Cold-Brew Coffee

Josh and I are coffee junkies… but not in the way that we go to Starbucks every day. We don’t have enough money for that! So we usually make our coffee at home. We have a drip coffeemaker, an Aeropress, a French press, a Keurig (currently in storage), Korean instant coffee, and two Vietnamese coffee makers (these take time but probably the best way I’ve ever had my coffee). At least if the power ever goes out, as long as we have a way to heat water, we will have a way to make coffee!

We do like to go out sometimes for coffee on special occasions. At the beginning of September, we went to Extraordinary Desserts over by Balboa Park as part of a date. The dessert was excellent, but we really loved the coffee. I loved mine a little too much I think because I had two cups and I was up until 2 AM that night.

I first heard about cold-brew coffee from my brother. He talked about how the taste was different from regular brewed coffee, but I never really looked into it until cold-brew coffee ended up in my Ibotta app. I was curious about it and it was a $1.00 off rebate so I thought I’d give it a try. It ended up being really good! It was a little too expensive though for me to keep buying, so I forgot about cold-brew coffee until I saw a recipe in The Pioneer Woman’s cookbook Food From My Frontier. It looked so easy! I had to try it!

Sprouts Organic French Roast coffee. It was on sale and since this is an experiment, I didn't want to go with our more expensive Jim Horton's coffee. Who am I kidding? I didn't feel like grinding our whole bean Horton's coffee. lol
Sprouts Organic French Roast coffee. It was on sale and since this is an experiment, I didn’t want to go with our more expensive Tim Hortons coffee. Who am I kidding? I didn’t feel like grinding our whole bean coffee. lol

8 quarts of coffee concentrate in our fridge will literally take up half a shelf. So I cut it down to 2 quarts. I made my oldest son Corran help me with the fractions since he is learning about fractions right now in math.

4 ounces of coffee. It smelled so good!
About 4 ounces of coffee. It smelled so good! I am so glad I got this kitchen scale. It has become an invaluable tool in the kitchen.
Into a mixing bowl.
Into a mixing bowl.
After pouring in two quarts of water
After pouring in two quarts of water
After making sure all the grounds were wet
After making sure all the grounds were wet
After some thought, I decided to wash a glass mixing bowl and use that instead to keep the concentrate in. So the whole concoction got poured into that and covered with plastic wrap.
After some thought, I decided to wash a glass mixing bowl and use that instead to keep the concentrate in. So the whole concoction got poured into that and covered with plastic wrap.

Now, it just sits on the table for 12-24 hours. I think I’ll wait 24 hours so we get the fullest flavor. Then, it can go into the fridge for us to use in iced coffee!

To see what to do with the coffee concentrate after 24 hours, please visit The Pioneer Woman’s blog for the rest of the instructions!

Perfect Iced Coffee by The Pioneer Woman

Advertisements

Playing Catch-up

Weekends are usually busy around here so I will most likely post on the weekdays. So here are a few things that I didn’t get to post about this weekend!

  1. I tried to make mascarpone cheese last week, on Tuesday. It didn’t work. This made me sad. Possible causes: Not enough time (I was very rushed and cheese-making is not a quick kitchen experiment), ultra-pasteurized heavy whipping cream which doesn’t thicken easily, and not researching it enough before I tried it. The result: I had to dump a whole quart of whipping cream down the drain.
  2. I never posted my pic of my finished maple rolls.
    I should have whipped up a glaze for them! But it was 7 AM on a Saturday morning and I am not a morning person...
    I should have whipped up a glaze for them! But it was 7 AM on a Saturday morning and I am not a morning person…
    They weren’t sweet enough! I should have doubled or tripled the amount of sugar I used and probably used more butter. I liked their texture though. I will try these again but do a different filling and make an icing for them.
  3. Josh and I tried canning Saturday afternoon. Josh’s pepper plants went crazy and produced more peppers than we can use fresh, so we pickled about a pound or more of them. It was a family event. The two oldest boys helped by slicing peppers. They wore gloves to keep them from burning their fingers on the serranos. Josh helped the boys, and I took care of prepping the pickling solution and sterilizing the lids and jars.
    Canning takes up a lot of space! Someday, I want a 6-burner range. :)
    Canning takes up a lot of space! Someday, I want a 6-burner range. 🙂

    The finished product: 6 jars of pickled santa fe grande, habanero, and serrano peppers along with some homegrown carrots for fun. I checked their seals this morning and they all sealed!
    The finished product: 6 jars of pickled santa fe grande, habanero, and serrano peppers along with some homegrown carrots for fun. I checked their seals this morning and they all sealed!
    Today’s kitchen experiments: Sourdough pizza crust for some calzones so I can practice for making pizza crust again on Friday for a family lunch, and I am hoping to cold-brew coffee overnight. I also just finished making scones but I’ve made those so many times that they don’t count as a kitchen experiment. 🙂

    Chocolate chip scones as requested by my boys. Sprinkled with espresso sugar.
    Chocolate chip scones as requested by my boys. Sprinkled with espresso sugar.
    I also might mix up some homemade hand soap if I have time!

Homeschool Day Off!

I wish I could give the kids every Friday off from school!  Maybe I will try that for next semester. It would mean a bit of a cramped schedule but a 3 day weekend every week? My kids would love it!

Today has been great. I was able to get both the crumpets cooked and the dough for maple rolls (not cinnamon rolls!) prepped into pans to bake tomorrow morning for breakfast. My kids have been getting along for the most part. We live in a 1300 square foot house and when you have five kids running around in it, a disagreement is pretty much inevitable.

I used the recipe for sourdough crumpets at the King Arthur Flour website. I seem to be there a lot. Maybe once I am more comfortable working with sourdough I will venture off to the rest of the Internet for recipes. I used my container of discard starter. There was about 3 – 4 cups in it.

I didn’t have crumpet rings, so I just cooked them like pancakes in a cast-iron skillet with some melted butter. They don’t have quite as many holes as I would like but they taste like crumpets and the texture is right. I think these will probably be for breakfast Sunday morning. We don’t use the fake maple syrup anymore, so my kids are used to having jam, honey, and almond butter on their pancakes already. We have real maple syrup but it’s a huge half-gallon jug and I don’t have space to store it in the fridge right now. lol Crumpets are supposed to be eaten more like English muffins anyway. You just don’t cut them in half.

I told my husband yesterday that I wanted to give this maple syrup jug a big hug.
I told my husband yesterday that I wanted to give this maple syrup jug a big hug.

My next project for the morning was cinnamon rolls. Well, they were going to be cinnamon rolls but they became maple rolls instead. I don’t remember the last time I made cinnamon rolls but I do remember thinking that they were a big hassle. Of course, I used a recipe from the King Arthur Flour website again. I just changed the filling to be maple rolls. The dough was surprisingly easy to work with. Usually, I make or am a huge mess by the time I’m done working with dough of any kind. I let it rise in a bowl for an hour and half on the stove top. It’s 90-crazy degrees here (is it really fall? It sure doesn’t feel like it!) and it had no problem rising. After an hour and a half, I poked it a bit with a spatula to get it to deflate and it was ready to be patted out into a rectangle.

Instead of using cinnamon, I used a combination of evaporated cane juice and maple sugar. I would have used this maple sugar from Mount Mansfield Maple Products but then I remembered that my in-laws had brought us a little shaker of maple sugar when they visited the Northeast U.S. So I used that instead.

I patted out the dough on a greased cookie sheet without a lip. So much easier than a cutting board!
I patted out the dough on a greased cookie sheet without a lip. So much easier than a cutting board!

I had left out the leftover stick of butter I used for the dough so it was really soft. Instead of melting it, I just smeared the 3 tablespoons I had left all over the dough rectangle with my hand. This part was actually kind of fun! Like finger-painting for adults!

Then I went overboard with the maple sugar/evaporated cane juice combination. I don’t think anyone will mind. I would guesstimate that I used about 2-3 Tablespoons of sugar with a possible 1 to 1 ratio of the two sugars. Okay, let’s be real. I just threw them together until it looked like they were evenly mixed and went for it. This was also fun. I used a spoon to sprinkle the sugar over the smeared butter.

Then it was time to roll the dough into a log and slice. This is always the hard part for me. I usually end up with something that does not look like a log. Slicing is even more disastrous! But this time it worked! And I ended up with almost pretty circles of maple rolls to put in the pan instead of globs of sugary dough.

I made these... it's a miracle.
I made these… it’s a miracle.

I didn’t let them rise after I put them in the pan. I put both pans right into the fridge. Josh is supposed to take them out when he wakes up too early tomorrow morning on a Saturday so they can rise for an hour before baking. I will try to post a results pic tomorrow. Hopefully, they turn out!

Sourdough Starter from Scratch – Day Seven

Last night, I decided that my starter was probably as active as it was going to get. So I put it in the fridge in a new container.  I forgot to feed it though, and believe it or not, this fact kept me up last night. I got up around 11 PM to feed it because I felt guilty. I felt guilty about a starter! Isn’t that weird? I must be attached to it like it’s a pet. I was also up trying to figure out how to use my discard starter and the active starter. I came up with sourdough crumpets and buttery sourdough buns (as a base for cinnamon rolls).

My starter on Wednesday morning before I fed it.
My starter on Wednesday morning (Day Seven) before I fed it.
The starter after its Wednesday morning feeding.
The starter after its Wednesday morning feeding.
Wednesday night, my starter had rivulets in it and a combination of large bubbles and smaller bubbles.
Wednesday night, my starter had rivulets in it and a combination of large bubbles and smaller bubbles.

In the previous pic, my starter looks pretty close to what the King Arthur Flour website has for Day Seven. So now I am switching to maintenance. I gave the starter a new home in a different container and put it in the fridge.

This is a plastic container. Glass is probably better. I may go out today and buy something that will work better.
This is a plastic container. Glass is probably better. I may go out today and buy something that will work.

Today, I am hoping to make the crumpets and store them in the freezer. I also would like to make the cinnamon roll dough. We will see if I get to both! It’s a test and quiz day for homeschooling and those are always a lot of fun!

The next Kitchen Experiment I want to do is cold-brew coffee. I think we are going to need a bigger fridge!

EDIT: It looks like crumpets and cinnamon rolls will have to wait until tomorrow. My kids will need my help this afternoon with school stuff so I won’t have time. But… I am giving them the day off from school tomorrow so I should have plenty of time then to do as much baking as I want! A note about the crumpets: I am not going to use any forms when cooking them. They will be free-form, which means they will probably be closer to English muffins in shape than crumpets.

Sourdough Starter from Scratch – Day Six

What do you do with all the discarded starter you keep in the fridge? Yesterday, I used 2 cups of it to make bread in the bread machine. And it actually worked for me this time. I used the bread machine sourdough bread recipe at King Arthur Flour even though my starter isn’t fully active yet.

The crust is a little scary-looking!
The crust is a little scary-looking! The bread was good though. I am going to use it to make lunch for my kids today.

I have more discard starter to use today so I will probably try making pizza crust. My kids have been asking for from-scratch pizza for a few days so today is probably a good day to try it!

Last night, my starter looked a lot happier than it did this morning.

My starter last night at around 9:30 PM.
My starter last night at around 9:30 PM.
My starter this morning at around 8:30 AM. Not as many bubbles! Uh oh!
My starter this morning at around 8:30 AM. Not as many bubbles! Uh oh! It did still double in size though so that is probably a good thing.

I fed it as usual this morning and will check on it in about 4 hours to see if it looks better. What I suspect I might have did wrong: 1) Last night I didn’t measure out the water. I just eyeballed the amount.  2) I discarded more of the starter than usual so maybe there wasn’t as much active yeast left.

The starter after I fed it this morning.
The starter after I fed it this morning. Show us what you’re made of, Thing 2!

Plain Old Cheesecake

It took me an hour and a half to make this cheesecake.  And it was mostly because I decided to make a sponge cake crust instead of graham cracker or Oreo. Since this cheesecake took me so long to make, this post will be pretty long too! I will be nice and post the finished product first along with a read more tag. There is no recipe with this post unfortunately.

Say cheesecake!
Say cheesecake!

Continue reading

Sourdough Starter from Scratch – Day Five

We are at Day Five and it’s still alive! I also have about 3 cups of discarded starter to use, so today I am going to attempt to use the bread machine. The bread probably won’t be very sourdough-y, but maybe it will still taste yummy. Did I just make two of my last sentences rhyme? Hopefully my loaf doesn’t fall, explode, or bake into a hard lump.

Last night, I fed the starter at around 10 PM. It looked like usual. Bubbly, smells a little fruity, etc.

The starter last night before I fed it.
The starter last night before I fed it.
My discard starter container
My discard starter container
The starter after taking out more than half of it
The starter after taking out more than half of it
The starter after feeding
The starter after feeding

This morning, I fed it again at around 9:30 AM. It didn’t look as bubbly as it did last night when I fed it. I think that was my fault though. I used cold spring water instead of room temperature or cool spring water. By the way, it was 105 degrees or something ridiculous like that yesterday. Maybe that had something to do with it not being as bubbly. Hopefully, it will revive some today. It is only supposed to get up to the 80s and it might rain.

The starter this morning around 9:30 AM
The starter this morning around 9:30 AM
This time I got it down to less than a cup left in the measuring cup
This time I got it down to less than a cup left in the measuring cup
After feeding the starter. We'll see how it looks tonight!
After feeding the starter. We’ll see how it looks tonight!
Oops, how'd that get in there?
Oops, how’d this get in here?

P.S. I am hoping to write up a cheesecake post later today to take a break from the sourdough starter posts. Pictures of goopy dough can only be interesting for so long!