the carbon dioxide is allowed to escape to the atmosphere, with the final bit trapped in bottle or cask as a waste product giving it "fizz".
Bakers use yeast, but the carbon dioxide is trapped by the dough causing it to rise. A small amount of alcohol is also produced, but this is lost during the baking process.
The amount of alcohol produced depends on the quantity of sugar converted. In brewing this is a large quantity. In baking only a small amount of sugar is needed to produce enough gas for the dough to rise.

There are many different species of yeast, with different properties, some more suitable for bakers, some more suited to particular styles of beer. This is the reason people would swap a good bread yeast, or a good brewing one.

The ginger beer plant appears to be a mixture of a yeast which will ferment the ginger beer, plus a bacterium which produces a gelatinous mass, which sticks together and holds the yeast, making collecting and storing easier. It probably has other properties which assist in the ginger beer fermenting process as well.

Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ginger Beer Plant/ Bee
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 13 Dec 09 - 08:18 AM

Unrelated thing about bread - but I recall reading a great little book about how immigrants to the US from Europe would take precious pieces of live dough, all the way from the homeland - and when they arrived in the new land, they would then use those pieces of live dough, to start afresh. Blimey thought I, all I have to do is open a packet.
It is possible to create a yeast starter - a process of natural fermentation using a sludge of water and flour left out till it goes rank and bubbly. But it's vile in my humble.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ginger Beer Plant/ Bee
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 13 Dec 09 - 09:37 AM

I had long presumed that ginger beer "plant" was a euphemism to avoid acknowledging that the fermentation produces alcohol. I've just learnt from this thread that it's not just yeast. However brewers and bakers manage to propagate their respective yeast cultures without the aid of an additional organism, so I suspect that there has been an element of euphemism as well as convenience.

Richard


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ginger Beer Plant/ Bee
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Dec 09 - 02:02 PM

There are hundreds of varieties of yeast available. Some have been so carfully cultivated that their DNA is tested on a regular basis to assure its consistency, BOB brewery is one small two person company near the Cotswalds that has a laboratory analysis ever six weeks.

A particular strain of yeast may be cherished for it vigor (White Laboratories, Sand Diego has some the are super-athletes-'on steroids' in this regard) or the "off flavors - like raspberry it imparts, of the smell - nose that it has - or the ability to brew at lower temperatures like lager, or high temperature like ale - or top fermenting or bottom fermenting or the unique enzyme value and tolerance to high alcohol.

Yeast is wild throughout the world....hence the quality of Belgium Lambic or San Francisco, "Anchor Steam." If was lack of time, not lack yeast that necessitated the "unleavened bread" of OT note. As with most poses of the Crow Squaker - without a reference - her statement is suspect....source please?

A look under a microscope will reveal changes in yeast as it grows.
Re: Plant - H.E. Bravery, 1964 London, Amateur Wine-making.p.29.



"Yeast is grouped under the class of Parasitic Fungi - though some authorities argue that it is true plant life... A seed sown in soil absorbs moisture; it then sends a shoot skywards and roots earthwards. if we want that tiny plant to flourish, we feed it, water it and keep it free of pests and disease. We must do precisely the same thing with our yeasts."

"The central biological agents of beer and wine fermentation are yeasts belonging to the genus Saccharomyces, which can accumulate ethanol. How did Saccharomyces evolve to become a good brewer?" Pub Med - Trends Genet. 2006 Apr;22(4):183-6. Epub 2006 Feb 24.

A host Friendship is the core principal of the mung,ginger,beer, fermenting brandy pot of fruit.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ginger Beer Plant/ Bee
From: GUEST,999--Sourdough bread how-to for the beginner
Date: 13 Dec 09 - 08:44 PM

http://www.io.com/~sjohn/sour.htm


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ginger Beer Plant/ Bee
From: Peter Stockport
Date: 14 Dec 09 - 01:47 PM

Hmm, a shameless advert, I sell ginger beer kits here
http://www.thebrewshop.com/

Look under beermaking kits,
Also here's my recipe for easy Ginger Beer, Cheers! Peter

Classic home made ginger beer! Alcoholic!

Get a 2 litre bottle--An empty plastic one that has held cider, beer or pop. One of those big fizzy drink bottles.

Wash it out or just throw away the stuff inside.
Add 12 oz Sugar
1 oz dried Ginger
Juice of a Lemon-Or a good squeeze of jif or bottled lemon juice
!/2 teaspoon of beer yeast- Muntons Standard wil be fine.

Put it all in the pop bottle and fill up with cold water.
Screw the lid on and leave in a warm place for a few days,

The bottle will go hard then you'll know its fizzy- It may take a week in cold weather--Pop it in the fridge and drink when cold.

Adjust the recipe to suit yourself, too hot use less ginger, too sweet less sugar etc.

Make it a few times and devise your own recipe!
If it goes flat put it back in the warm...

BE CAREFUL BECAUSE THE TOPS CAN FLY OFF THE BOTTLE WHEN YOU OPEN IT!!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ginger Beer Plant/ Bee
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Dec 09 - 06:09 PM

I've made ginger beer and given away loads of 'starters' in my time. I stopped after I'd put some in a glass cider flagon and it blew the bottom out!

I also had a cake mixture on the go at one time. It was called 'Friendship Cake' and you split the mixture in half, having fed it with sugar and liquid. You then made a cake by adding fruit, flour and eggs.

I was wondering if anyone had the recipe for a mother plant for this?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ginger Beer Plant/ Bee
From: Peter Stockport
Date: 14 Dec 09 - 07:11 PM

" I'd put some in a glass cider flagon and it blew the bottom out!"
Take note! That's why it's best in plastic!

The phrase " a drop of stunning home made brew" pops into my mind but I can't remember what song it's from.. Was it the Wurzels?
Peter


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ginger Beer Plant/ Bee
From: Ringer
Date: 15 Dec 09 - 07:20 AM

My wife used to make Piltz-Tee (not sure of spelling) which was from a fungus she kept floating in a huge jam-jar & fed on sugar (much like a ginger-beer plant without the ginger). Every so often it would outgrow the jar & need trimming. Ugly looking thing it was: you felt that it would have your arm off at the elbow if you got too close.

I think the fungus came from a German source (hence the name?) and the tea, its product, was supposed to be a specific against rheumatism.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ginger Beer Plant/ Bee
From: Marje
Date: 15 Dec 09 - 12:38 PM

Oooh yes, I remember the Friendship Cake. This was back in the late 1970s. It made a very nice cake, but it was a bit of a faff having to see to it eveyr day, and I think I only made it once.

Marje


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ginger Beer Plant/ Bee
From: Paul Burke
Date: 15 Dec 09 - 03:41 PM

Thanks Geoff, thet's what I was trying to find out- I half- remembered an article (New Scientist?) about it from long ago. I suspect the presence of a commensural bacterium helps to prevent invasive unpleasant bacteria from spoiling the brew. And the Frienship Cake is what we had back then, called exactly that. Probably the two were much the same.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ginger Beer Plant/ Bee
From: Tig
Date: 15 Dec 09 - 06:17 PM

It was me wanting the 'Mother' recipe for the friendship cake. I was certain I had it somewhere but........ (fill in any reason for it disappearing). Would love to start another.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Ginger Beer Plant/ Bee
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Dec 09 - 06:38 PM

If you really can't be bothered Crabbe's new alcoholic ginger beer is very tasty.


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