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Fermentation in tropical countries?

Answered on September 27, 2013
Created September 26, 2013 at 2:44 PM

Hi everyone, I've been intending to do my own fermentation for a while, probably start off with things like sauerkraut or perhaps my own yogurt/kefir if I can find the grains. However, so far whatever I read regarding the fermentation periods seem to be geared towards places with seasonal weather. Things like "fermenting in a cool place, eg. under the table, or on top of the fridge, or leave overnight on the tabletop."

Well, I live in Singapore, we only have 2 kinds of weather: hot and wet. And if it rains long enough for that few days, the weather turns cooler, but not for long. We certainly don't have the kind of heat waves you hear about in Miami, but I'd say on average the temperature stays pretty stable around 25-28 degrees, and goes up to 30-33 in the hotter months.

Anyone from countries with similar weather conditions who have experience in fermenting? How does it differ from most of the recipes found online? I don't want to try it out and end up eating spoilt stuff without realising it. My guts are bad enough as it is.

C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

(880)

on September 27, 2013
at 01:33 PM

Airlocking your ferment (Pickl-It jars are excellent for this, as is any traditional brewer's setup) will make a huge difference in keeping bad bacteria from forming. Most of the bacteria you're looking for in a ferment is anaerobic, meaning that it can live (and thrive) in an environment without oxygen; most of the bacteria that will make you sick is aerobic, meaning that it lives (and will thrive) in an environment with oxygen. Keep your ferment airtight and you'll allow the anaerobic bacteria to outperform and eliminate the aerobic bacteria, keeping you safe.

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4 Answers

0
3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on September 27, 2013
at 07:58 PM

You can ferment at higher temps but be aware it will go MUCH faster. Keep a close eye on things. I can turn over a batch of dairy keifer in less than 24 hours in the summer, but it takes 2 to 3 days in the winter because we don't have AC and we don't heat the house much in winter.

Consider increasing salt or acids to keep the bad bacteria at bay.

0
56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on September 26, 2013
at 04:06 PM

I will go with samc. A brewing thermostat attached to a freezer is all you need. It is about 60 dollars for the thermostat. In my case I brew wine and beer, and make sauerkrauts, all at room temperature, by timing the brewing with the proper time of year (early Fall). The thermostat used to be used for lager brewing, where you want to keep the wort at about 35 degrees for some months, and also for summer ale brewing. But now I use it to preserve apples through the winter, in one of my two freezers. The thermostat, properly set, kicks in at about 40 and kicks out at about 35F. For you settings around 65F for sauerkrauts will be ideal. Yogurt requires 90F (my wife makes it) so I think you will be fine with room temperature.

0
Medium avatar

(238)

on September 26, 2013
at 03:25 PM

I have a koolatron thermoelectric heater/cooler mini mini fridge which I used in the past to ferment sourdough back when I was addicted to bread/pizza & beer. It works very well, is inexpensive and would do the job for you. It is available under a lot of different brands all coming from China.

0
Ebb10603524dd22621c1155dd7ddf106

(19150)

on September 26, 2013
at 02:57 PM

I'm speaking primarily from wine fermentation experience, but this should apply to any situation where there are good bacteria you want in the must, and plenty of bad bacteria you do not in the environment.

Cool places are usually not ideal for any kinds of fermentation. I'm from Massachusetts in the US, and "cool" would be something like <60F - cool will not stop fermentation, but it will take longer than it should. Most fermentation is best done at "room temperature", which is something like 68-72F (20-23C). Hotter temperatures (33C/92F) are acceptable, but not ideal. (Extremely hot temperatures can be downright bad - but I would reserve "extremely hot" as a description for things on top of a heating unit or stove.)

So, for generally "hot" temperatures, things are "OK" for a good reason and a bad reason: good: the preferred bacteria will *thrive* and ferment the source food readily; bad: bad bacteria also thrive at these temperatures. So, you'll find that fermentation will go faster than in cooler temperatures, but there's a higher chance of picking up a bad bacteria that will make the ferment spoil in a non-desired way.

Since you can't really change the "room temperature" where you live, I simply wouldn't worry about it too much. Keep your ferment out of direct light, and away from direct heat sources. If you keep the ferment away from other sources of contamination, things should work OK - consider an airlock (or cheesecloth at least) to stop ingress of air and bacteria.

C6648ab69e5a1560c7585fe3ba7108fb

(880)

on September 27, 2013
at 01:33 PM

Airlocking your ferment (Pickl-It jars are excellent for this, as is any traditional brewer's setup) will make a huge difference in keeping bad bacteria from forming. Most of the bacteria you're looking for in a ferment is anaerobic, meaning that it can live (and thrive) in an environment without oxygen; most of the bacteria that will make you sick is aerobic, meaning that it lives (and will thrive) in an environment with oxygen. Keep your ferment airtight and you'll allow the anaerobic bacteria to outperform and eliminate the aerobic bacteria, keeping you safe.

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