Sunday, January 17, 2010

New Year, New Wine and Sourdough Bread

Finally got out yesterday to Duncan McBarley's (our local wine making shop) and got another orange muscat kit. The one we made two years ago turned out extraordinarily well. As dessert wine it is thick, sweet and tastes like a white port. Since we never use the chemicals in the kits, this wine took two years to get to bottling. We had to make sure that it was fully fermented. At one point, we thought we may have lost it when the temperatures in the cool room rose during our particularly hot summer, but we lucked out!

Process is everything.

Cleaned up the primary today and got it going. Interesting process with this one. You cut out 250ml of juice add the two packages of Lalvin EC-1118 champagne yeast top with 250ml of warm water and let yeast begin its work. Then after 20 minutes for the yeast to soften, you add this mix to the muscat juice in the primary. No added water.

This mix will sit in the primary for a week, then transfer to a 5 US gal carboy for its initial 6 month ferment in the cool room. About that time we will check it to see how it going and probably rack it into another 5 US gal carboy to get it off the majority of its lees. Lees are the dying yeasts and can flavour your wine. Some like this, others not. The wine we made last year was so good we aren't going to experiment with process this time. It will sit in this second carboy for at least another six months when we will add 250ml of orange muscat grape concentrate to the carboy. This will reinvigorate the fermentation process and we will now let the complete mixture sit for another year. It is WELL worth the time and effort. Ultimately, we will get 24 small bottles of this elixir to share with family and friends.

Update on the Sourdough Starter

For now the primary sits bubbling away at the end of the counter. Kitchen is warm with the smells of bread baking and a roast in the slow cooker. I have cut out a couple of sourdough sponges today for bagel making this week and the sponges I started last night, Gerry has transformed into a half an half loaf (whole wheat starter and white flour) and a full white (white starter and white flour). These sit rising happily on the counter beside the oven where it is warmest.

The one in the oven is a full white, no sourdough, with potato flakes to make it extraordinarily light. Mom can't eat the whole wheat ones so this airy creation is for her. Might not be optimal in terms of health benefits (at least not as much as the whole grain flour which we grind ourselves) but the B vitamins alone will be worth it.