Making mead, part 3 – one last stir

Part 1
Part 2

This is what the must looked like this morning, before I did the first stir of the day.

Bubbly bubbly!

I love me some CO2 action!

At the time of this writing, we’ve done the second stir of the day. The instructions we are using as a guide said to stir it twice a day in the first 48 hours, so this was the last one. We now leave it, loosely covered and untouched, for the remainder of 10 days. After that, we siphon it off into the carboy, leaving behind any sediment, set up the airlock, then tuck it away into the basement for a minimum of 4 weeks. After this second fermentation, it should be ready to bottle.

We will, of course, have to taste it first, and see if we’ve got mead. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Making mead, part 2; give it a stir

Using a set of instructions we found, the must is to be stirred basically once every 12 hours, for the first 48 hours.

This is what the must looked like after the first 12 or so, and before I started stirring.

I have no idea if this is what it’s supposed to look like at this point. Of the various instructions and recipes I found that included pictures, I never saw one that included pictures at this stage.

I expected more of a yeasty smell, but there is barely any smell at all at this point.

After about a minute of stirring (the instructions said stir for 2 minutes, but I didn’t want to have the bucket open for that long), I popped the lid back on top. Then I made sure to write on a sticky note that the first stir is complete and left that on the lid, so no one else would accidentally pop it open and stir it again.

I’m really looking forward to seeing how this works!

The Re-Farmer

Making Chokecherry Vinegar

The original recipe for this can be found here.

I adjusted the original recipe for my quantity of chokecherries.

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Soaking time: 24 hours
First boil: 5 minutes
Second boil: 2 minutes

5 cups chokecherries
1 2/3 cups vinegar
1 2/3 cups water
sugar

Wash and mash the berries.  Place them in a glass bowl (I mashed the washed berries in the bowl).

Combine vinegar and water.  Pour over the mashed berries.

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Vinegar and water solution poured over mashed chokecherries.

Let stand for 24 hours.

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Chokecherry and vinegar mix, after 24 hours.

Place in a large saucepan and slowly bring to a boil.

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Make sure to use a large enough pot to give the chokecherry mixture room to expand as it boils.

Boil for 5 minutes.

Strain through jelly bag.  Do not squeeze.

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I placed a moistened jelly roll bag into a large measuring cup.  Layers of cheese cloth can be used instead.

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I used an elastic band to close up the bag and hang it over the measuring cup.

Measure 1 cup of sugar for each cup of juice.

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I got just under 3 cups of liquid from the 5 cups of berries.

Combine chokecherry liquid and sugar into a large saucepan.  Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes.

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While boiling the berry liquid with the sugar, I could really smell the vinegar!

After boiling for 2 minutes, allow to settle.

Bottle, let cool, and refrigerate for up to 6 months.

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I sterilized a quart jar and a small pitcher with a liquid tight seal to store the chokecherry vinegar.  The pitcher will be a gift for my mother.

To use: put ice in a glass.  Add 2-4 tablespoons of chokecherry vinegar.  Fill with water, club soda, ginger ale or sparkling water.

Enjoy!

The Re-Farmer

Home Made Yogurt and Yogurt “cheese” – Day Two; finished

Here are the final results of the yogurt and yogurt cheese making process.

You can visit the first part here, with the recipe, and the second part here, with the step-by-step to make the yogurt cheese.

First up, let’s compare the finished yogurts.

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This was after the home made yogurt was in the fridge for several hours.  It did thicken somewhat from when I first put it in the containers, but as you can see, it’s still quite a bit thinner than the commercial yogurt I’d used as a starter.  That yogurt, by the way, was just a house brand of plain “Balkan” style yogurt.  I normally buy Greek yogurt, but it was more than twice the price!

As far as texture went, the only difference was that one was thinner than the other.

I couldn’t really taste any difference in flavour.

After taking the photo, I mixed both together with a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon.  It was quite nice!

One of my daughters promptly claimed the container that wasn’t quite full for herself, and ate it straight. 😀

Now, on to the yogurt cheese…

After hanging for about 3 hours, there was quite a lot of liquid in the container.  Enough that I poured it off into the container I’d already started in the fridge, almost filling it, so that the bag wouldn’t be sitting in so much liquid.

When very little more drained out of it after another hour or two, I decided to take it out and finish the process.

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Look how much liquid there is!  I can hardly wait until our next bread baking day. 😀

Once the bag was on the plate, I could really feel how the middle was thinner than the outside.  If I had a cheese press, I would have been able to get more liquid out, more evenly.  Maybe some day.  For now, I’m happy with doing it this way.

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And here is my yogurt cheese baby.  With the outside being drier, it allowed me to gently roll the cheese out of the cloth.  If that part had broken up more, the softer middle would have got on the cloth and made it much more difficult to get out of the bag.

Guess how I know that? 😀

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Once out of the cloth, I mixed it thoroughly to make it an even texture.  This is a bit on the thin side to be a “cream cheese.”  More like a really thick sour cream.

I had a couple of smaller containers waiting for it…

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I filled one with the plain yogurt cheese, then added some garlic powder, onion salt and parsley to what was left in the bowl.

I admit, I licked the spatula after doing this, and the onion and garlic one was sooo good!

Like the plain yogurt, it thickens a bit in the fridge, but not by much more.

If I had wanted to, I could have left the bag to hang longer to drain more liquid out and have more of a cream cheese texture, rather than a sour cream texture.

We are looking forward to trying some of this on pierogi soon!

If you try making this yourself, please to pop by and let me know in the comments, how yours turned out, and what you think of it!

The Re-Farmer