How to make gingerbread mother or "ginger bug"

Gingerbread is a starter, an essential ingredient for making “ginger beer or ginger drink,” fruit wine, and many naturally carbonated drinks with probiotics.

It can also be used to ferment chutneys, pâtés and sauces, as well as any recipe you have in mind. In this post we will explain step by step how to make gingerbread mother, how to preserve it and use it.

How to make a gingerbread mother or a "ginger bug"

The key is the ingredients

To make gingerbread mother, we only need 3 ingredients: ginger, sugar and water. It is very important to use ginger that is as natural and organic as possible so that it has a natural microbial composition that supports the fermentation process and has not been treated with pesticides or irradiation. In this way we will ensure that food contains life, otherwise it would not be able to serve us for this purpose.

For sugar we recommend coconut sugar, panela sugar or other organic and unrefined sugar. But there are those who use white sugar. Another sweetener such as honey or stevia would not work because microorganisms need sugar for their development. They will feed on it and transform it, so you will not be consuming sugar directly, you should not worry about that.

Finally, the appropriate water for growing media should be spring water, filtered water, or mineral water that does not contain chlorine.

Necessary utensils

Use common kitchen utensils to prepare ginger dough:

  • 0,5-1 liter glass jar.
  • Wooden spoon or other non-metallic material.
  • Cotton or muslin fabric and cord or elastic to secure.

How does the fermentation process occur?

The fermentation process is achieved by mixing water, sugar and grated ginger and feeding more ginger and sugar for 3-6 days. This creates a favorable environment for the growth of bacteria and wild yeasts that are naturally found in ginger.

A white layer usually forms at the bottom of the glass jar, this is normal and indicates that the yeast is growing.


Temperature is a key factor in the development of fermentation. If you live in a cold climate it will take longer to ferment, but if you put the glass jar in the warmest part of your kitchen or leave it in a sheltered place it will ferment better.

If the enzyme does not activate it may be because the temperature is too low or because the ginger is not completely organic.

How to preserve ginger dough

ginger mother

While feeding, the glass jar containing mother ginger should be kept at room temperature.

Another option is to store it in the refrigerator to preserve it without having to feed it every day: this way we will feed it once a week and when we want to use it we will take it out of the refrigerator and activate it for a couple of days or three so that it returns to be bubbly and ready for action.

How to use it

The "ginger bug" is a lively concentrate that can be used to start the fermentation process of sauces, chutneys, probiotic drinks, etc. You can use the liquid part of the ginger mass by filtering it or the solid part with the liquid.

For example, to make a ginger drink, we will only use the liquid mother with a small amount of solid (pulp), and save a part of the mother in about 50ml of liquid to prepare another batch of ginger mother. To do this, add 1 cup of water and continue adding a tablespoon of ginger and sugar every 1-2 days.

Step-by-step recipe for its preparation

Ginger sourdough is the basis of home fermentation, known to all microbiology enthusiasts.
You can customize it a little by using different varieties of sugar. In this case, we chose panela to give it a very particular dark tone.


  • 1 L glass jar
  • Wooden spoon
  • Measuring cups
  • Porcelain grater
  • Muslin or cotton cloth


  • 1 fresh organic ginger
  • 250 g panela or coconut sugar
  • 2 cups of mineral water

Elaboration step by step

  • Wash well and grate the ginger
  • Mix 2 tablespoons of grated ginger with skin with 1 tablespoon of sugar in the glass jar, add 2 cups of filtered water and stir.
  • Cover the jar with a cloth or gauze and secure with a string or elastic band and let it rest for 24 hours.
  • Once a day for a week, add 1 tablespoon of ginger, 1 tablespoon of sugar and stir the mixture 1-2 times a day.
  • After 3-6 days, it will begin to bubble and a whitish layer will appear in the ferment, this is a good sign, it is the yeasts that are multiplying.
  • When we can hear bubbling inside the jar, the ferment is ready.
  • This process will take approximately 7-12 days depending on the temperature of the location.
  • We filter and reserve 1 cup of the liquid to prepare recipes.
  • To the rest we add 1 cup of water again.

Wild soda recipe

Ferment the herbs together with sugar, ginger mother and water in a jar where oxygen does not enter for four days.

The yeasts present in the wild herbs and ginger stem will feed on the sugar and ferment, generating a lot of gas and a little alcohol.

Then we will filter the herbs, fill a bottle with a screw cap (it can be recycled soda, plastic, to cushion the pressure of the gas, or thick glass with an airtight lid suitable for carbonated drinks) for three or four days (in summer one or two). and we will put it in the refrigerator so that the gas integrates well into the liquid.

Do not fill the bottle completely, it is better to leave space so that it does not explode due to the pressure of the gases. With about 4 or 5 cm empty it will be fine.


  • 3 liters of water
  • 300 g sugar
  • 160 g mother of ginger
  • 39 g stone pine twigs (Pinus pinea)
  • 58 g wild mint (Mentha suaveolens)
  • 10 g wild fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
  • 23 g Horehound (Marrubium vulgare)

You can play with the herbs you want, add slices of lemon or orange. This recipe has a refreshing and somewhat bitter flavor so it may remind you of beer.

With information of: