Pepper Mash pict

jp10550November 15, 2012

My fatalli and bhut mashes at various stages. 2 hours, 2 weeks and 2 months

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Heheh, I can't admire your mash for staring at the beautiful landscape behind it. What part of Appalachia do you live?

Do you add a starter to the mash? Salt? (surely)

I make a mole from dried chiles specifically for fermentation:

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 11:09AM
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Hey Sid, i live in north Georgia. The mole looks great, i have never tried anything with dried chiles, not sure how that works. What is recipe for the mole?
I don't use a starter, just salt on top.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2012 at 1:26PM
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There's like a kazillion different mole recipes from south of the border, so I guess that makes them all 'authentic', and some of these sauces can have up to 20-30 ingredients along with a complex preparation process.

A fresh mole that I would normally make will usually contain a blend of dried Ancho, Guajillo, de Arbol, and Pasilla (when I can find them) chiles, rehydrated with hot chicken (sometimes beef) broth , and pureed in a blender along with tomato sauce, cinnamon, cumin, allspice, cloves, oregano, cocoa powder, dried fruit (raisins, apricots, etc.), seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, pine nuts, etc.), cider vinegar, and salt to taste.

However, that's for FRESH mole, intended to be consumed within a few days or FROZEN for later. Not all those ingredients will lend themselves well to lacto fermentation or combine flavorfully with the 'lacto wang' of the finished FERMENTED product, which will keep for months in cool storage.

For FERMENTED mole, water is used in lieu of the broth. The dried fruits are dropped because sugar converts to lactic acid and the fruit's inherent sweetness will be gone. The vinegar is eliminated because it kills the lactobacilli that performs the lacto fermentation. Some consideration is also given to timing and amounts of water (liquid) & salt because whey (liquid) & salt are already integral to the fermentation process.

Salt is NOT the preservative in fermented foods, lactic acid is the preservative, formed as a byproduct of the conversion of sugars and starches by bacteria which are already inherent in the [raw] food itself. The primary function of salt in the fermentation process is to inhibit the growth of yeasts and putrefying bacteria long enough to give these lactobacilli (which thrive in the presence of salt) time to colonize and convert sugars and starches to the lactic acid which does preserve the food.

Whey, derived from gravity (NEVER SQUEEZE) strained plain yogurt is used as a starter for two primary reasons...:

1) the food has been cooked or altered in some way so that it has no inherent live lactobacilli of it's own


2) in order to have a lower sodium end product.

For the second reason alone I always use whey as a starter. (and in over three years I've never had a failed fermentation)

It's very simple,there are two options.... :

1) 2 TBSP salt per quart (no starter, raw food only)


2) 1 TBSP salt and 4 TBSP whey per quart (whey as a starter)

Simple example:

Pack a qt jar tightly with chiles (or cukes or whatever) leaving 3/4" - 1" head space, add salt or salt & whey over the top, and cover with water. Allow 3-5 days to ferment (the cooler the ambient temps the longer it takes). Place in cold storage and allow time (usually about a week) for osmosis to even out the salt (and other spices) concentration throughout the food.

There you have it, Lacto Fermentation 101

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 11:08AM
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Oh, and I forgot to mention something that I have briefly experimented with...stevia. It doesn't convert during the fermentation process but retains it's sweetness. A sweet lacto fermented mole (or anything else) is possible using this and I've made some small amounts that remind me of a very good quality BBQ sauce, in fact that's exactly how my two SILs (who love the fermented mole and refer to it simply as salsa) have used it.

When I get a roundtooit (probably this winter) I'll be dabbling with this some more. :-)

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 11:29AM
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And another thing I failed to mention. Whey will keep perfectly fine in the fridge for at least six months. A qt of Dannon plain yogurt (yields more whey than all other brands I've used) contains 14-16 oz of whey, enough to ferment 8 qts of food.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2012 at 11:47AM
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rdback(Z6 VA)

Great pic jp.

"So where are they now?", as they say. When and how do you process them?


    Bookmark   November 20, 2012 at 10:52AM
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mashes are in cabinet for another couple of months. Then I will just put them in food processor with vinegar, garlic and some lime juice. I do open them every once in a while to let pressure out and let them breathe a little.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 11:06AM
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DMForcier(8 DFW)

> " A qt of Dannon plain yogurt (yields more whey than all other brands I've used) contains 14-16 oz of whey, enough to ferment 8 qts of food."

Anyone hear the story about whey on NPR this morning? Greek-style yogurt produces 3 lbs of whey for every 1 lb of yogurt. One factory uses 1,000,000 lbs of milk a day, producing 750,000 lbs of whey. Getting rid of it is a big problem. Good story.

[And, for a change for NPR, not about some "victim group".]

    Bookmark   November 21, 2012 at 3:11PM
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