Our friend Andrew–goodness, I know a lot of Andrews–is also making wine for the first time this year. However, while my babies enjoy their five-star, temperature-controlled digs over at Crushpad, Andrew’s Merlot is struggling along in a jug on his kitchen floor. It’s hard to keep your apartment at 85 degrees any time of year in the Bay Area, let alone in December, which is where the pain comes in: His malolactic fermentation is stuck.
There are a few ways to end up with a stuck fermentation, which essentially means that the fermentation has stopped before the yeast has finished converting sugar to alcohol or malic to lactic acid. In Andrew’s case, it’s probably a matter of temperature. Yeast thrives in balmy environs, but it’s inconvenient and expensive to keep one’s house heated to yeast-friendly temperature. So Andrew is playing around with ideas like finding a less dangerous space-heater and wrapping the jug in sleeping bags. Hopefully his wine will soon unstick because I’m excited to taste it!
And now, to a happier kind of pain.
A few days ago I had an urge to make bread, so I spent the afternoon tending to two loaves of challah. There are few things more uplifting than bread-baking–the spring of the dough in your hands, the satisfaction of the rise, the soul-permeating scent. It’s like meditation for the hungry. Of course, bread and wine (pain et vin) is a natural gastronomic pairing, and both owe their popularity to the miracle of yeast. Here are some pics to make you jealous:
Before the first rise.
When is someone going to invent smell-o-vision?