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The Fermentation Thread
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Veloce Offline
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The Fermentation Thread
With the general consensus on gut health I'm surprised this thread doesn't already exist.

I've recently gotten into it. I've made sauerkraut plenty of times but upon discovering a U-pick farm here in Vegas, I've decided to start expanding my fermentation repertoire. I just finished a batch of cucumber pickles and I've got a tub of peach vinegar in the works.

My inspiration for this thread isn't so much the health benefits or culinary applications. There is a treasure trove of literature out there.

What I want to share, is how insanely cheap and easy it is to ferment at home. I highly recommend every guy start a batch of his own sauerkraut or pickled vegetables. This stuff is medicine guys, and something that you can make yourself for pennies.

First step, find a source of high quality, cheap produce. Start here:

http://www.pickyourown.org/

I've been picking most of my produce for about $1 per pound. The farm I go to in Vegas has vegetables rotting in the fields, there's so much of it. Because they're not a boutique farm that regularly prunes their fruit, a lot of it isn't the best quality for eating on the spot. Meaning that what you find in the fields is often under or overripe. Well guess what that's absolutely perfect for? Fermentation.

Once you have your produce, then go here:

https://www.amazon.com/Art-Fermentation-...rmentation

This is not a book of recipes. There are many recipe books out there. This is a fantastic book, considered by many to be the bible on fermentation. The few recipes that are in this book are more about methods, ratios, and techniques, than specific recipes.

To give you an idea of how easy this is: I heat some filtered water with salt to taste. Basically however salty my brine is, that's how salty my finished product will be. I go pretty light. I add some aromatics like smashed garlic cloves, whole black peppercorns, chile flake, and dry bay leave. I let this mixture come back to room temperature. Meanwhile I soak some pickling cucumbers in filtered water to remove dirt and sediment. I pack the cucumbers into jars. I pour the cooled brine over the cucumbers, making sure none of them float above the surface. I let them sit out at room temperature for 3-5 days covered with a layer of cheesecloth, every other day I skim the layer of yeast scum that builds on the surface. After 5 days it's ready, and I've got these probiotic bombs that I eat twice a day. They are potent, and very different than the Vlasic dill pickles you might be used to.

Some key beginning points: you need to use filtered, dechlorinated water, which will kill the bacteria in the skins of your produce. I have an RO filter which removes the majority of chlorine. You can let it sit out at room temperature or boil it to remove the rest.

You need to let air escape, especially during the first few days. Sealing the lid could cause an explosion from CO2 buildup.

For cucumbers in particular, it's better to use a mineral-y salt like sea salt, which will keep them more crisp than kosher salt. I never use iodized salt.

My cost? About $2 in cucumbers, a couple used jars I have, some water, salt, and spices.

The peach vinegar takes more time, I basically make peach wine first by letting crushed peaches sit in water with sugar, and stir several times a day for the first few days. You want to stir often to prevent surface mold from forming. Once the yeast concentration is sufficient it will protect your ferment from nasty mold. White mold is fine. Multicolor mold is not. After a week of maceration and fermentation, I strain it and continue to let the alcohol convert to acetic acid (vinegar). Once it reaches an appealing acidity, it's ready to use just like apple cider vinegar. I keep a portion of this live vinegar for a health tonic. The rest of it I heat to 140F to pasteurize, and bottle and age it for culinary applications.

There is something highly satisfying about creating these products at home practically for free. Over the last century our food has become less and less "live" and our health suffers because of it. Eating fermented foods daily puts me in a good mood; I remember being a kid and craving pickles and peperoncinis and stuff like that. I'd crush a whole jar to myself and get sick afterwards from ingesting so much commercial white vinegar. Clearly I was craving something. I think humans naturally crave fermented foods because our gut is driving us to replenish and invigorate our biome, the collection of billions of bacteria responsible for all of our functions.

Next projects are making homemade miso paste, kombucha, and sourdough. I'll keep this thread regularly updated with projects, successes, and failures. Feel free to do the same.

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07-04-2016 12:43 AM
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komatiite Offline
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Post: #2
RE: The Fermentation Thread
Sweet thread as per usual Veloce, I want to give this a shot especially since I don't have a canning device (I have a KuhnRikon pressure cooker but I heard it is sketchy to use those for Canning) and I assume you don't really need to have a canning apparatus for this process, you just pop your jar in the fridge afterwards and can eat right away. My aunt always made pickles by canning the cucumbers in vinegar, herbs and I think something like calcium chloride for crunchiness. She also used grape leaves for some reason. Either way I totally relate to your comments regarding getting sick after eating pickles, sometimes I also get these pickle cravings and rush to the store to grab a jar, put them in the freezer to get them cold faster (the crunch is always best when they are cold!) then eat half the jar... After an hour I feel so sick!

This is probably an extra stupid question... But What is the difference between fermenting and pickling in this context? Like your example of Vlasic jarred pickles. Will this technique give you something similar of you season/use aromatics properly? Will the pickles be soft or is it possible to have a good satisfying pickle crunch?

Just looked up how to make Miso... Wow a full year! I better master pickled/fermented veg to see if I am worth a shit before committing to that!
07-04-2016 02:38 AM
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tarquin Offline
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RE: The Fermentation Thread
I haven't made any fermented products (unless you count beer), but I read up on the subject back when I used to garden. One thing you may want to try is using kefir grains as a bacteria starter for your pickled vegetables. This eliminates the step of using the bacteria which exist naturally on the vegetables and in the air. Doing this makes a more consistent product and also eliminates the possibility of losing a batch. It is supposed to be very good for making a hot sauce (see: http://forums.gardenweb.com/discussions/...-peppers). I would imagine you could even crush probiotic capsules from the health food store as those typically contain lactobacillus as the bacteria (which is what you want).

If you are going to do this with enough vegetables, I suggest you get a 5 gallon bucket with an airlock for the top. You could also get something to keep the vegetables submerged while fermenting (like a ziplock bag filled with glass beads).
07-04-2016 08:23 AM
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Veloce Offline
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RE: The Fermentation Thread
(07-04-2016 02:38 AM)komatiite Wrote:  Sweet thread as per usual Veloce, I want to give this a shot especially since I don't have a canning device (I have a KuhnRikon pressure cooker but I heard it is sketchy to use those for Canning) and I assume you don't really need to have a canning apparatus for this process, you just pop your jar in the fridge afterwards and can eat right away. My aunt always made pickles by canning the cucumbers in vinegar, herbs and I think something like calcium chloride for crunchiness. She also used grape leaves for some reason. Either way I totally relate to your comments regarding getting sick after eating pickles, sometimes I also get these pickle cravings and rush to the store to grab a jar, put them in the freezer to get them cold faster (the crunch is always best when they are cold!) then eat half the jar... After an hour I feel so sick!

This is probably an extra stupid question... But What is the difference between fermenting and pickling in this context? Like your example of Vlasic jarred pickles. Will this technique give you something similar of you season/use aromatics properly? Will the pickles be soft or is it possible to have a good satisfying pickle crunch?

Just looked up how to make Miso... Wow a full year! I better master pickled/fermented veg to see if I am worth a shit before committing to that!

You don't need or want a pressure canner as that will kill off the beneficial bacteria in your ferment. Once you have your initial ferment just pop it in the fridge and open the lid of your jar once every few days to release CO2.

Your aunt used grape leaves because they contain tannin. Some people use wood chips. This improves the texture along with the calcium chloride to keep the cucumber pickles crisp. The same reason I use high mineral sea salt.

Pickling through fermentation and pickling through vinegar solution are drastically different...basically vinegar pickles don't give you any nutritional benefit whatsoever and if anything just give you an upset stomach. If you want to see what natural ferment pickles taste like without making them, you can buy a jar of Bubbies http://bubbies.com/

The fermented veg you make at home will be more salty than acidic depending on how long your veg has been fermenting. The best flavor comes after a couple of weeks but honestly my first ferments haven't lasted that long because I eat everything.

Start with fermented vegetables. It really couldn't be easier. You need a few jars, something to weigh the vegetables down (I just pack the vegetables tightly enough so they don't float), cheesecloth, water, salt, and time.

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07-04-2016 10:46 AM
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Veloce Offline
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RE: The Fermentation Thread
(07-04-2016 08:23 AM)tarquin Wrote:  I haven't made any fermented products (unless you count beer), but I read up on the subject back when I used to garden. One thing you may want to try is using kefir grains as a bacteria starter for your pickled vegetables. This eliminates the step of using the bacteria which exist naturally on the vegetables and in the air. Doing this makes a more consistent product and also eliminates the possibility of losing a batch. It is supposed to be very good for making a hot sauce (see: http://forums.gardenweb.com/discussions/...-peppers). I would imagine you could even crush probiotic capsules from the health food store as those typically contain lactobacillus as the bacteria (which is what you want).

If you are going to do this with enough vegetables, I suggest you get a 5 gallon bucket with an airlock for the top. You could also get something to keep the vegetables submerged while fermenting (like a ziplock bag filled with glass beads).

kefir grains are great for kefir water and dairy products, but one of the philosophies behind fermentation is to introduce a wide variety of bacteria to our gut. The idea is diversity, not consistency. As long as your vegetables are fully submerged there is little chance of losing a batch. I haven't gotten a crock yet but that's the next step, many of them come with a fitted lid for keeping vegetables submerged. Also airlocks are necessary for brewing but not for vegetable fermentation; in fact you want air flow. Just need to cover the top with cheesecloth so flies can't lay eggs.

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07-04-2016 10:55 AM
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RE: The Fermentation Thread
Kim Chi is the shit. Humans used to eat tons of fermented foods and were healthy, now close to none and people are suffering from previously unheard maladies, most of which originate because of an imbalance in intestinal bacteria. I just fired up the pressure cooker last night and made some of the best Kal-Bi (Korean Beef Short Ribs) ever. I might try the canning thing now that I have my whistler up and running. Can distilled water be used instead of filtered, dechlorinated? It is only a dollar a gallon here. Drop some knowledge if you'd care, please.
(This post was last modified: 07-04-2016 11:00 AM by AboveAverageJoe.)
07-04-2016 10:58 AM
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RE: The Fermentation Thread
The Art of Fermentation is a great book.

It was written by a gay man that got aids in nyc in the 80's or 90's, who packed up and moved to some hippy commune in the south for his health. Seems like fermented foods have had some great effects on him. Its not just recipes, pretty much covers everything from cultures both human and bacterial, history and practical practices. Its the best reference since most recipes you find online can be questionable due to peoples lack of knowledge on the subject.

Canning is not fermentation, you are removing all bacteria when you pressure cook a can for a long time. fermenting can be aerobic or anaerobic. Bacteria creates micro nutrients, settles in you gut displacing bad bacteria, predigests food and removes substances which cause inflammation and immune responses.

One recipe I remember is oatmeal. Take the oatmeal and for 12 hour let is sit in water and a splash of natural whey or sauerkraut juice (you can do it without but takes longer). He makes his oatmeal not sweet but with garlic which complements the sour taste it gets from fermentation. Grains naturally have a "pesticide" to survive in the earth. This eliminates it. A lot of the whole gluten "allergy" fad actually stems from the protective substances in the grain and not from gluten (aside from celiacs disease obv). While we are large enough for it not to bother us in the grand scheme its still there. Not everything in the book is about your standard month long fermentation as you might think.

I never got a chance to fully utilise it since you need a steady schedule and rhythm in life otherwise you just over ferment things or dont have time to start them (you need to make starter cultures etc) when you are never home. On the other side it probably connects you more with nature and rhythm of life if you are able to keep a few different foods fermenting.

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(This post was last modified: 07-04-2016 12:22 PM by oilbreh.)
07-04-2016 12:20 PM
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Veloce Offline
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RE: The Fermentation Thread
(07-04-2016 12:20 PM)oilbreh Wrote:  The Art of Fermentation is a great book.

It was written by a gay man that got aids in nyc in the 80's or 90's, who packed up and moved to some hippy commune in the south for his health. Seems like fermented foods have had some great effects on him. Its not just recipes, pretty much covers everything from cultures both human and bacterial, history and practical practices. Its the best reference since most recipes you find online can be questionable due to peoples lack of knowledge on the subject.

Canning is not fermentation, you are removing all bacteria when you pressure cook a can for a long time. fermenting can be aerobic or anaerobic. Bacteria creates micro nutrients, settles in you gut displacing bad bacteria, predigests food and removes substances which cause inflammation and immune responses.

One recipe I remember is oatmeal. Take the oatmeal and for 12 hour let is sit in water and a splash of natural whey or sauerkraut juice (you can do it without but takes longer). He makes his oatmeal not sweet but with garlic which complements the sour taste it gets from fermentation. Grains naturally have a "pesticide" to survive in the earth. This eliminates it. A lot of the whole gluten "allergy" fad actually stems from the protective substances in the grain and not from gluten (aside from celiacs disease obv). While we are large enough for it not to bother us in the grand scheme its still there. Not everything in the book is about your standard month long fermentation as you might think.

I never got a chance to fully utilise it since you need a steady schedule and rhythm in life otherwise you just over ferment things or dont have time to start them (you need to make starter cultures etc) when you are never home. On the other side it probably connects you more with nature and rhythm of life if you are able to keep a few different foods fermenting.

Great post and you touched on something I want to mention.

I've had artisanal sourdough bread that digested totally clean. Unfortunately that was only in L.A. and it wasn't cheap, with a good loaf going for about $9. I love bread but it gives me bloating and gas like no tomorrow...much like many other people who I'm sure think they have a gluten allergy. In getting into fermentation and the original method for baking bread, I'm realizing that these are poor quality grains leavened with commercial yeast.

I eventually plan on buying my own heirloom wheat and milling it at home, soaking the flour, leavening it with wild yeast etc...but again it's a matter of having all your ducks in a row. I also want to make a delicious country loaf, not some super sour, super dense hippy bread. I've got the Tartine Bread cookbook (https://www.amazon.com/Tartine-Bread-Cha...tine+bread) in the mail which is arguably some of the best bread in the country right now.

This will take a few weeks but I plan on reporting back. I love bread but hate what it does to my body, so the prospect of having delicious fresh-baked bread that's also good for you is worth whatever work and effort is required.

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(This post was last modified: 07-05-2016 12:06 AM by Veloce.)
07-05-2016 12:06 AM
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Veloce Offline
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RE: The Fermentation Thread
Just a bump/update:

I made my first batch of wild fermentation bread (aka sourdough) using the country loaf recipe from Tartine Bread. It's a beautifully written book. The basis of his country loaf is:

1) Just 3 ingredients: flour, water, and salt. And the natural yeast in the air
2) the dough has a very high ratio of hydration, making it very sticky and a little hard to work with. In the book he makes a great analogy, "It would be idiotic to cook one cup of rice in a half cup of water. You'd have an undigestible mass of hard rice".
3) the bread is leavened with only a natural yeast starter which he gives instructions on how to start.

The bread is fermented and proofed for much, much longer than any loaf I've ever baked. Here's my first attempt:

[Image: tumblr_oaaic8azOi1rkla7mo3_540.jpg]

It wasn't bad...but definitely not good or where I want it to be. Not nearly enough rise. To be honest I did rush the bulk fermentation phase. However, the most important part is I did eat a couple slices...and no bloating, gas, or cramps. I used organic flours (bread flour and whole wheat flour), sea salt, and filtered water, and that's it. No preservatives, bromated flour, conditioners, or commercial yeast. I think there's something about hydrating flour over the course of 8 hours (between the fermentation and proof) that makes the bread more digestible.

Other projects/notes:
[Image: tumblr_oaaic8azOi1rkla7mo1_400.jpg]

From left to right are: green beans, carrots, radishes, red jalapenos, serrano chiles, and beets.

The green beans and carrots are the most delicious. The carrots have completely transformed into the most delicious, almost meaty tasting pickled vegetable. It honestly tastes like a hot dog. The green beans have acidified nicely and are pungent and savory. The radishes are stinky as hell, smell like a dog fart and don't taste that much different, which sounds awful but it's a recognizable flavor from asian cuisine. It just needs some chile paste, lime juice and fish sauce to balance out the funk.

The red jalapenos have almost no spice but have an addictive flavor. Has that fermented chile flavor that's immediately recognizable in a dash of tabasco but homemade is way better. I'm switching to serranos on the right (new project) to get the heat that I'm craving.

Not pictured are the cucumber pickles I threw out. Turns out you do have to use pickling cucumbers, also known as kirby cucumbers. Persian or hothouse will not work, for what reason I don't know (I tried using persian). They turn out mushy, which are technically edible but I'm not down with that shit. The first batch of pickles I did were kirbies that I picked on the farm but I killed those pretty fast. I've yet to have anything last more than a couple weeks because I eat it all...

[Image: tumblr_oaaic8azOi1rkla7mo2_400.jpg]

Some carrot pickle and peach vinegar. This is breakfast. I haven't pasteurized any of the peach vinegar and I'm sitting on about a half gallon. It's potent stuff, I just dilute it with water and drink it the same way I would with apple cider vinegar and I feel great. These were overripe peaches I picked myself for dirt cheap.

Also made 2 quarts of yogurt today, I'll see how it set up in the morning. Next on the project list is to start brewing, maybe some mead or something. This fall I'm going to pick a shit ton of apples and make some dry cider.

I'd like to emphasize just how easy all of this is. Each project is about 5-10 minutes of kitchen work and then letting nature do the rest. Once you've got a ferment, just stash it in the fridge where the flavor only improves and will last months. You can build a nice collection and some of this stuff is seriously addicting, both the flavor and your body will start craving fermented food more often. I'm eating it 2-3 times daily and have never felt better.

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07-14-2016 12:59 AM
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RE: The Fermentation Thread
Hey Veloce could you pickle beets? My parent's garden has a ton of them coming up right now that are a good size to fit in jars.

They also have a bunch of carrots. I am definitely going to try this because those carrots look fucking tasty.
07-14-2016 07:12 AM
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RE: The Fermentation Thread
Quote:This fall I'm going to pick a shit ton of apples and make some dry cider.

I've made a lot of hard cider- processing the apples (crushing and pressing) is a job in and of itself. It's usually much easier to find an orchard that produces sweet cider and have them fill up your buckets or carboys for you. Often they give a discount.

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07-14-2016 07:32 AM
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Veloce Offline
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RE: The Fermentation Thread
Yes absolutely. Root vegetables (parsnips, turnips, rutabaga, beets) all ferment very well.

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07-15-2016 01:35 PM
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RE: The Fermentation Thread
Yes absolutely. Root vegetables (parsnips, turnips, rutabaga, beets) all ferment very well.

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07-15-2016 02:08 PM
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RE: The Fermentation Thread
I swear I've been hearing about this non-stop from the hipsters and lesbians. All the rage with the granola eating crowd right now.
07-16-2016 10:57 AM
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RE: The Fermentation Thread
Thanks for starting this thread. My nanny taught me how to ferment carrots back in middle school and I used to make water and milk kefir back in college when microbiome research was all the rage. Wish I could get my hands on some raw milk. Interestingly enough, certain mexican restaurants (usually fast food chains like Tops) make a spicy vinegar carrot. It's basically carrots quartered down to long slices in apple cider vinegar or better yet, the vinegar left inside a bottle of peperoncinis. Put said carrots in enough of that vinegar so they're thoroughly covered, add a fuck ton of salt, enclose them in a tupperware container in the fridge and leave them to soften and absorb the vinegar for several days. I know it's not a proper fermentation, but it's similar.

Just curious, how long did it take you to make the peach vinegar? My novice impression is that the alcohol --> vinegar fermentation takes much longer, upwards to 6-9 months.
07-16-2016 11:46 AM
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Veloce Offline
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RE: The Fermentation Thread
(07-16-2016 11:46 AM)Balkan Wrote:  Thanks for starting this thread. My nanny taught me how to ferment carrots back in middle school and I used to make water and milk kefir back in college when microbiome research was all the rage. Wish I could get my hands on some raw milk. Interestingly enough, certain mexican restaurants (usually fast food chains like Tops) make a spicy vinegar carrot. It's basically carrots quartered down to long slices in apple cider vinegar or better yet, the vinegar left inside a bottle of peperoncinis. Put said carrots in enough of that vinegar so they're thoroughly covered, add a fuck ton of salt, enclose them in a tupperware container in the fridge and leave them to soften and absorb the vinegar for several days. I know it's not a proper fermentation, but it's similar.

Just curious, how long did it take you to make the peach vinegar? My novice impression is that the alcohol --> vinegar fermentation takes much longer, upwards to 6-9 months.

No...sugar ferments into alcohol much faster than that. I believe you are getting fermentation confused with aging. Vinegar is typically aged at least 6 weeks to improve the flavor. I've got a jar of drinking vinegar and 2 x 750ml bottles I'm aging to use for culinary purposes, but fuckit I might just use them for drinking vinegar too.

You do NOT need a vinegar mother to make vinegar. When you have a mash, either crushed fruit, or malted grain (as in malt vinegar), or anything with sugar, you basically have 2 options: put it into a carboy with air lock to ferment into alcohol, or leave it in a wide mouthed vessel to allow for oxidation which will eventually turn alcohol into vinegar. For my batch of vinegar it took about 2 weeks for all of the alcohol to convert. Fresh vinegar has a bit of a rotten taste to it that's not the most appetizing, but it's now a week since conversion and the flavor keeps improving. It really just tastes like Bragg's apple cider vinegar with a distinct peach jam flavor to it. Quite nice.

There are certainly more elaborate and efficient ways of producing vinegar, but the point of this thread is to highlight the ease of making ferments. If anyone is a hobbyist like me then we can discuss more elaborate techniques and recipes. I'm getting to the point where I want to get into more complex recipes and ideas I have, Napa cabbage and pineapple kimchi, shit like that.

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07-17-2016 12:15 AM
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RE: The Fermentation Thread
(07-16-2016 10:57 AM)The Beast1 Wrote:  I swear I've been hearing about this non-stop from the hipsters and lesbians. All the rage with the granola eating crowd right now.

...and all the rage with anyone desiring greater health.

One of the other health benefits I've been enjoying is almost no more peanut butter shits. I really had highly sensitive digestion and at least every other day I was bloated, cramped, or taking these awful shits and going through half a roll of toilet paper.

If anything, lately it's been the opposite problem. These turds are the most compacted, well formed turds I've ever laid in my life that come out smooth and clean. BananaBananaBanana

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07-17-2016 12:20 AM
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RE: The Fermentation Thread
[Image: tumblr_oag1luZARv1rkla7mo1_540.jpg]

One more for tonight.

Yogurt is incredibly easy to make, and much more cost effective than buying.

I was buying organic bulgarian yogurt for something like $6 per jar this same size. It cost me $2 to produce this jar using Strauss organic milk (from northern California)

Note, it's pointless to use raw milk for yogurt, since it's necessary to heat the milk to 180F.

One of the joys of homemade yogurt is when it's freshly made, it's very mild and has none of that super acidic tang, which I'm not always a fan of. The bacteria that creates lactic acid is very active at low temperatures, so the more your Yogurt sits in the fridge, the tangier it gets. I like it after a few days.

Also, that layer of whey on top is extremely refreshing. A glass of ice cold, freshly made yogurt whey is absolutely delicious and chock full of B vitamins.

I have the advantage of having an oven with a digital low setting that keeps the yogurt at just the right incubation temperature, about 115-120F. All you do is heat your milk to 180F, bring it back down to 120F, whisk in a bit of your previous batch of yogurt, seal the jar, and put it in a low oven or water bath for 4-5 hours and don't disturb. Couldn't be easier, and very easy to infuse a vanilla bean or other flavorings into your yogurt; try putting in dry wild blueberries into one of the jars (but probably a good idea to keep a quantity of your yogurt unadulterated for future use)

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07-17-2016 12:29 AM
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Balkan Offline
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Post: #19
RE: The Fermentation Thread
(07-17-2016 12:15 AM)Veloce Wrote:  
(07-16-2016 11:46 AM)Balkan Wrote:  Thanks for starting this thread. My nanny taught me how to ferment carrots back in middle school and I used to make water and milk kefir back in college when microbiome research was all the rage. Wish I could get my hands on some raw milk. Interestingly enough, certain mexican restaurants (usually fast food chains like Tops) make a spicy vinegar carrot. It's basically carrots quartered down to long slices in apple cider vinegar or better yet, the vinegar left inside a bottle of peperoncinis. Put said carrots in enough of that vinegar so they're thoroughly covered, add a fuck ton of salt, enclose them in a tupperware container in the fridge and leave them to soften and absorb the vinegar for several days. I know it's not a proper fermentation, but it's similar.

Just curious, how long did it take you to make the peach vinegar? My novice impression is that the alcohol --> vinegar fermentation takes much longer, upwards to 6-9 months.

No...sugar ferments into alcohol much faster than that. I believe you are getting fermentation confused with aging. Vinegar is typically aged at least 6 weeks to improve the flavor. I've got a jar of drinking vinegar and 2 x 750ml bottles I'm aging to use for culinary purposes, but fuckit I might just use them for drinking vinegar too.

You do NOT need a vinegar mother to make vinegar. When you have a mash, either crushed fruit, or malted grain (as in malt vinegar), or anything with sugar, you basically have 2 options: put it into a carboy with air lock to ferment into alcohol, or leave it in a wide mouthed vessel to allow for oxidation which will eventually turn alcohol into vinegar. For my batch of vinegar it took about 2 weeks for all of the alcohol to convert. Fresh vinegar has a bit of a rotten taste to it that's not the most appetizing, but it's now a week since conversion and the flavor keeps improving. It really just tastes like Bragg's apple cider vinegar with a distinct peach jam flavor to it. Quite nice.

There are certainly more elaborate and efficient ways of producing vinegar, but the point of this thread is to highlight the ease of making ferments. If anyone is a hobbyist like me then we can discuss more elaborate techniques and recipes. I'm getting to the point where I want to get into more complex recipes and ideas I have, Napa cabbage and pineapple kimchi, shit like that.

Thanks for the response. Yeah, I know sugar ferments to alcohol faster but I thought alcohol fermented into vinegar slowly. Regardless, I looked it up again and it seems to take a few weeks to a few months. A large portion of that could be the aging you were mentioning. Now that I think about, I'm retarded for not knowing this, as I used to make water kefir and the pleasant vinegary taste came on in a few days not weeks/months. Interesting that the alcohol fermentation does not require oxygen (can use closed container), but the vinegar fermentation does (need to use cheesecloth etc.) I'm going to get some milk tomorrow and give the yogurt a try!
07-17-2016 01:05 AM
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The Beast1 Offline
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Post: #20
RE: The Fermentation Thread
(07-17-2016 12:20 AM)Veloce Wrote:  
(07-16-2016 10:57 AM)The Beast1 Wrote:  I swear I've been hearing about this non-stop from the hipsters and lesbians. All the rage with the granola eating crowd right now.

...and all the rage with anyone desiring greater health.

One of the other health benefits I've been enjoying is almost no more peanut butter shits. I really had highly sensitive digestion and at least every other day I was bloated, cramped, or taking these awful shits and going through half a roll of toilet paper.

If anything, lately it's been the opposite problem. These turds are the most compacted, well formed turds I've ever laid in my life that come out smooth and clean. BananaBananaBanana

Sounds more like a health fad, but it makes sense why you're having great number twos. I snack on store bought sauerkraut and pickles a lot. Both are a great source of fiber and natural probiotics.

Take a healthy scoop of psyllium husk in milk, you won't have those peanut butter poos anymore too.
(This post was last modified: 07-17-2016 11:32 AM by The Beast1.)
07-17-2016 11:32 AM
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RexImperator Offline
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Post: #21
RE: The Fermentation Thread
Naturally fermented sauerkraut is really inexpensive and usually not too hard to find nowadays.

When I've tried to make it, a bunch of cabbage floated to the top and got moldy. It needs to be weighted down and kept away from exposure to air. In the end I found it to be slightly a pain in the butt compared to buying it.

I would do it if I grew my own cabbage.

However, I've been making my own ginger beer lately, which is a lot of fun.

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07-17-2016 11:38 AM
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Post: #22
RE: The Fermentation Thread
Love the thread. I've been doing sourdough (from a home-grown wild yeast starter) for the past 2 months or so and I still haven't made one that I've loved, although I've gotten it close. I fear that I'm actually over-fermenting the dough and also hydrating it too much. This is evidenced by the fact that it loses a lot of it's structure when I bake on my baking steel and the gluten really hasn't developed well enough, perhaps due to the high acidity. But who knows. Will keep experimenting with this and following the thread.

On the subject of sauerkraut, I've found a great method that works for me is to use a large-sized french press, the largest one you can find. I like to really pack that finely shredded cabbage in the bottom of the french press container along with some loose sea salt and give it a good mashing with wooden pestle to release some of the moisture and incorporate the salt. Then pour the brine over everything before finally placing the top of the french press on. Then push the screen/plunger down to touch the surface of the cabbage, making sure the screen pins down the cabbage and prevents it from floating to the surface. I like to ferment mine at least 2 weeks to give it that nice tangy punch, but I've found that even a month or more just sitting in the fridge after a two week countertop ferment really matures the flavor and texture quite well.

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07-18-2016 04:47 PM
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Post: #23
RE: The Fermentation Thread
(07-17-2016 11:38 AM)RexImperator Wrote:  However, I've been making my own ginger beer lately, which is a lot of fun.

I would love to hear about your ginger beer making process and recipe.

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(This post was last modified: 07-18-2016 04:49 PM by bootyhuntah.)
07-18-2016 04:48 PM
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RexImperator Offline
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Post: #24
RE: The Fermentation Thread
Alright it's super simple - you can find more or less this same basic recipe online by Alton Brown and many others.

Makes 1/2 gallon, which I ferment in two plastic one liter seltzer/soda bottles.

You take 8 ounces of sugar and make a simple syrup by mixing it with 1/2 cup water and heating it on the stovetop. I use Dextrose Monohydrate from the homebrew shop, but Sucrose works fine, too.

Once the sugar is dissolved, toss in 1.5 ounces of fresh ginger which you finely grated and then turn off the heat. Let the ginger steep for an hour. If you like a stronger ginger flavor you can go longer.

After the steeping is done strain the syrup with a fine mesh strainer. I like to strain it into a 1/2 gallon Ball jar, since that way I don't have to measure the remaining 7.5 cups water.

Add 3 tablespoons of lemon juice, which is about half of a lemon squeezed, and enough water to equal 8 cups total (a half gallon).

Once the temperature is no warmer than lukewarm, sprinkle in some champagne/wine/beer/ale yeast. You will need hardly any, less than a tenth of a packet. I use Red Star Premier Blanc yeast.

Wait for the yeast to dissolve/activate, stir/shake the mixture up, and then pour the mixture into the plastic bottles (with a funnel). Put the caps on tight. Leave the bottles at room temperature.

In 48 hours the bottles will be very firm, so you know CO2 has been produced. Put the bottles in the fridge. (Otherwise they would eventually become bottle bombs and explode.)

Once chilled they are good to go. The yeast goes dormant in the fridge, and the cold helps the CO2 dissolve.

*It may be worth experimenting with adding other things to the syrup, such as lemon or lime zest.

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07-18-2016 06:10 PM
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thoughtgypsy Offline
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Post: #25
RE: The Fermentation Thread
Dumb question, but how do you guys go about straining without making a mess?

Do you use a strainer with a depression, or leave some slack in the cheesecloth to avoid the solid chunks from falling off the sides?

On another note, I've watched a handful of youtube videos on homebrewing and winemaking, and it looks nowhere near as simple as the process you described. Most of the steps involved an obsessive compulsive sterilization of the equipment involved. Is this mostly unnecessary in your experience?
07-19-2016 08:18 AM
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