how to make vinegar at home Books – Fermenting Vinegar

Books – Fermenting Vinegar – how to make vinegar at home

Bettina Malle, Helge Schmickl
Publisher: Spikehorn Press U.S.A., © 2015
178 pages, hardcover, full-color photographs & illustrations
ISBN: 978-1-943015-02-3
Table of contents
Bettina Malle, Helge Schmickl
Verlag Die Werkstatt
2. überarbeitete Auflage 2015
206 Seiten, Hardcover, durchgehend farbig bebildert
ISBN: 978-3-7307-0229-1

Dr. Bettina Malle - how to make vinegar at home Books – Fermenting Vinegar

Dr. Bettina Malle

Dr. Helge Schmickl - how to make vinegar at home Books – Fermenting Vinegar

Dr. Helge Schmickl

Bettina Malle and Helge Schmickl graduated from the Vienna University of Technology in 1991 with a master of science in chemical engineering and received doctorates in technical sciences in 1993. Each earned a bachelor of business administration degree from the Graduate School of Business Administration Zurich while designing, engineering, and commissioning industrial plants and managing research and development projects. Thereafter they worked as technical and business consultants until 1998.

Malle and Schmickl believe it should be possible for everyone to produce exquisite spirits with fruit and herbs right from the garden. In 1998, they developed their first still, designed to maximize the flavor of alcoholic distillates. That same year, they launched their first webpage and online store and began to host small-scale distilling workshops. They published the results and conclusions of their experiments as well as detailed instructions and many recipes for crafting distilled spirits in their 2003 book Schnapsbrennen als Hobby (The Artisan’s Guide to Crafting Distilled Spirits). It became the standard reference book for home distillers in German-spoken countries and is now in its eleventh Edition.

In the meantime they designed and constructed an optimized still for producing essential oils and hydrosols on a small scale. Due to its special designed condenser and adapted shape, the still makes it possible to obtain plenty of oil and intense hydrosols with only small amounts of base material. The two have hosted essential oil workshops and an online store since 2002 and published the reference book Ätherische Öle selbst herstellen (The Essential Oils Maker’s Handbook) in 2005. The book is now in its sixth edition, and Malle and Schmickl’s still is the preferred device among small-scale users in the fields of phyto-aromatherapy and herbology throughout the German-speaking region. It is widely used in many other courses, workshops, and seminaries as well as in research institutes, universities, colleges, and other educational Services.

In 2008 Schmickl and Malle engineered and constructed a small-scale, modified vinegar generator that is a fixed-bed reactor with immobilized vinegar bacteria. The construction enables the use of miscellaneous packing materials, especially fruit, herbs, and spices, to improve or change the taste of the resulting vinegar. Additionally they developed a method to analyze the residual alcohol content in vinegar, which is simple, cheap, and accurate enough to determine a concentration of 0.1 percent. Their book Essig herstellen als Hobby (The Artisanal Vinegar Maker’s Handbook) was published in 2010, they have hosted vinegar workshops and their vinegar webpage with online store since 2011.

Bettina and Helge have been married since 2002. That same year they moved to Klagenfurt, Carinthia (Austria), where they host their seminars and conduct research and developments in fermenting and distilling. They have two children.


Vinegar making is a very ancient craft. Mankind first harnessed the creation of vinegar, along with its preservative and medicinal qualities, more than ten thousand years ago. Nowadays, however, most guides to making your own vinegar are limited to allowing wine to ferment on its own, often with less-than-stellar results. Truly high-quality vinegar production is an art and science in itself. Austrian distillers Helge Schmickl and Bettina Malle use their experience and scientific background to provide special insight into the creation of artisanal vinegars.

Translated into English for the first time, this guide offers tips on vinegar fermentation, distillation, and infusion. Schmickl and Malle instruct readers on the three processes commonly used to make vinegar—generator, surface, and submerged—as well as the ideal equipment for both the casual beginner and small-scale producer. Schmickl and Malle’s meticulous experimentation has uncovered the optimal conditions for creating high-quality vinegar using every imaginable starter material, from wines to fruits to herbs. Readers will also learn recipes for using their vinegar in cooking, cleaning, and healthy living.

Detailed, step-by-step instructions for over a hundred recipes illuminate this fascinating process for beginners, and even experienced vinegar crafters are bound to refine their techniques.

Table of contents:
    Preface to the English Edition
    Preface to the First Edition
  1. Historical Background
  2. Fundamentals
    • What is Vinegar?
      Characteristics of a good vinegar
    • Chemical processes
      How does vinegar form?: Synthetic production, Microbiological Production (Step 1: Alcoholic Fermentation, Step 2: Acetic Fermentation)
      Vinegar bacteria
      Thermal balance
    • Types of vinegar
      Fermented vinegar: Wine vinegar, Fruit vinegar, White vinegar (distilled vinegar, brandy/spirit vinegar), Malt vinegar, Beer vinegar, Cider vinegar, Pickling vinegar, Potato vinegar, Raisin vinegar, Whey vinegar, Rice vinegar, Honey vinegar, Pomace vinegar, Balsamic vinegar
      Infused vinegar: Aromatic and spice vinegar, Fruit vinegar
      Minimum acidity
  3. Microbiological Vinegar Production Processes
    • Surface processes
      Orleans process, Pasteur process
    • Generator processes
      Rolling generators, Rotating generators, Boerhaave process, Schüzenbach’s quick vinegar process (German process), Circulating or trickling generator (Frings generator)
    • Submerged processes, Frings acetator
  4. Making your own vinegar
    • Alcoholic fermentation — preparation of the mash
      Types of fruit and starchy products; Treatment of the fruit; Fermenting container; Traditional cider and fruit mashes; Conventional mashes; High-grade mashes, concentrating the mash, adding sugar to the mash; Starch mashes; Checking the progress of the fermentation; End of fermentation; Fermentation problems; Filtration; Storage; Using finished wine, fruit wine, mead, cider, perry, beer, distillate
    • Vinegar fermentation
      Traditional method
      Simple vinegar fermentation: Equipment, Alcohol, Acidity, Vinegar bacteria, Fermentation temperature, Fermentation progress and further treatment, Produce more vinegar, Summary
      Improved surface process: Ratio of alcohol content to acidity, total concentration; Mineral nutrients; Acid-proof materials; Equipment and preparation (Airflow, Water bath or heat mat, Active vinegar culture - mother of vinegar, Pasteurizing); Instructions for the improved surface process
      Generator process: Advantages of the generator process, Basic assembly of the apparatus, Making the apparatus yourself, Schmickl vinegar generator, Vinegar generator - A brief user guide, Detailed instructions for the generator process (Pretreatment of the packing material, Starting the process, Spray schedule, Fermentation progress, Produce more vinegar or increase the total concentration)
      Reactivating, multiplying, and storing vinegar cultures: Surface processes: Reactivation and multiplying (Living vinegar; Store-bought vinegar culture; Gelatinous mother of vinegar; Thaw frozen living vinegar; Active packing material from a generator; Store-bought, unpasteurized vinegar), Storage of active vinegar (Bottle the living vinegar, Mothers of vinegar, Freeze); Generator processes: Reactivation and multiplying (Frozen or fresh active packing material, Create more active packing material, Adding living vinegar to the generator), Storage of active packing material
      Problems, contamination, unwanted smells, and pests during fermentation: Fermentation problems, Fungal contamination, Unwanted smells, Animal pests (Vinegar eels, Small fruit flies - vinegar flies, Vinegar mites), Alcohol issues (Causes and remedies), Overoxidation, Slime accumulation
  5. Chemical Analysis
    • Determining acetic acid content
      Titration with a burette: Necessary equipment, Titration instructions, Taking readings from the burette
      Acidometer cylinder and 2/15 N blue caustic solution
      Hydrometer for vinegar
    • Determining alcohol content
      Alcohol content of a distillate: Hydrometer, alcoholometer; Refractometer; Pycnometry
      Alcohol content in the mash and in the vinegar: Vaporimeter, Vinometer, Ebullioscope, Alcohol measurement with a hydrometer for vinegar (Instruction, Calculation), Frings-Alkograph, Alcohol measurement with the Rebelein method, Photometric alcohol measurement, Alcohol measurement with IR-Spectrometer, Alcocontrol measuring system, Alcohol measurement with the Schmickl method (Alcohol content calculation without previous titration - wine, mashes, liqueurs; Alcohol content calculation with previous titration - vinegar), Comparison of the various measurement methods
      Relative density measurements
  6. Further treatment
    Filtration; Storage; Fining; Carbon treatment; Bottling; Pasteurizing; Dyeing, preserving
  7. Recipes
    • Fermented vinegar
      Apple vinegar, Apricot vinegar, Banana vinegar, Beer vinegar, Blackberry vinegar, Bullace plum vinegar, Cereal vinegar, Cherry vinegar, Cider vinegar, Currant vinegar, Elderberry vinegar, Fig vinegar, Honey (mead) vinegar, Juniper berry vinegar, Malt vinegar, Mango vinegar, Medlar vinegar, Mirabelle plum vinegar, Molasses vinegar, Nut vinegar, Peach vinegar, Pear vinegar (perry vinegar), Pineapple vinegar, Plum vinegar, Pomace vinegar, Pomegranate vinegar, Potato vinegar, Prune Plum vinegar, Quince vinegar, Raisin vinegar, Raspberry vinegar, Rice vinegar, Rose hip vinegar, Rowanberry vinegar, Sloe vinegar, Strawberry vinegar, Sugar beet/sugarcane vinegar, Vegetable vinegar, Vegetable vinegar, Whey vinegar, Wine vinegar, Zibartes
    • Fermented vinegar with aromatic packing material
      General instructions
      Specific instructions: Cinnamon; Citrus fruits: Grapefruit, oranges, lemons, limes, etc.; Coffee; Coniferous wood: Fir, spruce, Swiss pine, etc.; Dried fruits, nuts, pumpkin seeds; Fruit, fresh: Berries, fruits with cores or pits; Herbs, hay flowers; Juniper berries; Roots; Wood: Beechwood, oak, etc.
      Case studies: Apricots, Beechwood shavings, Beer, Cider, Cranberries, Damsons, Figs, Grape juice, Herbs, Juniper berries, Lemon peels, Lemongrass, Orange peels, Orange/lemon wine, Pears, Plum wine, Prunes, Raisins, Sloe, Swiss pine cones, Swiss pine shoots, Walnut, Walnuts and Raisins, Whisky (Single Malt), Wine (Retsina, Uhudler, Vitiano Umbria)
    • Balsamic vinegar
      Balsamic vinegar from concentrated fruit juice, Balsamic vinegar from a high-grade mash
    • Infused vinegar
      Herb vinegar: Basil, Borage, Chervil, Chives, Cilantro, Dill, Fennel, Hyssop, Juniper, Lavender, Lemon balm, Lemongrass, Lovage, Marjoram, Mint, Nasturtium, Oregano, Parsley, Pimpinella, Ramson (Wild Garlic), Rosemary, Sage, Savory, Tarragon, Thyme
      Spice and aromatic vinegars: Caraway, Chilies, Cloves, Cinnamon, Dried fruits (e.g., apricots, figs, plums, raisins), Elderflowers, Garlic, Ginger, Honey, Horseradish, Hot peppers, Lemons, Mustard seeds, Nuts, Onions, Oranges, Peppercorns, Peppers, Roses, Spruce tips, Swiss pine, Violets
      Aromatic fruit vinegar: Apples, Apricots, Blackberries, Blueberries, Cherries, Cranberries, Currants, Figs, Lingonberries, Pears, Plums - Mirabelle plums - Sloes, Quinces, Raspberries, Rose hip, Strawberries
    • Mixtures
      Essential oils
  8. Uses
    • Cooking
      Aperitif, Cordial
      Appetizers: Poached Eggs, Roasted Asparagus
      Soup: Cold Vegetable Soup, Pumpkin Soup
      Entrees: Goulash, Sweet and Sour Chicken
      Spreads: Apple Spread, Tuna Spread
      Desserts: Strudel Dough for Apple, Curd Cheese, and Meat Swirl Strudel; Syrup for Vanilla Ice Cream Sundae
      Pickling: Pickled Gherkin
    • In the household
      Household Disinfectant, Surgery disinfectant, Air Freshener and Odor Removal, Weed Killer, Stain Removal, Descaler, Mold Removal, Cleaning Agent
    • Medicine
      Wart Removal, Corns, Weight Loss, Vinegar Poultices for Fevers, Hemorrhoids, Varicose Veins, Classic Morning Tonic, Constipation, Bruises and Insect Bites, Hangovers, Hiccups, The Common Cold
    • Cosmetics
      Hair Tonic, Steam Inhalation, Facial Astringent, Exfoliating Scrub, Skin Blemishes, Foot Bath, Bath Additive
  9. Legal Status
    Germany, Austria, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Australia & New Zealand
  10. Afterword


Essig wurde bereits im Altertum von vielen Hochkulturen verwendet, heute ist er fester Bestandteil einer jeden Küche - und mit dem richtigen Know-how ist die Herstellung leichter, als man denkt.

Detailliert und praxisbezogen erklären die Autoren, wie die Herstellung von qualitativ hochwertigem Essig gelingt:

  • Effektive Verfahren
  • Notwendige Gerätschaften
  • Einfache, aber genaue Methoden zur Essigsäure- und Restalkoholbestimmung
  • Geeignete Kräuter, Obst- und Gemüsesorten
  • Praktische Anwendungsmöglichkeiten
  • Tipps und Tricks

Über 100 Rezepte zeigen, wie vielfältig die Geschmackspalette des Essigs ist. Auch seine Anwendungsmöglichkeiten in der Küche, im Haushalt, in der Kosmetik oder als Heilmittel werden ausführlich dargestellt.

  1. Historischer Rückblick
  2. Grundlagen
    Was ist Essig?
    Chemische Vorgänge: Wie entsteht Essig, Die Essigbakterien, Wärmebilanz
    Essigarten: Vergorener Essig, Ansatzessig, Mindestsäuregehalt
  3. Mikrobiologische Verfahren zur Essigherstellung
    Oberflächenverfahren: Orléansverfahren, Pasteurverfahren
    Fesselverfahren: Rollbildner, Drehbildner, Boerhaaveverfahren, Schnellessigverfahren nach Schüzenbach, Generatorenverfahren (Großraumbildner, Rundpumpverfahren)
  4. Essig selbst herstellen
    • Die Alkoholgärung
      Zubereitung des Gärweines, Obst- bzw. Stärkesorten, Behandlung des Obstes, Gärfass, Herkömmliche Maische, Hochgradige Maische, Stärkehaltige Maische, Kontrolle des Gärverlaufs, Gärende, Gärprobleme, Filtration, Aufbewahrung, Verwendung von fertigem Wein / Most / Destillat
    • Die Essiggärung
      Oberflächenverfahren: Einfache Essiggärung (Apparatur und Materialien, Durchführung der einfachen Gärung), Verbessertes Oberflächenverfahren (Apparatur und Vorbereitung, Gärbehälter und Füllhöhe, Belüftung, Wasserbad, Aktive Essigkultur, Essigmutter, Pasteurisierung, Durchführung des Oberflächenverfahrens)
      Fesselverfahren: Vorteile Fesselverfahren, Prinzipieller Aufbau der Apparatur (Reaktor, Füllkörper, Gärmedium-Behälter), Essigreaktor nach Schmickl, Selbstbauapparatur, Durchführung des Fesselverfahrens, Vorbehandlung der Füllkörper, Einsäuern (Einsäuerung mit lebendem Essig, Einsäuern mit Gärstarter, Einsäuern bei Zeolithen), Inbetriebnahme der Apparatur, Normalbetrieb
      Essigkulturen reaktivieren, vermehren und aufbewahren: lebender Essig, Essigmutter, aktive Füllkörper, Essigkulturen tieffrieren
      Gärprobleme, Krankheiten, Fehlgerüche, Parasiten: Gärprobleme, Pilzinfektionen (Kahmhefe), Fehlgerüche, Tierische Schädlinge (Essigälchen, Essigfliege, Maden ...), Alkoholstörungen, Ursachen und Abhilfe, Überoxidation, Verschleimen
  5. Analytik
    • Bestimmung der Essigsäure
      Titration mit Bürette (Erforderliches Zubehör, Durchführung der Titration, Ablesen der Bürette), Säurezylinder und Blaulauge (Gerätschaften, Durchführung), Aräometer (Essigspindel)
    • Bestimmung des Alkoholgehaltes
      Alkoholgehalt in einem Destillat: Aräometer (Alkoholometer), Refraktometer, Pyknometrie
      Alkoholgehalt in der Maische und im Essig: Vinometer, Ebullioskop, Alkoholbestimmung nach Rebelein, Photometrische Alkoholbestimmung, Alkoholbestimmung nach Schmickl (Säurebestimmung, Halbmikrodestillation, Alkoholbestimmung), Alkoholbestimmung mit Essigspindel (nur für Essig)
    • Vergleich unterschiedlicher Messmethoden
    • Relative Dichtemessmethoden
      Essigspindel, Alkoholometer, Oechsle-Waage, Klosterneuburger Mostwaage
  6. Weiterbehandlung
    Filtration, Lagerung, Schönung, Kohlebehandlung, Abfüllen, Pasteurisieren, Färben und Konservieren
  7. Rezepte
    • Gärungsessig
      Ananasessig, Apfelessig, Aprikosenessig (Marillenessig), Bananenessig, Bieressig, Birnenessig, Brombeeressig, Erdbeeressig, Feigenessig, Gemüseessig, Getreideessig, Granatapfelessig, Hagebuttenessig, Himbeeressig, Holunderbeerenessig, Johannisbeerenessig (Ribiselessig), Kartoffelessig, Kirschessig, Kirschpflaumenessig, Kriecherlessig (Kriechen-Pflaumenessig), Malzessig, Mangoessig, Melasseessig, Metessig, Mirabellenessig, Mispelessig, Molkeessig, Mostessig, Nussessig, Pfirsichessig, Quittenessig, Reisessig, Rosinenessig, Schlehenessig, Tresteressig, Vogelbeeressig, Wacholderessig, Weinessig, Zuckerrübenessig / Zuckerrohressig, Zwetschgenessig, Pflaumenessig
    • Gärungsessig mit Aromapackung
      Vorgehensweise, Früchte (frisch, Beeren, Stein- und Kernobst), Hölzer (Buche, Eiche...), Kaffee, Kräuter, Heublumen, Nadelhölzer (Tannen, Fichten, Zirbelkiefer...), Trockenfrüchte, Dörrobst, Nüsse, Kürbiskerne, Wacholderbeeren, Zimt, Zitrusfrüchte (Grapefruit, Orangen, Zitronen, Limetten ...)
    • Balsamessig (Balsamico)
      Balsamessig aus eingedicktem Fruchtsaft, Balsamessig aus hochgradiger Maische
    • Ansatzessig
      Kräuteressig: Bärlauch, Basilikum, Bohnenkraut, Borretsch, Dill, Estragon, Fenchel, Kapuzinerkresse, Kerbel, Koriander, Lavendel, Liebstöckel, Majoran, Minze, Oregano, Petersilie, Pimpernelle, Rosmarin, Salbei, Schnittlauch, Thymian, Wacholder, Ysop, Zitronengras, Zitronenmelisse
      Gewürz- und Aromaessig: Ätherische Öle, Chili (Tabascosauce), Fichtenspitzen, Holunderblüte, Honig, Ingwer, Knoblauch, Kümmel, Meerrettich (Kren), Orangen, Nelken, Nuss, Paprika, Peperoni, Pfeffer, Rosen, Senfkörner, Trockenfrüchte (Aprikosen, Feigen, Pflaumen, Rosinen ...), Veilchen, Zimt, Zirbelkiefer (Zirbe), Zitronen, Zwiebel
      Fruchtaromaessig: Äpfel, Aprikosen (Marillen), Birnen, Brombeeren, Cranberries (Moosbeeren), Erdbeeren, Feigen, Hagebutte, Heidelbeere, Himbeere, Johannisbeere (Ribisel), Kirsche, Preiselbeere, Quitten, Zwetschgen, Pflaumen, Kriecherln, Schlehen
  8. Anwendungen
    • Küche
      Aperitif, Digestif, Salat, Vorspeise (Pochierte Eier, Gebratener Spargel), Suppe (Kalte Gemüsesuppe, Kürbissuppe), Hauptspeise (Gulasch, Huhn süß-sauer), Aufstrich (Apfelaufstrich, Thunfischaufstrich), Dessert (Strudelteig, Vanilleeissalat), Senf, Einlegen, Essiggurken
    • Haushalt
      Raumdesinfektion, Geruchsentfernung, Unkrautvernichter, Fleckenentferner, Entkalker, Anti-Schimmel, Putzmittel (Sanitärbereich, Waschmaschine, Fenster, Spiegel, Backofen, Geschirrspüler)
    • Gesundheit
      Warzen, Hühneraugen, Abnehmen, Essigwickel gegen Fieber, Hämorrhoiden, Krampfadern, Morgentrunk - der Klassiker, Verstopfung, Prellungen, Insektenstiche, "Kater", Schluckauf, Erkältungen (Schnupfen, Halsschmerzen, Husten, Fiebrige Erkältung)
    • Kosmetik
      Haarwasser (Haarausfall, Schuppen, Läuse), Inhalation, Gesichtswasser, Peeling, Hautunreinheiten, Fußbad, Badezusatz
  9. Rechtliche Situation
    Deutschland, Österreich, Schweiz
  10. Epilog

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