Sunday, February 27, 2011

Homemade Orange Soda


Carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, sodium benzoate, gum arabic, natural flavor, glycerol ester of wood rosin, yellow 6, red 40, brominated vegetable oil

Orange Juice, water, sugar, yeast

These are two very different sodas, in taste, appearance and contents. Really they aren't even comparable. What we made was more akin to Orangina than store bought Orange Soda. (thankfully I love Orangina)

The process takes 1-3 days and has the potential of exploding (if too much gas is produced) or being flat (if none is produced) and eventually if left on the shelf too long would resemble some kind of wine. In fact homemade soda does have very small amount of alcohol in it, due to the process of fermenting with yeast. Of course you'd have to drink gallons to have any ill effects...and I think your body would be more concerned with the amount of liquid in it than it's alcohol content.

Fermentation of glucose. One glucose molecule is converted into two ethanol molecules and two carbon dioxide molecules:

C6H12O6 → 2 C2H5OH (alcohol) + 2 CO2 (fizzy deliciousness)

But, when we opened the bottle for the first time we could definitely smell the yeast/alcohol. It didn't stop us from tasting it, but it did cause me to stop and do some research on it. All sources I've found so far say that it has less than 1%, and one woman tested hers and it had 0.65%. Non-alcoholic beer has about 0.5%, beer about 4%, wine and wine coolers 10% to give you an idea.

The recipes I found varied greatly. So I got the general idea and tried my own way. I heated 3/4 cup of sugar with about 4 cups water, then I took it off the fire and added 4 cups of orange juice. Once it was cool enough I added the yeast, about 1 tsp. I did not strain it, and I bottled it within 10 minutes of adding the yeast (In a leftover 2L soda bottle). I made the soda at 3pm on Thursday and by night time I think it was ready (ready=you can feel the plastic bottle firm up), but I waited until Friday morning before putting it in the fridge. (refrigeration slows the fermentation to nearly a halt...but not quite)

I liked it, because of the slight "beer" smell it made me feel like I was drinking grown up soda. The kids tried it, but didn't love it. I think next I will shorten the fermentation time...with soda you want to stop the fermentation as soon as you have the desired level of carbonation. I think I will also strain it before I bottle it, to reduce the sediment at the bottom.

GingerAle is next, and this time I think I will stick with the recipe from Mother Earth News.

For another interesting read check out this post for homemade blueberry soda. She actually makes her culture, rather than buying and adding yeast.


DanK said...

I'd suggest using wine yeasts instead of baking yeasts to get rid of the sulphur-y yeast bite.

I use Red Star's Cotes de Blanc wine yeast in my sodamaking, and get a neutral fermentation/carbonation in the same amount of time (~1-2 days with 1/4 tsp yeast per gallon).

Another trick is using the yeast from one batch to start another. I usually make a batch of ginger ale, and, when straining into containers to store it, use the yeast colony / sediment on the bottom to start my orange soda batch. That way, you don't need to add additional yeast, and it adds a nice ginger flavor. Only downside is you get more sediment, so I only reuse the sediment once.

Maggie said...

Thanks Dan! I will give it a try. We tried three times, and each time it tasted too yeasty...but I was using the bread yeast I had on hand.

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