The Fresh Loaf

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Homemade Kraut Take 1

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golgi70's picture
golgi70

Homemade Kraut Take 1

So I have decided its time to ferment other things.  I tired homeade cheese some time ago but don't have the proper kitchen space/storage to be as sterile and finicky as you need so i quit that.  I will begin brewing beer this fall but i thought kraut should be easy and fancy local kraut tastes so good but costs a bit much, why not make it myself.  

Anyhoo, I am certain some of you folks have tinkered or even mastered this art and any advice is greatly appeciated. 

I just chopped up a 3lb. head of napa cabage, sliced two golden delicous apples, and 3 cloves of garlic.  Mixed that with 1 heavy tablespoon of kosher salt.  I pressed it down into my crock, put a small plate on top and pressed it down more.  Put a bowl that fit snug filled with water on top of the plate for wait.  through the lid on top and a towel over the whole thing.  The instructions I have are to press it ever couple hours for the next 24 hours.  At that point the veggies should be covered in brine.  If not I'm to cover with more salt water.  Then let it to ferment at room temp for a few days.  

My plan will be to jar it, fridge it and eat it and not bother with the canning process as it is a small batch. I'll jar it when it tastes to my liking so I'll have to give it a taste every day until its where I want it.  

Once I jar my finished product (if i get one) how long will it hold in the fridge?  I used the Wild Fermentation page for the recipe guideline. 

Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated.

 

Happy Baking or Fermenting

 

Josh

clazar123's picture
clazar123

I have been on a similar path-Bread,sourdough,natural yeast, dairy fermentation (kefir,yogurt,villis), saurkrautpickles,/vegetables. If you used Wild Fermentation as a basis you are on your way. Sandor is the king of fermentation.

You can eat the vegetables at any time, really,just based on how you like it. As it ages, it becomes more and more sour.I also make small amounts and I currently have some on my counter from5 months ago. I took it out of the refrig 2 months ago and it just gets more sour and somewhat soft but it is not spoiled.

 I make a kimche-like product and when it is "young" it is crunchy and mildy sour and as it ages it gets softer and very sour. Kimchee eaters make pancakes or eat it over rice or even make stew with it. I find adding a little homemade sourkraut or kimchee juice to any savory dish adds an undescribabl flavor boost that everone has loved (until they hear what it is-we are so conditioned!)

Have fun! It improves your digestion wonderfully-make it any flavor you like-add any veggie you like! The fruit flies LOVE the stuff so make sure you do keep it covered just for that reason. I don't like that kind of protein in my veggies.

108 breads's picture
108 breads

Until recently, I did not even know it was possible to make one's own, or encourage the growth of one's own, natural yeast. Sauerkraut has been on my list for a few months. My friend says that the cabbage mixture must be buried in the ground, or at least kept in the basement or a closet, for six weeks before it is ready to eat. Your recipe seems a bit quicker. I must admit I would be looking for the Jewish deli taste in my sauerkraut. Then I would get hungry for a hot dog and knish.

golgi70's picture
golgi70

I got it covered but those flies know how to get in anything so ill hope for the best. Got it covered with a towel and tied closed. If that fails I may find a lidded bucket with an air valve that they use for brewing. It's already covered in brine so looks like all is well. 

 

from reading just like bread the colder you keep it the slower it goes. Seems to me that it's "ready" around the 48-72 hour mark at room temp. From there you just boost the flavor or shall I say sour. Kimchee is the one I heard is traditionally buried. Seems the same to me just a matter of sourness.  ill keep posted how it goes. 

 

Fun fact. Apparently I can use a little of this kraut in the next batch as a mother. 

 

 

josh

clazar123's picture
clazar123

I have done so many fermentation projects (milk,bread,vegetables) that now when I leave anything out for a day or two (cooked veggies) it starts to ferment. Applesauce in the refrig becomes fizzy very quickly and sometimes the last inch of a gallon of milk becomes kefir-and it is NOT old! A gallon does not last long in my house.So, definitely use a few tablespoons of the old to inoculate the new. I also use it in salad dressing,pot roast,"V8" juice drink (just give it a whirl in the blender and cut with tomatoe sauce til it tastes good to you).

Whether you bury it,put it in the basement, have a $400 handmade culture jar or an old pickle jar and lid-the longer you hold it above 60 or 65F, the more faster and more sour it becomes. If you hold it at a cold temp (40F is close to what temp you get buried a few feet underground, I think), the longer and slower it ferments.It doesn't sour as quickly and isn't "done" so quickly.

I'm interested in trying a few different soybean cultures but I'm afraid I will colonize my other cultures-ie contaminating them. I have heard that the natto culture (Japanese soybean delicacy)can take over.

grind's picture
grind

Once I jar my finished product (if i get one) how long will it hold in the fridge?

Once it's in the fridge, it keeps for a very long time without any degradation.  I ferment at room temp for about three days then the big jar goes into the crawlspace for about two weeks  Then I portion the batch into smaller jars and put them all in the fridge.  When I'm down to my last couple of jars, I start another batch.  And so it goes.  Like so many others, we prefer it crunchy and fresh tasting.  I like to spice mine with hot pepper flakes and fennel seeds.  My last batch I flavoured with curry powder.

 

You might like this -

http://www.probiotics-lovethatbug.com/bacteria-in-sauerkraut.html

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

We usually wait till cabbage comes down to $0.25/lb before springing for a Kraut build - that is if we don't grow it ourselves.

40 lbs. of cabbage will fill a 5 gallon plastic bucket for fermentation after coring and thin slicing. We use sea salt. Found that using a heat gun to "lightly cauterize" the plastic surface is a great way to insure the only lacto-bacteria and wild yeasts are on the cabbage leaves.  Everything needs to be submerged under the brine. We use a ceramic quiche pan - fits nicely in a 5 gallon pail and is weighty enough to submerge the fermenting cabbage. Temperature should be held at 55 dF or slightly below - skim the foamy surface every day beginning at day 2 till the primary fermentation settles down. The Kraut will complete fermentation in one month. The sauerkraut is canned in quart jars using the hot water bath method.

The resulting product is mild and retains a crunchy fresh taste even though it's been through a water bath.  

And, yes, I love Kraut Dog Sandwiches with grilled Louisiana hot links or Linguisa, aioli, Tabasco sauce, home fermented hot mustard with home canned pepperoncinis and home fermented sauerkraut situated on thickly cut slices of lightly toasted pan au levain. Of course, moderation is something that needs to be practised with this type of dietary supplement...,

Wild-Yeast

AR's picture
AR

Thanks Josh.

Skimming TFL I am glad to see others are fermenting too.  My fridge is full of quart jars of various veggies and once fruit is available this season I will ferment an assortment.  A note of usefull info.  I use a large crock, to which pressing down veggies using a plate, then placing a large zip bag (or 2)  filled with water is great way to keep all submerged. 

AR

swtgran's picture
swtgran

Last time I was at Lehman's hardware, I sprang for a kraut crock.  It was around $60.   It holds about 15 lb. of cabbage and has weights to hold the cabbage down.  Of course, you can use it for other things, too.  You keep water in a trough around the lid to help seal it.  While it is fermenting, every once in a while, you hear a bablurp sound as air bubbles are given off, and come out the vent holes in the lid.  Once you don't hear the sound any more, that is a good time to check your kraut. 

I portion it all out in jars and vacuum seal the lids on and stick it in the fridge.  I never can it, to keep the healthy stuff from  being destroyed by the heat.  terry r.

golgi70's picture
golgi70

I don't know that I'll ever need that much kraut in my fridge but maybe if I get it down well i can do big batches and gift it to friends.  I love th e idea of ziplocks filled with water as your weight.  Then it doesn't matter shape/size your crock it'll get in there just fine.  I'll use this next time.  

To Terry:  When some said to can this I thought it was a "no no" as you'd kill all you created.  

Its' been 24 hours and the brine is deffinately booming.  Every time I pass I press it and more comes up.  I think tommorrow at the 48 hour mark I'll open it up and take a look and skim the scum if any.  Then let it go another day before I put in a jar and place in the fridge.  Once Im' down to a 1/4 I'll start another jar.  

I kept it simple napa cabbage, golden dilicous apples, sliced garlic this time.  I almost put mustard seeds in it and probably should have.  I'm gonna get some cambro's for this project so I can split my batch up into a few varieties next time.  This is of course if I don't end with a failure. 

so I've read to use sea salt.  I sured kosher salt this time around.  Would you just use half the volume of sea salt?  

 

Josh

grind's picture
grind

I never liked the plastic bag touching the salty brine idea.

golgi70's picture
golgi70

didn't think of that.  functionally though its a good idea

 

pjkobulnicky's picture
pjkobulnicky

A couple of things.

The faster you ferment due to higher temperatures the more you risk a soft (not crunchy) final product. The best kraut for crispness and clarity of the juice is made at about 50F in about 4 weeks. Kraut is made in the late Fall because one's basement temperatures are right and, as someone above noted, the price and quality of the cabbages are best.

I made lots of very good kraut and kimchi with the crock or food-grade plastic bucket, plate and bag of water method but nothing has made my fermented veggies better than my wife's gift to me of a fermentation crock with the associated water-trapping lid. If you want to up the ante on your fermentation and make a better product with greater ease, invest in one.

If you are a gardener, run a brine crock. Put a 5% brine sloution in a crock and as stuff overwhelms you from the garden, toss it in the crock and keep the veggies submerged and a towel over the top. Try to keep it between 50-60F. Peppers, onions, green beans, radishes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, green tomatoes, celery, ....  Add more brine solution if you need to due to evaporation. Take out what you want to eat and keep adding more as it comes along.

Finally, when my kraut/kimchi batch is done, I usually transfer it to sterilized bale-lid jars with rubber gaskets (in meal sized quantities) and then store them in the fridge (when it is warm in the house) or in the coldest part of the cellar or house during the winter.

Veggie fermintation is really cool.

grind's picture
grind

If you want to up the ante on your fermentation and make a better product with greater ease, invest in one.

Mine is due to arrive next week.  Very excited about the new crock.

golgi70's picture
golgi70

Thanks to all for the information and support.  Temps in my current house range between 55-65 over the course of the day.  I ended up jarring up after 2 weeks (i ate some of it along the way).  It came out quite delicous and still had good crunch factor.  Until I get a bit more educated and "good" at this i will continue with small batches in my setup which worked out nicely.  After that I may get that corck grind speaks of.  I live in the Pacific Northwest Coast so temperatures are good year round for this but I bet I'll get my best results come the winter time.  Until then I'll play around with some more fermented veggies.  A few ideas I have in mind are:

Coleslaw Kraut : shredded cabbage (red and green) shredded carrots, mustard seeds, celery seed

Potato Kraut - thin sliced red potatoes, garlic, and rosemary (not sure if raw potatoes will work so I'll have investigate)

Pickles - kosher dills and bread and butter are on my list to start.  Oh and beets for the lady.  

Then come the fall i think I'll get the gear I need and start my first batches of liquid bread (beer)

Thanks for all the infor and happy fermenting

 

Josh

grind's picture
grind

but if you're close to Duncan, BC -

 http://saltspringexchange.com/list/harsch-gaertopft-fermenting-crocks/

 I got mine before I saw this ad.

 Good prices.