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food-safety Is this Kahms yeast?

Wanting an opinion on whether or this is mold or Kahms. Never had Kahms form in any of my ferments over the years, but this time I bought a jar without airlock and something is growing. My nearby airlock jars show no growth with the same 4% brine.

The appearance does look a little powdery - and may not been seen from the photos. I can't identify a particularly bad smell other than sour peppers, because i've never brined peppers by themselves! Always a copious amount of fresh garlic, which are with the remaining peppers in the two airlocked jars.

If there's no consensus i might let it grow a tad more to see what other characteristics form.

Your help is appreciated!



Extreme Member
If there's no consensus i might let it grow a tad more to see what other characteristics form.

That's probably what I would do.

It looks a lot like Kahm, but it's hard to tell from the pics. It should be white, with no "hairy" growth above or below the brine. If you see any color, or if it can't pass the nose test, I'd pitch it and start another batch. The "oil slick" on the surface of the water looks a little odd. Not sure if I've seen that before, but maybe it's ok. It could just be the Kahm spreading. I'd let it go a little longer and see what develops.

Good luck with it.
Thanks. I'll post another pic soon for opinion and reference sake.

Already see a spidery like web/leg effect instead of fuzzy, but i'll give it a bit longer. I've noticed a lot of the kahms photos i've studied have that similar "leg like" texture.

In fact you can sorta see this in the first photo at 1:15 o'clock with that tiny white patch.
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I can't be certain from the photos, but it looks like Kahm to me. Not dangerous, but my experience is that it will only get worse, and really change the flavor. If you stop the ferment now and use a spoon to remove the top you might save it. That is what I would do.

I'm really impressed that you have been fermenting for years without Kahm yeast!
Sorry for my bad explanation. It depends on what you want to achieve with this fermentation. Is it only peppers that you are fermenting for conservation / hot sauce? I would prefer to take the peppers out. Give them a rinse and then use them like you had planned.

If you have yeast it means that oxygen is getting in, and even if you stop this now (with ducktape etc) there is still enough oxygen left in the top of the jar for yeast to continue to develop. If there is no airlock then this is not a good idea, as the glass can (and probably will) explode.

Kahm yeast tends to have a very distinct smell so you will not have to guess next time ;) Unfortunately, it also leaves a very bitter flavor that gets worse over time.
Well i'm convinced it's kahms but forgot to take pics! The white uniformity and homogenous powder like appearance was obvious.

I removed all I could, added some extra brine I had saved but added just a bit more salt, then locked it back up with less head space. I think i'll let it go for another week, skim again, ph test it and throw it in the fridge until i'm ready to make my sauce (burping occasionally)

I have a good amount of liquid in the other jars with airlocks. Enough to blend all the solids even if I ditch the kahm brine entirely. I think i'm in good shape, still!
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I decided to go a different route, having never fermented peppers by themselves and without fresh garlic, so I have no point of reference on what i'm smelling...

So scrapped the kahms again, added some fresh garlic as the ferment is only two weeks old, bled off a bit of the brine for fresh and locked her back up.

Of course the kahms will build again, but adding some fresh cloves so I can actually reference the smell against other brines which always had a bit of fresh garlic, seemed like a worthwhile experiment.
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