This week I decided to experiment with fermented foods, utilizing primarily acetobacter, lactococcus, and lactobacillus strains to work their magic instead of saccharomyces. The four new projects I had in mind are sauerkraut, vinegar, sourdough, and a fermented hot sauce. While I was in the kitchen, I made some sweet tea to feed my kombucha mother; gotta keep the ‘booch happy.
I’ve always been fascinated by fermented foods and how we can rely on certain bacteria to be present and active in a relatively harsh saline environment, while at the same time being relatively certain that no harmful bacteria can take hold and thrive. Being my first attempt at sauerkraut, I went with a 1 quart recipe by Holly Howe, link below, which was as easy to follow as it was informative. One twist: I added a lactobacillus blend, OYL605, to really kick fermentation up and hopefully provide a nice big starter for future batches. This is not entirely necessary as the cabbage used for sauerkraut should have lactobacillus growing on it, though I have always been interested in using the lactobacillus we sell at BYOB to ferment food.
Of the approximately 100 ml Omega lacto blend, 25 ml was used in the sauerkraut, 25 ml was added to a sourdough starter, 25 ml was added to a malt extract based starter, and the rest was saved in an empty white labs vial for future use, as eventually I may use this same parent strain to sour a batch of beer or miscellaneous ferments, though I have no immediate plans to do so.
Ten days fermenting at approximately 80 degrees was sufficient time to make a medium sour sauerkraut. Some of the liquid will be stored in a small white labs vial for use as a starter in the future. The flavor was great, though I may scale the amount of garlic down to the amount specified in the recipe. I was super excited at the start of this experiment and hope to keep sauerkraut as an easy side dish to make at home!
Basic sauerkraut recipe:
2-3 shredded carrots
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1 head Green cabbage
1 Tbsp salt
Before shredding cabbage, remove one large leaf, cut out a disk with an approximately 4-inch diameter, set aside. Add carrots and garlic to tared bowl. Add shredded cabbage to bowl until weight of all vegetables equals 1.75 lbs. Add salt, mix, let rest. Liquid will be pulled from the cabbage and carrots creating your brine. Pack into a 1 quart mason jar, tamping the vegetables down so that a layer of liquid is seen above vegetables. Slide cabbage disk above vegetables, making sure that no (of few) pieces of vegetable float to the surface. The cabbage disk will likely have to be cut smaller. Weight the disk down with a 4-ounce mason jar which should fit nicely into the larger jar, loosely tighten lid onto quart jar. Ferment for 7-14 days or until sour enough for your taste. For the next batch I hope to ferment in my one gallon wide mouth container with an airlock mounted though the lid as it seems like an easier contraption and I have some people I would like to share with.
A much more in-depth recipe by Holly Howe may be found at:
The sourdough starter, made with the 25 ml Omega lacto blend and a pinch of Red Star Premier Rouge dry yeast, yielded some very encouraging results. The dough was divided every day for a week and fresh water/flour solution was added. Upon dividing, instead of throwing away the discard, I decided to fry the mix in some butter. This very odd sour pancake was not terribly appetizing, but provided proof of concept as early as one to two days instead of developing a culture over seven to ten days. I have yet to bake bread with this starter, but I look forward to it!
Basic sourdough starter recipe:
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup cool water
~25 ml OYL-605 Lactobacillus Blend
~1/16 tsp Premier Rouge wine yeast (or bread yeast)
Combine all ingredients, cover with clean kitchen towel, cheesecloth, or coffee filter. Let ferment for 24 hours. Remove half of starter and discard. Add one cup of flour and ½ cup of cool water, stir and let ferment for 24 hours. Repeat until sour.
A more detailed recipe may be found on the King Arthur brand website.