From harvest to table ~ what's cooking now?

This blog shows where all those garden goodies I grow end up. I call this little eating area next to the stove my "chef's table" because at all the best restaurants it's a privilege to be invited to dine in the kitchen where the chef reigns supreme. So here I am "reigning" and you are all invited. :-D

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bucket list

Nine times out of ten, the first time you try something new it is confusing, hard and/or a complete disaster.

Thing is, with cider, you won't know until weeks/months later just how far south things may have gone.

On Tuesday I pretty much followed the plan laid out in that morning post, but with some hiccups.

It's a simple process:

Sterilize everything.

Pour sweet cider (or apple juice) into pail.

Measure potential alcohol.

Start yeast in a glass.

Add yeast to juice.

Cover and wait for 4-7 days for the primary fermentation to process.

Having said that, it's been an uphill learning experience today.

I poured out the sweet cider into the pail.  4 gallon jugs filled the pail to the 4.5 gal mark.  Yay? (Note: next time let juice come up to room temp.)

Floated the hydrometer.  No probs there.  (Ignorance is bliss?)

I started the yeast in a glass.  (Note: next time - bigger glass, more sugar.) Even so, you can see in the pic that the yeast really took off around the 3-hour mark.

Three hours into the 4-hour yeast proof, I added pectic enzyme to the juice (it needs to be added 1 hour before adding yeast).  The enzyme helps settle out all the micro bits of apple pulp so the final cider is a clear amber vs the opaque brown that you start with.

I saw that the  pail was sweating like crazy from condensation.  I took the temp of the juice - only 49F!  Not good.  Too cold for the yeast.  Crap.

I dipped out 2 quarts of juice and heated it to 160F on the stove then  added it back.  Temp came up to 66F.  MUCH better.  (Good for temp.  Bad for process?  *sigh*  We'll see.)

Finally, at the 4-hour mark, I "pitched the yeast" as they say (poured yeast into juice).  And that was that.

I covered the pail with the cheesecloth, crossed my fingers and turned out the light.

I'll check on it every day and take pics.  

I did not add any sugars to the juice.  The juice was already too sweet to my liking and hope that fermentation will add some snap to the mix.

Anyway, I'm just as glad I've got DAYs until the next step. I'm cream crackered as the Brits say. 

Stay tuned.

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1 comment:

  1. Well, looks like you are well on your way! I'll be watching how things go, probably won't start mine for awhile yet. Good luck!!