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A Whey with squashed cabbage a sauerkraut makes

My attempts at making my own sauerkraut have not been productive.

I suspect that I have been hampered by high ambient air temperatures than what the kraut  Lactobacillus appreciate.
The best quality sauerkraut is produced at 65-72° F (18-22° C) temperatures. Temperatures 45.5° F (7.5° C) to 65 F (18 C) favor the growth and metabolism of L.mesenteroides. Temperatures higher than 72° F (22° C) favor the growth of Lactobacillus species. Generally, lower temperatures produce higher quality sauerkraut, although at 45.5° F (7.5° C) bacteria are growing so slow that the cabbage might need 6 months to complete fermentation. Higher temperatures produce sauerkraut in 7-10 days but of the lesser quality. This creates such a fast fermentation that some types of lactic acid bacteria don’t grow at all and less reaction take place inside what results in a less complex flavor. Below 45.5° F (7.5° C) fermentation time is up to 6 months. At 65° F (18° C) fermentation time is 20 days. At 90-96° F (32-36° C) fermentation time is 10 days. (Source)
But there is a short cut: the way the Greeks do it.

And this is what I'm doing with my latest effort. 

The Greeks use the whey taken from the making of yogurt and add it to the cabbage mash as a starter. The whey is often drained from the yogurt to make  it thicker. It already contains plenty of hard working Lactobacillus  so when married to the cabbage and salt things supposedly happen faster.

Indeed, I'm hoping to bottle my sauerkraut after 3 days of fermentation.

If, after 3 days, I have dinky dye kraut I can then begin to experiment with extended lengths with later batches.

I can get plenty of whey as I make my own yogurt almost twice per week and whey is easily made by draining dobs of this yogurt through a cloth. 

Making sauerkraut should be easy but so far I haven't been blessed with an edible result.  Its' rustrating. But then, failure only encourages me to do more homework.

Now I suspect I'm on the right track with the CABBAGE + WHEY + SALT approach (more whey/less salt). 

The only procedures you need to know is how to bruise the shredded cabbage so that it sweats...and how to pack it in a crock so that it is stamped down and  reamins drowned in its watery juices. 

Time does the rest -- and all those  hard working  Lactobacillae. 


After 3 days of fermentation the sauerkraut  was delicious -- even compared to the Polish import I so often buy. Still a tad crunchy but with a mix of exciting flavours and not as salty as some I've tasted.  I prefer my sauerkraut simple and don't take so much to all the additions of spices, other vegetables or white wine that are favoured by the Germans. I know that if my sauerkraut ferments as my yogurt does then even jarred up in the refrigerator I'm still gonna get more activity and deeper flavours with longer resting time. And if I use my own whey I'll get a partnering of Lacto species and tastes -- yogurt and sauerkraut. So now, while I've given up brewing beer or baking with sour dough, I can still wallow in the joys of  ferment.



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