Monday, December 21, 2015

Making Exceptional Yeast Cakes, Week 2

Last week, I started making yeast cakes, which I will hopefully use as a starter culture for future wines.

The recipe takes a month, and here we are on day 7, where Jia Sixie tells us,
至七日開,當處翻之,還令泥戶。
At dawn on the seventh day, at the appropriate time flip them over, and once again seal the door.
I didn't remember to flip the cakes at sunrise, but I did flip them this evening.

These are how I've been storing the cakes, in my closet at about room temperature.  It's no thatched-roof hut, but it will have to do.

The cakes are surprisingly damp.  Like, dripping with water damp.  There's condensation on every surface.  I think I might have actually trapped too much of the water inside, although it's hard to say at this point.  There's a little fungal growth visible as small white spots (this appeared a few days in), but not much.

They smell sweetly of alcohol, nail polish and flowers, so I think there's fungal shenanigans going on.  The odor has some of the same notes I associate with rice wines, so I think we're on the right path.

The cakes under the bell jar were made with a little more water than the others, and aren't holding together as well.  It's particularly noticeable how much darker these cakes are than when they went in.

Proceeding with flipping, the cakes hold together much better than they did when I made them.  I wonder if this is just that the wheat is better hydrated, or if it's fungal hyphae holding them together.


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