For those looking for a fast ferment, a little time spent during the preparation stage pays huge dividends in shortening the time for a ferment.
Here is my routine for a fast Vodka at very low cost with no carbon filtering or added clearing compounds.
The secret is in the DAP – di-ammonium phosphate which should be available at a HBS or winemaker supply store along with the Multivitamin.

Ingredients ( for a 23l wash)
4kg Sugar
250g wheat bran
1 Multivitamin tablet
Pinch Epsom salts
½ tsp DAP
Citric acid
50g bakers yeast

I source the bran from the local Stockfood Co ( 5kg bag for $6.50) however most supermarkets will have it as baking bran or miller’s bran. This is not the All-Bran breakfast cereal but works out so much less expensive. at a few cents per wash.

In a large pot (5 litre or bigger) bring 2 to 3 litres of water to the boil (I boil it in the jug first to save time)
Add the 250g of bran, stir, bring back to the boil then simmer for 30 minutes stirring from time to time. It becomes a thin porridge
Dissolve the sugar in warm water and add to the fermenter with cool water to bring quantity up to 20 litres.
Add the crushed MV tab, Epsom salts and DAP.
Once the bran has simmered for 30 mins, add it to the fermenter.
I then adjust the pH to around 5 with the citric acid usually takes about ½ a tsp.
Rehydrate the yeast in 100ml water and add to the mix. Making sure the start temp is below 30C
Stir well ( I use a stick blender to thoroughly aerate it.)
Leave plenty of headroom as this takes off like a rocket. I use a 30l fermenter
Do NOT seal for at least 24 hours as a thick foamy cap will form within an hour. I put it under an airlock only after 36 hrs so I can monitor progress.
This produces a fast ferment ( normally dry to .990 within 3 to 4 days). The start SG is around 1060 so the yeast is not pushed hard to produce off-flavours
Rack off and allow to stand for a couple of days to clear before distilling.
I find this has a nice slightly wheaty taste and is much nicer than the tomato paste based wash and twice as fast to ferment.
Can also be oaked.
I have also tried multi generations with a drop in results. It is so low cost that I have found it not worth saving and reusing the trub, – that goes onto the compost.

Update: After stripping and then a spirit run I have had several litres of this sitting on uncharred oak dominos at 65% for 6 weeks.
Watered down a litre to test and it came through very nicely with a good flavour

I consistently get speeds of 84 to 96 hours from start to dry.

Mk II Version

As above but 200g of bran and 100g kibbled rye
This have turned out to be even better – just as fast but with a little more bite/flavour in the end result. It depends on the finish you want in your vodka.

Note: I always strip several ferments through the pot still column and add them together for a slow spirit run through the reflux column


Here is a graph showing how hard drive capacity has increased compared to the access speed, notice this is shown in a logarithm scale to keep it on the page.



Found a couple gallons of honey in my dead hives that didn’t get robbed out over winter…what a bonus.


Well this has to be the day we call this project finished. There are still a few details to work out, and the railings are out of my control and being manufactured by a local company right now…awaiting their call on when they will want to come and install them.

I haven’t posted an update in quite some time, certainly because i have been busy building the deck. Other updates not made is our decision to rename this project from the Deck Project, to the Addition Project. When I get a more complete timeline and photo journal completed the reason for the rename will become apparent…THIS WAS A HUGE PROJECT!!!

We secured the funds for this project back in early 2007 after 17 years of house construction, broke ground in 2010 (predug footings) after working with a designer from Streamline Designs in Abbotsford, and started actual construction in early 2011.

It was a long process of welding all the brackets, building a support structure that was strong and flat to accommodate our choice of decking, the Timbertech XLM product in Harvest Bronze colour.

As time passes I will try and update coverage of the process with the many photos, and stories I have logged during the process….stay tuned for updates.



Just got home from a week away to some rotten sourdough on the counter…so as I was making up a new batch I had some thoughts I will share.

Yeast strain: There are many strains of yeast suitable for sourdough, of course you may even find these apparently different strains for sale on the net.

For me the obvious and most available choice is to start with bread yeast (because it’s proven)…buy a packet and your set. You can leave flour and water on the counter and you will get a yeast culture…the dominant strain will most likely be suitable and was the first method I used in 1982.

Getting started: Just mix the flour and water and yeast or lack of and your done, treat as any sourdough (not addressed here)…will take a while to get sour.

Adding sugar: Some recipes say add sugar to get started (some even continue to add it), my thoughts are simply that the yeast that consumes the added sugar, are not attacking the starch sugars, and you may end up with a different balance of yeast strain, some preferring the sugar. This may be ok if you are going to continue adding sugar, otherwise this balance may change when stopping the sugar. On permantly adding sugar, I can only speculate a slightly different texture may result if less of the starches are broken down.

Spiking with yeast: Adding yeast to your dough mix may be total blasphemy to some, and I have no doubt that my end results are affected by doing this. My main reason for doing this is lack of schedule, I do not make bread on a regular enough basis to keep my sourdough in the optimal state to make consisitently decent bread. Adding yeast into the dough make sure of a good raise in a somewhat reliable time frame. As for other methods, overnight in the fridge, etc…I make this work for me and aim to get the best results under those circumstances.  I do try and use a small amount of yeast to still make the process at least 8 hours long, but have had no luck with the fridge method as the rise just never seemed to recover.




This recipe originates in an old recipe book (70’s) of my mothers, on recipes using St. Lawrence Corn Oil. I have found other recipes from this book posted online, but not this one. It makes a large and crispy cookie and the method accounts for at least some of that. When you add the hot water to the oil/sugar, it melts the sugar and then it somewhat emulsifies with the oil. I believe this has a lot to do with the consistency of the resulting cookie. Try them our for yourself.


2 Cups Pastry flour or 1 3/4 cups AP flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 Cup Shredded Coconut

2 Cups rolled oats (no not quick oats, gross)

1 Cup Corn Oil (St.Lawrence no longer exists)

1 Cup lightly packed Brown Sugar

1 tsp Baking Soda

1 tsp Vanilla extract

1/4 Cup BOILING Water

1/2 package Chocolate Chips (so 8 oz’s?)…to taste!


Heat oven to 350 Degrees

Sift flour and salt.

Mix in rolled oats and coconut.

Mix oil and brown sugar.

Dissolve baking soda in boiling water.

Stir into oil/sugar mixture.

Add vanilla.

Add flour/salt.

Stir in Choc Chips.

Drop onto baking sheet and flatten with a fork dipped in cold water.

(Because of all the oil these break apart, just push them together and flatten them as best you can)

Bake at 350 for 12 to 15 minutes.

Yield 6 dozen (I’d say more like 50-60)


I know you can buy and endless assortment of these premade, and I just love the Kirkland fish rub from Costco, but we were out of steak rub when this recipe was on a TV show.

Black pepper 1-2 Tsp
Fennel 1 Tsp
Dill 1 Tsp
Mustard seed 1 Tsp
Coriander 1 Tsp
Garlic (granulated) 2 Tsp
Onion (granulated) 1 Tsp
Chile flakes 1-2 Tsp

These are all whole seeds and need to be ground up at least some before using.


Here is a recipe for a crisp topping, we have a lot of berries and some fruit so we make crisps a lot.

Rolled oats 3/4 cup
WW Flour 3/4 cup
Brown sugar 1/2 cup packed
Sunflower seeds 1/4 cup
Wheat germ 1 Tbsp
Butter 1/3 cup melted (min)
Apple juice 1 Tbsp (optional to extend butter)
Cinnamon 1 Tsp (I love Cinnamon)

Don’t forget to add a thickener/moisture absorber to the base, this can be tricky to get right, not to liquid, but not glue either. As a starting point maybe 2 Tbsp flour.

375F for 45-55 minutes (bubbly at least around the edges)


This recipe is one I slightly adapted (so far) from the Western wheat sourdough from Discovering Sourdough by Teresa L Hosier Greenway.

Starter 510g 2 cups
Water 397g 1 3/4 cups
Milk Powder 22g 1/3 cup
Oil 28g 2 Tbsp
Honey 45g 1/8 cup (2Tbsp to 1/4c)
Rye Flour 34g 1/3 cup
Whole Wheat Flour 575g 4.5 cups
Bread Flour 275g 2 1/3 cups
Salt 19.8g 2 tsp (was 3 1/2)

400F for 31 Minutes for two 2lb loaves.

So the recipe calls for everything in at once except the salt for 20 minutes to allow for some autolysis. I have been playing with longer times in the first stage because Teresa has been playing with it, and my original sourdough recipes all call for a premix of some ingredients at least 18 hours early.
The original recipe calls for a bulk ferment of 6-8 hours with a light knead every 2 hours. Form into loaves then refrigerate overnight, allow 1-3 hours to finish proofing after taking out of the fridge.
My method has been to do it in a day, make the dough in the morning, wait 6 hours or so and form into loaves, then another 4-6 hours till it’s raised up where you want it…of course this can vary with temperature, starter, sugar content…so use your judgement after a few attempts.
The original recipe is made in a home made steam chamber that I haven’t managed to duplicate, however I have been using a cookie sheet in the oven, and then pouring BOILING water into it as the last thing before closing the oven door, probably about 1/2 cup or so.
I have also been using a pizza stone and a good long preheat time to 400F to allow that stone to get up to temp. The original recipe is for a single round loaf however I have adapted it to two 2lb loaves so the original time of 40-45 minutes is way too long to get an internal temperature of 200F -205F which my loaves reach in about 31 minutes.

Update 2020: I found this bread would only stay fresh for about 3 days, so I did some research and added a couple ingredients which keeps the freshness for about 5 days.

2 Tbsp Soy Lecithin

1 Tsp Citric acid (or vit C tablet)

Add both ingredients to the water and let soak for a bit to soften up the lecithin for better mixing.

Good luck


So I am coming to the point where I am going to be installing the 14 foot joists. These boards need to be straight, so I’ve got them stacked and stickered to reduce warpage.
I also have the longest perpendicular run across the joists, which means I have to pay special attention to the thickness of the joists since they vary in width by up to 1/2 inch. So I have to make sure that they decrease in width as they get forther from the house. This means they should all be of similar dryness, and I have to select and sort through them all, rather than just picking the top one and cutting to length and treating.

© 2012 Life Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha