My name is Jason Clifton, I'm a third year electronic engineering student, nutrition, fitness and for a year or so, fermentation enthusiast. I'm currently developing a home-scale, automatic fermentation system for my dissertation to which I hope will optimize and network the development of fermented food and beverages and their benefits. The system will provide optimal environments for a range of goods such as ginger beer and kimchi.
As this project is in it's very early stages of development, I'm looking for people who may have an interest in such a system and who are willing to input any ideas or possible adaptations that they may find beneficial to them and the fermentation community as a whole.
I'm also interested to see the setup of home and professional fermenters and the difficulties they find in fermenting in their environment.
I hope this was an interesting proposition to those who read it, and I'd be very happy if anyone of any background were to reply, it would benefit me and potentially you, so much.
I am relatively new to fermentation. Though, at least from my newly growing perspective, I think fermentation is more of a low-tech thing. It would be perhaps useful if for industrial scale production of fermented goods, but I think there is something special to the hands-on approach to fermentation. I also think that it is okay for batches to be unique and different, because I feel that diversity matters on all scales. And lastly, I think being low-tech and "unprofessional" keeps the field of fermentation in the hands of the public and keeps good food widely accessible. I find making things more complicated than they need to be is a good way, to put it bluntly, keep people in the dark while someone else makes money. So, overall, I think keeping fermentation simple, hands-on, and continuously experimental is the way to go.
And let me clarify what I would find helpful. I would find it more helpful to have books and knowledge than to have "better stuff". I find better quality information to be of higher personal importance and relevance than "better things".
It's definitely not my intention to remove the unique nature of fermented products, I have friends and family who are fans of what I make, yet completely unwilling to setup their own production, despite what I think to be and I'm sure you do too, a relatively easy and curious learning path. This project is perhaps not one to which I would like to make commercial. As a very hands on person myself, I simply want an easy medium to which I can replicate my fermented products to others who might like them; one that requires as little dedication as possible, for those like my family who are too busy to spare the time. A "plug and play setup" for fermentation.
Additionally, I want this product not to prevent the creativity of home brewers like myself, but to influence people to experiment by removing any unwillingness to dedicate their resources to something that may be of their distaste and to make the resulting adaptation a faster and thus more easily continued process.
This is not a product to pay respects to traditional fermentation but rather, a product to give people a kind push into it; there are certainly a lot of things the traditional methods are best at, but you wouldn't need to consume as much knowledge if it was that easy to get into.
I ferment quite a few things. The only issues I’ve every had were my water kefir getting too boozy and my sourdough starter growing faster than I could feed it. Oh and the pain that is Kahm yeast! My set up is just jars and coffee filters. I do have a crock for the kraut and a seedling pad for the booch. If I do any other anaerobic things, like salsa, I’ll use a Fido jar.
Water kefir, (juice/fruit/herb fermentation) can be a autonomous continuous harvest
This can be used as a starter for most vegetable starter.
Milk Kefir fermentation, if it is shaken, it could be a continuous harvested system, possible with a stirrer plate.
Both milk and water kefir grains will have to be removed as they multiply.
Koji/Amazake is also doable, just add cooked rice and continuous harvest the sweetener that comes out.
Iterations are fine, we don't have to be perfect
posted 9 months ago
Thinking deeper into the meaning of this problem, it does help quite a bit. It sounds like your experiencing if anything too optimum environmental conditions, that being your yeast is able to respire faster than you can notice it needs to be fed. I think this raises a good idea for the software of my project in regards to continuously harvested fermented foods. Seeing as it's possible for me to accurately identify the amount of sugar consumed and it would benefit users such as yourself if a notification could therefore be parsed when a feed is due. Also, I wished to address the concept of varying jar sizes such as Fido jars but alas, for my first prototype and dissertation my lecturers advised against this. Maybe on the next one hahah.
Thanks a bunch Michele.
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