Baobab Fruit Mead
This is an attempt to make a mead with baobab fruit. I have not been able to find any other recipes for baobab melomels, and would love to talk with anyone who has worked with this fruit. The recipe is inspired by Montclair Brewery in New Jersey, USA, who produce a few tasty beers with baobab as an adjunct. The technique for working with baobab is based on a drink called Jus de Bouye that is found throughout West Africa. The process is discussed in this Reddit post.
Baobab Fruit Mead Recipe
Steep pulp in warm 2 gallons of water for 20 minutes, then whisk the heck out of it.
Add crushed Campden tablets, and let sit for 12 hours. Add pectic enzyme, and let sit for another 12 hours.
Add honey, mix to homogeneous.
Rehydrate yeast, and pitch.
Follow TOSNA nutrient schedule.
The flavor of baobab is citrusy, kind of like a tangerine but with a hint of chalkiness to it. The fruit pulp itself naturally dries on the tree, inside the fruit rind. You can also buy it powdered, where the powder is pulp that has been mechanically separated from the inner seeds. The pulp is very rich in fiber and pectin, and is like a smoothie unto itself when steeped in water.
I am neither an expert nor any kind of authority on West African cuisine. Research for how to work with baobab fruit and make Jus de Bouye came from a handful of awesome YouTube creators, mostly from Senegal and the Gambia. There is lots of variation in preparing Bouye, and it can also be flavored with extracts like vanilla, banana, nutmeg, and lemon. I am using avocado blossom honey to try to mimic the vanillins and some of the buttery and aspects of using condensed milk to sweeten the jus.
At this proportion (about one part unsteeped baobab pulp to three parts water by weight), the baobab is very flavorful, citrusy, and pretty tart. I wanted a honey that would not get lost behind that flavor, and also hopefully complement it. My thought was avocado with its molasses and buttery notes, but at a somewhat restrained ABV. Robert Ratliff's book suggests orange blossom or cranberry blossom honey for most citrus-centered melomels, but adding more tang to the flavor profile didn't seem like the right approach to me in this case.
How'd it Do
Still in process...