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Member Since 06 Dec 2017
Offline Last Active Feb 12 2019 01:02 AM

Topics I've Started

Large Scale Fermentation Gear & Mash vs Chopped

11 February 2019 - 06:07 AM

I have been wondering about the mash vs chopped veg choice especially after 2 large ferment bottles developed some mold on top just recently.  

Once smoked and blended to a mash, I add x amount of water with 4% salt of the total veg weight and stir it up and cap it with lock top jars with no gasket so they don't blow up overnight.  The mash is NOT covered by brine.  One batch went bad so I scooped out the mold as best I could and added 2% boiled brine to cover what was left of the mash.  THAT grew mold on top so I tossed it. :(
Do I need to cover my mash with brine?
Would it be better to use chopped veg and keep it submerged to prevent mold?
Is 4% of the total veg weight the correct way to calculate the amount of salt?


I now have air lock bubblers so perhaps my mold issues will be behind me, and I'm searching for someone to sway me to either 1 gallon narrow mouth carboys or 3 gallon widemouth glass bubblers such as in these photos.  
Pictured are a .7 gallon narrow mouth carboy and a 3 gallon wide mouth.  These are what are available here so I don't have PET choices and 5 gallons is more sauce than I want to get into for now.


Points I'm interested in are the air tightness of the lids for the wide mouths as I've heard of issues for brewers with them, and the obvious cleaning issues that will come with the narrow mouths.  


Anyone of you who have been there and done that care to weigh in on this?   :)


Here in Thailand we don't have a lot of choices as brewing is technically illegal here, so the gear is hard to come by.  Fortunately there are enough home brewers making it possible to make inroads against these %$#%$ laws so there is at least one supplier.  


Me, I just wanna make chili sauce! ;)
Thanks for any comments and suggestions!

Back From the US With Ghosts :)

15 January 2019 - 01:11 AM

Just back from freezin' my butt in the US for a month and glad to be back in BKK with high temps and VERY high pollution! It's like freakin' Beijing here.   :mad:


While in the US I was excited to get lots of dried ghost chilies as well as bubblers and dried Mexican chilies (chipotle etc) that I can't find here in TH.  So I'm ready to start my next ferment!


I bought 2 different brands of ghosts while there.  Freida's, which are in most grocery stores now it seems, and I also ordered a 1/2 lb of dry ghosts from the ghostpepperstore.com since they are located in Alton, Ill near where I was staying in St. Louis.  


I took a taste of Freida's and found them to be distinctly salty tasting.  I wrote the company and eventually heard back that nothing is added to them.  My tastebuds say otherwise but OK.  


I just tried the tip of a ghost from ghostpepperstore.com and there was no saltiness to it.  Spicy but not lingering and building as I had worried.  Does anyone have any experience with either of these chili brands?





My first and only experience with a ghost sauce previously was Mad Dog Inferno which, with a small drop on a tortilla chip, set me on  :fireball: and kept building.  I eventually went to the sink to rinse my mouth!  Subsequent research into that sauce showed that they use extract which is cheating in my book.


Thanks for any comments on these 2 brands of chilies!  I'll be following up with my sauce recipe questions in a separate post.   :onfire:  I'm off to the store to get my fresh chiles etc to get these ferments cookin'!




Various Degrees of Separation

16 October 2018 - 04:28 AM

My fermented thai chili with mango sauce is bottled now and I have some questions.  Tastings showed the sweetness coming thru some, but should be more distinct in my opinion. 


Problems have showed up with an obvious visual deficiencies of this batch with major separation of the sauce.  Shake well indeed!  


This recipe involved thai chilies with garlic etc fermented for 30 days done in 2 batches.  The ferment with mango added to the fermenting was kinda funky and I had to refrigerate it because of yeast.  Also, I dared and was again thwarted in my attempt to heat that sauce and got all the nasty oil separation that I have posted about before and documented here.  http://thehotpepper....-after-cooking/  For whatever reason, Thai chili sauces here do this when heated and now I just avoid boiling Thai chili sauces altogether.     ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


But that's not the separation I'm talking about.  This sauce is the second of the 2 mango tests. Once fermenting was done, 3 fresh blended mangos were added to it.  Started with about 800mls of chili mash. This went thru the food mill.


1. Added 25% by volume of pineapple vinegar.  This tasted too sour to me, so I added another mango.

2. I sterilized the bottles placed the lids in boiled water.  

(I gotta get that StarSan stuff when I get back to the states for a visit as this washing plus dilute bleach plus boiling water process sux!)

3. Added boiling water to all my bottles to be used.

4. Dumped that hot water then filled each bottle with sauce and placed each bottle in a pot of hot water 3 inches deep or so.  I am using 180ml bottles.

5. Boiled the water lightly so to not knock over the bottles, and when the sauce had expanded to the mouth of the bottle or over it, I capped the bottle and inverted them.  


pH of the finished sauce is 3.3/3.2.


Fairly soon I noticed some separation happening.  No oil etc as I got with directly boiling the sauce, just clear liquid and chili.  



So my questions are:

1. How can I prevent this when adding mango which is the only variable from my usual recipes?  My thoughts are to boil/heat the mango down in volume before adding to the sauce next time?


2. Can I use less than 25% vinegar and still get the fermentation cessation and food safety aspects?


3. Also, in regards to the bottling process, how can I improve the consistency of the sauce levels?


Thanks for any help. :)



Adding Mango To A Thai Chili Ferment

23 August 2018 - 07:30 AM

I want to add mango to my Thai chili sauce as an experiment as others here have mentioned and used fruits and mangos being cheap and plentiful here, it seems like a natural choice for a test batch.  


My goal is to add some sweetness without adding sugar via ripe mangos.  I've picked up a kilo of chilies and a couple mangos today (about $3) and am now here doing my research.   :)


It seems from previous postings that adding the fruit to the ferment will leave the fruit's flavor profile, but none of the sweetness.  That sounds interesting and makes sense.  Maybe I will split these into two test batches and see how the fermented mango/chili compares to adding fresh at the end.


Which leads me to my first question.  

What procedures are needed when adding fresh fruit at the end of the fermentation?  

Being unfermented would this raise the pH?

Is there anything I need to change in my usual BWB methods?  

I don't cook my Thai chili sauces due to separation of the chili oils during simmering.  


Are there any additional spices or additives that people use with a fruit/chili sauce?  There is no wrong answer as far as I'm concerned at this point as this is a test and I'll be considering all options.   :)


For my original Thai chili sauce, I use garlic and shallots in the ferment and smoke them all as well.  I'm wondering if those should not be used when fruit is added?  It seems from an academic standpoint to possibly be a poor choice when trying to sweeten things, but like I said, I'm open to opinions and recipes!    





Sauce Simmer Fail

27 July 2018 - 01:53 AM

Posting more to be informative and get comments on simmering and other's results with simmering of a sauce.  


Yesterday started the milling of 6KG of chilies that have been in a salt ferment for 30 days.  


Basic recipe proportions and ingredients are: (using a previous batch as an example)








I went straight from the fermenting bottles to the food mill.  As I will illustrate later, I found this was a mistake and it would not maintain the sauce consistency I've always gotten straining through a screen.


After milling, I noticed that the sauce was watery, i.e. tabasco consistency.  I figured OK lets do a simmer of the sauce and that will thicken it up.  I had bad results previously boiling thai chili sauce with oily looking globules at the top of my bottles once bottled.  That discussion is here.  

I also wanted to simmer to insure the cessation of fermentation on top of the addition of vinegar.


To the 4 liters of watery sauce, I added 1 liter of pineapple vinegar.  Then I began the simmering.  I took temperature readings and never went above 160°F.  As the sauce was simmering, it began to separate AGAIN!  I simmered the sauce (stainless steel Calphalon pot) for less than an hour as watching the dark red substance separating from the sauce just really pissed me off.  I did my best to skim a lot of the red floating material.  This is the same effed up mess I got after boiling the sauce previously....except it was watery.


At this point I have a watery freakin sauce and crap floating all over looking like %$#%$.  I then realized I had skipped a step that I usually do which is to take the fermented mash and then run it through the blender for one minute to REALLY make it fine.  I would then mill it thru a screen like so.




This is new sauce on the left, old preferred thick sauce style on the right




Here is the separated sauce in the pot.  Nasty looking.  




Close up of the separation.   Fugly mess!




So with my watery funky looking sauce, I decide, since I still have most of the chili chaff that had been milled out by the food mill, I would throw that back into the NOW vinegared sauce and put it all through the blender.  Something I should have done before putting it all through the food mill.  <face palm>


Now that it has been re-blended and run through the food mill again with the smaller holed screen this time, the sauce is now thick a la sriracha sauce and how I want it to be.  I will not simmer this again as it is now completely (thankfully) homogenous even after sitting for an hour.  I really don't have good luck with heat and this recipe/chili!!!

With a pH of 2.8 this sauce should be fine in sterilized bottles.


The reason I didn't use the blender coming from the fermenting bottles as I usually do is that I was excited, in a way, to be using the food mill for the first time.  So I jumped the gun as it were and jumped right to the milling step and a watery sauce is what I ended up with!