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Saurkraut not fermenting


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Do you mean the recipe for sauerkraut in Ruhlman's Charcuterie cookbook? This one?

http://www.cookstr.com/recipes/home-cured-sauerkraut

That's the first time I've seen a method for sauerkraut where the brine is made separately. And so much brine, too. The classic method is to rub the shredded cabbage with salt to make a brine, and if necessary, add a cup or so of extra brine to top the jar. Like this one:

http://www.wildfermentation.com/resources.php?page=sauerkraut

Sorry I can't help you more. I've never made sauerkraut, though I've been thinking of it.

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There's your problem. According to the authors, you need to put it in a cool place (21-23C) for two weeks, not the refrigerator. You've retarded the fermentation through refrigeration.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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nickrey,

OK, I did not understand that part. The instruction was "no hotter than 70 -75 degress/F. 21-23 degress C." So I assumed, anything below those marks was OK.

So what do I do? I am in a tropical country with 28-40C temperature all year.... There is no cool place aside from the refrigirator or an airconditioned room.

Thanks!

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Use the air conditioned room. Lactic fermentation will typically not happen below 15C, hence what you have seen with your non-fermenting sauerkraut.

I've read that in some hot places, the time spent in fermentation outside the refrigerator is limited to a few days; perhaps this is what you need to do.

Otherwise, dig a hole in the ground and put it in there to reduce the fermentation temperature (covering with appropriate barriers for insects, etc).

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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Yea, in the fridge you're only keeping the cabbage fresh:)

Considering that kraut is usually made with only salt and cabbage (no water), I question the strength of the brine. 50 grams of salt per liter of water is rather weak. May lead to mushy kraut.

Editing to make it clear that eventually the kraut will turn to mush i.e. short shelf life.

Edited by ChefCrash (log)
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Indeed - don't give up. I've made sauerkraut for a few years and it's always better than store-bought.

I have some brining in my basement right now. It's been going for two weeks and it tastes great. I unexpectedly had to be away from home for a few days early on, so took it out to my garage to slow the fermentation (I live in a cold climate). It was still at the point where I wanted to skim the foam every day, so I figured that by slowing/stopping the fermentation, I could leave it unattended. When I returned home, I brought it back inside and it started fermenting again right away.

Another poster above said that you don't need to add water. That's likely true if your cabbage is very fresh, but it the water that's released isn't enough to cover the cabbage within 24 hours, mix 1 teaspoon of koshering salt with 1 cup of water and top up the brine in your fermenting container.

Sorry for not realizing you were referring to Ruhlman's book. I often serve my sauerkraut with a charcuterie plate, so that's where my brain went.

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nickrey,

OK, I did not understand that part. The instruction was "no hotter than 70 -75 degress/F. 21-23 degress C." So I assumed, anything below those marks was OK.

So what do I do? I am in a tropical country with 28-40C temperature all year.... There is no cool place aside from the refrigirator or an airconditioned room.

Thanks!

You can wrap your crock with a wet towel. By keeping the towel wet, evaporation will keep your crock at cooler temperatures.

At the temperatures you quoted, you are likely see various moulds developing faster than lactobacillus acidophilus, which is a problem.

Good luck

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Another poster above said that you don't need to add water. That's likely true if your cabbage is very fresh, but it the water that's released isn't enough to cover the cabbage within 24 hours, mix 1 teaspoon of koshering salt with 1 cup of water and top up the brine in your fermenting container.

There are two schools of sauerkraut making: one where you just add salt, and one where you add a brine. Both techniques work: stick with whatever recipe you've got.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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The first time I made sauerkraut, I added only salt. The cabbage released enough water to immerse itself, so I didn't have to add more brine. Every time since then, the cabbage didn't release enough water to cover, so I added brine. All batches tasted exactly the same.

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I think everyone is looking at this through the lens of traditional European or North American climates. Sometimes you just need to adapt to where you are.

Lactic fermentation, which is the basis for making sauerkraut, is quite common in food preparation in African countries. This article describes the process. You simply don't leave it around for two weeks. One to three days is all it needs.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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Put it in an air-conditioned room, preferably in front of an AC vent.

Shalmanese, you know how expensive my electricity bill will be? LOL! :) Can't do that.

I really think you should try the wet towel trick. In a well ventilated area you will be able to reduce the temperature of your crock by more than a few degrees.

I used to put wet socks around my water bottles when cycling and I never had to drink the disgusting tepid water my more image-conscious friends had to endure.

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Speaking from the tropics (and I do make Kraut), it takes 2 days in stoneware crocks placed in the shadiest (and hence coolest) part of the kitchen; if I'm feeling very good about my timing, I can also do the fermentation in the cool corner of my back bathroom (which is only for show, not for use). In the summertime when I'm craving a nice sauerkraut, however, I bury the crocks in the shadiest part of the garden - otherwise they ferment far too quickly and I end up with an icky mass of cabbage in my nice crock... :huh: Summertime in buried crocks it takes between overnight to 24 hours (depending on whether the days top out at 30 or 45 C).

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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Magictofu, Panaderia,

Wish I had read this sooner! :)

To all that replied and helped, here's what I did:

I took out that "fresh" 3 week cabbage being brined in the picture above from the ref.

I Just put it in the "coolest" part of my kitchen at around 4PM. When I checked on it around 9PM, the mixture was still somewhat chilled, maybe 18C still.

Then I went to bed. Woke up at 7AM, checked on it and it was a mess! Rotten. It was so bad, I did not have the time to even take a picture, I had to get rid of it quick. Less than 24 hours, spoiled already.

I must study this further and try again :)

Thanks all! Regards.

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When you try again, try simply salting the cabbage heavily to bring out the water. It strikes me that you had FAR too much water this time - normally I have to add less than a cup of liquid to my krauts.

Where are you, if I may ask?

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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