Kimchi fermentation

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This topic contains 58 replies, has 43 voices, and was last updated by  Jamndbeanstalk 2 weeks, 6 days ago.

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    Absolutely do not add yoghurt!It has dairy proteins which would give very undesirable flavors. Kimchi will ferment naturally. You have to give it time. You need to plan ahead and have patience.

    As for the finding “live” kimchi, you wouldn’t be able to use kimchi as a “starter” like you do with sourdough. Simply follow the directions that Maangchi has given, and the kimchi will ferment on its own.

    As for the Hoy Fong Chili Garlic paste, that is a chinese product, with totally different types of peppers, flavors and ingredients. Don’t know what you will get, but I don’t think it will taste like kimchi. Kimchi was developed over hundreds of years using specific types of ingredients. Yes, there are hundreds of variations, and lots of substitutions, but I rather think this might not work.

    But please do update everyone with how it turns out.



    @Ashimi: Huy Fong Foods is Vietnamese, but I get your point.

    Regardless, you’re right about giving it time: I just checked and it’s starting to smell like kimchi :)



    Maanchi, i need help, what if I do not have radish and my kimchi is too salty, what can I use as a substitute to radish?



    Hi Maangchi, my name is Kelly, my hometown in Vietnam, and I am going to make Kimchi when I get home. I will back home this summer; as you know, Vietnam is a hot country specially will hotter in summer. So, do I need to put kimchi box into the refrigerator after i mixed or just left it (the kimchi box) outside (I mean cold place). Also, I have one more question, If I can’t find out the sweet rice flour (chapssal garu) in Vietnam, so what flour can I replace it (sweet rice flour)? I was think buy in here and bring it back, but I think I will have problems if I am carrying it because the police officer will think I am bringing drug :)) it hard for me to bring it back to Vietnam :(.

    Hope to see your response soon. Thank you, and have a nice day



    @kelly hi i am from malaysia, i think the weather of our country is almost the same! >< i put my kimchi in indoors for 3 days with the fermentation process.. after that u can straight put it into the refrigirator already.. I also cant find the sweet rice flour in the place i live so i used the substitution which is recommended by maachi, the plain flour! Yup, the flour which is used to make noodle and cake! XP



    @austintexican: I know you asked this question almost a year ago, but thought I could help if you’re still wondering about using yogurt. You can strain the yogurt by lining a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth or a few layers of paper towels, pouring in regular yogurt (not Greek yogurt, as it has already been strained), then setting the strainer over a bowl in your fridge. After several hours or overnight, the whey will strain out of the yogurt and be collected in the bottom of the bowl and the strained yogurt will remain in the lined strainer. You can put the yogurt aside to use as a healthier alternative for sour cream, in smoothies or to use as you would for Greek yogurt, and the whey that strained out can be used to speed up lactofermented veggies, like kimchi! This can be used in kimchi that you want to make with less salt, since you will only need to ferment it for 1 or 2 days. By using whey, you are adding lactobacilli directly into your fresh kimchi, so less salt is necsessary, since the salt acts to inhibit “bad” bacteria while the lactobacteria are growing over the first few days in traditional kimchi (kimchi made without a starter).

    If you do use the whey starter, be sure to taste your kimchi daily to be sure it isn’t getting too sour for your liking too fast. When it reaches the right sourness for your liking, put it in the fridge. When I make kimchi the traditional way, using just veggies, salt and spices, I ferment at room temp for 5 days. When I use whey, it is 2 days, max.

    As another poster said you don’t want to add the actual yogurt to your kimchi, because it will spoil and ruin your batch. But the whey is fine to add, and works wonders when you need “quick” kimchi!

    If you need any more info using whey as a starter for lactofermented veggies of any kind, you can look up “Nourishing Traditions” recipes online or get the Nourish traditions cookbook by Sally Fallon. Lots of good fermented recipes, and she gives the correct amount of whey to use in your recipes (it isn’t much — maybe a tablespoon in a big batch of kimchi? I can’t remember the exact amount off the top of my head, but you can find it if you google it).

    Anyway, hope this helps!! :)



    @emaline904: Thanks!



    hi maangchi,

    i made kimchi 3 days ago. i packed it into old glass pasta sauce jars and screwed the lid on tightly. i left 2 jars in a dark cupboard in my kitchen, and put the remaining jars in the fridge to ferment more slowly. i unscrewed the lids of the 2 jars left out only once, just to let some of the gases out (but i didn’t open the lid all the way), then screwed them back on. after 2 days, i put the 2 jars into the fridge. today (day 3), i decided to taste some to see how it is doing. well, it is very sour (more than expected after just 3 days?) and tastes kind of carbonated or “fizzy”! the cabbage is also a bit softer than i am used to with store bought kimchi. did i do something wrong? is it still safe to eat? is there a way to get rid of the fizziness (i don’t like it like that).

    also, when making kimchi, after packing the kimchi into jars, i found that there wasn’t much kimchi juice (the sauce was more like a paste). i added a bit of brine (salt + water mixed in with the little remaining kimchi juice in the bowl) to cover the kimchi because ir ead that a few other places online (and also, i was worried about the kimchi being exposed to air an going bad in the jar). after a day, i noticed lots of bubbles and the brine seemed to get less liquidy? is this all normal too?




    helenhelen it sounds to me like your kimchi is fermenting perfectly. When it’s fizzy that means everything is going well.




    I am so glad for your #1 success, you deserve it!!

    Anyway, I’m confused about whether or not to use fish sauce and/or squid as an igredient as I’m making large batches and I want it to last as long as possible……….

    Is it best not to use fish/animal products if I want maximum life on my kim chee????/ Do the salty fish products speed or slow fermentation time?

    If so, are there other ingredients I should us to substitute for best flavor???




    I made my first batch of spicy baechu kimchi. It is delicious, but it is VERY SALTY! I used a Korean sea salt to salt the cabbage, and I let it sit overnight in the refrigerator, so it was 24 hours before I rinsed it. I am thinking this is probably why. Is there a rule about how long cabbage should be salted or what kind of salt should be used?



    I have the same problem as Dan but in my case it was because I bungled the instructions and put way too much salt. I’ve been trying to troubleshoot this first kimchi batch of mine ever since. I followed Maangchi’s recommendation to add more veg, but because I had no more radish I julienned a carrot and a red apple and mixed it in. It helped a bit, but then I had too little juice!!! I tried to push the veggies down under the liquid but I had too little liquid…

    Thank goodness for this thread. I saw Maangchi’s advice not to add water which I was VERY tempted to do. Then I saw Emaline904’s experiment with whey and a light bulb went off!!

    I know not many people out there make water kefir, but just in case you do, and land in the same pickle as me, pour it in! It is fermented and full of great lactobacillus so unless it has strange reactions with the salt, it should boost the fermentation process.

    I just added about half a quart of water kefir a few hours ago. I shall add an update later on how my experiment turned out.



    I messed around with the recipe too much this time. Not a smart thing for a first-timer to do. Will adhere to instructions strictly next time.



    Hi Dan, I think Maangchi’s recipe said soak 4 hours in the salt?



    Hi, Several recipes show individuals fermenting kimchi in mason jars topping it off with water as if they were pickling pickles. I’m curious as to why many traditional kimchi’s don’t ferment with water, does it spoil without it? According to some sources, keeping the kimchi submerged in water prevents it from going bad as bacteria won’t have air that way.

    Also, some pepper flake and sediments have seem to turned dark brown or black at the edges of the container, making me think they’ve oxidized, do I need to restart my batch of kimchi?

    Should I brine the other vegetables in salt water as well before mixing it all together?

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