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Any Other Kraut Makers Out There?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Hearth Mistress, Mar 9, 2013.

  1. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    I usually buy 90# of cabbage to make sauerkraut the last weekend of October. Thanks to Hurricane Sandy, that didn't happen so with St Patty's day upon us and cabbage at the farmers market cheap, I figured I'd do it now.

    Well, I don't now what I did differently this time around but I have 4 huge heads of cabbage left that won't fit in my crock. I can't mash any more in there for sure!

    I make plain kraut, just salt but does anyone have a tried and true recipes with other ingredients? I have crocks in all different sizes so I thought it would be cool to try something as a small batch to see how it turns out.

    I have fermented carrots, cucumbers, garlic, turnips, etc so I'm familiar with the process, just wanted to try something different with the cabbage.

    I was thinking about Kimchee as my hubby loves it but the recipes on line varied quite a bit and that scared me as fermenting is a science, you screw it up and you brew bochalism instead ;)

    We are pretty adventerous eaters, no kids, so weird is good too for us.

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  2. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Check the brine strength of those Kimchee recipes, likely they are relatively close together on that part and that is critical.

    Weight of salt to weight of final brine.
  3. EatenByLimestone

    EatenByLimestone Minister of Fire

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    I made it once. It was ok. I made the mistake of listening to everybody who said, "Add this to it!" and "Add that to it."


    Matt
  4. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Isn't the ground too cold right now to bury in the crock for three weeks? <>
  5. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    A dark closet will do nicely.
  6. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    Unfortunately, there are plenty of "cool" places in my old drafty house to ferment, no need to bury it :) With all these old stone walls, it's chilly year round, unless you are near the stove and toasty.
  7. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I'm thinking of trying to make kraut. First I will have to make a giant crock, I think.

    Do you can yours?
  8. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I have made 100 pounds (starting weight) every other year for quite a few years. Only the plain stuff. You want stuff added - do it when you cook it.

    Cabbage (we still do this by hand with a kraut cutter that was my grandfathers)
    Salt
    pound it till it brings a juice.
    repeat layers.
    Top with some of the larger leaves and compress with large plate/ lid/ whatever with some weight.
    Several layers of cheese cloth over the whole thing to keep stuff out.

    We (me - parents) choose to freeze, not can.
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  9. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    I do can mine, 2 water baths at time going as it's a few cases of jars to do. If you make a crock, note that salt water has eaten through some of the "modern" crocks I bought leaving a nice puddle as the water leaches through. I have a big 8 gallon one that was my granny's but I prefer my 3 gallon one, nice size and doesn't take 6 weeks to ferment like my big one. However, I'm looking for a "rustic" looking piece of lidded pottery that I can use a a counter top compost bin if you want to take on another project ;)

    I do it the same way, I make it that way because we eat it plain, I usually don't add anything and sometimes don't even heat it, right out of the jar - yum!
    I don't used a cabbage cutter though, I do it all by hand with a knife, this time around a ceramic one, cut through it like butter!
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  10. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Ohhh...the 4 blade cutter I use will literally run circles around a knife user (and I can run a knife pretty well). You can get away with the out of jar eating because of the hot bath canning. For freezer applications I still prefer it to be cooked in some manner.

    (if you are simmering up some for some sausage or something, throw a heavy pinch of caraway seeds in it - yummy).
  11. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I guess a crock with straight sides would work best so that the weight covers the whole area. I could just make a weight with holes in it too.
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  12. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    You might be on to something there...;)
  13. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    ... and a handle... and a USB port. ok- maybe not a USB port
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  14. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Being a dummy on the subject...can you make the same type of glaze that was used in the old style crocks? As said above, many of the new style crocks can't really be used in a salt water application. I don't know why, but they will degrade.
  15. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I am really surprised at that. I haven't tested anything with high-salt content, but all my stuff is made with very old techniques, and super high temperatures. (my latest favorite glazes are mostly red clay and woodstove ash). It is possible that newer stuff is "low fired", earthenware which tends to be more porous. Because it's fired at a lower temp, the glazes have a higher percentage of fluxes to make them melt at a lower temperature; any substitutions for the silica and alumina that make a glass strong will weaken/destabilize it, so they would be less likely to stand up to a chemical attack. In fact high-fired pottery should not leak even without a glaze. The fact that a crock sits with liquid for weeks exacerbates the issue, of course.
  16. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I think in this situation - being old skool would be an advantage.
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  17. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    A lot of old style crocks used "Albany slip"- that dark color glaze that seemed ubiquitous was just a red clay from... Albany, fired at high temp. The clear glazed ones used something akin to Bernard Leach's "1,2,3,4" glaze. The ones that had a texture sort of like an orange rind were salt glazed- sodium in salt added to the kiln attacks the silica in the clay and forms sodium silicate.
  18. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    However you do it, you will want as smooth of a surface that you can come up with. Makes for easy cleaning.
  19. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Like this- probably something like Albany Slip for the brown. It was super common.

    [​IMG]
  20. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Chloe on Mr. Frog (a lap substitute for my extreme lap dog)- that crock behind her with the Granfors Bruks limbing axe in it (yes- tool gloat) is albany slipped on top
    [​IMG]
  21. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Yeah - those were common. The one I use has no brown. It is a consistent beige color with a smooth texture like a typical coffee mug. It is a 30 gallon and we use a 10 gallon for the weight.

    Edit: and you will want straight sides.
  22. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    Holy smokes. 30 gallon would take up $1000+ in kiln space. I like kraut, but a few gallons would keep me for a couple years I think
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  23. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Just follow the beer makers lead and get food grade 5 gallon plastic buckets (you know the ones that stores with a deli and bake shop are always getting rid of).

    Easy peasy.
  24. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    It is not full. Being oversized keeps all spills, splashes and slops inside of the unit. We tamp each layer till a muck like sound is being squished from the current layer.
  25. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    That's crazy tawk- making things easy. Then I don't get to make a big crock. :)
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