Monday, June 24, 2013

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Red Wine Vinegar is Ready

After 2 1/2 months of sitting in the pantry the red wine vinegar is finally ready. To be in the safe side I pasteurized it before I bottled it. This requires bringing the vinegar to 170 F and then keeping it at that temperature for ten minutes. I used a total if three bottles (750 ml) and ended up with a quart and about 10 more ounces. Just like the wine, it is a deep burgundy color. Not that rose' color you usually find in the store. I guess now I just have to make something with it to see how it tastes. I'll let you know how that goes.

Now I'm just waiting on the white wine vinegar. Still smells more like wine than vinegar.

Sourdough Try #2

My first attempt at sourdough was back in January. I started my second batch today. 

After searching the web because I had forgotten what I had done the first time, I found something that sounded familiar. I then tweaked it to my liking. After all that I remembered I had blogged it. :-/

Here is what I did today

Starter

1 cup I unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups room temperature filtered water

Mix in a glass bowl. Cover loosely for 24 hours.

Tune in for results. 



For those who might be wondering, the red wine vinegar turned out fine. The white wine vinegar made great drain cleaner. The mint and almond extracts did not work out either but the lemon and coffee did. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Extract Update

They are still just sitting there. The lemon and coffee extracts smell great. The minty smells okay. I expected it to be mintier though. I'm not sure what to think about the almond.

Feeding My Sourdough

When I decided to begin a sourdough starter, I did this knowing full well we would be going on a snowboarding trip. So? Well, a starter needs to be fed. I did this right before we left. Then again today. That makes a week between feedings I guess we will see how it goes.





Tuesday, January 15, 2013

More Extracts

If you can find an extract in the store, chances are that you can make it at home.  With the vanilla going well so far, I decided to spread my wings and try a few others.  Just a few.


Front-Almond   Back-Meyer Lemon, Mint, Mint, Coffee

Generally you want to use a liquor that has little taste or smell of its own.  The best, at least by consensus, seems to be vodka.  Being a busy mom who home schools, I could do a little research to let you know the hows and whys of the proof you select, but, I'm not going to. There are plenty of websites that will tell.  Like I tell my son, go do your homework :-O  I will tell you that the one thing that should sway your choice as to brand is that you should want to drink it.  Spend what you want.  Just make sure you like it.

As with the vodka, (or gin, white rum, some even use Kentucky bourbon, or gold rums) quality ingredients are key.  I always buy the best I can or grow it myself.  Organic, non-GMO, responsibly sourced, that's up to you.  Here are the 4 extracts I have steeping right now: Meyer Lemon, Mint, Coffee, and Almond. They are all easy, much less expensive that what you buy in the store, and you made them!

Here are the basic instructions for ALL of the extracts, followed by any specific instructions for each individual flavor.  These directions will make you approximately 1 cup of extract. (that means they each have 1 cup of vodka!)  I used pint jars.

Place the flavoring base in a **sterilized mason jar (any glass, air-tight container will work).  Cover with the vodka and shake once or twice a week for at least 4 weeks.  The extract will be usable at this time, but the longer you let it sit, the better.  When ready to use, strain into a sterilized glass container through a fine wire sieve on a funnel.  Pretty bottles make pretty gifts.  Store in a dark cabinet.  These can last for years.


Meyer Lemon

Take the zest of 2 lemons no pith (white) and cover with vodka

Meyer lemon (Any citrus fruit will work, this is what I had on hand)

Coffee

Put coffee beans in a baggie and roll with a rolling pin or pulse grind in you grinder.  You want them chunky though.

4 tbsp coarsely crushed coffee beans (I got fresh ones from our new local roaster in Guthrie, OK-Hoboken Coffee Roasters-you must get by there if in Guthrie) covered with vodka.

Hoboken Coffee

Mint

Strip the leaves from the stems and muddle lightly or coarsely chop.  Loosely pack into jar and cover with vodka.  This may take a little more than a cup of vodka.

I chose tis vodka because I like their gin and it had a $5 rebate

Mint leaves

Almond

Blanch your almonds if they have skins, or you can buy blanched almonds.  You will need about 30 almonds.  Chop coarsely and cover with vodka.  Just a note on almond extract, commercial extracts are made with bitter almonds.  Apparently they have a pretty good amount of a cyanide compound and this makes it unsafe to try to use them to make your own extract.  I am using regular sweet almonds that you can purchase anywhere.  This is what all the recipes I have seen use.  I don't think the smell or the flavor will be as strong, but we will see.

Chopped almonds


Almond Extract


How do you blanch an almond?  Bring a small pan of water to a boil, add almonds and remove after 30 seconds.  Place quickly into cold water.  Drain on paper towel.  Pinch almonds between thumb and finger like shooting a marble and shoot away.  They should pop right out of their skins.  Put any unused ones in the fridge or toast them.

Well, there you go!  Hope you try it.  I can't wait to try mine!!

**You can sterilize the jars and lids in the dishwasher.  They may be fine if you just wash them, after all you are using alcohol, but if you want to be sure, use the dishwasher.

Sourdough: Days 2 and 3

Day 2

You can see the difference from the original mixture.  It is much more fluid and there are bubbles starting to form.  All I did today was take its picture.

Starting to look like starter


Day 3
Definitely a different look and aroma.  I don't know what starter is supposed to smell like.  It is not a yeasty smelling as I thought it might be.  I divided it up and fed one 1/2.  The other half I tested to see if it was ready to use.  According the the cup of water test it was.  What's that?  Take a small spoonful of the starter and put in a cup of room temperature water.  If it floats it is producing enough carbon dioxide to leaven a loaf of bread.  If it sinks, let it go a little longer. It floated and I started my first ever batch of English muffins.  The dough will rest for the night and I will make fresh muffins in the morning.

Bubbly

is it ready to use?

Yes, it is ready to go!

Has a nice, stringy texture

Dough for English muffins