Beer Vinegar

I was going to post this yesterday, but since is was April 1, I figured you’d all think I was pranking your or something. I mean, seriously, beer vinegar? Yes, beer vinegar!

Beer Vinegar

I suppose I have been on this make-everything-at-home hobby for a few years now. I’ve made mustard and crème fraiche from scratch, so it was only a matter of time before we at the Schneiderbach household would start dabbling in home brewing. To be fair, Eric has brewed before and even applied to several big-name breweries straight out of undergrad. When he didn’t land the dream job, though, he went to grad school for what we all affectionately refer to as poop engineering. So far, this has turned out to be rather lucrative since no one else wants to engineer poop, quickly making him the only rising star in his industry. I kid, I kid.

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Anyway, our first single-gallon batch of honey lager turned out tasting pretty great, but we messed up the bottling and it came out rather flat. If you’re ever faced with the problem of having an undrinkable gallon of beer hanging around, I say convert that alcohol to acetic acid, which is exactly what I did. The process is super easy and we’ve been splashing our honey lager vinegar on our salads all week long.

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Beer Vinegar

There are no exact measurements here. You could use any kind of beer – preferably one that tastes good to you. This also works for wine. You’ll notice a thin layer of sludge growing at the bottom of your homemade vinegar, but don’t worry, this is just the bacteria that is doing all the work for you. You can use this to seed your next batch of vinegar, or just toss it out when your vinegar is ready.

1) Find a clean jar or other glass vessel (you could also use any other non-reactive container) and clean and sanitize it.

2) Pour a small amount of a raw, unfiltered vinegar (like Bragg’s apple cider vinegar) and swirl it around to coat the surfaces of the container.

3) Fill the container with your beer and top it off with a bit more raw, unfiltered vinegar.

4) If using a jar, put the lid on and shake lightly to combine everything. Or you could use a sterilized spoon to stir it all around.

5) Cover with cheese cloth or a towel and let it sit for about a month and a half. If you have a vessel with a narrow opening at the top, you might want to periodically lightly stir the contents to allow proper airflow. A warmer environment and lots of air flow will produce vinegar faster than something cool and stagnant.

6) After a month and a half, check it. If it smells like vinegar, take a sip. If it tastes good, use it! If it isn’t acidic enough, let it sit a bit longer. Mine seemed to be perfect after about two months.

 

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Dijon Mustard

I made my own mustard! How cool is that? Eric was seriously impressed, and I was seriously proud of myself. But really, it’s not hard at all. Now we eat it on our sandwich every day – so good! And none of those nasty preservatives. Hit up the bulk bins, fill up with mustard seeds and mustard powder, and make some yourself!

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Dijon Mustard
adapted from Food.com

2 cups dry white wine
1/2 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup yellow mustard seeds
1/2 cup brown mustard seeds
2 tablespoons mustard powder
3 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Start by simmering the onions and garlic in the white wine. Simmer for approximately 5 minutes, then strain out the solids, reserving the liquid. Discard the solids.

Combine the wine with the mustard seeds, mustard powder, honey, and salt. Heat slowly and stir continuously for another five minutes. Pour into a bowl and let sit in the refrigerator for two weeks.

At the end of the two weeks, add the vinegar. The mixture will seem runny at this point, still. Blend the whole mixture using an immersion blender, which will thicken the mustard. Taste, and adjust salt and vinegar as necessary.

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

This stuff is so good. I won’t bore you with words. Just look, drool, and then head straight to the kitchen. You must make this immediately.
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Homemade Ricotta Cheese

recipe courtesy of Tasting Table

1/2 gallon whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

In a large pot over medium heat, bring the milk, cream and 1⁄2 teaspoon salt to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Add the lemon juice and reduce the heat to low. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to curdle (about 2 minutes).

Line a mesh strainer with cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl. Pour the mixture into the lined sieve and let the cheese curds drain, at room temperature, for one hour. You can save the water the strains out – it’s loaded with protein and apparently you can add it to soups or anything else that calls for water or stock.

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The original recipe said to whip the ricotta with olive oil and salt and pepper in a blender. I did not do this – I couldn’t be bothered. I’m sure it would taste amazing, but to be honest, this cheese is good as is. I just drizzled it with olive oil and topped with fresh ground pepper, then served with a really nice whole wheat ciabatta bread and tomatoes.