Fermentation. Bread, yoghurt, sauerkraut, and about 1000 other things.

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by oregonyeti, Mar 3, 2015.

  1. oregonyeti

    oregonyeti

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    Fermentation plays a huge part in so many foods and beverages. Yogurt, wine, sauerkraut, kimchi, Pickapeppa sauce, tabasco sauce and other chili sauces, soy sauce, southeast Asian fish sauces, raised bread, sake, beer, kefir, cheeses, miso, sour cream, and many others ...

    I find it fascinating, because so many good things are a result and also because I like to learn more about how things work. I would like to learn more about the fermentation processes that happen, and the many things that are made with them. I would love to know the history behind them.

    I know there are some people very knowledgeable on fermentation here. I would be happy to learn from them. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
  2. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    .
     
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  3. oregonyeti

    oregonyeti

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    Koukouvagia, I did see that. I posted there too. You forgot me already! It wasn't really about fermentation in general, but there was some talk about yeast fermentation. There are other kinds, too.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
  4. chicagoterry

    chicagoterry

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    Have you looked at The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz? It's pretty much the bible of fermentation.



    I know several people who are deeply into fermenting almost anything they can lay their hands on and they do it using the concepts taught in the book.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
  5. oregonyeti

    oregonyeti

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    Thanks, Terry. I haven't read it. I might have to order that. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
     
  6. eastshores

    eastshores

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  7. teamfat

    teamfat

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    My simple entry of the grilled mushroom sandwich was primarily to point out how ubiquitous fermentation is in our everyday lives. People were saving food for a LONG time before vacuum sealers, freezers and refrigerators were available. Some little bugs and such are bad for us, some are REALLY good for us.

    I remember when I first started homebrewing that my body had a bit of trouble adapting to the living yeast contained in the beer. It was a change for the better.

    mjb.
     
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  8. oregonyeti

    oregonyeti

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    We are so used to it that we aren't always aware.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015
  9. eastshores

    eastshores

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    I don't have a good handle on the benefits entirely but in general "pro-biotics" are accepted to be good and even necessary to health.

    We've formed a relationship through thousands of years of perhaps trial and error, such that our microbial friends that keep our meats, milks, and grains in a state of nutrition without the danger of spoilage are even necessary to help us in digestion of such things.

    Sauerkraut naturally fermented.. fermented pickles, radishes, etc. They all carry along with them the benefit of the pro-biotics. It's tough to convince someone that something that would be assumed spoiled is not only safe, but even really good for you.

    It's been said before that these preservation techniques were born out of necessity but in today's time we enjoy them largely for the experience of taste. I for one am glad that there was a time when this was needed, fermented/preserved products are one of my favorite ingredients!
     
  10. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    I have done lots of different types of fermenting, from making beer to making yogurt to making sauerkraut and numerous types of pickles.  One of these days I am going to experiment with sourdough baking.

    For making sourkraut I use a dry salting method where I rub salt into into the cabbage.  For this method I use 3 Tbs. of salt for every 5# of cabbage.  I also usually make a bit of brine just in case the cabbage doesn't throw off enough liquid to cover it by at least 1/2".

    For my brine when doing various types of pickles I usually use 3Tbs + 1 tsp.  salt for every 2 quarts of water.  That gives me approximately a 3-3.5% brine solution.

    Never use table salt for your brines as they contain iodine which can inhibit the growth of bacteria (a bad thing in fermentation) and the anti-caking agents can give an off flavor.

    I use kosher salt for most of my fermentations.  If I purchase larger flake salt I will crush it up somewhat before measuring.  If you want to get really serious about it you should probably weigh your salt as measurements of different salts can weigh differently depending of the structure of the salt.  Various recipes call for different brine solutions, anywhere from 1.5-5%.  I, personally, like my standard brine which like I said above averages around 3-3.5%.  Much lower than that and you really risk bad bugs growing in your brine.  Higher than that is just too salty for me and not neccessary if you are making sure that all your equipment is meticulously clean.
     
  11. oregonyeti

    oregonyeti

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    Thanks, eastshores and Pete, lots of great info there.

    I've made kimchi at home. The first time it came out great. The second time I used a little less salt and it didn't taste as good. I think Pete has explained why. And next time I'll use un-iodized salt.
     
  12. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    Forgot to add this:

    To get a 3% brine solution - for 2 quarts (64oz) of water, you will need to add 1.92 ozw of salt.

    If you boil  your water to dissolve your salt you must make sure that the brine comes back down to room temperature before using it in your fermentation.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2015
  13. luc_h

    luc_h

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    Great subject OregonYeti! Fermentation is such misunderstood and lost knowledge nowadays.

    @eastshores yes the human microbiome is key to health.  This recent TED talk is very interesting on this subject :



    I have always thought that preparing and eating fermented foods was a way for our bodies to submerge itself and tame the microbial soup that surrounds us.  Sourdough bread is a great example of a food that is made with location specific environmental microbes i.e. your home. 

    I regularly make kefir, yoghurt and sourdough bread.  I've done beer, wine, cheese, sourcream, buttermilk, kumbucha, vinegar.

    Not well known is fermentation is a key step in Vanilla bean manufacturing.

    Luc H.
     
  14. oregonyeti

    oregonyeti

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    Very interesting video, Luc! Thanks for joining the conversation. I know you have a lot of years of experience with fermentation. If you can give some light on the organisms used for fermentation, the different environments they do well in, the foods and beverages made with the kinds of fermenting organisms, and how we can make the different processes work as we want them to - kind of asking a lot, but if you can give a general idea, I'd really like it.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2015
  15. mtullius

    mtullius

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    A thought about water- I've been to some cities where there is a noticeable smell of chlorine. Mine doesn't and I seem to do ok with it.
     
  16. luc_h

    luc_h

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    Ouch! that's a tall order for a web forum.  I'm afraid it would require a very long post to cover just the basics (boring).

    let me start with this intro in the hopes it generates questions:

    fermentation is a generic term for using microbes to preserve food.  Preserving means to extent the storage of perishable foods.  At it's basics that means to prevent the food from making you sick which is accomplished by preventing pathogens from growing in the food. 

    Fermentation prevents the pathogens from taking hold by acidification of the food and/or by overcrowding the food called bioprotection.

    fermenting microbes eat sugars to make acids i.e. lactose in milk to lactic acid in yoghurt, glucose in meat to fermented cured sausage, etc..

    Microbes in fermented foods are very aggressive, they protect their turf like street gangs, by overcrowding the food they prevent other microbes like pathogens from taking hold i.e. bioprotection.

    ex. cheese skin and all other unpasteurized fermented foods.

    Fish sauce is a particular fermentation whereas the proteins are liquified with particular microbes that live comfortably in brine. Pathogens cannot tolerate high salt environment.

    Other uses of fermentation is to create alcohol (obviously) and gaz bubbles as with beer, champagne and bread.

    Alcoholic foods can be transformed to vinegar (acidification) using a different type of fermentation ex. hard cider to cider vinegar, rice wine to rice vinegar, etc...

    Fermentation in other words is the process of spoiling food in a control fashion because it's kinda obvious that every fermented food was discovered by accident by tasting a spoiled food that didn't make you sick and kinda tasted good (the right microbes under the right circumstances).

    Luc H.
     
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  17. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't go out of my way to avoid my local tap water which is somewhat chlorinated, but I also usually boil my brine which will drive off most of the chlorine.  I would avoid water though in which you can actually smell the chlorine as it can inhibit the microbe growth, both good and bad.
     
  18. oregonyeti

    oregonyeti

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    Yeah, sorry, that is a lot to ask. I meant a quick overview and that's what you gave. Thanks!
     
  19. oregonyeti

    oregonyeti

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    Very good to know.
     
  20. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    I was just talking to a local farmer this evening and the topic of fermented foods came up.  It seems to be a major trend right now with lots of people trying their hand at this old technique.