Fermenting Pepper Mash Floating over Brine

Pepper mash floating over brine

Hello Kirsten,

I just got your Fiery Ferments book (Love it!) and am just starting my first fermentation: the basic pepper mash. I started it yesterday and the mash does not seem to want to stay under the brine. I keep pressing it down with a large spoon, but the brine immediately settles at the bottom again. Is this ok? Is there anything I can do to keep the mash submerged? Thank you so much for writing such a wonderful, easy-to-understand book! I’m excited to try more ferments and eventually move on to the tempeh!

Sincerely,

Karen

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Hi Karen,

We do love to hear that people are out there using (and loving) our books. Thank you.

Your mash is behaving just as it should, and yes, it is nearly impossible to keep it under the brine. After a lot of different ways to try to solve this issue, I found the best is to leave the lid on tight —looks like yours is. Once (or twice if it is super active) open the lid slightly to burp it (release pressure) and then tighten right back up. Since CO2 is heavier it will push out the oxygen and rest on the top of your mash, shielding it. After you have burped it shake the jar to get the pulp and brine mixed up. It will separate again in a few hours but don’t worry there is no oxygen in there to cause it grief.

When it starts to slow down you will find that it will be less active and separate a much slower rate, and eventually not separate at all.

I hope that helps.

All the best,

Kirsten