Creating a Malt from Grains in Beer Brewing


Beer Brewing pic
Beer Brewing

Studying at the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, Todd Belok has a background as a mental health technician and has worked with psychiatric patients in therapeutic settings. An avid camper and hiker, Todd Belok also enjoys brewing beer at home.

One of the fundamental aspects of a tasty brew, grain provides the simple sugars that become alcohol through fermentation and help determine the flavor and appearance of the beer. The initial step of beer making is the creation of the malt through a process that involves soaking barley water and slow drying it in a kiln. This hastens the process of sprouting, which produces enzymes and breaks down complex carbohydrates.

This malt is then soaked in hot water at a temperature of around 150 degrees Fahrenheit, such that the enzymes are activated and complete the process of converting carbohydrates into simple sugars. This process of creating mash is completed prior to the home brewer purchasing the malt extract or crystal malt and starting the process of creating a unique craft beer.


Tips for Smoking Meat


Smoking Meatpic
Smoking Meat

A mental health technician by profession, Todd Belok serves on the care team at Temple University Hospital – Episcopal Campus in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In his free time, Todd Belok enjoys grilling and smoking meat.

If you are planning to smoke meat at home, one of the first things you will need to do is select a smoker. Charcoal smokers tend to be the easiest for beginners to control, as they typically use easy-burning charcoal in combination with wood for flavor. Pure wood smokers often lead to more flavorful meat, but maintaining an even temperature may be more difficult.

Hardwoods, such as oak, pecan, or hickory, tend to generate the most aromatic smoke. Each wood has its own flavor, from the strong smokiness of mesquite to the sweet and mild apple. Regardless of wood variety, a good hour’s soaking of smaller chips helps to keep the wood wet so that it smokes longer.

Many smokers choose to get even more flavor by using a rub or marinade on the meat. This also tenderizes the cut of meat and improves the texture. After rubbing or marinating the meat, you just need to heat the smoker to 250 degrees before putting the meat on the grill.

Once you add the meat, you can let the temperature drop to 220, but you will need to track it carefully so that it doesn’t fall too low. You will likely need to add new wood or charcoal every 30 minutes, but it is important not to check the temperature by lifting the lid. You should not need to open the grill except to add wood or charcoal until 10 or 15 minutes before the meat is done, as this is an ideal time to add an extra dose of seasoning glaze.

Gas Grilling vs. Charcoal Grilling

Grilling pic

As a mental health technician at Temple University Hospital-Episcopal Campus in Philadelphia, Todd Belok strives to maintain a safe, therapeutic environment for patients. Outside of his job, Todd Belok loves to cook and is particularly skilled on the grill.

One of the most heated debates among grilling enthusiasts is whether to use a gas grill or a charcoal grill. The answer is not a simple one and depends on what you want in a grill.

As for price, there is no clear winner. Both gas and charcoal have standard options in the $125-$300 range. While you can buy a cheap charcoal grill for about $30, the quality may be disappointing. One caveat is that charcoal is typically cheaper than propane gas.

As taste goes, charcoal is the clear winner. A charcoal grill gives the meat a smoked flavor that cannot be reproduced on a gas grill.

As to convenience, the gas grill pulls ahead. Starting a gas grill is as simple as pressing a button, while a charcoal grill requires you to arrange and light the charcoal and wait up to 20 minutes for the coals to be ready.

Master Chef Alton Brown

Master Chef Alton Brown pic
Master Chef Alton Brown

A licensed emergency medical technician, Todd Belok works as a mental health technician for Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia. In his spare time, Todd Belok enjoys cooking and is a fan of television chef Alton Brown.

Brown began learning to cook by watching his mother and grandmother. He continued this interest while he was a film student directing and photographing videos. Between takes, he found himself watching cooking shows that he felt he could improve upon. This realization led to his decision to attend the New England Culinary Institute.

After graduating, Brown pursued his dream and ultimately made a pilot show for WTTW in Chicago. The show became the basis for Good Eats, a program that combined food science and humor. Aired on the Food Network for 13 years, Good Eats was conceived as a cross between Monty Python and Julia Child. Reflecting the show’s success, Good Eats earned a Peabody Award and a James Beard Award.

When he ended Good Eats in 2011, Brown appeared on Iron Chef America, The Next Iron Chef, and Cutthroat Kitchen. He has written four books, including I’m Just Here for the Food, which became one of the best-selling cookbooks on 2002. Brown’s latest book, EveryDayCook, is scheduled for a September 2016 release.

Tips for Beginning Home Brewers

Home Brewing pic
Home Brewing

An experienced health professional, Todd Belok cares for patients as a mental health technician at the Episcopal Campus of Temple University Hospital. In his free time, Todd Belok enjoys brewing his own beer.

In order to produce a quality home-brewed beer, the beginning brewer must start with a good recipe. The recipe should be approachable, and as such, should have a minimal number of ingredients. Recipes for beer that include 4 percent to 6 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) typically fall within this category, while also supporting better fermentation.

All ingredients should be of high quality, particularly the malt extract. Many experienced brewers choose to save half of this extract for the last 10 minutes of the brew, particularly if the recipe is for a light-colored beer variety.

Equipment should be cleaned with a rinse-free sanitizer, as bacteria can seriously affect the taste of the final product. Poor sanitation can also lead to the growth of unwanted yeast, and one of a home brewer’s most important tasks is the regulation of yeast growth. Temperature control can help immensely with this process, but it is also crucial that the home brewer avoid excessively worrying about minute calculations. Often, the natural process of fermentation corrects most issues.