Rice vinegar has a much lighter flavor than other vinegars. It also has a touch of sweetness that comes from rice, which makes it an ideal accompaniment to sweet or sour recipes such as salad dressings. You can buy it ready-made at the supermarket, but it's also a lot of fun to prepare at home. With a little boiled rice, Mãe do Vinagre or rice wine, water and a little patience, it is possible to make a fresh bottle in your own kitchen.
- 2 cups (500 g) of rice cooked with water;
- 30 to 60 ml of Mãe do Vinagre or rice wine;
- 1 L of water.
Makes approximately half a liter of vinegar.
Part 1 of 3: Combining the ingredients
Step 1. Transfer rice and cooking water to a closed container
To make rice vinegar, you will need two cups (500 g) of cooked white rice. Place the beans with the cooking water in a glass or stoneware jar or bottle.
If you use glass, choose a dark style to improve fermentation
Step 2. Add the fermenting ingredient
You will need to use a culture known as Mother of Vinegar for the fermentation process. If you have homemade rice vinegar that has not been filtered, take the top layer and add 30 to 60 ml of product to the rice. In the absence of the Mother of Vinegar, add the same amount of rice wine. Preparation using wine takes longer, but the process is still effective.
- You can buy Mother of Vinegar at various stores on the internet.
- Shaoxing rice wine is also a good choice, which can be found in Asian markets.
Step 3. Cover with water
Pour approximately 1 L of filtered or bottled water into the container. Do not use tap water as it may contain bacteria or other impurities that will affect the fermentation process.
Part 2 of 3: Fermenting Vinegar
Step 1. Cover the contents with a cheese-making cloth
Vinegar needs air to ferment properly. However, contact with dust, dirt and insects should be avoided. Place two or three pieces of cheese fabric over the mouth of the container and secure with elastic tape.
Step 2. Place the mixture in a dark, warm place
Fermentation takes place faster at warmer temperatures, so the ideal is to leave the container in a place between 15 to 27 °C. Also remember that the process must take place in a dark environment.
An attic or pantry shelf are good places to let vinegar ferment
Step 3. Check the mixture in three weeks
The time it takes to fully ferment depends on the temperature, the fermenting agent and how many bacteria are present, and can take anywhere from three weeks to six months. After leaving the mixture intact for three weeks, open the container and smell the contents. If it smells like vinegar, taste it to see if it tastes right. If it has not yet turned to vinegar, cover the container and leave it intact again.
- It is normal for the product to have strange odors during the fermentation process. The scent you're looking for is the strong, acidic aroma of commercial vinegar.
- The taste should be sour and sour, like a commercial product, and should not taste like alcohol.
Step 4. Continue testing the mixture until it turns into vinegar
Depending on the smell and taste of the first test, check it again every week or month. You'll know it's ready when it smells and tastes like vinegar.
It is not recommended to ferment it for a long time. The flavor will change the longer it is fermenting, so when to stop is a matter of personal preference. If you don't want a strong, sour taste, let it ferment a little longer
Part 3 of 3: Straining the Vinegar
Step 1. Filter the mixture with the cheese cloth
When the vinegar has finished fermenting, transfer the tissue from the container to a clean one. Pour the product into the new container to slowly filter out the rice and any solid particles.
- It may be easier to place the fabric over a funnel to transfer the liquid without spilling.
- If you want to do more, keep the slimy skin left on the cheese cloth after filtering the liquid. This is the Mother of Vinegar, which will allow for faster production in the future. Store in a dark glass or stoneware bottle with cheese fabric covering the opening so it still gets the air it needs to live. Keep the container at a temperature between 15 and 27 °C.
Step 2. Leave the vinegar in the fridge for a few hours
The product will be cloudy while it is hot, so it may be beneficial to cool it for a while. Cover the container with the cheese cloth again and chill in the fridge for one to two hours.
Step 3. Use the cheese fabric to filter the vinegar again
After it cools and gets a little cleaner, remove it from the fridge, put a new cheese cloth in the mouth of another clean container and transfer the product to filter it again. Once filtered, it will be ready to be used in any recipe.
- Fresh vinegar should be stored in the refrigerator, and will probably last for three or four months.
- Pasteurize the product if you want it to last longer and to be stored at room temperature. Bring the vinegar to a temperature of 80 °C in a pan and keep it at this temperature for 10 minutes. This is usually easiest to do in a slow-cooker for an hour or two. Pasteurized vinegar will last indefinitely for years.