Let's Talk About Fermentation
Yogurt, beer, sauerkraut, miso, kombucha, and kimchi. What do all of these have in common? If you clicked on the tab to come here I think you have a pretty good idea. They are all fermented products! You may be wondering what this means? Read on friends, I will give you the run down.
There are 2 kinds of fermentation that occur.
1. Lactic Acid Fermentation
Lactic Acid Fermentation
Simply put, lactic acid fermentation is a process in which glucose and other sugars are converted into cellular energy and lactate.
How kimchi works
When making kimchi, each ingredient has a purpose. A jar of kimchi is essentially an ecosystem. Many of the raw ingredients contain numerous types of microflora, including lactic acid bacteria. With the proper ratio of salt and carbohydrates in combination with with temperature and oxygen (or lack of), lactic acid is produced and kimchi is made.
The salt content prevents certain bacteria from growing and inhibits the growth of lacic acid bacteria. It is essential that the kimchi undergoes it’s fermentation in an anaerobic environment, meaning there is no oxygen. Once the kimchi reaches a pH level of 4.2-4.5 it is ready to be placed in the refrigerator where it will slow down the fermentation process.
You will know your kimchi is fermenting properly when you open your jar and see bubbles. These bubbles are carbon dioxide and contribute to the bite that kimchi has.
Simply put, alcoholic fermentation is a biological process that turns sugar into energy, producing ethanol, and as a result releases carbon dioxide. This process requires a key ingredient-YEAST! Yeast is the live ingredient that makes fermentation happen.
An example of this process can easily be observed while making bread. We know that with bread, we have a combination of ingredients that we mix together. We then let the dough sit, often times covered, to rise. Have you ever seen bread rise? Why does this happen?
I will give you a hint. When the yeast is converting the sugar, a resulting product in carbon dioxide.
So when your dough is rising, it is going through a conversion process and during this process is expanding with gas! Pretty amazing.