Ginger Beer from The Book of Puddings

Considering one of the books I am conserving for my major project is a recipe book, I have been dying to try some of them out! Unfortunately due to all the project work, I haven’t had time until now! So this weekend (along with a fun day out) I set about making some ginger beer from The Book of Puddings. The plan is also to have some of this at our end of year show – so it was important to try it out first!

The recipe in the book

The book has two recipes for ginger beer on the same page, one written by the author and one from a newspaper she had cut out and stuck in. Considering I was only trying out a small batch, I have gone for the newspaper recipe that makes one gallon, rather than two.

Having bought myself some bottles (Lakeland, £4.99 each – fabulous!), and some yeast and cream of tartar, I set to work (thankfully a fellow student pointed out that this was a baking powder and not the cream tartare that goes on scampi, otherwise this ginger beer could have had a very different flavour!).

All the ingredients and bottles laid out!

I’ve written out both recipes here, as the writing is not that legible so small.

2 lb sugar
2 oz cream of tartar
1/2 oz tartaric acid
2 or 3oz bruised ginger
2 pennyworth essence of lemon dropped in the suer
2 gallons of boiling water poured on the ginger alone

Add the other ingredients when mainly cold, add 2 tbs of yeast on toast and let it stand for  12 hours

Bottle and in a few days it will be ready to drink

For one gallon:
1oz of bruised ginger
1lb loaf sugar
one lemon
two tsp of cream of tartar

Pour on 1 gallon of boiling water and when nearly cold add large tbs yeast speed on toast
Strain and bottle next morning

First was to add a bruised ginger to lemon, tartar and sugar. Not being familiar with ‘bruised’ ginger, I bashed it with a hammer a few times, though I may have been a bit over zealous. Also the loaf sugar was replaced with caster sugar, as I forgot to get this at the supermarket.

“Bruised” Ginger – Maybe I did get a bit excited with the hammer…
Sugar, Lemon, Cream of Tartar and Ginger

I realised from the instructions in both recipes that the yeast had to be spread onto toast, and that the fast action yeast I had was not quite the right stuff. I tried reactivating it with a recipe from Mikes Brewery, but I’m not that sure how well it worked, it was more of a liquid than a cream. However, not to be deterred, it went onto the toast, and into the mix!

Reactivating the yeast – not too sure if this worked
In goes the toast…
… 24 hours later

24 hours and much anticipation later, I sieved and bottled it. Then for the sampling! I think it is supposed to sit bottled for a few days, so I will be sampling some more soon to see if that’s even better!

All bottled!
Sampling the brew!

Well its a bit sweet, so I do think it needs time to sit.

Some days have passed, and it is still a bit sweet, and considerably reduced in quantity, as I omitted to tell The Man that it needs time to brew, and he has been merrily drinking it away!

I might try with some better yeast for the show and proper loaf sugar to see if it makes any difference.

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