The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Home Brewed Red Sauerkraut

andychrist's picture
andychrist

Home Brewed Red Sauerkraut

Just learned how to ferment red cabbage for sauerkraut. Interesting how lactofermentation of vegetables in an anaerobic environment compares to culturing sour dough. 

Needed a spot 70ºF which in my apartment is difficult to find, as I mostly keep the place around 55ºF during the colder months. Fortuitously discovered that the closet containing the electric water heater could maintain the desired temperature with the simple addition of a 40W appliance bulb. After setting up the 3L mason jar atop the unit, I covered it with a paper bag to protect the cabbage from the light.

 

Home Fermenting Kraut

From what I've read it takes about three weeks for the ferment to mature before it is ready to be refrigerated.

As the red cabbage acidifies, it turns from purple to pink. Noticed that when rinsing away remains of the red brine during clean-up, it runs blue.  My well water is alkaline from calcium, so guess the cabbage pigment must respond to pH similarly to litmus (and the opposite of hydrangea, which turns blue only in acid soil.)

Now I gotta learn to make knishes!

 

 

gillpugh's picture
gillpugh

Let us let us know what it tastes like.  

Wild-Yeast's picture
Wild-Yeast

Homemade sauerkraut is addictive. I go for the Coney Knishes (yep they have hot dogs in them) and don't forget the hot brown mustard...,

Wild-Yeast

ann444's picture
ann444

I don't know what recipe you're using but I'd keep your eye on it, mine has never taken 3 weeks.  My kitchen is 69 degrees F in the winter and it takes about a week.  In the summer at 80 degrees room temperature it takes about 4 days.  Have never thought about the chemistry but my overflow brine also turns bluish purple when rinsing.

andychrist's picture
andychrist

but the flavor continues to develop the longer it ferments, similar to sourdough. After about a month, took out a quart to refrigerate for consumption while the rest stays around 53° in my unheated spare room, inside a thermos chest. So far so good but still more purple than pink because I weighted down the cabbage under the brine with garden stones that must have contained lime. To counter that, continually replaced the overflow with a distilled vinegar solution. Surprisingly the resulting flavor almost as good as normally fermented kraut. And fortunately turns more red when cooked, a lot less frightening to dinner guests.

Purple Kraut

Next time I'll only use the thicker side of my Braun's slicing blade because despite remaining crisp the part of the cabbage processed with the thin edge really came out too fine for sauerkraut — Should have known as the same holds true with coleslaw. Also found a nice little 4oz ceramic bowl at Target that fits the opening of my 3qt mason jar perfectly and holds weights, so that I don't have to use stones to submerge the kraut any more.

The ferment continues to remain quite active (it foams like crazy when added to hot soup) so gotta research ways to utilize in a starter dough.

andychrist's picture
andychrist

and after brining and letting it rest about half an hour, decided to add the remnants of an ancient jar of caraway and some dried dill. Well, after stirring everything around and pressing back down into the mixing bowl, I noticed a good amount of foam on top already. Had started with the cabbage fresh from the refrigerator and it is only 55ºF in my kitchen so wonder what can possibly be brewing so fast.

Bubbling red kraut