Thursday, June 5, 2008

Wine Making - Part 1

I have not been posting very much these days cos I am exploring a new area - wine-making.

I am a Hockchia, a variation of Hokkien, similar to Hockchiew. It's a huge community in Sitiawan, PERAK and one of the signature dish is Hong Chao chicken with mee suah.

Hong Chao is a by-product of red wine, which is fermented with glutinous rice, wine biscuit and red rice bran (also known as red yeast). It typically contains a ~13-15% alcohol content. The commercial Hong Chao often has a sourish taste, which is a sign of poor quality. My sis, who also loves Hong Chao and anything that's cooked with red wine, had been craving for good supply (her in laws commented that rice wine is expensive!)

And I finally set down to do it last weekend when my mum surprisingly told me she has the "stuff" to make rice wine. I google and researched for all the pointers and got going.
Stuff to make wine... Wine Biscuit &
Wine yeast

Today, I was so sad to find out that on the 2nd day of fermentation, the top of the wine starts to get moldy. This shows that the wine-making has failed and must be thrown away to avoid wine poisoning.

BUT I am not giving up... I am going to have a 2nd go, 3rd go... until I succeed!


250g Glutinous rice
30 g red yeast, powdered
1/4 wine biscuit, powdered

  1. Cooked the rice in rice cooker as you normally would. No need pre-soaking.

  2. Cool the rice completely until it is cold and dry. – IMPORTANT.

  3. Put one layer of rice in the bottle, sprinkle with red yeast then chow paeng. Continue until finish. press the rice down to compact it.

  4. Tighten the lid and put in cool, dry place.

Day 1 - you will see a bit of wine and lots of water droplets at the top of the jar just above the rice.
Day 3 - Check to see bubbles forming at the bottom of the pot.
If white mould on the top of the rice, THROW away – this means the wine-making failed.

Stir well after one week. The red wine should be ready in about 1 1/2 month. Strain using cheese cloth.

The wine is good for cooking. The residue will be Hong Chao. Add salt to the residue and keep in fridge.

If its acidic, means its left out too long for fermentation. Once it reaches 1 month, keep it in the fridge to stop the fermentation.

Reflections on the 1st failure:

The number 1 reason for successful wine making is hygience and sterilisation. All utensils, equipment and anything that comes in contact with the wine, has to be sanitized. This includes even small items which might be overlooked, such as spoons and your hands, and under finger nails.

Not that I do not know this... I mean, I washed, scrubbed & sanitized my hands with the alcohol. But when the rice sticks to your hands like superglue, it's not dropping into the container... no enough shaking or poking can get them off your hands, you start to panic and reach for other utensils that will help. Sigh, that's when all efforts go down the drain!

By the way, though I share the several effective methods of sterilization.

  1. Boiling water. The water must be poured over the ingredients or equipment whilst it's boiling or it won't work effectively. DO NOT pour boiling water over or into cool glass or it will inevitably break.

  2. Household bleach solution. A very effective sterilizing agent is household bleach, diluted at the rate of one cupful to a gallon (4 litres) of water. This solution is ideal for sterilizing plastic and glass equipment only. Jars and bottles can be filled to the neck, while smaller pieces of equipment can be placed in a bucket containing the solution. In both cases, leaving the equipment overnight should ensure it is thoroughly sterilized. Be sure to rinse everything before you start, though, as any traces of bleach will certainly spoil the wine. The bleach solution can be used several times. If you decide to use this method of sterilization, do remember that bleach can be dangerous, so keep it off your hands and, above all, don't leave it where children can get at it.

  3. Sterilisation Tablet. Products which are designed for sterilizing babies' feeding equipment are very suitable for use with winemaking equipment. Follow the instructions on the bottle or packet.

Fermenting equipment should be well drained, or rinsed with sterile (i.e. boiled and cooled) water before use. Otherwise the traces of sulphite may inhibit the wine yeast, and if that happens, a hydrogen sulphide (bad egg) smell may develop. Similarly, if the sulphite used for sterilizing equipment gets into a finished wine, it may spoil the color, so rinse out any jars and bottles before you use them.

So much for now... as and when I learn something new, I will update here!

Til then, good luck to me!

No comments: