Made Kimchi Twice and Both Times Was Not Sour

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    • #82570

      I made kimchi twice and both times it was not sour. I used Mangchi’s easy kimchi recipe and her traditional kimchi recipe. I think I didn’t have the fish sauce and fermented shrimp but I did have most of the other ingredients. It looked good but after two or three days it was still not sour to put in the fridge. I ended up throwing it all out. I am wondering what I did wrong that it did not turn sour or should I have waited longer. Your experience making kimchi the first or second time would be great to hear.

    • #82832

      Hello karenaj,
      I’m sorry to read that you had to throw it out.
      I’m not an expert but maybe you should have been a bit more patient, the sourness is a question of personal taste.
      Personally I don’t really like fresh kimchi but I love sour kimchi so I only can start eating a new batch of kimchi at least 1 week after I made it… and even 1 week after it only begins to taste sour according me.
      Fermentation is the first step, sourness will appear gradually.
      It is an other problem if your kimchi doesn’t start its fermentation. As Maangchi said,if you see bubbles when you press the kimchi it’s ok !
      Fish sauce and fermented shrimps give a flavour and maybe accelerate the fermentation but you can do without it. If I’m not wrong, the main ingredient for fermentation is sugar (the good bacteria needs sugar at first).
      The container can also be a source of problem if it’s not airtight enough.
      Last point, unless you have a very sensitive skin, try to make kimchi whith your bare hands. When I make kimchi I feel like it helps to bring it to life (just my opinion, not a statement :))
      I hope the third time you make kimchi will be ok!

    • #82895

      Upgrade: tonight I ate a portion of kimchi made 5 weeks ago… Now it’s at its perfect balance. between fresh and sour. At that point, sourness is going to be more and more present… so, be patient if you like the sour taste

    • #84152
      K Foodaddict

      Hi karenaj,

      As i made my kimchi (2 pounds) based on maangchi’s recipe and it turns out perfectly.I let it ferment in room temperature for 2 days (28 degrees) and keep checking the bubbles in the kimchi. I think you need more time on fermentation before placing it in the refridgerator. Fish sauce and salted shrimp are just giving the kimchi more flavourful than using salt. So, it’s ok to go without it. Just try to make small portion and keep trying until you get your perfect taste.

    • #84492

      Fermentation time is very dependent on the temperature of the kimchi. Maybe try leaving it to sit in a different place in your house and seeing if it ferments faster there.

    • #84547

      Hallo, es stimmt die Temperatur spielt eine grosse Rolle Also habt Geduld es lohnt sich 👍😁

    • #89619

      Nayko is right about using your hands. My hands are toasty warm at the moment as I just finished 2 kimchi batches. Also, if you leave out a salty ingredient (shrimp paste, anchovies, fish sauce), add soy sauce or tamari in the same amount. Fermentation needs the right salt content to eliminate the bad bacteria and encourage the healthy bacteria from your clean hands (wash your hands, get all the soap gone, and you’ll still have plenty of good bacteria on you – at least half of the cells in your body are bacteria). Kimchi makes sure those bacteria stay on the good side :-)

    • #89631

      When in doubt weigh your salt. Cabbage only needs 2% salt by weight to ferment. I do it all the time. By the time you add pepper flakes and some fish sauce you will be over 2%. Both contain some salt. Pay attention to the labels on bags of Korean pepper flakes. Some are quite salty.

      If you really want to speed up a ferment start with non chlorinated water. Such as bottled water with a lower pH. Tap water has chlorine and it usually high pH so it wont rust your plumbing. If you boil tap water first and let it set overnight most of the chlorine will be gone.

      Another option is use a culture starter like Caldwells or 1-2 TBS of kimchi juice from a previous batch.

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