As promised, here is the documentation for my category-winning bread from Barons' War 2015.
I think I've posted here before about my husband the brewer, and my occasional efforts with making cordials. Back at the end of May I decided it was high time to try brewing out for myself. It will be a little while before I can tell for sure how successful this has been, but here's a little write-up for now.
I had been wanting to try making something with elderflower for a long time. I know they were used in food and drink in period, though I need to nail down more concrete sources before I ever do this as an A&S project, but for an experiment I wasn't too concerned. I had initially planned to do an elderflower wine, but since my other half doesn't drink wine, and I didn't know if I could motor through five gallons of anything on my own, I opted for an elderflower cider, inspired by the Angry Orchard elderflower, which I love.
I picked a bunch of elder flowers in the mountains north of Boise, about enough to fill a plastic grocery bag. It was hard to capture the color correctly, but here's a photo. The scent was really intense, and they were really full of pollen. I sneezed my head off all the way back to Boise, but I'm hoping the brew won't have the same effect.
I added them to five gallons of commercial apple juice (100% juice), careful to get the kind without added vitamin C, which can give a funny taste. I decided to be brave and experiment a bit, since I wanted a sweeter and more low-alcohol cider, and just added bread yeast to the juice. It doesn't add a lot of esters to the brew and has a neutral taste, and I thought that would help the elderflower taste/scent come through. Due to a tragic incident with the brew pot, I didn't even heat the cider before adding the yeast. Since it was commercial pasteurized juice and my equipment had all been sanitized with star-san, I just put the juice, yeast, and flowers into the brew bucket and stuck it in the closet where the brewing projects live. I had only planned on a week or so in primary. but life got busy and I didn't get around to racking it off into secondary until almost two weeks later. Here's a look at the (still quite cloudy) cider after we opened it up. Aren't the flowers floating in it lovely?
Despite the prettiness of the tiny flowers, it was really hard to get all the cider off of the lees (the yeast/sediment at the bottom) without sucking half of them up into the carboy I'm using for secondary. Next time I'll use a net bag for the flowers, I think. I added another half gallon of fresh juice when I put it into secondary to help with the flavor, which is still very young and slightly sulfrous, typical for cider. I'll check back in a few weeks when I get ready to bottle it and let you know how it's getting on!
Our barony recently held an event called Barmaids, a Knight at the Tavern, with pub/tavern themed activites, as well as our polling for a new Baron and Baroness. There were dice games, barroom brawls for both rapier and heavy fighters, thrown weapons competitions (all based around dueling after a night at the pub, of course), and a feast to raise funds for the Arn Hold Brewers' Guild, which is headed by my husband. New heavy and rapier champions for the barony were also selected.
I was particularly proud of the feast we prepared. My husband made bratwurst soaked in homebrewed beer and grilled, and I made sauerkraut in a variety of flavors, and rolls made with spent grain from the brewing process. There was also homemade soda (both root beer and cream soda), and salad. We sold out, and the food seemed to go over very well.
Congratulations to our incoming Baron and Baroness, Balenor and Teaghan, who will do a great job, and to our new champions. To close, here's a couple shots of my first time participating in thrown weapons, and one of my sisters and I, who both wore red dresses that day.
Photos: Arlen Donald
I like to: play with fleece, spin, knit, weave, sew, garden, cook, eat, bake bread, dance, read, sing, and learn new things.