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27 September 2010

Brewing Chicha, Again

So, I've decided to brew another batch of chicha - the South American corn beer.  For those of you who weren't reading my blog at the time, I brewed a batch back in 2008.  It came out okay, but I think I've learned a few things from that try and from more research, so hopefully this batch will come out a little better.  Here are links to my posts from that first brewing attempt:
El Día Primero
El Día Tercero
El Día Quarto
El Día Quinto
El Día Sexto
El Día Octavo
El Día Noveno
El Día Decimo
El Ultimo Día

Here's the plan of attack for this batch:
1) I'm ordering some Maiz de Jora from La Bodega Peruana.  I think this should already have been germinated and dried (thus the Jora) - possibly even ground.  I'll have to see when I get it.  If that's the case, though, it'll take out at least 2 steps and about 5 days worth of waiting/work.
2) I'm making my own yeast culture.  I started it today - basically just a wild yeast culture using a modified version of this recipe.  Instead of using some kind of acidic juice, I'm using a live culture yogurt and adding a little bit of vitamin C.  This should give me the acidic quality I'm looking for, and I'll get some nice Lactobacillus bugs in there too!  This will give the resulting culture a nice tangy flavor which should be passed on to the chicha, I hope.  Plus it'll be good for the stomach!  :)
3) Once I have the corn, I'll grind it up using my trusty hand-crank mill (assuming it's not already ground, of course).  I had to borrow one last time I made it, but this time I have my own to work with!  It's not too hard - just takes a few grinds to get it down to the right texture.
4) Next I'll mix the ground corn with warm (~160 degrees F) water (about 1qt per pound) and let it sit for a couple of hours.  Then I'll drain it and repeat, and finally let the water (upi or wort) sit overnight after discarding the ground corn.
5) The next day, I'll boil the upi/wort for about 3 hours after which I'll add some spices (cloves and cinnamon - maybe some cardamom?) and some sugar (piloncillo, which is basically a cone of dense brown sugar - it can be found in most grocery stores in the Latin American Cuisine section).  Then I let it sit overnight again - to be sure it's fully cool and to let it break down the starches a little more.
6) Finally I'll pour the mixture into a container for fermenting (I'll probably use a glass jug this time instead of the jar I used before), pour in some of my yeast culture, and wait.

The last time I made it, the fermentation kicked in very rapidly and was basically done after only a day.  I'm hoping it lasts a little longer this time, but I'm not too confident.  I may not post semi-daily updates like I did last time, but I'll certainly keep you all posted on how it goes!

By the way, there are a few different kinds of chicha: chicha morada is a non-alcoholic soft drink type thing, chicha de jora (what I'll be making) is made from germinated corn (jora), and regular chicha is made from corn that has been mixed with human saliva (the word chicha means spit).  I'm not making regular chicha because 1) I can order jora 2) it would take me days to produce enough spit to fully soak the corn and 3) I couldn't in good conscience share the final product with anyone if it has my spit in it.

2 comments:

btmc said...

That's awesome! We just started making our own peanut butter with a grain grinder, is that what you've got? it sort of looks like a meat grinder but has a different set up on the business end. The peanut butter is very good and much cheaper than to grind it at whole foods, I highly recommend getting a bulk order of peanuts and a grain grinder to you and all of your readers.
Also just made a great batch of granola, and I made horchata a couple weeks ago. I recommend the horchata, cinnamon lemon rice milk is amazing!

Jeremy Trombley said...

I dunno if it's the same thing - it's basically this thing. I don't eat much peanut butter, but I do know that fresh ground PB tastes much better than the jar variety. i wonder if you could make your own nutella by grinding up hazelnuts and mixing in some chocolate (and probably sugar....).
The sourdough starter I made seems to be doing well. The first day, I mixed 2tbsp of live culture greek yogurt with 2tbsp of organic whole rye flour. It was pretty thick, so yesterday I added 2tbsp of each plus a little water. Also, I've been putting in a small amount of vitamin C to add to the acidity of the yogurt. Today I think I'll add 1tbsp of yogurt, 1tbsp of water and 2tbsp of rye, plus the Vitamin C. In anycase, there are bubbles, and it seems to be rising somewhat slowly. I suspect it's more of a Lactobacillus culture than a yeast culture right now, but it'll balance out eventually. I'll probably make some bread out of it before I get to the chicha, so I'll let you know how that turns out!

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