Well looky here, if it’s not another batch of hot sauce.
I’m not going to spend too much time on this one, as I’ve kind of laboured the process in this post: https://yeastismybitch.com/2015/02/05/lactobacillus-and-others-fermented-hot-sauce/ and tasted it here: https://yeastismybitch.com/2015/04/09/lactobacillus-and-others-fermented-hot-sauce-tasting-notes/
So. This time I used a whole pack of Scotch Bonnets and two or three packs of normal “red chilli peppers” from Sainsburys. I didn’t put as much water in only added a clove garlic and a whole red bell pepper, and used a little more salt.
The whole thing fermented (and developed an amusing white mould/pellicle/whatever it was – that I scraped off and discarded) and generally did it’s stuff over a period of a month or so.
When the whole lot was starting to look more liquid-ey, I annihilated it in a blender until it was smooth, then strained it (lightly pushing it through the sieve) into a small pan and then briskly boiled it for a couple of minutes.
After that I let it out with a third the volume of spirit vinegar and bottled it up.
Funnily enough, this time around, it doesn’t separate or anything. It’s a lot hotter, too, and tastes that little bit more Tabasco-authentic. Nice.
FOOTNOTE: Between this batch and the last one, I learnt why certain things had to happen:
- The salt prevents any bad stuff (mould, nasty bacteria) from taking hold
- The lactic fermentation acidifies the sauce to a PH below 3 or 4 or so and this means that it can be kept out of the fridge as nasties can’t survive in such an acidic environment
- The Vinegar is a bit of crutch to ensure the low PH is achieved.
Maybe before next time I’ll invest in some PH test strips or something – that might help with my all-grain mashing too…
There’s a good reason that the tasting notes for this took so long time appear, and that’s because it took a fair few weeks to ferment!
Initially it sat about for a couple of days sitting around doing pretty much zip, and then magically sprung to life and started making these big old gas pockets in the pepper pulp and a very definite watery layer started to appear from the bottom up.
Then it really got into it’s stride and at one point was pushing the sauce out of the top of the bottle.
After a few more weeks, nearly all of the pulp turned to a viscous liquid and I declared the fermentation done. I’m sure I could have kept it a lot longer, but I’m an impatient sort and I wanted some sauce to splash on my food.
I strained the mash into a jug, pumped up the volume by about a third using white vinegar (as this should help to preserve it, in or out of the fridge)
Then it was time for bottling. One of the girls in our staff restaurant at work has been saving Tabasco bottles up for me – which has been very helpful. I had to use a syringe to get it into the weeny openings on the bottles, which is a bit of a faff – but it’s no biggie.
The finished sauce smells and looks great – a really nice Tabasco orangey-red…for about an hour – and then it starts to separate. Really badly. A quick shake solves it, but it’s a bit disappointing. I’ll probably make it a lot thicker next time and not use as much water in the volume.
Taste wise it’s hot, but not powerfully so and the garlic-fruitiness is well to the fore. I’ve been through a lot of this sauce in a very short time and will definitely be making it again. It’s too nice not to!
Time for another small departure from the norm…this time it’s a fermented hot sauce. I had to do quite a bit of research on this one as there are so many sources (geddit?) of information and recipes on the web, that it all got a bit confusing.
Before you go “eurgh!” just remember that Tabasco sauce is a fermented chilli sauce and they ferment it for something like three years! (http://www.tabasco.com/tabasco-products/how-its-made/making-original-tabasco-sauce/)
So eventually I came up with the following list of ingredients. As long as you have the salt, water and chillies you can forget the rest – I only include them because I want something that’ll work – the other ingredients just being providing either sugar for the Lactobacillus (and friends) or additional flavouring.
DO NOT WASH ANY OF THESE INGREDIENTS…
6x fat hot red chillies
2x Scotch Bonnet chillies
1/2 a sweet pepper
3x garlic cloves
1x 330cl of bottled water (don’t use tap water, it has chlorine in it)
1 and 1/2 table spoons of sea salt
1x outer cabbage leaf
I took the bottled water and brought it to the boil and then dissolved the salt in it. Don’t use iodised salt, use sea salt – it’ll work better (apparently)
Then I roughly chopped the peppers and put them in the hand blender pot with the other veg (but not the cabbage leaf). I poured just enough of the salted water in to allow me to blend the lot to a reasonably smooth consistency.
I chopped the cabbage leaf finely and stirred that into sauce mix.
After sanitising my bottle, I transferred the lot into it and made sure that it was just covered with a bit more of the salted water and then put sanitised tin foil over the bottle top.
Now I leave it and try not to faff about with it – before long the Lactobacillus should get going on it. I’ve no idea when it’s finished, or even when it’ll start. Talk about flying blind. I took a quick taste and it’s quite nice as it and very hot indeed. Lovely.
What’s going on in the background:
Apparently we have to provide a warm, dark and salty environment to allow the Lactobacillus to get to work – Lactobacillus is the prime fermenter in Sauerkraut, which is why I’ve included a cabbage leaf in this recipe – cabbage leaves tend to harbour Lactobacillus bacteria naturally (hence the “no washing” advice”!)
As the Lactobacillus gets going it’ll convert the natural sugars from the chillies and veg into lactic acid, which should work as a preservative – as the environment will be far too acidic to support spoilage bacteria, moulds or whatever.
Further sources (ha, see what I did there?) of information: