Kimchi won't ferment!

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    • #49269

      Greetings to all kimchi aficionados!

      I made kimchi last week, and it has been sitting in on my kitchen floor for three days. The problem is, it will NOT ferment! Any advice on how to kickstart the process?

      Some factors that might have messed up my batch:

      1) I might have been too vigorous about rinsing out the salt from the kimchi. It’s a touch bland

      2) I used regular wheat flour and not rice flour

      3) The kimchi brine (?) in the kimchi containers are not red and opaque-red, but kind of translucent-brown.

      Thanks lots in advance!

    • #53190

      doenst matter which kind of flour you use. I use wheat flour myself.

      salting and watering the cabbage is not a exact science but something only learned after years of making kimchi.

      you need sugar to ferment something. i think the sugar in the flour is to complex to start fermenting right away.

      you could accelerate it by keeping it a bit warmer, although room temperature should be enough to at least start the fermentation.

      you could jump start it by adding a certain kind of bacteria. I think it’s “Leuconostoc mesenteroides”, but I could be wrong, I only had basic chem. (If someone has knowledge about kimchi-chem…) but I think it would be easier to start over…

      you put sugar in the kimchi-paste? enough gochugaru? drained the cabbage good enough?

    • #53191

      thanks for the input kumaxx!

      now that you mention it, it might be a temperature issue — i live in boston and it is smack in the middle of winter here! i’ll move it somewhere toastier and see what happens.

      my korean mama is from the south (jeonju), so plenty of gochugaru! and i’ve heard one too many horror stories about bitter-salty kimchi, so i might even have over-rinse/drained the cabbage!

    • #53192

      Uh, your kimchi paste is brown…? Are you sure you put in sugar? Does it still taste good? Is it like really thick? Did you mince onions and garlic very very finely in the blender, or coarser with your knife? (personally I prefer it coarser, it seems like it speeds up fermentation, although there may be other factors in that).

      I once made kimchi (well, kaktugi) and just put it in the fridge, it didn’t ferment until like more than a week after. If it’s really cold where you live and you do not have the heating on constantly, then perhaps temperature might drop to refrigerator levels in your house…?

    • #53193

      my family never puts sugar in our kimchi and it turns out awesome. i personally don’t like sugar in kimchi.

      the salting process is super important. make you sure you do it long enough. also, if your cabbage is over grown then it tends to be THICK, so the salting part should be longer.

      makes sure that you really pack your kimchi tight in the jar that you’re doing it in. i remember making it with my grandma and i would literally use all my strenght to push as much kimchi in a container as possible.

    • #53194

      hi there,

      I have made my kimchi and immediately put in the refrigerator.

      Then only i realize i need to put it out temperature room for 24 hours for fermentation.

      So now do i need to take it out from the fridge and left with room temperature? Is it gonna spoil my kmchi?

    • #53195

      yes, take it out from the fridge now and wait until it ferments. No problemo! : )

    • #53196

      Hi Maangchi,

      I made kimchi on 3 Jan 2011, and I immediately placed it in the fridge. The problem is, it will NOT ferment and my husband says it’s too bland and cabbage is raw! Any advice on how to salvage the kimchi?

      Thanks lots in advance!

    • #53197

      no problem. Bland kimchi can be fixed easily by adding more salt!

      Take your kimchi out from your fridge and add more salt and mix it well. Let it sit outside the fridge for a couple of days until it ferments. Then keep it in the fridge.

    • #53198

      hey. just made kimchi today i tasted it just now. I think I added too much of fish salt, it’s so salty right now! can i wash it? what should i do?

    • #53199

      I heard if you use tap water that has chlorine in it, that could prevent fermentation. Make sure you use non-chlorinated or filtered water. The other thing to solve temperature problems is get a dehydrator machine – I was thinking of getting one to make yogurt from raw milk.

    • #53200

      Ummm….i made kimchi a week ago and its not fermenting…….i placed it in the oven which was off but still the warmest in the house…then i moved it to the fridge…..when i tasted it i tasted a bit bitter….idk what happened……help!

    • #53201

      Your oven that is turned off is the warmest place in the house? Why not just put it on the kitchen counter at room temp? That way you can monitor the progress more easily. You should see bubbles at some point.

    • #53202

      Also Stee – how cold is your house? I think you want to try to ferment it at about 24 degrees if possible.

    • #66820

      Hi there. I followed the recipe to make basic Kimchi on Feb. 11, placed my container in a dark place and kinda forgot about it a bit. Some of the cabbage had not submerged, but fearing the worst I tossed that bit. It tastes a bit sour but I’m also not seeing very much fermentation. There was a few bubbles but nothing like what I expected to happen. Where I live is very cold, and I often keep my apartment quite cool as well. I’ve moved my jar into the fridge after five days. Do you think it’s ok or should I discard and try again? The paste is still rather thick but bright red and the cabbage is crisp. And opinion would be welcome as this is my first attempt making kimchi and everywhere I’m reading is not really telling me much except “kimchi rarely spoils.”

    • #66932

      I have the same problem. I thought it started to ferment( a few bubbles and it being fizzy) and then I put it in the fridge. But now there are no bubbles anymore and I’m not sure if I put it in the fridge too early or if it ever started fermenting in the first place…
      I heard you can place it outside the fridge again? Maybe I try that..

    • #66936

      I always go by taste. If it taste sour enough for YOU put it in the fridge. It will continue to ferment but much more slowly.

      Every now and then i remove my kimchi from the fridge and press it down again. This helps to prevent spoilage. There are containers with this feature and glass fermenting weights for mason jars that will do this for you too.

      BTW small wine or beverage coolers make excellent kimchi coolers too. They don’t get as cold as a regular refrigerator and go up to around 55F. Lactobacillis plantarum bacteria is stick somewhat active over 50F.

    • #78712

      I made my kimchi about 5 days ago. I placed it in the fridge for 4 days and now it’s sitting on my kitchen counter at room temp. I checked it this morning and it still taste a bit bitter, not sour yet. I’m crossing my fingers that it starts to ferment soon.

    • #79712

      Hi! I made kimchi according to your recipe, only that i used regular flour and left out the fermented shrimp because i couldn’t find it anywhere. I left it out to ferment for like 3-4 days and it was okay it was bubbling (in jars) but then there was so much leakage that i decided to put all the kimchi in plastic container (was that a mistake?) also because of the leakage i added some tap water (which i read that if it has chlorine in it, it prevent fermentation) and now my kimchi is not fermenting anymore (but also its winter here so that might be the problem as well?) please help!

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