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Mike Harmon

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since Oct 19, 2015
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Reaching that retirement age and applying all I have learned to make it low cost and pleasant
Port Lavaca, Texas
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Recent posts by Mike Harmon

David, In Wiki, the recipe mentions "other minor ingredients"
At King Aurthur website they give a recipe that mentions no yeast.
The bread is supposed to capture wild bacteria and use these to make the CO2 pockets in the dough to make it rise. It also gives a fermented taste to the bread. The recipe videos are really not well thought out on YouTube and probably were part of a web page/
3 years ago
This is for those times one would not have acess to soda. I do not know how to make soda but anyone can wild ferment
NOTE: You were right, the article does show using baking soda.....

3 years ago
This is a great article and a survival skill as well. The subject is salt rised bread. It is basically a wild fermented bread starter that smells a little like parmasan cheese according to the lady who runs the bakery in the video from youtube.. The article is pretty cool because it reenforces the fact that fermented foods are safer than ordinary foods. ALso the bread has a shelf life 3 x better than regular bread.
The first video on the article page is pretty incomplete. You have to watch a few more to get the actual recipe.

3 years ago
You are a good sport Mr R Ranson for sure.

I agree airlocks are not needed meaning a fancy commercial airlock like the 3 piece wine airlock. Nor is the water dam crock. And some forms like kombucha, water kefir, milk kefir and the bran pickling beds specifically call for no airlock other than a covering to keep out varmits.

Staying away from the last 4 mentioned ferments, I will say that I personally like to use a commercial airlock when I can. It is a cheap low-paid fermenting assistant if you will. It saves the need for burping your containers which could save an accident from glass being shattered by CO2 pressure. I have not myself had that problem but lately have heard of some with over active water kefir bottles. I have only succeeded in bending a few lids and having the living daylites scared out of me..

I say can meaning when I have one free. If I do not , then I will take the burping route.

I will continue to use an airlock when I have one. Now sometimes all the airlock I have is a mason jar lid..... Again that to me is a non burping airlock. It requires me to watch for it so we do not get it bent etc..... If I am called out on a 36 hour job , I can not be home to burp my many jars!

I will use the baggie method where a baggie is stuffed into a less than full jar of veggies and then filled with brine and the top not sealed but folded over alongside the jar and fastened in place with a rubber band. This is an airlock. A self burping temporary one to me but nonetheless one I have and will use again I am sure. I am not worried about the plastic bag being harmful. If you are plastic-free. Then you can not use them. I can take that 36 hour job as I do not have to burp it.

I will also use again and have in the past, a surgical glove fastened over my jar top. This is invaluable for doing something like a real pasty ketchup recipe... The one I made last was made with processed tomato paste and to this day I do not know if it was preservatives stopping my ferment from kicking off after I added old kraut juice as a starter and even wound up using whey , which I do not like using. IF and I did use a commercial airlock because I had one not in service...... I messed up! The ferment had not kicked off and IF I had used the glove, I could have seen that I was not getting any sign of a "Hi 5" from a filled glove being blown up by CO2 production in the inactive ferment! BINGO! Eventually it started. I was very lucky for no mold right off but being not used to the thick paste, I did get something that could have passed for kahm on the surface and figured I only had a few $'s in it and scraped it. I can take that 36 hour job IF i poke a minute hole in the glove and the ferment is pretty active

I would use a crock if I had one. I am talking of the water-dam crock, the one with the water filled ring that the lid sits in. It is an self burping airlock and vessel made in two pieces. I think myself that most people who fail in these crocks are just not filling the vessel [crock itself] as full as it needs to be and because of the large space, when CO2 production slows and they open it they introduce bacteria that thrive because the low CO2 production of the nearly finished ferment can not fully re-blanket the inside of the crock. I am sorta into probiotics at the moment and do not desire to use a crock at this time due to the uncertainty I feel of storing long term and not canning properly. I will get more confident I am sure but at this time I would rather do small batches and not have to long term store. We did do okra and pickles that way last year and they were not as crisp as I would have liked them. I can take that 36 hour job if needed with a water dam crock. It is self burping

I will do my kombucha open hatch [with coffee filter covering], I will my water kefir when I get some grains [with coffee filter covering], I do open hatch my milk kefir [with coffee filter covering] but my other ferments I do want a solid air tight cover of some kind like I stated above.

I came to to fermenting through the gateway drug called the "Old fashioned brined pickle" just like many of you and stayed as I learned a lot more of this fine art. This art or craft is one reason we as a species are here today! Cave men lived a feast and famine lifestyle. When they learned how to store that feast thru fermenting their famines got less severe. They had all day when they were not running from dinosaurs to burp their goat bladder fermenting vessels! ANd from that they started our upward journey to the civilization we now enjoy. I feel fermenting should be taught in schools. We have some preppers in the crowd, some self sufficiency lifestyle'rs and some green people prowling these sacred halls and I will bet a lot of them wished they had learned this craft earlier.

I guess my biggest complaint about the airlock issue and that of other "conveniences" or "Un needed frivilous tools" is that the older more established fermenters take a lot of pride in their thrifty ways and subconsiously "force" their opinions on the novices. When I first started, I was all gungho... I was an instant expert. I googled, went to groups and eavesdropped and then committed to purchasing all sorts of expensive jars and systems. Well, I have my success and my failures. I remember my first kahm invasion! AND I was for a while still scared of eating "live" foods as well but would not openly admit that to anyone.

I took my first failure to the boards. First thing was the initial line of questions.... "What was your salt ratio?" What is your veggie?" "How long was it fermenting when it went down?" "What system did you use?" ANd then it began! You don't need that! All you need is a goat hide, a crumpled cabbage leaf, something to hold that cabbage leaf down.... or if mold develops, just become a man, rip it outa there and gobble down the rest!

Naw. Not for me to this day. I can live with kahm yeast but am embarrassed with it when I do not notice it in a jar of pickles I drag out to show to non fermenting friends. Keep in mind that kahm can show up using an airlock and thrive in a ferment as well. But mold I am scared of! [ not scared of cheese or meat mold tho...Ok I may be crazy!]

I guess a quick recap on my stance is in order. ........................ "If you have them and feel the need... smoke em" I do if I have them Use your own judgement . Research, pick a system, a method and live with it. In the event the man next to you has better success rate than you and he is willing to share..... again it is your choice ")
3 years ago

alex Keenan wrote:Nukadoko (Fermented Rice Bran Bed) for Pickling

This is a very old and well understood form of fermenting.
It is clearly not air tight.

Yes this does not require a commercial airlock for sure I think this type fermenting is over my head and out of my comfort zone to personally attempt
3 years ago
I agree and apologize if it appeared I was serving my own interest. Starting another thread would not be possible as my title would be the same as yours It is how I feel. The only thing I would do would be add the word "commercial" in front of airlock.

It is important that people know they do not need one! Without a doubt! I think your thread pretty well covers the topic. I was just trying to add not so much to your initial post but to the general drift the replys were seeming to take. Your post was indeed fair.

With every successful or failed ferment we learn. The first thing is what one looks like and the second is what one smells like. I have had failures using airlocks as well as without one. I am to this day guilty of throwing together a ferment with no weight or commercial airlock. I have had a few bent lids but no explosion though I do know it could happen. Leaving my mason jar lid cracked serves its purpose and common sense lets me know when I can tighten it more as the ferment slows. If i had started fermenting using all the conveniences, I would maybe not have learned that valuable piece of information.

Again I apologize if I was taken the wrong way. My interests are the same as yours. I wish everyone to try fermenting for what ever reason they want to. I think it should be taught in school along with gardening and canning as well.

3 years ago
Would it be possible to use a Fresnel lens aimed at a black pot for instance incorporated into a solar dryer to boost inside temps? Maybe add a solar powered exhaust vent in case it got to hot?
I remember we used to use the cracker jacks magnifying lens to burn stuff when we were kids
3 years ago
Yes I see you are an open container person. You are indeed correct . I generalized to much and you caught me.
The people I refered to used a cap, a lid and a silicone bowl. Those are indeed a form of airlock. In that same manner a cloth laid over an open crock acts as an airlock as CO2 is heavier than O2 and will settle under the cloth to an extent as it is heavier. This same principal is taught in most chemical plants and refineries as well.
And yes it seems the general theme of the thread is that people are being led into not using an airlock and I took the initiative to stand up for the use of the airlock as the general drift of the thread did indeed leave a reader thinking it was a waste of time and $1.50 or so.
A mother like in kombucha or vinegar requires O2. If doing an F2 ferment you will not have the scoby or mother in the container and then it becomes an anerobic ferment and would require an airlock or lid. An airlock like a cloth would not be suitable. I am also sure the mother of vinegar is the same as one way to rapidly produce said is to pump O2 into it. The result is vinegar in 24 hours at times.
Another reason for an airlock / lid/ covering is that some places like here has lots of gnats and flies that are attracted to the smell of fermenting foods.
3 years ago
I saw another way to use the baggie. I am not worried about the plastic in a food grade baggie but some are. That said here is how you can make that baggie act as both an airlock AND a weight.
It is messy if you are a frequent taster like I am but does work.

Fill your jar with veggies to about 1/2" under the first narrowing of your jar. Top with enough brine to cover the contents.
Take a baggie and press down on your contents. Fill the baggie full of brine.
Fold the baggie down over the jar and THEN place your rubber band.

This allows CO2 to escape between the jar and baggie as well as any overflow and will move up and over the jar rim and into your catch pan. It will appear that there are bubbles under your baggie but after a few days of active fermenting it can be pretty well certain it is CO2 not O2 and will not grow mold.

With any form of airlock like this , the initial cost is low but can get tedious if you have kahm yeast you want to tend to or you just want to taste. Set your baggie into a bowl and taste and it might be a good idea to also double bag to prevent a leakage.

Commercial airlocks are a convenience and some consider a luxury and it is always your call to use them or not. Myself I like convenience and ease.

3 years ago
Mr Tobias,
You could try adding a grape of oak leaf to the pickles. Tannic acid works to keep cucumbers from turning to mushy when fermenting or some have used calcium or alum or lime concoctions as well. Ferment at a lower temperature will help also. But because you are dealing with an already processed food, you may have all the crisp you will ever get also
I have used a brand here called "Pickle Crisp" when fermenting but not sure if it is recommended or not.
I am like you though. I eat the good and the not so good.
3 years ago