Leftover bread and bread crusts are too good to be thrown away. This instructable shows how to make vodka from stale bread.
Bread always played a role in the history of alcoholic breverages. 4000 years ago, the sumerians prepared beer from barley bread. The baking process was required to prepare fermentable sugars from the starch. 500 years ago, the first Russian vodka, known as "bread wine", was prepared from bread, so the legend.
Upcycling your leftover bread to vodka takes four steps:
Step 1: Mashing
During the mashing process the fermentable sugars are released.
The process starts with bread, malt and water. The final product is the sweet wort.
Note: The bread does not contain active enzymes, it only serves as starch source. Diastatic malt is added to the mash, to add the enzymatic power. The enzymes convert the starch into fermentable sugars.
- 2.5 kg dry bread and crusts.
- 0,5 kg diastatic barley malt.
- 8 liters of cold water (10-30°C, potable water quality).
- Transfer the bread into a large pot.
- Add the water to the bread and let soak.
- Mix bread and water until homogenous mash.
- Add the malt ans stirr in.
- Put the pot on the oven. While heating up the mash, the enzymes are activated. Following temperature rests are taken while heating up:
- 30 min at 38-40 °C,
- 40 min at 50-55 °C,
- 40 min at 60-65 °C, and
- 40 min at 72-78 °C.
After that, the enzymes released all sugars from the bread.
- Strain grists and debris from the mash.
Pour the mash through a perforated pot, collecting the sweet wort.
- Wash out remaining sugars by pouring hot water and stirring.
- Collect the sweet wort and heat up to boil.
Give the wort a 10 min boil to kill germs.
- Let cool down.
Step 2: Fermentation
The fermentation turns all sugars into alcohol.
The sweet wort is fermented to beer.
- Transfer the sweet wort to a fermentation container.
- Add yeast and stirr in to start the fermentation.
- Close container with an air lock.
- Wait until fermentation stoped and all yeast settled.
- Siphon the beer, avoiding to stirr up the yeast.
- Store beer air tight and cool.
- Usually the beer will have about 6-8 % ABV.
Step 2: I was adding 25 g of dry yeast to 8 liters of wort. The fermentation took 14 days at 25 C temperature. To speed the process up, one might add more yeast.
Step 3: Distillation
During distillation the alcohol is separated.
The beer is distilled to produce grain spirit.
- Dilute the beer with potable water, 3 parts beer and 1 part water.
This is to reduce the foaming during distillation.
- Setup the microstill and connect to the beer.
- Run the microstill.
- Collect grain spirit.
Triple distilled vodka
Adding two more distillation steps will reduce the grain flavour and give a round and soft taste:
- Dilute grain spirit with potable water to 8-10% ABV.
- Distill of in the microstill.
- Collect grain spirit.
- Repeat 1 to 3 one more time.
Foaming is a common problem with the distillation of grain ferments. Foaming can cause that ferments pass over into the spirit. Giving the spirit some color. Using the microstill at low flow rate will reduce foaming.
Step 4: Equilibration
The vodka comes with 50 to 60% ABV from the still. Use soft water to reduce its strength to about 40%.
Now the vodka needs to equilibrate and soften. To accelerate that process: froth it using a blender or milk foamer.
Bottle the vodka and enjoy - на здоровье!