This cider recipe is just a little different where it includes cinnamon to make the cider taste more than just a little like the apple pies your mom used to make before she decided it was far cheaper and easier just to buy them from the supermarket freezer. The cider will be a nice mid-strength 5-6% alcohol and be very pleasant to drink with just a hint of spice. Although cinnamon is often used as an accompaniment to cider we shall use it in this recipe as an addition to the fermentation process.
- Four liters (1 Gallon) Apple Juice
- One Apple, cored, peeled and diced
- 80g (3oz) Lactose OR 2g (1 teaspoon) wine sweeter
- 1/4 stick of cinnamon
- Cider Yeast
Start your preparations by cleaning and sterilizing your fermenter, its lid or cork, and the airlock. Any other items that come into contact with the cider ingredients should be clean and sterile too, including knives, cutting boards, and peelers. Rinse these items with tap water thoroughly after sterilization.
All ciders that include fresh ingredients should be prepared fairly quickly to avoid fruit oxidizing or being contaminated. Prepare the apple (or apples depending on the size of the batch) first by washing peeling and coring it before washing it gently once again. Washing it twice will put the wild yeasts in the minority avoiding the need for Campden tablets. If in doubt treat the whole cider before pitching the yeast with 1 crushed Campden tablet per 4 liters (1 gallon) of cider and allow to stand for at least 24 hours. Dice the apple into cubes that will readily fit through the neck of your fermenter.
Add the apple juice to the sterile fermenter and if you are using lactose to sweeten your cider mix it with 1/2 cup of water and add it too. Pitch the yeast, add the cubes of apple and the cinnamon then seal the fermenter. The airlock should start to bubble in a few hours to a few days depending on conditions and the yeast that you are using, indicating that fermentation has commenced.
Once fermentation has slowed down and the airlock bubbles perhaps once per minute rack the cider by siphoning it into another sterile fermenter taking care not to stir up the yeast on the bottom of the original fermenter. Racking removes unwanted sediment and should be performed at one or two intervals until the cider is clear. If you have chosen to use an artificial sweetener add it to your cider at the first racking.
Once you are satisfied with the level of sediment in your homemade cider sterilize the bottles, their caps, and your siphon. Siphon the cider into the cider bottle once again taking care not to stir up the sediment (if any) at the bottom of the fermenter. If you wish to carbonate your cider fill the bottles prime the cider with one teaspoon (5 grams) per 750ml(1.5 pints) before capping.
Store the sealed bottles of cider in a dark place at room temperature for at least 3 months and allow it to age. Aging cider is much like aging wine or beer where the flavor improves over time due to chemical changes in the cider. You will find a cider is much better at six months than at three. Some ciders may need up to a year for the flavor to fully develop.
If you are using freshly made juice that is not pasteurized or sterilized you should treat it with one Campden tablet per gallon (4 liters) of juice and allow it to stand for at least 24 hours prior to pitching the yeast regardless of what the recipe states.
For a different taste consider adding one can of apple pie filling per gallon (4 liters) of cider instead of cinnamon and apples. Make sure it has no added preservatives.
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