Soaps on soaps on soaps: no drama here just fun people making soaps

Yeast Culture Club gathered on a cool fall day to make soaps using only the most precious of waxes, bee’s wax.  To indicate how precious bee’s wax is: it  takes 29.2 pounds of nectar to produce that 8 pounds of honey to make that 1 pound of wax. So if you are a beekeeper you really gotta mind your beeswax (ahem). Now that you have regained composure, you should know that the University of Maryland’s Beekeeping club did not mind kindly allotting us some of their precious product to use for this project. So we only had to purchase the rest of the ingredients which are somewhat readily viewable in the following images:

We mixed all of these ingredients together each in their own due time until we created this here vanilla pudding looking mixture:

20171115_194501.jpg     20171115_194508

Be warned!: This is the last vanilla pudding you will ever ingest if you do.

This has lye all over, within, and between it. And that’s not a lie. Lye is an extremely caustic chemical that will burn your skin upon contact. So imagine what it will do to your insides

And then it was time to pour!


Here is Angela, our President at the time, poised to pour the dangerous mixture with all the grace and poise of a  future princess.

We poured and leveled out the mixture in our high tech next generation not yet patented molds and a really pretty bee-esque mold to be featured below. And then we let the soap sit for a couple of weeks to allow the lye to cure in that yellow box on the fridge in the top left corner.

And the finished product is below this paragraph. We took the cured soap and cut it into bite size pieces and convinced each other not to eat them despite how yummy they smelled . We packaged some of the soaps n the most pinteresting ways. We had a winter holiday theme going because we had just made wreaths.

Ta Daaaaa! These pretty pretty aromatic handmade soaps are ready to lather  your skin and soothe your olfactory senses. o

Leave a comment if you are interested in acquiring them or learning more about how we made the soaps.

Continue reading “Soaps on soaps on soaps: no drama here just fun people making soaps”

YCC makes Goat Cheese



Goat Cheese art

8. Form the goat cheese into logs and roll the logs in your favorite toppings. We used fresh dill, scallions and dried cranberries.


YCC Quick Tip: Speeding up carbonation.

Typically when bottle conditioning a homebrew it takes at least 2 weeks or more to properly carbonate the beer, however if you need to carbonate the beer faster, we have a useful trick that will reduce the carbonation time to just 6 days.

All you have to do is gently rouse the yeast and invert each bottle once per day for the first 5 days after bottling. After chilling the beer for a few hours on the 6th day it will be fully carbonated, this will work even for high ABV stouts that would otherwise take 3 weeks to carbonate.

Basically this just wakes up the yeast which is resting on the bottom of the bottle and increases their surface area, allowing the yeast to work more efficiently.

See the video below for a demonstration. Happy homebrewing.

Cocktail Bitters and Shrubs


A Shrub is is a concentrated syrup that combines fruit, sugar, and vinegar, and when combined with club soda or tonic, makes a delicious effervescent beverage. Shrubs also make a great addition of any of your favorite cocktails.

If your looking for a way to add a special touch to your cocktails, why not try making your own house bitters, it’s a really simple process once you gather all the necessary spices and herbs. This week we made 2 shrubs, and a batch of orange bitters. For our first attempt we made a Strawberry Mint Shrub, and a Mixed Berry/Lemon Balm Shrub with Strawberries, Raspberries, and Blackberries. The addition of Mint and Lemon Balm to the shrubs really complemented the fruity and tart flavors, these are going to make some truly excellent drinks. Cheers

House Orange Bitters

  • 3 oz Dried Orange Peels
  • 2 Whole Cardamon Pods (Crushed)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Corriander Seeds (Crushed)
  • 1/2 tsp caraway seeds (Crushed)
  • 1 3/4 oz Rich Demerara Syrup 2:1
  • 750 ml high proof neutral spirit (Vodka, Everclear, Overproof Rum)
  1. Prepare the Rich Demerara Syrup 2:1 (1/2 cup  Demerara  sugar, 1/4 cup water)
  2. Crush or grind all the spices, and combine everything is a jar, store at room temp.
  3. Shake once per day for 1 week, then strain and bottle

The magic ratio for shrubs is 1:1:1

  • 1 part fruit
  • 1 part simple syrup (1 part water and 1 part sugar)
  • 1 part cider vinegar.
  1. Add 1 part simple syrup to a pot and begin heating
  2. Add an equal amount of the desired fruit, and simmer on medium until the fruit has broken down and released all it’s fruity goodness.
  3. Add any optional herbs or spices near the end of the boil
  4. Add 1 part cider vinegar and allow to cool.
  5. Strain though cheese cloth or a nut milk bag to remove all the fruit pulp.
  6. The shrub can then be used immediately and/or stored in the refrigerator for 4-6 months.

Eat the enemy! Invasive species pesto 

Step 1: Go on a slow walk through the woods with your friends and your club mascot. Bring along a plant connoisseur if you can (lucky us, we have Ross Whitehead!) and learn all about edible plants of the Mid Atlantic while you stroll. If you’re planning to forage, avoid places where there may be pollutants (like roadsides) – some contaminants could be taken up by plants.

Step 2: Pick some delicious invasive species for your pesto: mugwort (Artemesia vulgaris), garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), and wild onion (Allium vineale).

Step 3: Pour yourselves some homebrews and blend your harvest with olive oil, toasted walnuts, and parmesan cheese (optional additions: lemon juice, salt and pepper).

Step 4: EAT THE ENEMY! Preferably on a sunny rooftop in very flattering light. Thanks to Ross for taking us through this journey!

Teaching Microbiology -An Adventure in Identifying Microbes

Hi All,

For all who did not attend Maryland Day this year, the Micallef Food Safety lab had hand washing exhibits,  bacteria viewing under the microscope, and adventures to find out what microbe you most identify with! Below is an example of a quick interactive game our lab came up with to get kids (6- 12) interested about microbiology and food safety ! It is a choose your own adventure based pamphlet full of fun questions and valuable information on the top food safety microbes. Please feel free to use this as an instructional tool in your educational setting!




Cup o’ Joe: Founders Breakfast Stout Clone


This brew was one of our favorites! We thought it would be great with savory waffles, but we drank it all before we got a chance to test our hypothesis.

Modified from this recipe.

Brew Method: Extract
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 5 gallons

Original Gravity: 1.092
Final Gravity: 1.020
ABV: 9.45%

1 lb – Flaked oats
1 lb – Chocolate malt
12 oz – Roast barley malt
9 oz – Dibittered black malt
7 oz – Crystal malt (120)

6.6 lb – Liquid Malt Extract – Breiss light, unhopped
1.7 lb – Dry Malt Extract – Light

1 oz – Nugget Pellets
1 oz – Willamette Pellets

4 oz – Sumatran coffee
2.5 oz – semi-sweet chocolate chips
1.5 oz – unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped
1/2 tsp – Irish Moss

White Labs – American Ale #WLP001



1. Steep grains @ 155-160 for 30 minutes in 3 gallons of water
2. Remove grains and rinse with hot water
3. Add LME and DME and bring to a boil. Set timer for 60 min
4. At start of boil, add 1 oz nugget hops and start timer for 60 min
5. With 30 min left on the boil, add 0.5 oz willamette hops
6. At 15 min, add irish moss and wort chiller
7. At 0 min (flameout), add 0.5 oz willamette hops, 2 oz coffee, and all chocolate
8. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature
9. Transfer wort to primary fermenter and top up with water to 5 gallons.
10. Add yeast and swirl to incorporate and aerate
11. Ferment in primary for 7-14 days
12. Rack to secondary fermenter and add 2 oz coffee
13. After 7-14 days, prime and bottle
14. Bottle condition 2-3 weeks and enjoy!


Fermented Hot Sauce








3.5 lb hot peppers (whatever looks fun at the international market), stems removed
2 medium carrots, sliced
1 head garlic, peeled
1/2 C sea or kosher salt (some people found it a little salty – you may want to add less)
1/2 C starter (whey* or liquid from sauerkraut)
1/2 C lime juice
1/4 C honey
1/4 tsp xanthan gum


1. Blend peppers, carrots, garlic, salt, and starter
2. Cover and ferment at room temperature 1-2 weeks, stirring or shaking daily
3. Blend and strain through cheesecloth
4. Add lime juice, honey, and xanthan gum
5. Refrigerate and enjoy!


Jalapeno (added more lime and garlic)
Jamaican red (super spicy)
Long red (solidly delicious)
Mystery green (international store bargain bin)
Fresno (for sriracha clone)

*We strained whey from a quart of whole milk yogurt with live cultures and got enough whey for about 2-3 lbs of peppers


Guava Belgian Pale Ale

IMG_20160330_192621Tonight we’re brewing our third batch of this beer, a favorite recipe created and led by Cesar.

Brew Method: Extract
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 5 gallons

Original Gravity: 1.052
Final Gravity: 1.012
ABV: 5.25%

10 oz – Carapils
10 oz – Honey Malt

4 lb – Dry Malt Extract – Pilsen Light
1 lb – Dry Malt Extract – Wheat Breiss

1 oz – Belma Pellets
1 oz – Citra Pellets

1 oz – Bitter Orange Peel (dried)
1.5 g – Paradise Seeds
1 lb – Peeled Fresh Guava, in 1″ chunks
1 tsp – Irish Moss
2 lb – Frozen Guava Pulp (for secondary)

White Labs – Monastery Ale Yeast #WLP500


1. Steep grains @ 155-160 for 30 minutes in 3 gallons of water
2. Remove grains and add DME
3. Bring to boil and set timer for 60 minutes
4. With 15 minutes left, add irish moss and wort chiller
5. At 10 min, add fresh guava
6. At 7 min, add belma and citra hops
7. At 5 min, add seeds of paradise and orange peel
8. At 0 min, remove from heat and transfer wort to primary fermenter
9. Top up with water to 5 gallons.
10. Cool to pitching temp and add yeast
11. Ferment in primary for 7-14 days
12. Rack to secondary fermenter and add guava pulp
13. After 7-14 days, prime and bottle
14. Bottle condition 2-3 weeks and enjoy!