Lemon Ginger Whey Soda
8 cups steeped lemon ginger tea (1 tea bag per cup of water or more if you'd like it a bit stronger)
1/2 cup whey; you will need acidic whey for this. I used the leftover whey from cheesemaking to make this recipe. You can also retrieve whey from yogurt. There are plenty of recipes online on how to get your whey and it is an easy process. I would suggest making farmers cheese with your milk and using the leftover whey to make this soda recipe.
3/4 cup turbinado sugar (or use honey, cane sugar or white sugar)
1 inch ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
Start by brewing your tea. Do this in a sauce pan as you will be adding the sugar and whey later on. Bring 8 cups of water (preferably distilled or bottled) to a boil. Once boiling, turn off the stove and add your teabags. Steep as directed (usually 3-5 minutes) and remove tea bags when done. I tend to steep mine a bit longer, testing as I go, so that I do not get any bitter flavors by over steeping.
Add the sugar, lemon and ginger to the still warm tea mixture and stir until the sugar is dissolved as the tea is cooling. Let the mixture sit on the stove top until cooled. Test frequently and remove ginger slices once you are satisfied with the final taste. Note: If the mixture tastes a bit too sweet for your liking don't worry, the sugar will feed the bacteria and aid in the fermentation process. The longer it ferments, the less sweet it becomes.
Once the tea mixture is cooled and you have removed the ginger slices, it’s time to add the whey! Give it a good stir and transfer the mixture into a glass jar. If you don't have a glass jar available you can repurpose a clean plastic screw top bottle (Hello Trader Joes sangria. These bottles worked perfectly for me!). Either cover your glass jar with a kitchen towel and rubber band/string or loosely cap the plastic bottle. You do not want this bottle to be airtight, yet!
Let the fermentation begin! Set the bottle in a warm area of your home. Ours is in the cockpit of our boat, and leave it be for 2-3 days.
Okay..now, here’s where the real magic happens. Tighten the cap on the bottle after 2-3 days (first fermentation ) creating an airtight seal this time. If you don't feel the seal is tight enough, add a bit of plastic wrap over the top, then seal the cap.
Leave the mixture in the same warm area for the next 3-6 days, burping the bottle daily to relieve a bit of pressure and prevent the bottle from exploding on you. Once you have achieved the desired amount of carbonation, stick the soda into the fridge to slow down the fermentation process and enjoy!
I was pleasantly surprised at this little science experiment and how quickly (and vigorously) the carbonation took off! In just a day we had bubbles, two days even more, and by the third day it was a full blown fizz frenzy! Enjoy your soda and let us know what other flavors you try at home!