One thing I miss about our change in lifestyle is a refreshing soda, or if you're southern like I am, coke, which is generic for any type of soda pop. I do occasionally buy the organic versions, but they're pricey. I've been wanting to try my hand at making ginger ale for some time, so I finally decided to take the plunge. I basically followed Alton's recipe with the following exceptions: Instead of 1.5 Tbl grated ginger, I sliced up 2 oz. of peeled ginger and threw it in the saucepan with the sugar water. I didn't let it steep for an hour, but just threw everything in the container with the water, lemon juice and yeast. I've seen other recipes that suggest leaving the ginger in, so I did.
Alton Brown's Ginger Ale
It's supposed to ferment for 48 hours to produce carbonation, and then I'm supposed to place it in the refrigerator. I have it in a plastic container now, but once it's ready, I plan to strain it into some pretty resealable soda pop bottles. I wanted to ferment it in a gallon glass bottle, but I've read stories about exploding glass, so I decided to go first with plastic. Most recipes recommend using a 2-liter bottle, but I don't have any since we don't buy soda anymore.
This leads me to the bread bucket part of my post. Buckets, what a great segway. I have fallen in love with no knead bread, but didn't really have an appropriate container in which to house the dough in the refrigerator. I tried keeping a plate over a ceramic bowl, but the dough would get hard on top, and I really try to avoid using plastic wrap. I think it's just a waste. Anyway, I went to the nearest restaurant supply store to pick up a food grade bucket and lid, and when I got down there, the price I was quoted over the phone was way less than the actual price. I was pretty upset and wasn't going to spend that much on a bucket. On the way home, I stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few items, and while I was there, I noticed the frosting buckets stacked up behind the bakery counter. I asked the lady if she had an empty bucket with a lid, and she had three, so the hot pink icing, neon green icing, and doughnut glaze buckets came home with me. They are probably about 2-3 gallons each. It was a breeze mixing up the bread dough in the bucket, and the lid should keep the air out. There's plenty of room to double the recipe if I want to. I put the ginger ale in one of the other ones and closed the lid up tight.
These buckets would also to great for self-watering container projects. I think a pepper plant would do well in this size, maybe even an eggplant or okra.
I plan to hit the grocery store on a regular basis now to see if I can score some more free buckets.
Have you ever made ginger ale? How did it turn out? Any learning experiences you can share?