Thursday, March 15, 2007

Sauerkraut, Weisswurst, and Mustard

Well my first shot at sauerkraut hit pretty close to the mark. For my first real tasting I had it hot with a a couple of weisswurst (delicious, fresh, veal sausages), some grainy mustard (featuring Sierra Nevada Stout) and pumpernickel. Warming sauerkraut drives off some of the acidity, making it a better compliment to more delicate foods. To wash down the meal I had the new Sam Adam's Longshot Dortmund Export, one of the three beers that won Boston Beer's homebrew contest last year.

The sauerkraut is good, rather sour with that classic mildly sulfury cabbage goodness. It isn't too salty, but I really enjoy salt, if it was too much you could always give it a rinse before eating it. The texture of the kraut is much crisper than any commercial sauerkraut I have had, partially because I cut it pretty thick but also because it has not been pasteurized or treated with any chemicals. I think I gave it about the right amount of time before I bottled it and put it into the fridge, if it was much more sour it would overpower any other food it is served with.

The only problem I am having so far with the sauerkraut is trying to keep the cabbage submerged in the brine during storage. I guess I packed it in there tighter than I should have, as I take sauerkraut out I have to force the remaining cabbage back into the brine. Not sure if there was a way to avoid this besides using more containers and not packing in the sauerkraut in.

Next time I do a batch of kraut I will certainly put more effort into getting the cabbage sliced into about 1/8” slices (this batch was closer to 1/4”).


John said...

You might try sitting a plate on top of the sauerkraut while it's doing it's thing...and you could even put a weight on top of that - ie a jug of water perhaps, to help keep the cabbage under teh surface

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I had a weighted rig set up while it was fermenting that worked pretty well (see the first sauerkraut post). The problem is that I haven't figured out a good way to keep it submerged while its being stored in a mason jar in the fridge.

Anonymous said...

The best way i've found to make great Kraut, is to use a sealable Fido jar, or something similar. There is usually enough "give" in the latching mechanism to off gas your Kraut enough to not worry about explosions or anything like that... Also, with a sealed jar you do not need to worry about all of the cabbage being submerged. I find that with this method, you do not encounter the "off" tastes and scents that occur from and open (napkin or plate cover) fermentation. I have done this method side by side with a crock and an open vessel, and this is by far the highest quality Kraut I can make.