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Member Since 02 Dec 2013
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jhc's wacky first ferment thread

03 January 2018 - 02:08 AM

So for your first ferment you should probable keep it as simple as possible right? That's the smart move. I apparently am not a smart man but I wanted to do it this way so damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. To brutally mix the metaphors, this might be a great sauce or it might go down like the Hindenburg. 


To start, I took 2oz each chipotle (I think mecos) and arbols, rehydrated them in alkaline spring water, drained most of the water, and processed. (Why alkaline water? See below)




Then I took a few ounces of carrots, a head's worth of peeled garlic, and two ghost peppers and processed them and added them.




Sprinkled a capsule worth of Culturelle Lactobacilus probiotics (3B cfu) and a Tbsp of brown sugar, mixed, and transferred to the fermentation vessel.


Now for the rest I wanted cayenne and red serrano but I cannot find them fresh this time of year. So I bought a commercial pint of mash each.



No idea why Tinypic rotated this pic btw. The potential issue here is that they come in 10% vinegar and too much acid can stunt the Lacto growth. Especially since I wanted to use a wine brine and wine itself is also acidic. So I added about a half pint each to a bowl and stirred in a tsp of baking soda. Hey look kids, a volcano!




Add all this to the fermentation vessel and there was still way too much headspace. So I added the remainder of the cayenne and serrano mash. Final proportions were about 1 part each cayenne and serrano and 1 part arbol/chipotle/everything else. 


Finally added the Moscato wine "brine" but since the mash was pretty dense I probably only added a cup. 




Again no idea why Tinypic rotated the image and I can seem to fix it. Anyway headspace looks ok to me. The overall pH in there is 5 (the pH of the wine itself was 4) so I think I did a decent job getting the pH in a range where it's not too hospitable for nasties but still ok for the Lacto. The few bits stuck to the wall above the brine are a little concerning but I'm crossing my fingers that a quick start to the ferment making the headspace anaerobic coupled with the fact that the mash is somewhat acidic will keep mold at bay.

Dealing with acid in a mash before fermentation

17 December 2017 - 08:17 PM

I'm thinking about playing around with commercial pepper mashes as a base for a ferment but they either come with a ton of salt or with 10% distilled vinegar added. I found a thread on Reddit that discussed if the pH of the mash is 3 or below, fermentation won't happen (or will be terribly slow). But I don't know what number actually works. Anyone here have an idea what pH is needed to keep the Lacto happy initially?

Hot sauce collection with good flavor variety and great colors

25 November 2017 - 11:29 PM

So this is too late for this holiday season probably, but I was thinking it would be cool to make a set of 4-6 different hot sauces that could be given as gifts. I'd want a good representation of different flavors but also really nice and distinct colors. So just throwing out some ideas and seeing if I'm missing anything really great. I'm staying away from the super hots because my palate and those of most of my friends peaks out in the habanero range of heat. Oh, and I'm not totally married to this idea, but I thought it would be cool for each sauce to have two hot peppers. A little more complexity than a single one, but not so many competing flavors that they get lost.


Red: so many options, but thinking red jalapeno and guajillo. Sort of a little more interesting Sriracha. Garlic, salt, vinegar, maybe beet juice if needed to make the red color pop if the guajillos mute it too much. Versatile, pretty low heat.


Orange: Habanero and I'm not sure what else, maybe manzano. Can apparently get both all the time at the local supermarket. Carrot, lime, salt, garlic. Tried and true but is it interesting enough?


Yellow: Was thinking aji amarillo two ways: fresh and dried (aka aji mirasol). Maybe yellow bell pepper if needed to reinforce the color. I'm guessing this would work better with citrus juices than vinegar. I've seen turmeric used for color too but not sure the flavor would work. Alternatively theres aji limon but I'm not too familiar with it.


Green: well I already used jalapeno, so maybe Hatch and serrano. Tomatillo, lime, salt, garlic. Too predictable?


Blue: ok probably not going to get a good blue hot sauce


Purple: I know there are cultivars that are purple, at least for some part of the ripening stages, but not sure how to get them or what to pair them with. So maybe go brown with ancho and chipotle and tamarind, then add blueberries and beet juice to make it more of a burgundy color.  This would fill a flavor niche and still look visually appealing I think.


Any other ideas?

Hello from SF, CA

30 August 2017 - 02:56 AM

Joined here years ago when I was in Seattle but never posted! I'm in San Francisco now but moving back to Washington state, Vancouver, soon. I'm into hot sauce making for folks with a medium-high heat tolerance, not necessarily a super hot tolerance. Glad to be with you all.

Chile wimp... should I even attempt a super hot sauce?

30 August 2017 - 02:15 AM

Ok not really a wimp, but I can tell I don't have the tolerance that most of this board does. My hot sauce enjoyment peaks at most commercial habanero sauces... good heat but I still get lots of flavor. I'd like to try some new flavors besides cayenne and habanero but would like the heat to stay around the level of, say, Melinda's original habanero sauce. Could I do that with ghost peppers or something similar with de-seeding and de-ribbing? Obviously I can dilute chiles with other ingredients, but that would dilute the flavor too.

Thanks to this forum I made a habanero and a chipotle-habanero sauce a few years back that was about as spicy as Franks. Can I make a ghost/reaper/etc sauce as spicy as Melinda's habanero? And which superhot has the most interesting flavor?

Thank you all in advance.