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Mustacei - must cakes - opinion of definition of "must"

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  • viavecchiawinery
    As a traditional winemaker, no added yeasts, sugars, colors, enzymes and all that guff, I ve an interest in what translators of the mustacei (must cake)
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 8, 2007
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      As a traditional winemaker, no added yeasts, sugars, colors, enzymes
      and all that guff, I've an interest in what translators of the
      mustacei (must cake) recipes believe "grape must" to be. I know they
      may be intepreting recipes to meet what is readily available to
      people in stores, but believing there are finicky/pedantic people
      out there like me, I offer my interpretation (and help should anyone
      want it).
      I believe there are two kinds of "must";
      1), that which comprises skins, seeds and stalk that sits on top of
      the fermenting wine during the short primary fermentation period
      during late autumn (also known as "marca"); and
      2), the sediment, or lees, that is very fine and silty grape product
      that is deposited during secondary fermentation and during ageing as
      a sediment. This is a powerful anti-ocxidant and enables me to leave
      the sulfiting out of wine. Also a good face-pack astringent.

      So, which kind does Cato et al, refer to in their recipes and
      observations?

      I believe they refer to the sediment or lees for the following
      reasons.

      a) must cakes do not seem to be a seasonal food meaning "must" could
      not be used as it is only avaiable for a very limited period of the
      year (unless they dried it out and used it throughout the year?).
      Lees, or sediment, for those not filtering or chemically filtering
      wine, is available at least until end of the secondary fermentation
      and, to a lesser, extent, during the ageing period. I suspect
      amphorae have been found with lees in the bottom.

      b) there doesn't seem to be any reference to describing seeing grape
      skins in the cake itself, and no complaints about biting on grape
      seeds, suggesting lees are the ingredient. I credit the ancients
      with a desire to save labour where possible and do not believe they
      would have sieved and separated skins from seeds just for a type of
      bread.

      c) the recipes seem to call for added yeasts. The lees do contain
      yeasts that are not consumed during fermentation, but at very
      reduced levels, so some augmentation is required. With must, there
      would be no need to add yeast as the skins have more than enough at
      the primary fermentation stage. Again, I do not seeing ancients
      unucessarily wasting product, so if they added yeast there was good
      reason to and perhaps they were dealing with lees.

      d) these cakes were mainly produced for servants and labourers. As
      such, ingredients at hand would have been used. Lees are available
      for the greater part of a year.

      e) I've seen substitutions of using young wine. Young wine is not
      swimming with grapes and seeds, but would be full of sediment/lees.


      Therefore, my own expirements will proceed with lees, although I
      will try grape skins too.

      Those of you wanting to try the recipe, if you want skins, get back
      to me in fall 2008 and we'll see what we can do, although I provide
      my skins and grape to a person who uses them in soaps and scrubs.

      If you want lees, I have that in abundance and available at times
      when I'm processing the wine ( I follow the lunar cycle for most of
      my activity). Again, first call goes to someone who uses it for face
      packs.

      -Paolo
      Decus et Decorum
    • lennep95
      I think you are right. Here is a recipe that substitutes lees with wine & yeast: Recipe: Saturnalia Must Cake
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 10, 2007
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        I think you are right.

        Here is a recipe that substitutes lees with wine & yeast: Recipe:
        Saturnalia Must Cake
        <http://www.randomhouse.co.uk/lindsey_davis/issue8/8p5.html>

        I took the the liberty referring to your timely post in my blog today,
        must cake, via cato the elder, junilla tacita, and apicius
        <http://romanhistorybooks.typepad.com/roman_history_books_and_m/2007/12/\
        must-cake-via-c.html> .

        Irene



        --- In Apicius@yahoogroups.com, "viavecchiawinery"
        <viavecchiawinery@...> wrote:
        >
        > As a traditional winemaker, no added yeasts, sugars, colors, enzymes
        > and all that guff, I've an interest in what translators of the
        > mustacei (must cake) recipes believe "grape must" to be. I know they
        > may be intepreting recipes to meet what is readily available to
        > people in stores, but believing there are finicky/pedantic people
        > out there like me, I offer my interpretation (and help should anyone
        > want it).
        > I believe there are two kinds of "must";
        > 1), that which comprises skins, seeds and stalk that sits on top of
        > the fermenting wine during the short primary fermentation period
        > during late autumn (also known as "marca"); and
        > 2), the sediment, or lees, that is very fine and silty grape product
        > that is deposited during secondary fermentation and during ageing as
        > a sediment. This is a powerful anti-ocxidant and enables me to leave
        > the sulfiting out of wine. Also a good face-pack astringent.
        >
        > So, which kind does Cato et al, refer to in their recipes and
        > observations?
        >
        > I believe they refer to the sediment or lees for the following
        > reasons.
        >
        > a) must cakes do not seem to be a seasonal food meaning "must" could
        > not be used as it is only avaiable for a very limited period of the
        > year (unless they dried it out and used it throughout the year?).
        > Lees, or sediment, for those not filtering or chemically filtering
        > wine, is available at least until end of the secondary fermentation
        > and, to a lesser, extent, during the ageing period. I suspect
        > amphorae have been found with lees in the bottom.
        >
        > b) there doesn't seem to be any reference to describing seeing grape
        > skins in the cake itself, and no complaints about biting on grape
        > seeds, suggesting lees are the ingredient. I credit the ancients
        > with a desire to save labour where possible and do not believe they
        > would have sieved and separated skins from seeds just for a type of
        > bread.
        >
        > c) the recipes seem to call for added yeasts. The lees do contain
        > yeasts that are not consumed during fermentation, but at very
        > reduced levels, so some augmentation is required. With must, there
        > would be no need to add yeast as the skins have more than enough at
        > the primary fermentation stage. Again, I do not seeing ancients
        > unucessarily wasting product, so if they added yeast there was good
        > reason to and perhaps they were dealing with lees.
        >
        > d) these cakes were mainly produced for servants and labourers. As
        > such, ingredients at hand would have been used. Lees are available
        > for the greater part of a year.
        >
        > e) I've seen substitutions of using young wine. Young wine is not
        > swimming with grapes and seeds, but would be full of sediment/lees.
        >
        >
        > Therefore, my own expirements will proceed with lees, although I
        > will try grape skins too.
        >
        > Those of you wanting to try the recipe, if you want skins, get back
        > to me in fall 2008 and we'll see what we can do, although I provide
        > my skins and grape to a person who uses them in soaps and scrubs.
        >
        > If you want lees, I have that in abundance and available at times
        > when I'm processing the wine ( I follow the lunar cycle for most of
        > my activity). Again, first call goes to someone who uses it for face
        > packs.
        >
        > -Paolo
        > Decus et Decorum
        >



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