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fermenting The start of an unusual sauce turned fermented experiment.

First post here, thought I'd share this weird journey I'm about to undertake with this already unusual sauce and maybe get some advice about the next foolish stage.  I don't often keep good record of what I do when making most of my sauces because recipes are the Devil's work, this time I kinda did.  This is one of my more unusual and complex hot sauce concoctions, but also likely an entirely strange ferment project to come so bare with me.  
 
I made this sauce for a friend who moved to Portugal recently from here in Canada.  An avid fan of my previous sauces, he sent me out of the blue a bag with some dried Piri Piri peppers.  I figured I'd return the favor by sending him a bottle of thoughtfully Irregular hot sauce back (assuming I don't get caught with some weird international food mailing laws).  Realizing I had to make this unique and tailored to him I made some bold and likely irresponsible choices.   Given that I was already working from reconstituted dried, I doubled down on that with a few other dried chili's, then threw in dried mushrooms.  Trying to make note of the fact that he is a vegetarian now living in a place with not many non meat options, I decided I'd make something that would go with tofu, Japanese Age-Tofu style, because he's a weeb.  The general profile and themeing logic was a sort of tart and sweet Portuguese thinner Piri Piri sauce containing Japanese Umami elements, rich earthy body but also containing Maple Syrup.  The maple syrup mostly in there to give him a taste of home here in Canada. Not all of this was entirely successful but more on that later.  Here's what I did:
 
Endovelicus Hotsauce
Peppers: Dried Piri piri, Dried Cayanne peppers, Dried Carolina Reaper (All pan toasted and reconstituted), Fresh Pencil Peppers (a kind of cayenne?)
Umami: Dried Shiitake Mushrooms, Pickled Capers, Vinegar Pickled Kombu,
Rounders: Sweet Red Peppers
Aromatics: Garlic, Sesame Oil, Rosemary, Black Pepper, Bay Leaf, Lemon Zest
Preservatives: Lemon Juice, Yuzu Juice, Citric Acid, Salt, Soy Sauce, Maple Syrup, Mirin, Rice Vinegar, White vinegar.
 
At this point everything's been brought up to a boil and then simmered.  Once cooled I strained out all of the body and was left with a tart sweet sauce with some kick and a fair bit of deeper flavor.  The maple... entirely lost.  Wanting to give it abit more body I threw it a little of a Portuguese dried spice blend now kind of ruining the home made element.  The yield of the strain was enough for 8 bottles  The result:
 
20190225_141650.jpg

 
So here I am left with all this dense mushroom, chili mash.  I put it in a pair of mason jars and put it in the fridge for the time being until I get my hands on some fermenting equipment.  So this results in a mash that was mostly previously dried, been boiled/salted/sugared/vinegared, strained and now placed in a cold environment. Has anyone ever fermented anything from this sort of thing?  
 
20190226_052548.jpg

 
Now here's the big what if's/food science parts of this situation.  First, I'm very inexperienced with fermenting hotsauce, but thanks to miracle of the internet I've read a bunch on the subject today. However, I cannot find answers to what I'm considering doing as it's clearly not really done (maybe for a reason).  I will obviously need to reintroduce some fresh chili's and to encourage and provide the Lactobacillus to grow.  I have been considering adding some sauerkraut or Kimchi as a starter as well in addition to that.  A friend is lending me his fermenting stuff for awhile, so I should be set up for gear.  Given that it is a mash I'm dealing with I need a good way to keep it under the surface.  I'm considering a few Kimchi cabbage leaves to create a sort of barrier between the mash and the fresh chilis then weight the whole mess. I realize I'm introducing some acid already in this process but in theory it should be minimal compared to the water salt/sugar brine its sitting in. 
 
I've obviously always relied on vinegar brined hot sauces.  Like most of you likely were early on, I've been kind of wary to ferment things because of E. coli, Black Mold, Listeria and Botulism risks.  What I've read so far (I'll admit I haven't scoured these forums yet), most if not all fermenting is done with fresh whole (or coarsely cut) vegetable matter and just salt, sugar and time.  In short my big questions here are; has anyone fermented from mash made of dried chilis.  Any advice?  If you haven't, is this madness to even attempt especially given the non typical ingredients listed above.  Also fermenting mushrooms in a hot sauce which is weird enough as is.  If I do proceed with this and any of you think is worth providing data on or at least a cautionary tale, I will provide updates.  Or you can talk me out of this entirely.
 
Thanks for reading at any rate.  
 
 
 
 
 

salsalady

Business Member
I would think you would need a good bit of fresh produce and maybe some active sauerkraut juice or other starter to overcome the acidity already in there.  And that may not even be enough to really get the fermentation going.  Hopefully someone else will jump in with a more definitive answer.
 
Good on you to make a sauce for your friend! 
 
How about taking the 'tailings' (as I call them), dry it out really good, zip it around in a blender or food processor and make a spicy seasoning blend.  Add some salt (maybe 20%) if you want.  seasoning salt, meat rub, popcorn, eggs......if it turns out good, send some to your buddy in Portugal.  :)
 
:welcome: to THP.
salsalady
 

salsalady

Business Member
PS- many people use dried peppers for fermenting.  They are reconstituted, then fermented like fresh peppers in brine, no vinegar.  After it is fermented, then it's cooked and/or mixed with vinegar if desired, both of which stops the fermentation process.
 
Walchit said:
Since that stuff has been soaked in vinegar basically, the ph might be too low for the lactobacillus to ferment it. Idk for sure. Do you have a ph pen? Idk what the min/max ph for starting a ferment is.
 
 
Thanks for the quick reply this morning (well morning for me).  Sadly I do not have a PH Pen but maybe I will ask around and see if someone can loan me one or I'll figure out where to get one here in the city (or just order it).  I had considered the vinegar contact issue, but it's been pretty well strained at this point and arguably didn't really soak in it as it was just boiled, but it's worth experimenting with since I have a ton of it, could be a good way to cut down on waste in the future if I don't want things too thick, whats the worst that can happen besides death or making some sort of planet killing super mold. 
 
salsalady said:
I would think you would need a good bit of fresh produce and maybe some active sauerkraut juice or other starter to overcome the acidity already in there.  And that may not even be enough to really get the fermentation going.  Hopefully someone else will jump in with a more definitive answer.
 
Good on you to make a sauce for your friend! 
 
How about taking the 'tailings' (as I call them), dry it out really good, zip it around in a blender or food processor and make a spicy seasoning blend.  Add some salt (maybe 20%) if you want.  seasoning salt, meat rub, popcorn, eggs......if it turns out good, send some to your buddy in Portugal.  :)
 
:welcome: to THP.
salsalady
 
Yeah I was thinking (depending on container size) of doing like 1 third this stuff, 3 thirds other fresh chili and garlic since there's loads of weird flavor in this already.  I'll likely put some sauerkraut juice then create the theoretical barrier I mentioned to perhaps in theory make two environments.  Obviously it's going to move around if the fermentation does start. If it does separate I guess I'll just have to slosh it around once a day to keep things from getting exposed to anything nasty.  The lactobacillus will either thrive, get confused about the starters in there, or just not start at all.
 
The drying it out I hadn't considered, interesting idea.  I'll obviously have still more left over I'll have to try that out.  Just in the oven on like 200°C degrees for a long while right?
 

salsalady

Business Member
I'm not understanding the 2 environment in one ferment theory...Think I'd just get one good environment.

To dry out the bits.,. Spread thin on a cookie sheet, use oven fan if it has one and set on the lowest oven temp you can get. 120f or lower if possible.
 
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