Originally Posted by PCW1950
I'm about to make my first mead, and all the instructions I've read call for pasteurizing the honey. Is this just a safety precaution (gastroenteritis can't be THAT bad, can it?), or do the bacteria that you kill interfere with the fermentation?
see if I can think of a simple way to answer...... DON'T
Like FB said....
older recipes say about pasturising because from ancient recipes they needed to sanitise the water
Back in the day their water source usually also connected to the sewer system, the animal watering/bathing system...lots of bad crap
so just skip that step in whatever recipe you have chosen as your first, your honey will be fine it's antibacterial and antimicrobial properties protect it. Your water will be fine and if you're concerned with your tap water (if it's chlorinated or off flavored from minerals) use a cheap bottled water, but if you have good tasting tap water, go with it.
If you want to place the entire container of honey in some warm (not hot or boiling) tap water to make it flow/mix easier that's not horrible.
I find mixing the honey with a about a gallon of water (when making a 3-6 gallon batch) or all of the water when making a 1 gallon batch and whipping the s#!t out of it with a ss wire wisk it mixes great and starts aerating it nicely. then I add it to my fermenter, the bigger batches just take a good shake to incorporate everything easily.
Remember that campden tablets are antioxidants, in the begining you WANT a lot of oxygen to get your yeast off to a strong start.
As long as you take a couple minutes and use a decent sanitizer and sanitize all of your equipment. Fermenter, stoppers, airlock, tubing, thermometers, hydrometer, countertops, basically anything that will come into contact with your must or workspace you will be golden. Sanitize a couple extra spoons and things too, you'll be surprised when you need something and having to stop to clean/sanitize them is a mood killer.
As far as the fear of random wild yeasties in the air, whatever yeast strain you use is going to be strong and healthy enough to be dominant and the wild ones won't even make it past the the velvet rope, especially if you rehydrate properly.
A simple basic "traditional" mead can be as easy as sanitize, start rehydration, add honey, add water, add initial nutrients, mix/shake the he!! out of it, then shake it a couple minutes more, pitch yeast, shake, airlock it and wait for the action to start (just do things at the right temps as per the yeast package instructions).