The Advantages of Liquid Malt Extract in Home Brewing

For many home brewers the use of liquid malt extract to brew beer verges on the sacrilegious. For devotees to the art of brewing the only way to home-brew is full grain mashing and by using extract you are compromising your values as a home brewer. But let’s face it extract brewing is where many of us cut our home-brewing teeth so perhaps it is unwise to be too critical. On the face it of a well made extract does have some massive advantages over full grain mashing and that is what I would like to look at in this article.

What is malt extract?

The simplest answer is that liquid malt extract is concentrated brewers wort. Wort is the name brewers give to the sugary liquid that is fermented to produce beer. Producers of liquid extract will typically mash in exactly the same way as a brewer, utilising the same raw materials, equipment and processes, the only difference is that rather than take the wort and ferment it, as a brewer would do, an extract producer concentrates the wort by vacuum evaporation. The result is that wort of 20% solids and 80% water is concentrated to 80% solids and 20% water. This gives a very viscous liquid product which can be packed for home brewing. In essence many extract producers are commercial brewers in their own right so the wort will be brewed and hopped in the usual way but rather than diverting the cooled wort to the fermentation hall it is evaporated instead.

What are the advantages of using extract to brew?

Because liquid extract is a concentrated version of brewers wort the novice home-brewer simply has to add water and yeast and their first brew is on the go. Thus extract brewing is an excellent entry point into the fascinating hobby that is home-brewing. No technical brewing experience is required but extract brewing can be developed and made more complex as the home-brewers skills and confidence improve.

Very little equipment is required so the start-up costs are minimal. In essence you need a bucket for fermentation, some bottles, caps and a corker and you can get started. Contrast this with full grain mashing and you can understand the attraction.

However, to me the main benefit of extract brewing is one of time. It might sound lazy to say it but sometimes I want to brew a good beer that isn’t time-consuming. Extract brewing gives you that. Believe me when I say you can get a home-brew extract into the fermenter and yeast added in less than 30 minutes. You won’t be able to beat that with full grain mashing and the results are often just as good.

What are the disadvantages?

The main drawback of using extract kits is that you have no or limited control over the beer that you produce. In essence your beer will always be somebody else’s interpretation of a particular beer style. If we look at that argument more deeply we can see that not only are you stuck with somebody else’s interpretation of a beer you are also stuck with any poor brewing practice that the extract producer employs. Now before I get myself into trouble with the home-brew extract producers I am not saying that they will knowingly set out to produce a poor quality brewers extract but, some of the common faults associated with extract such as stuck fermentations, hazy beers, colour variability can be a result of the raw materials and processes that they use. However, in recent years home-brew kits have improved significantly, I believe this has gone hand in hand with the growth in the craft brewing sector. As the craft brewing sector has grown and become ever more innovative so the home-brew extract producers have responded. This has led to the growth in home-brew kits that are licensed versions of craft brewed beers such as the Woodfordes, Milestone and St Peters range of homebrew kits. This development has meant that the quality of extract has significantly improved as there aren’t many craft brewers who would want poor quality home-brew kits damaging the reputation of their beer brands. The kits that bear the name of a commercial brewer such as Woodfordes or St Peters go through a rigorous testing process before the brewer will allow the kit to be sold in the marketplace. Furthermore there are some very interesting kits on the market which allow you to tinker with the recipe allowing you to tailor the kit to your own particular tastes. These kits come with the basic malt extract, coloured malt and hop pellets.

Finally here are some simple extract brewing tips.

Always record the batch number of the extract that you use. If you encounter any issues the batch number is critical when you enter into any correspondence with the manufacturer.

Don’t just add the water volume that is suggested in the instructions. Generally the home-brew extract should be at 80 brix but can be anywhere between 79.5 to 81 brix. Thus adding the same volume of water to an extract at 79.5 or 81 brix will give a very different starting gravity. Instead add a proportion of the water volume suggested and then measure the gravity using a hydrometer. This saves over diluting the extract.

Record all the details of your brewing, keep a brewing diary or log book. Such things as starting gravity, final gravity how long the beer took to ferment are all important and relevant details that can help to improve your brewing and are good brewing practice.

For advanced extract brewing look for basic unhopped malt extracts and use these as a base for developing your own beer recipes. This can help develop your brewing skills bridging the gap between kit and full grain brewing.


Why You Should Abandon Low Calorie Diet Plans

If you are following certain low calorie diet plans such as 1200 calorie diet or 1500 calorie diet, then you should continue reading this article. In this article, we will discuss 3 points – why low calorie diet plan is a bad choice, what are the actual problems that you should target, and how you can adopt a healthy weight loss diet that actually works. After reading this article, you should know that a low calorie diet plan does not solve the right problem and you should avoid adopting it.

Firstly, you should understand that low calorie diet plans are only focusing on the symptom, which is excessive calorie intake. People usually gain weight because the calorie consumption rate is higher than the calorie burning rate. A low calorie diet plan focuses on a one-sided approach which is to reduce the calorie consumption. However, in reality, we should focus on both issues in order to lose weight healthily and effectively. Therefore, many people often find that it does not provide a very good result.

As aforementioned, we should focus on both problems, which is reducing calorie consumption rate and increasing the calorie burning rate. While a low calorie diet helps in reducing the calorie intake, it actually reduces our calorie burning rate. This is because when our body is facing malnutrition (calorie in this case), our body will turn on the survival button and reduce the usage of that particular nutrient. Therefore, after a long period of time, the effectiveness of the low calorie diet will fall, thus causing a plateau.

In order to solve this problem, you should adopt a rotational nutrient diet. A calorie-based rotational diet, is generally a low calorie diet too. However, it involves fluctuation between high calorie, low calorie and medium calorie intake. By doing this, our body will still receive “sufficient nutrient” signal occasionally, thus will not reduce the calorie burning rate. Instead, our body will increase the rate of burning due to the signals. As a result, we are able to lose weight more efficiently as compared to a general diet that requires you to restrict certain nutritional intake.


The Origins and Importance of Main Courses

For those influenced by European culture, the main course, (known sometimes as the entrée in North America [but not elsewhere]) is typically the most important course of the day’s most important meal.

In a European-style formal meal the main course is the primary or featured dish on the menu of a multi-course formal meal. Typically the main course is the most complex and substantive dish on the menu and typically features meat or game with vegetable and starch accompaniments.

In formal dining the preceding courses act as a way of preparing for and leading up to the main course which is considered to be the gastronomic apex of the meal. The succeeding courses are intended to calm the stomach an the senses after the main event.

In restaurant dining the main course is typically preceded by a light appetizer a soup or a salad and followed by a dessert or a cheese course. However, a structured formal meal can contain many more courses than this. An example might be a fruit course followed by a soup then a salad, a fish course, the main course, a sorbet then the dessert then a cheese course and finally coffee.

Extended dining was probably developed by the Etruscans and from there the practice travelled to Greece. However, it was the Romans who began splitting this extended dining experience into separate courses and it was they who first introduced the main course (the Primae Mensae in Latin) which was preceded by several starter recipes (gustatio) and followed by desserts (secundae).

The Romans introduced this dining method into Gaul (now France) and by the Middle Ages it had become standard practice in French cuisine to divide formal meals into different and successive courses. As French cooking methods pervaded the courts of Europe this formal eating system became the epitome of dining and forms the basis for our formal dining systems even today. If should be noted, however, that the entrée (literally entrance) was the starter or appetizer in formal French dining and this is the sense in which this word is used everywhere but North America even today.

Below is a classic Roman Primae M


The Best Little Pasta Dish In Texas, Great Possibilities, And You Can Add Your Own Favorites To It

Basil pesto is one of the easiest types of sauces to make. There is very little preparation for this sauce and it packs a ton of flavor. There are several different types of basil that you can get at your local market. There is cinnamon basil, Thai basil, lemon basil and Genovese basil just to name a few. Genovese is considered to be one of the best to make pesto the old Italian way, and if it is available it is the one to use. Basil has many medicinal uses as well, but this recipe is for a great flavor addition on your favorite type of pasta. This dish should take less than 30 minutes from start to finish.

You will need to come up with a grocery list, so you can get all of the ingredients in hand, to make this great dish.

Items list for the Basil Pesto: 2 cups fresh basil leaves, 4 cloves garlic, crushed , 3/4 – 1 cup of pine nuts, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese shredded, 3/4 Romano cheese shredded, 1 cup of good quality olive oil, pinch of salt and black pepper, T/T. You will also need one pound of your favorite pasta, penne pasta, farfalle pasta (bow tie) or fettuccine if you wish. 1/4 cup of heavy cream optional.

1. I start my water at this point to get ahead of the game, and I use a generous amount of salt in the water for the pasta. Depending on the pasta you use it would be best to follow the directions on the box. Just make sure you add salt the water, it is important.

2. Get out your food processor or blender at this point. Add your washed basil, garlic and pine nuts at this time and blend.

3. While blending you need to start incorporating the olive oil at this point, in a slow but steady stream.

4. Stop the food processor and add cheese, salt and pepper. Blend again and then taste for seasonings. Add more salt an pepper if it is needed. I remember while attending Culinary school, I was asked by one of my chef instructors: Did you forgot your salt extractor today? You can always add more of any ingredient, but you can not take it out!

5. Remove all of the pesto from the food processor, and hold until you are finished. I will put it into a container that I can keep in the refrigerator, so I will have it for a week or two. And that way you are not continually transferring to many bowls to clean.

6. I would add my pasta to the boiling water at this point and prep the rest of my ingredients at this point. If I were going to add a salad with this dish I would get if made at this point. It will not take long to wash your lettuce and get ingredients ready for dinner with your family.

7. I like to add artichokes, bacon and sun-dried tomatoes to this dish just to give it some flare. I also take some extra pine nuts, and roast them to add them to the finished dish as well. To roast your pine nuts you can do it in a over or over a stove top burner. You just have to watch them to make sure they do not get too much color. They will taste very bitter, or burned if this happens. You can add any ingredient to your pasta dish that you prefer. I am sure some Kalamata black olives would be tasty on this dish as well. This is what makes it your dish, every ones taste buds are a little different. If you are wanting to have a special dinner for loved ones or guests. You can offer them a wide variety of ingredients to add to there own dish in the center of the table. It will make them feel very special, and offer them the ingredients to make it their own dish.

8. The pasta is probably ready to be drained at this point. Do not wash the pasta, and return it to the same pan. I would start to add in some of the pesto starting with 2-3 tablespoons and turn the pasta with tongs if you have them to mix in the pesto. Continue until the desired amount of pesto is on the pasta. Add salt and pepper to taste and then serve.

9. If you are not concerned about the fat content: Then go from step 7 to step 9 In a separate bowl add a couple of tablespoons of the pasta water to the the 1/4 cup of heavy cream to the, add the 2 Tbsp of pesto and mix. Drain the pasta, but do not rinse. Put the pasta back into the same pan and pour the cream pesto mixture into the pot and turn with a wooden spoon of tongs. Make sure there is a good covering of the mixture on the desired pasta. You can also add more cheese at this point if you so desire.

10. Set the table and get ready to dig in. After I put the portion on to my plate I would then add my artichokes, bacon, sun-dried tomatoes, and pine nuts. Or you can put yours on a nice serving platter in the middle of the table with a piece of basil garnish and everyone can serve themselves.


Where To Find Some Good Vegan Recipes and Meal Ideas: Your Guide To Vegan Eating

Many persons on the vegan diet can get ‘stuck in a rut’ so as to say, when it comes to preparing their vegan meals and food. They often prepare the same dish over and over again, and hence their diet becomes boring. In order to keep ones diet fun and delicious however, one must put effort into diversifying their diet and expanding to new horizons! Keep in mind that creating gourmet and delicious vegan recipes and meals can be easy and quick!

Where should one start looking for some easy and quick vegan recipes to diversify their diet? The following ideas might be a good starting place for you to begin your recipe hunt!

From Friends:

1. From a vegan friend –

Why not invite your friend over for a meal, and in the meantime, ask them to bring along a copy of their favorite vegan recipes and meals for you? Copy the recipe down and try it out for yourself. Remember that it’s their favorite recipe for a reason, so it must be good!

From Recipe Books:

2. From ‘normal’ recipe books –

You can find vegan food in just about any recipe book, so choose a random book off your shelf and have a browse inside. You might be surprised at how many recipes in that recipe book suit your dietary needs! And don’t forget that if a recipe does contain meat, eggs or dairy – you will always have the option to use substitutions instead!

3. At your local bookstore –

If you love to buy books, why not stop at your local bookstore and see what they have to offer? Most bookstores these days will have at least a few vegan food books on their shelves, so it’s definitely worth having a look!

4. At your local library –

If cost is an issue for you, you should consider browsing your local library. This way, you can loan some vegan recipe books out, if they are available, and either photocopy, type out or jot down your favorite recipes. This is definitely a cost-friendly idea for those on a tight budget.

From The Internet:

5. You-tube

If you enjoy watching recipe shows, why not see what videos are available on you-tube that offer delicious vegan food and recipes? But remember to have a pen and paper on hand so that you can jot the recipe down!

6. Websites & Blogs

The majority of persons in today’s day and age will get their recipes off the internet. This is one of the fastest and easiest methods of finding some good recipes to suit your needs. All you have to do is type into Google key phrases such as ‘easy vegan recipes,’ ‘quick vegan recipes,’ ‘healthy vegan recipes,’ ‘vegan recipe e-books,’ or ‘delicious vegan recipes,’ and you will be directed to a ton of websites and blogs that will offer plenty of good recipes for you to try out.

7. Recipe E-books

Alternatively, many people these days opt to download/purchase a vegan recipe e-book online. It is the same as a normal recipe book, only it is an electronic copy. Therefore, you can store your recipe e-book on your tablet, laptop, iPad, iPhone or computer. You can also easily take your ‘recipe book’ into the grocery store with you when you are doing your vegan food shopping and meal planning! Also note that e-books are generally cheaper that physical books, which is why many people opt for this method for purchasing their books nowadays.