How to Make your own Wine at home. 

      Making wine might seem like a complicated process better left for the experts, but it’s actually pretty easy. Making your own Wine is a fun hobby to get into to impress your friends and after a while save you some money.
      Wine making is a tradition passed down thousand of years. Being perfected every step of the way. The process, however, is an easy one. The science behind it is simple enough. A fruity sugary liquid is made and yeast added. The yeast eats the sugars and makes alcohol and carbon dioxide as byproducts. 
    I would reccomend buying a 5 gallon wine making kit off of the internet. They usually include a fermenter, a hydrometer, an airlock, a wine corker and other essential equipment for wine making. Brew stores are becoming a common place now, so you could find one near you and get even more advice on the process and what to get there. 
      First off, you’ll have to determine the wine you’ll want to make. I would actually reccomend buying grape juice from your homebrew store, or buy a different kind of juice at the store. Any fruit, or juice, can be fermented usually. If you’re going to buy juice at the store however make sure it comes with no preservatives. Just the juice and vitamin c are okay. Any preservatives can kill the yeast. Right now I have apple wine going. I found some nice apple cider from an orchard nearby and I’m making apple wine. 

Once you determime the flavor of wine you’ll be fermenting you need to add sugar to increase what’s called the gravity. The gravity is the density of sugar in your wine. The hydrometer that comes with your wine kit is the tool you’ll need. Fill up the test tube and place the hydrometer in it. It’ll have numbers down the side like 1.100, 1.050 and so on. The gravity will determine a few things. It’ll determine the alcohol potential of your wine. For example a liquid with a starting gravity of 1.050 could ferment to 6.5%. You can add more sugar to get a higher ABV. You’ll also want to take into account how sweet you want your wine. 

      The yeast is a living microorganism. It’s goal is to eat all the sugars it can until the alcohol level is high enough that the yeast is killed. Yeast comes in many strains. I when making wine use lavlin wine yeasts, because it’s easy and there are many charts on which strain to use for what. If you have a wine with a 12% ABC potential, but your yeasts tolerance is 14% than you’ll have a totally dry wine. If you have a wine with a 16% ABV potential and the same yeast you’ll be left with a sweet wine. You just need to determine what kind of wine you want and edit the sugar levels from there. 

      Once you have your sugary juice to the sweetness you want according to the hydrometer dump it into your fermenter. Now you’ll want to vigorously shake the fermenter to incorporate all the oxygen you can, this will help in the first few hours of fermentation when the yeast is rapidly reproducing.  

This you’ll want to place in a warm place, the yeast packet will tell you what range is best for it. Once your wine is around that tempature pitch your yeast, just sprinkle it on top. Now put in the airlock and let sit. The airlock is a small device that lets the carbon dioxide escape, bit doesn’t allow air in. You’ll see carbon dioxide bubbles within a few days or hours passing through it. 

     Now every step along the way you’ll want to make sure that everything is clean and sterile. I use starsan that comes with a lot of kits. It’s a sanitizer made for brewing that you don’t need to rinse off. Sanitation is big when making your own alcohol. You want to avoid bacteria that can make your wine sour or into vinegar. 
      I usually let my wines ait for about 2 months in 5 gallon increments. This gives it enough time to ferment and the yeast to clean up after itself. It’ll mellow out in this time as well, young wine is incredibly sharp. 
      Now take another gravity reading and this is your final gravity. Go on Google and look up an ABV calculator and enter both numbers into the box and it’ll tell you what your ABV is. I find 14% to be a nice number for most wines. 

     At this point pool at your wine to make sure it’s clear. If it’s still cloudy let it sit longer and clear or buy some fining agent to clear it much quicker. Then it’s good to bottle. When bottling make sure to avoid the bottom one inch of your fermenter. This is where your yeast cake will be and you don’t want any of that making it’s way into your bottles. It can cloud it up, but it’s not dangerous. 

      Once I’ve bottled it I let it sit for another month and drink. It’s really easy, especially once you’ve done it once. Don’t be afraid to make some mistakes along the way it happens. 
     For more patient people I reccomend making a batch of mead. Mead is honey wine. Just dissolve honey into warm water until it’s the proper gravity for what you want and add your yeast in the same way. I say this requires patience, because you need to let this sit for a year. It’s like jet fuel for a long time then by the year mark it’s a golden delisuous beverage. 

     Fermenting your own Wine is a really fun project. It’s easy especially after your first time and you can make 5 gallons of wine for a significantly cheaper margin than buying at the store. This is after you’ve bought your equipment. You have complete control over flavors and preference. You get to make wine the way you like it and you get the knowledge of the science of fermentation. 
      I reccomend anyone give this a try. If anyone has any questions let me know, or if you’d like a more detailed look on any steps or equipment. 

A Good Dessert

Desserts can be a complicated item. Only about 33% of customers order a dessert. Sometimes the dessert menu can be brief and anti climactic to the meal. The thought usually is that with well over half of customers not ordering one there’s not that much importance of making them well. In a lot of restaurants the dessert menu will consist of about five items, a cheesecake and a creme brûlée is generally one of them.

Its hard for a lot of chefs to get good at the baking side of things. When the entire career we’re in only requires about five percent baking skills it’s often times forgotten. The usual line is I’ll hire a pastry chefs to make desserts. Hiring a pastry chef is often times not an option. Smaller restaurants can’t afford to hire pastry chefs, they’d rather hire a chef who’s comfortable enough to make desserts well.

Our pallets as culinarians are almost always pointed in the direction of savory foods. Desserts, however, makes for a great outlet to show off creativity. There’s a whole different world that can open up in pastry and baking. The combinations of things you can do is enormous. Things can be created that no one else generally would have thought of. A chef who can design desserts that impress are more well rounded, and generally more successful.

Its sad when the first two courses are suburb, but when the dessert gets to the table it’s lackluster. What a guest remembers of a restaurant can be defined with one bad experience. If the guest is impressed with the first two courses and let down by the third the customer will remember and is far less likely to recommend the restaurant. The statistic is if a customer has a good experience they’ll tell three people about it. If they have a bad experience they’ll tell ten.

Fresh Bread

My all time favorite baked good is a nice, warm loaf of sourdough bread. It’s simple enough to go to the store and buy it pre made, but it’s not nearly as grand as a fresh baked loaf.

When I was in my culinary patisserie class I enjoyed learning about desserts, but my favorite section was breads. Years ago I used to bake and sell fresh bread with my dadat farmers markets. Selling well over 300 loaves over the course of just a few hours. People love fresh bread.

Baking is an exact science, but baking breads isn’t as difficult as many people would think. This is another example of learning the teqniques to get good at it. You imagedon’t have to remember recipes and how they go if you know the teqnique. There’s not many bread making teqniues so if you learn them you can make any bread you want to.

For example making French bread is extremly easy. It only consists of 5 ingredients. It’s made with the straight dough method. Mix wet ingredients and dry seperately. Add dry to wet and form, but don’t kneed. Let rest and then need. Form the dough, proof it and bake it. It’s not as difficult as many people think and it’s an amazing crowd pleaser. My all time favorite bread is a simple sourdough loaf, but the Austrian Sundlower bread I make from time to time is right up there at the top. So I challenge you to make a few loafs of bread.