Craft and Science

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img_3209 img_3212img_3233 img_3303 img_3302 img_3272Last Sunday, we gathered with friends in our late summer garden for some fermentation fun.  My husband (and his trusty brewmaster side kick) concocted a nice autumnal nut brown ale, while I worked with some of the other littles on cabbage sauerkraut.

I just love the craft and science behind fermentation.  I love the look of amazement that crosses their faces when I tell kids they are working with millions of living organisms when they ferment.  I also adore the slow and deliberate pace of fermenting.  The fact that the process cannot be rushed is what pulls me in the most to this craft.  We are all so rushed in our daily lives, that at times it is just so therapeutic to slow down, gather with friends, and enjoy that slow gait together.

Brew and Moo

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The mercury had risen just a touch, but enough to make it bearable outside.  The snow fell lightly upon the ground, leaving a white dusting on the roofs of houses and the paved roadways.  This past weekend we took full advantage of this beauty.  I kept the kitchen warm with the stovetop all abustle, and the smell of warm milk in the air.  Meanwhile, my hubby could be found in the nearby garage, reading and mixing his brew with the aromas of hops pouring forth into the crisp air outside.  The girls frolicked in the snow, while the cat sat perched in a tree, taking in all the action.

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My oldest daughter and I used our favorite cheese kit and made two pounds of fresh mozzarella cheese.  (You can check out our previous cheesemaking experience here.)  For the first time, I allowed her to truly assist me by slowly stirring the curd and then stretching it, adding salt, and then forming it into small balls of deliciousness.  The best part of the entire experience was when this six year-old, who normally only likes “cooked cheese,”  took a ball of fresh mozzarella and bit in.  She said, “Well, I only like cheese that I make.  That’s the only kind I’ll eat.”  Love.

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The holidays left us empty handed in the home-brew department, so my husband brewed three fresh batches this weekend.  He tried out a new brewing kit, and then made two tried and true favorites…a caramel creme ale and a fabulous breakfast stout.

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The finished products of the day:  beer, cheese and a bit of hot chocolate of course.  Is there anything better?  Yum!

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Brew Master

As a family, we try to make as many of our meals from scratch as possible.  We bake our own bread, make our own pizza crust and love to can our own sauces and veggies.  So it seemed like a natural progression to begin to make our own beverages as well.

My husband has recently discovered home brewing and I’m pretty sure he has found a new love!  And I must admit, as skeptical as I was in the beginning, there is something just awesome about knowing that the brews our family enjoys on holidays and celebrations is crafted by our hand.

I am not much of a beer drinker myself.  I would much prefer a good glass of red wine, so we are thinking we may begin an adventure in wine making in the very near future.  Hopefully I will have an update on that soon!