Your vinegar factory is just a big jar that contains 900ml of premium wine vinegar culture, you can even see the culture floating around as a semi solid body .. this is called the "Mother"
The mother needs oxygen to live and develop, so to activate your culture, take the lid off the jar, and punch or drill a few holes in it. Place the supplied material over the jar, and replace the lid on the jar. The holes allow air in, and the material prevents dust and vinegar flies getting in.
Place the jar in a warm dark place for 10 weeks or so.
When the vinegar is ready, is up to your personal taste.
Pour off 2/3's of the vinegar, straining it if you wish. You can use this "fresh" vinegar straight away if you like, or otherwise you can age and "soften" it, by placing it into a sealed bottle for a while. Some people prefer their vinegar fresh, while others prefer theirs aged, why not try a bit of each.
How to Make Your Next Batch of Vinegar.
When you have poured off 2/3's of your vinegar, simply top up the bottle with a mixture wine and de-chlorinated water, and start over again.
Tap water usually contains chlorine, and the Vinegar Mother, being bacteria can be killed by it, so you need to remove it. This can be done by boiling the water and allowing it to cool (Mother is also heat sensitive). Some water filters like the Durand water filter will also remove the chlorine.
|The "Mother will form here,
it may sink,
but that is not a problem
equals more acid and flavour,
it is up to your taste.
|Caution:|| ||Do not store, make, or pasteurise vinegar in cast iron, aluminium, or copper vessels, as these can produce unpleasant potentially poisonous compounds.
You must leave at least 1/3 of the original vinegar, as the Mother needs at least 2% acid to thrive.
If you want vinegar of about 6%, add equal measures of wine and water, if you wish vinegar with about 8% acid, add 1 part water to 2 parts wine.
If making Cider Vinegar we recommend opening you cider and leaving it to sit overnight. This allows it to decarbonate as well as for any sulphate based preservatives to evaporate.
Pasteurising Your Vinegar.
Some vinegar makers will wish to pasteurise their vinegar. This will kill any live acetic bacteria and prevent a new Mother forming in the bottle during storage, although this can only happen if not all of the alchohol has been converted.
To pasteurise the vinegar simply heat the vinegar to between 60° and 70° C, for 30 minutes.
Changing Your Vinegar,
As you make batch after batch of vinegar, more and more Mother will be forming, which you can remove and discard, or use to make new batches of vinegar.
Mother's gift that keeps on giving.
Since vinegar can be made with wine, cider, champagne, sherry, ... just about any alchoholic substance, you can now start to experiment.
Since the Mother needs at least 2% acid to flourish you can start a new "flavour" of vinegar by just using some commercially available vinegar of the style you wish to try. 1/3 fill a bottle with your vinegar, even the blandest and cheapest of white vinegars will do the job, add the Mother and then top up the bottle with your water and achoholic beverage mixture.
The alchohol - water mixture should be about 5% to 6% alchohol, so cider can probably go straight in, whereas wine, champagne, sherry, etc needs to be watered down accordingly.