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Making hard cider with baker's yeast

Okay, so, I am completely new to brewing… In fact the only reason I’m trying it is that hard cider and wine are the only two alcoholic drinks that I like, and where I live hard cider is simply non existent. Like, it’s just not known at all. The very few places that I found it at sell it for outrageous prices, think like $4 per quarter-liter. So I decided to try to make some myself, not caring too much about the outcome, totally as an experiment.

The reason I used baker’s yeast isn’t that I like being out of line, it’s because… yes, that’s right, no wine yeast or beer yeast etc available here! I tried to get some online, but no luck there either, no one ships here or it’s extremely expensive.

So, I used pasteurized apple juice and baker’s yeast, that’s all. I sealed the jar, let the carbon dioxide out everyday, and today is the 5th day, I tasted it and it tastes good enough to me. No dough smell like some other experimenters suggested online, either.

I have three questions, first, is it safe to drink it without removing the yeast? Second, I read many articles on making cider, some suggested 5 days is enough for fermentation, and some say a few months will do it. At the moment it tastes good enough to me, is there actually any need to let it sit so long? And third, should it be refrigerated/how long will it last without getting contaminated with harmful germs? (This should be answered taking into consideration that I don’t have the most sterilized/professional conditions for brewing)

Any help would be appreciated :slight_smile:

[quote=“despedida3”]

I have three questions, first, is it safe to drink it without removing the yeast? [/quote]

yes. Yeast is actually very good for you. Lots of Vitamin B.

Ciders typically benefit from a long, slow fermentation (some go as long as a year or longer) and longer conditioning period. That said, if you like the way it tastes now, bottoms up.

[quote=“despedida3”]
And third, should it be refrigerated/how long will it last without getting contaminated with harmful germs? (This should be answered taking into consideration that I don’t have the most sterilized/professional conditions for brewing)

Any help would be appreciated :slight_smile: [/quote]

It does not need refrigeration. One of the benefits of fermented foods is preservation, in fact, the practice started out as a way to preserve food, not as making intoxicants. Even when fermenting solid foods, such as kimchi, etc., those are typically made at ambient temperatures. The low pH and heavy population of non-pathogenic microbes (aka probiotics) keep the beverage itself safe from ones that will make you sick.

Just have to ask, where are you that you can’t get yeast? If you are an experimenter, you should try your hand at open fermentation with beer/cider. (Open fermentation refers to using the naturally-occurring yeast that are in the air).

Wow, thanks so much for all that information.

I live in Turkey, where alcoholic drinks are not openly condemned, but taxed outrageously, and I don’t know anyone who would brew drinks on their own, these things are simply not known much. In popular summer vacation areas, drinks that are not normally available (such as hard cider) are available, because those places attract a lot of tourists from the UK, also have a considerable amount of residents from that country. This is how I got to know about cider in the first place. I don’t like beer very much, at least what I had so far… But I would love to experiment with other juices, is the same process of fermentation possible using, say, a mix of cherry and apple juice? Are some fruit juices just not good for fermentation purposes?

Most fruit juices are fine for fermentation, the problem is you may need some enzymes, yeast nutrient, acids and other tannins to make these taste especially good. If you source some tannin-rich fruit (such as cranberries, crabapples or cherries) and juice them yourself, you can add this to your ferment (of another juice) to help give it some structure.

I would recommend reading The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz. It largely deals with fermentation as a preservative practice (as opposed to creating intoxicants), but has a great section on harvesting wild yeast and (good) bacteria for various beverage fermentations (most of which are NOT beer). You can make some great kvass, ginger bug and a variety of other stuff that has been made for thousands of years without access to commercial yeast.

Best of luck-

I thought maybe you were in jail or something. Get a juicer and fresh fruit. Make the juice add some raisins and toss it in a bucket with cheese cloth over it. Let it sit for a couple days outside in the open air to catch the wild yeast then put in an air lock of some type. Give it a few weeks then clean some jugs or wine bottles and bottle it up.

Haha, I feel like I’m in jail too, sometimes!

I read in one of those articles that unpasteurized juices can be dangerous, wouldn’t I need to make sure it’s clean enough?

Also, do we need juice to make fermented drinks? Can’t we - technically- make them from any sweet drink, with the condition that they contain no preservatives?

If you squeeze your own fruit and keep everything clean it will be fine. You eat unpasteurized fruit. Also if you pick it off the tree it is better, I wouldn’t use fruit that was on the ground. The other thing is if it was contaminated fruit it would smell bad when it was done fermenting so you wouldn’t drink it anyway. In New England that’s how we make apple cider. Most people here don’t add yeast. Also we drink it un carbonated.

I too have some cider going with bakers yeast. Would it be out of the question to try and carb it? I live in southern MN…but money is tight and closest place to get wine or cider yeast is an hour away, so I can’t fork out the gas money or do I want to pay shipping on a dollar pack of yeast.

I got about 50 pounds of free apples from a co worker who has trees n nothing to do with the apples, so I cut, blended and hand squeezed the juice…being broke n all I have a lot of time to kill at home!
After juicing the apples I end up with about 5 gallons of fresh cider. I was able to get my hands on some campden tables. I crush 4 tablets, let it sit for couple days. After 48 hours I added a simple syrup that contained 2 cups of white sugar and 2 cups brown sugar, along with some juice from boiled raisins. After mixing in the syrup I took out some cider and started a packet of red star bakers yeast. After 12 hours I pitched the yeast. After 8 days of primary fermentation I then racked into secondary where I then added 3 cinnamon and some nutmeg, it has been there now for 3 weeks. I was planning on priming with 3/4 cup sugar and bottling this weekend. Think it will carb up? If it dosent I suppose the worst that would happens is that it wouldn’t carb, n final product would be a little sweeter. I should also mention I have no measuring interments so I have no OG or FG. I plan on bottling into pry off beer bottles that my friends and family saved. I was able to trade 50 more pounds of apples to a guy for some fresh caps and also an old two lever style capper.

Go ahead and give it a try. Make absolutely sure it is done fermenting (which it should be after a month) and then boil 3/4 cup of sugar in two cups of water, allow it to cool, then pour the sugar syrup into a clean bucket. Syphon the cider onto the sugar syrup (avoid spashing which will aerate it and cause it to develop stale flavors and leaving any sediment behind), then bottle immediately.

The difficulty of bakers yeast is one of unpredictability in terms of it’s alcohol tolerance. If your cider finished dry, it is likely that the yeast will still be active and in good shape to carbonate your cider. If it finished sweet, then it probably hit it’s alcohol tolerance level and won’t do anything more.

Thanks you for sharing your knowledge. I have read that you should bottle condition cider for 3-4 weeks. Do you think I should allow extra time since I am using bakers yeast? I plan to bottle this weekend, I will let you know on how it turns out.

Open a bottle after 3 weeks and see how you like it. Then another at 4 weeks, one at 5 weeks, etc until it gets to where you want it before you start serving to friends and family.

Baker’s yeast works fine for cider, the first time I made cider about 3 years ago I used it. It carbed up just like any other yeast.
That batch took a while for the yeast flavor to smooth out. For the first few months it tasted green or like cardboard. I left it in the basement for probably almost a year, then tried it and it was great. Dry and crisp. What I’m saying here is to not give up and dump your batch if the first taste doesn’t turn out like you had hoped.

I’ve tried to make cider every year since then and I have not had the same luck. One time I used D47 wine yeast and it tasted too much like white wine. Last year I attempted to follow one of the award winning recipes online with brown sugar and a cider yeast and it is very acidic.

Find a Home Brew Shop that has a USPS option for shipping and get more than one. Two or three packs cost very little more than one to ship. I recently received 10 packs of yeast and paid $2.50 to mail it. I wouldn’t think it would cost much more than a stamp or three to ship 2 or 3 packs of yeast.

Find a Home Brew Shop that has a USPS option for shipping and get more than one. Two or three packs cost very little more than one to ship. I recently received 10 packs of yeast and paid $2.50 to mail it. I wouldn’t think it would cost much more than a stamp or three to ship 2 or 3 packs of yeast.[/quote]

I stand corrected: I put two packs of yeast into the shopping cart at the place I recently bought my yeast and it appears that $2.50 is their minimum charge for mail. If you bought 10 it would average out to 25 cents per pack.

Depends where he lives. Shipping is cheap in the US. In Europe, the shipping charges can be substantial.

It doesn’t matter where as the USPS charges by the weight being mailed and not where it’s going. One stamp will get a letter across town and across the country.

It doesn’t matter where as the USPS charges by the weight being mailed and not where it’s going. One stamp will get a letter across town and across the country.[/quote]
That is true if he lives in the US. Shipping outside the US costs a lot more.

[quote=“rebuiltcellars”][quote=“Rookie L A”]
It doesn’t matter where as the USPS charges by the weight being mailed and not where it’s going. One stamp will get a letter across town and across the country.[/quote]
That is true if he lives in the US. Shipping outside the US costs a lot more.[/quote]

That goes without saying and while I’ve never checked I’d bet that it’s cheaper by mail than UPS or FedEx.

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