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Jun 29, 2011 06:34 PM

Homemade kimchi - smells like yeast fermented

Ok so I made some homemade kimchi for the first time, using this recipe....

It said to let it sit on the counter for 6 days (in a cool place) which I did for 5 days then placed in the fridge.

It has this yeasty fermented smell AND TASTE, I don't know if it's the way it's supposed to be (none of the kimchi at restaurants/commercial or even homemade by korean families tastes this way)

Did I do something wrong, should I throw it away?

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  1. I'm no master of kimchi, but that recipe calls for a significantly less salt than the recipes I've seen and used. Perhaps your salt content wasn't high enough to prevent the growth of yeast and other microbes (besides the lactic acid bacteria you want in there)?

    3 Replies
    1. re: cowboyardee

      There are a number of things that are off with that recipe, and I agree with cowboy that the amount of salt is probably the biggest one. The wet brining is another. You're taking what is an already (very) deficient amount of salt and further diluting it with water.

      Here's a link to maangchi's kimchi recipes, which I think will give you a better result. Hope the next batch is better!

      1. re: inaplasticcup

        Thank you! I think I'm going to go with her recipe in a smaller batch.
        It sounds safe in the fridge and all.

        Gotta get some rice powder.

        1. re: BamiaWruz

          If you've got some sweet or arborio rice, you can always grind it up in a coffee grinder if you don't want to go buy a whole bag of rice flour.

    2. Hmm. Smell/taste of yeast does sound quite wrong. I pulled a recent batch from the fridge to sniff: tart, spicy, no yeast.

      My best bet is that some ambient bacteria got into your brew and took over. What type of vessel did you ferment in, and how did you seal?

      I always use whey to kick-start the lactic bacteria. Would recommend next time. Personally, I would dump this batch.

      Please don't let this discourage you! Stuff this this can happen even when you're experienced. The rewards are soooo worth it.

      2 Replies
      1. re: DuchessNukem

        Dutchess, thank you!! I'm not going to let it discourage me .. but I sense something is off and it tastes like nothing I've had. I've contacted the original blogger too to ask about the smell and she said it is meant to smell/taste sour/fermented but I don't think mine is right.

        Do you happen to have a fool proof recipe for someone like me ? I would appreciate it as I didn't really understand the lactic acid part.

        I put it in a clean mason jar, made two jars and it smelled great at the beginning until that fifth day.

        Cowboyardee, you may be right about the salt, gosh, I will start over as soon as I get another recipe or figure out what went wrong.

        When I tasted it it had a fizzy taste in the end, really yeasty/fermented, just not pleasant at all.

        1. re: BamiaWruz

          I use Sally Fallon's "Nourishing Traditions" recipe as a basis (book has bad science, but great recipes). Gringo kimchi, admittedly, but tasty. Can't find my copy at this hour, sorry, but you can google recipes.

          Sra. Plastic's recipe site has delightful recipes also, sound more authentic.

          For ease, I use gallon and half-gallon jars with lids and wine-locks; I cut up plastic container lids to provide a loose flat seal on the veggies, and pile shot glasses and/or tiny sauce dishes to put pressure over the plastic flats. Does that make any sense? It keeps the veggies fairly isolated from oxygen and in the brine.

          I bought a few glass jars/lids/wine-locks from -- made life easier.

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