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Old 08-27-2017, 11:50 AM   #1
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Default Lacto-Fermentation

I know I’ve talked to a few people about lacto-fermentation but I thought it might be a good idea to start a thread specific to it. I got interested in lacto-fermentation a few years ago after finding out how easy it is, and have been using it regularly to make sauces and ingredients. The most commonly known uses for this is with cabbage, such as sauerkraut or kimchi, but you can really use it with any vegetables. The process uses “Lactobacillus” bacteria that’s already present on all plants, and only takes a little bit of salt (2% by weight) to pull them out and get the process started.

The process is straight forward – cut up whatever you want to ferment, weigh and put in a jar, make a salt water mixture using 2% of the total weight and fill up the jar until the brine barely covers the solids. Put a weight on it to try to stop anything from floating to the top, then put an airlock on it to let out co2 without letting in oxygen and wait.

A few weeks ago I went down to Pueblo CO, an old farming town that has their own type of chili pepper that I wanted to check out. I went to one of the bigger farms and got a whole bunch of different peppers to ferment for different projects. Without really knowing what I was doing, I got (from sweet to hot) Sweet Lilac, White Dove, Sweet Marconi, Sweet Yum Yum, Big Jim Hot Anaheim, Pueblo, Ancho. I took three big mason jars and made a mixture for eating/cooking with on their own, a mixture that will be turned into a hot sauce, and one that was just fire roasted pueblos with a little garlic. I did a few test batches a while back with regular Anaheims to figure out the best way to ferment “roasted peppers” to follow the local trend of roasting these chilis in the big drums, which everybody usually freezes to use during the rest of the year. I ended on just blistering the skin with a kitchen torch, the end product is less mushy than using fully roasted peppers, but still has a little smoky flavor.

I chopped these up and put in their respective jars, filled with brine and let them sit. After one day I could start seeing the first bubbles form, which increased over the rest of the week. After one week I took out the weight (I use glass ones I bought off amazon but you can use a smaller mason jar, they fit in the wide mouth top) and stirred it up, at which point it looked like it was churning with all the activity. I let it sit for two more weeks, then this morning stirred them again. It is still making bubbles, but it’s slowing down, probably a few more weeks until they are done fermenting completely.







I’m making this thread to go through this particular batch as well as start a conversation with anybody else who might be into experimenting with lacto-fermentation, and talk about any batches in the future. Anybody else play around with this?
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Old 08-27-2017, 11:52 AM   #2
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Default Re: Lacto-Fermentation

To add on that, yesterday I picked up some hatch chilis and roasted them with a torch the same way I did with the pueblos to ferment alongside in a 4th jar, to see the difference when they’re done as they often compared to each other. As you can see after 3 weeks the colors have dulled (both started out a similar color of green). I'll keep updating with this one as well


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Old 08-27-2017, 12:56 PM   #3
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Default Re: Lacto-Fermentation

Sweet! and spicy...
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Old 08-27-2017, 01:18 PM   #4
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Default Re: Lacto-Fermentation

Those look great!
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Old 08-31-2017, 10:24 AM   #5
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Default Re: Lacto-Fermentation

Picking up a used bourbon barrel from Great Divide Brewing tomorrow (used for bourbon then used for barrel aged beer), plan is to cut up one of the staves and put in the hot sauce mason jar when it's done fermenting to age for a few months. I used oak chips in my last fermented hot sauce and it added a nice subtle complexity to the final product, but using wood in chip form was a terrible idea logistically (had to pick out all the smaller pieces with tweezers before blending into a sauce). Hoping this will be easier and add more flavor, since they're used instead of raw oak chips. Got a few other ideas to use some of the other staves, but this is a definite
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Old 08-31-2017, 11:21 AM   #6
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Default Re: Lacto-Fermentation

I have a pepper sauce in the works right now, combination of some beautifully orange Perron peppers and a couple orange habs. I believe it has garlic in it as well, plus some oak blocks. Been fermenting for ~5 months? I really need to take better notes. I plan to process and bottle sometime over the winter.

I want to get another batch going soon. A chef friend that ferments just about anything, talked about a hot sauce he did where it included a local brewery IPA in the mix. If I can get to the farmers market this weekend, I plan to buy a bunch and give that a try myself.
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Old 08-31-2017, 11:32 AM   #7
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Default Re: Lacto-Fermentation

The IPA added after the fermentation I assume? very interesting. I have some heady topper hot sauce I got as a gift from somebody who went to the brewery, more of an onion flavor than hot but still really good, I bet that's how they did it. Maybe if I'm feeling creative once these stop bubbling so much I'll ferment some stuff to make a sauce using beers to finish (love some of the local sours, I bet if I did a mix of stuff that goes well with a cherry or raspberry I could combine with a beer and make something really interesting)
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Old 08-31-2017, 11:55 AM   #8
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Default Re: Lacto-Fermentation

Was hoping for something different in this thread
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Old 08-31-2017, 02:59 PM   #9
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Default Re: Lacto-Fermentation

Quote:
Originally Posted by massphatness View Post
Was hoping for something different in this thread
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Old 08-31-2017, 03:10 PM   #10
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Default Re: Lacto-Fermentation

Quote:
Originally Posted by massphatness View Post
Was hoping for something different in this thread
Sorry to disappoint by only having pictures of food
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Old 09-11-2017, 11:05 AM   #11
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Default Re: Lacto-Fermentation

Took out the four jars to give a stir and inspect, the three pueblo project jars have mellowed in terms of fermentation activity, very few bubbles but they smell great. Gonna leave them to hang for another month or so and inspect again. One of the jars, the one that will become a hot sauce, has been forming a very small amount of Kahm Yeast on the top. This usually occurs in ~20% of my ferments, and while it's a little ugly it's nothing I worry about. This is especially true with something that will become a hot sauce, because I will eventually add vinegar which should create a PH environment to neutralize any yeast formations



As for the hatch chilis, they are still fermenting rigorously, the jar smelled and sounded like sticking your nose over a freshly opened seltzer. Gonna revisit in a few weeksw and see if it's calmed down at all
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:01 PM   #12
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Default Re: Lacto-Fermentation

I popped open my latest pepper ferment to add to it. I was under estimated to think a couple lbs of peppers would fill a 2gal bucket. I had a big of green mold which I removed. Added the latest batch of peppers/salt. Now the buckets almost half filled.
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:06 PM   #13
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Default Re: Lacto-Fermentation

How long since you started the ferment? do you notice any ill effects of adding to a batch that's already going? Do you just add more brine equivalent to the amount of salt for the additional portion? I've thought about the idea of doing this to add a variety of textures to the final product, but I don't know if it would actually make a difference
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:19 PM   #14
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Default Re: Lacto-Fermentation

Quote:
Originally Posted by stearns View Post
How long since you started the ferment? do you notice any ill effects of adding to a batch that's already going? Do you just add more brine equivalent to the amount of salt for the additional portion? I've thought about the idea of doing this to add a variety of textures to the final product, but I don't know if it would actually make a difference
The original was started last week Saturday. I hadn't seen any airlock action, but then there was so much head space to make up for in the bucket. I don't use a brine, I just do % of salt (usually 3.5%) to weight of the peppers. There's enough liquid in the peppers to create it's own brine. This go around though, does have 12oz of a NE-IPA added. Got the idea from a chef friend.
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:32 PM   #15
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Default Re: Lacto-Fermentation

Interesting, I've done a liquid brine every time but one, I did some cherries "dry fermented" after seeing it on mind of a chef (or one of those shows), but it didn't have too much juice and I haven't revisited those in a while to see how they're doing.

Very curious to hear how things are going with the beer in there while it's fermenting, I was thinking about ways to incorporate beer but I thought it might mess with the process if you do it while they're still churning, let me know how it goes please
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:43 PM   #16
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Default Re: Lacto-Fermentation

Will do. I"m keeping it in the kitchen now too, see if the slightly warmer temps help kick off the ferment. Basement's running low to mid 60's now.
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Old 09-12-2017, 08:03 AM   #17
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Default Re: Lacto-Fermentation

Just chopped up a bunch of peppers I got at a famrnwrs market (inspired by this thread)
Sitting quietly in a jug - will post pictures in a few days....
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Old 09-12-2017, 08:19 AM   #18
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Default Re: Lacto-Fermentation

Quote:
Originally Posted by nutcracker View Post
Just chopped up a bunch of peppers I got at a famrnwrs market (inspired by this thread)
Sitting quietly in a jug - will post pictures in a few days....
Did you add any salt?
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Old 09-18-2017, 09:55 AM   #19
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Default Re: Lacto-Fermentation

I was at a spice shop in Fort Collins on Saturday and saw they had "fermented chili flakes," I gave them a little taste and it was pretty good, but thought maybe I could make it myself. Yesterday morning I took a handfull of some sweet and spicy fermented thai chilis I made last year that have just been sitting around and cut them in strips/laid out on a parchment paper, along with about a dozen cloves of fermented garlic cut extra thin because why not. I put these in the oven starting at 200* but eventually working my way down to my oven's minimum, 170*, checking every 30 minutes. After 2 hours the peppers were dried and close to crumbling, but the garlic would still bend. I took the peppers out and into the spice grinder, where they broke down quite nicely. I put the garlic in for another hour and while it got a lot darker, it never really got the the point that it would break instead of bend. I figured any longer and they might start to burn so I gave up and took them out, even though they were still maliable I put them in the spice grinder and it actually turned into a nice powder, darker than your typical garlic powder but much better result than I was expecting.

All of that good stuff aside I ended with... about a teaspoon of each. I haven't tasted them yet but the smell is very concentrated and pungent, much funkier than the one I tasted in the store. Don't know if it's worth all the effort to make such a small amount, I guess that depends on how much I need to really impart that spicy sour flavor I was going for, I'll update when I do some more taste testing


(before going in the oven, didn't take any pictures of the final product)
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Old 09-18-2017, 10:55 AM   #20
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Default Re: Lacto-Fermentation

Ben, not sure if I mentioned this, but if your on FB join the group "The Salt Cured Pickle". Lots of good info there for fermenting all kinds of foods.
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