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#1 Coup

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 10:26 AM

Howdy ya'll,

 

I'm relatively new to the fermentation game, and have made a few homemade sauces myself. However, one thing I've noticed is that I seem to have no ability to create pleasant flavor profiles for what I eventually ferment. 

 

So this weekend I blended up one of my ferments that had been sitting for the better part of six months or so. It was made up of super hots, garlic, onion, and carrots. Good, I thought, this looks like it could have some complex flavor.

 

Nope!

 

It was incredibly hot, and very floral. There was almost no other taste to it, which was in line with how most of my other ferments always turn out - mostly floral / bitter, and very hot. I seem to not have a knack for creating the divine, complex flavors many of the local fermenters here seem to produce. What am I missing? What do I need to start adding to my ferments to build good flavor? Do you use a solid pepper ferment and then add portions of it to new ferments? I'm pretty lost overall with how to continue.



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#2 Masher

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 10:34 AM

Try to build your flavors around a specific use....seafood...pork chicken etc.

Agave nectar can help tame the fire in the bottle.

Good luck....some great sauce makers here, will be watching this thread as well.

#3 Coup

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 10:44 AM

Try to build your flavors around a specific use....seafood...pork chicken etc.

Agave nectar can help tame the fire in the bottle.

Good luck....some great sauce makers here, will be watching this thread as well.

 

I used honey to cut into the spice afterwards, but it still maintained that super floral and bitter taste alongside the honey. Super weird!

 

Should agave be something I add during the fermentation process?



#4 The Hot Pepper

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 11:22 AM

I'd be careful with garlic in ferments, it can get stronger over time, the flavor continues to seep. And assuming it was fresh garlic, this can become strong as well as bitter. You can try roasting the garlic first, or only use a little. And if this was chinense you're always going to get that floral bite unless you can tame it and mellow it which usually means cooking, or aging for a long time.



#5 Coup

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 11:52 AM

I'd be careful with garlic in ferments, it can get stronger over time, the flavor continues to seep. And assuming it was fresh garlic, this can become strong as well as bitter. You can try roasting the garlic first, or only use a little. And if this was chinense you're always going to get that floral bite unless you can tame it and mellow it which usually means cooking, or aging for a long time.

 

Do you cook them before you add them, or after? How long would you simmer something like that down?



#6 The Hot Pepper

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 12:13 PM

If you don't want to cook your ferment and make a complex flavor, I'd try roasted garlic, not raw.

 

If you are going to make a cooked sauce out of the ferment it will tame a lot. I'd do a long cook like you are making smooth pasta sauce from canned tomatoes. I'd use a mild vinegar like rice wine. Taste it after a good cookdown and see what it needs. Blend, return to pot, cook. Don't even add anything at the beginning except water as needed for cooking down and mild vinegar.

 

As far as ferments that you plan to make sauce of, keeping it simple is best. When you make your sauce from the ferment you can add whatever you want. Consider it more of a base for flavors later. The ferment is to achieve special properties from peppers. If you don't know what fermentation does to other ingredients, don't add, or experiment in small batches.



#7 Coup

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Posted 10 April 2018 - 03:31 PM

Thanks for the advice, THP. :) I think I know what I need to do now!



#8 emanphoto

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 04:31 AM

I smoke my chilies, garlic, and shallots at the same time using charcoal and soaked applewood chips.  

 

One caveat to this from my limited experience.  

 

Doing so may also kill some of the good bacteria that makes a salt ferment really active, therefore I don't smoke all my chilies.    I smoked a batch once and the ferment activity was really low for the entire time.  I attribute this to the heat from smoking.  

 

For this illustrated batch, which was around 3 kilos, I kept a handful unsmoked.  The coals are all at one end of the grill and yes this used to be a gas grill which was MUCH cheaper and easier to convert to charcoal when the gas parts broke.  Even with the coals all at one end, things get hot in there which is where I believe the bacteria may be killed.  

 

I limit the smoking to 30 mins per batch as all 3 kilos won't fit at once.   ;)

 

As far as a bitter tasting that can also depend on the chilies used as I used the "rat shit" chili here in TH and the sauce was not very tasty at all, bitter-ish with a poor finish.  This was disappointing as prik kee noo as it is known here, is about as hot a chili as you can get here in TH.

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#9 Hawaiianero

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 07:00 PM

For myself I prefer to not cook my ferments mainly because of the reason you said, the bitterness is hard to get away from. More salt helps a little but then you have more salt.

When I want to make sauce I'll age my peppers in vinegar for 2 to 6 months and then cook them down with whatever fresh or dried ingredients I want in whatever combination I feel like (pineapple, pear, peach, strawberry, mango, garlic, onion, roasted bell peppers, the list is endless).

 

When I ferment, I'll put all my ingredients in the blender and make a mash to ferment for 4 to 6 months or longer. Then I go straight to the fridge to slow the ferment to a crawl and enjoy it like that or run it through the blender on liquefy and fill up an old ketchup bottle or something like that. Main thing is to keep in fridge so ferment stage doesn't start back up.

 

Lots of different ways other people do it but this way works for me and my taste buds.



#10 emanphoto

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 12:04 AM

Thank you for that info @Hawaiinero.  Very interesting and I think you're just the person I need to query here! :)

 

1. Your sauce consists of peppers aged in vinegar 2-6 months plus the other variants but no salt?  What is the advantage of this method vs fermenting them all together?  What does aging the peppers in vinegar do other than saturate them w/vinegar?

 

2. When you ferment you blend, ferment 4-6 months, blend again, and then then go straight to using it without adding vinegar?  Do you do a salt ferment or something else?  In my reading on the site here the pH needs to be below 4 to be "safe".  Does your's become sour from the fermentation, i.e. get lower in pH?  Wouldn't vinegar stop the fermentation process?

 

My final question is about temperature.  

 

As I've mentioned I live in Thailand and the ambient daytime temp here is 90-95, and sometimes higher this time of year especially.

 

I tend to lean towards leaving my mash out for the entire duration of fermenting and leaving room in our already overstuffed fridges.  This is an uneducated move on my part.  I do salt fermentation and add vinegar when I decide to end the fermentation, blend again, strain, then into bottles.  No cooking.  I have not had any mold issues. <knocks on wood>

 

At what point do you refrigerate? What is the reasoning behind refrigerating the fermenting mash?  Here there would be a substantial temperature difference for the fermenting mash and keeping the fermenting process moving along via temperature I THINK is desirable?  Also getting the product into a bottle and in a sellable state ASAP is desirable for me. :)

 

Pictured is my present mash of thai chilies, garlic, shallots, and salt.

 

TIA for any help!   

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Edited by emanphoto, 15 April 2018 - 12:11 AM.


#11 salsalady

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Posted 15 April 2018 - 03:11 PM

Thank you for that info @Hawaiinero.  Very interesting and I think you're just the person I need to query here! :)

 

1. Your sauce consists of peppers aged in vinegar 2-6 months plus the other variants but no salt?  What is the advantage of this method vs fermenting them all together?  What does aging the peppers in vinegar do other than saturate them w/vinegar?

 

2. When you ferment you blend, ferment 4-6 months, blend again, and then then go straight to using it without adding vinegar?  Do you do a salt ferment or something else?  In my reading on the site here the pH needs to be below 4 to be "safe".  Does your's become sour from the fermentation, i.e. get lower in pH?  Wouldn't vinegar stop the fermentation process?

SL replying here- when fermenting like this for 4-6 months, the pH is probably below 3.0 which is way into the safe zone.  Think if it like kimchee.  Kimchee can ferment for a few days on the counter then it is put in the fridge or buried in the ground for months.  Kimchee is eaten as is, not cooked (although it is used it cooked dishes all the time).  The chile ferment in the fridge still has the active cultures going on so all the Good Bugs are still in there.  Once vinegar is added or the sauce is cooked, that kills all the good bugs and at that point, it is just a tasty sauce without probiotics.   

 

My final question is about temperature.  

 

As I've mentioned I live in Thailand and the ambient daytime temp here is 90-95, and sometimes higher this time of year especially.

 

I tend to lean towards leaving my mash out for the entire duration of fermenting and leaving room in our already overstuffed fridges.  This is an uneducated move on my part.  I do salt fermentation and add vinegar when I decide to end the fermentation, blend again, strain, then into bottles.  No cooking.  I have not had any mold issues. <knocks on wood>

This is fine.  Having it in a dark cupboard may help with bright color retention.

 

At what point do you refrigerate? What is the reasoning behind refrigerating the fermenting mash?  Here there would be a substantial temperature difference for the fermenting mash and keeping the fermenting process moving along via temperature I THINK is desirable?  Also getting the product into a bottle and in a sellable state ASAP is desirable for me. :)

 

Pictured is my present mash of thai chilies, garlic, shallots, and salt.

 

TIA for any help!   

 

Hoy Fong Sriracha is fermented for a week before it is processed.  You can ferment as long as you want. 

 

For the flavor, a lot of it comes down to the chile used.  does the chile have a bitterness on it's own?  As THP mentioned, garlic can sometimes get bitter. 

 

You don't have to have ALL of the final ingredients in the ferment.  I don't like a strong fermented flavor and I don't like really hot sauces.  The best ones I've made were-

 

Red Jalapeño peppers

apples or carrots

garlic

onion

salt

some active kimchee or sauerkraut brine to kick start everything (even as small amount as 1/4 cup brine to 4 gallons veg/chilli mash is enough to get the GoodBugs working fast)

 

all fermented together and when I am ready to process, I add MORE of the SAME ingredients fresh.  That cuts the fermented flavor, brings in a bit of freshness, and using the milder jalapeño peppers keeps the sauce at a tolerable heat level and it doesn't have the bitterness some of the other varieties have.

 

Also, after the fermentation stage, you can add all sorts of fruits!  Pineapple, berries, maybe some fresh shallot, let the imagination run wild~ The sugars will tame the heat and help with bitterness.

 

Good Luck~

SL

 

 


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#12 jhc

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 12:08 AM

Only a week for Sriracha? Huh... would have guessed longer. How did you find that out SL?



#13 emanphoto

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 12:29 AM

Thank you for that bounty of info @salsalady.  It is very helpful.

My Thai chili sauce is pretty hot but nothing like a super-hot. :)

Good info about the storage.  

If I try to make another prik kee noo sauce, I would definitely add some fruit.  Mango is pretty easy to get here.  One to tame the heat and 2 to address the bitterness as per your suggestions.

That's very interesting about Hoy Fong Sriracha as that is the consistency of my sauce, without the heat.  When I lived in the US, their products were always in our fridge along with a vinegar chili mix I made for my wife's thai cooking.  

 

 



#14 jhc

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 12:36 AM

One of the best antidotes to bitterness is salt. Just FYI....



#15 salsalady

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Posted 16 April 2018 - 10:21 AM

Only a week for Sriracha? Huh... would have guessed longer. How did you find that out SL?

  

Saw it on a food show somewhere. I think it may still be online. Will look later.

 

edit- there are several How It's Made for Sriracha.  Sorry i can't take time to post them all......supposed to be doing taxes.... :banghead:.....
 

One of the best antidotes to bitterness is salt. Just FYI....

...but that will make it hotter! :rolleyes:


Edited by salsalady, 16 April 2018 - 11:37 AM.

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