What is Fermentation?
Fermented foods are all around us! Fermentation is the process of yeast and bacteria eating carbohydrates and sugars. Humans have used fermentation as a way of preservation, with many cultures’ traditional food and drinks utilizing this technique for centuries.
Most fermentations have a microcosm of different organisms adding their own flavors and aromas at various stages. By the end of fermentation, most products are below the pH of 4.6 due to the creation of acids. This creation of acid helps create a barrier to keep out other unwanted organisms such as pathogens, making fermentation a form of preservation.
Fermentations produce various byproducts from carbon dioxide and alcohol to various acids. From fermentation, yeast and bacteria not only help break down compounds to make nutrients more readily available but also create a plethora of new flavors and aromas that were previously untapped.
Common fermented foods include beer, bread, yogurt, cheese, and sauerkraut. Our in-house made pizza dough uses brewer’s yeast for added flavor and texture not often found in dough risen by dry bread yeast.
White Labs Brewing Co. Kitchen & Tap hopes to continue pushing the boundaries on how fermentation contributes such a critical role to all things food!
Check out some of the fermented food items below or check out our locations here!
Wood Fired Pizza
Our Neapolitan-style pizza dough is fermented for 72 hours, and leavened with White Labs’ WLP518 Opshaug Kveik Ale Yeast.
Using our liquid yeast opens the door to new flavors and aromas that are only capable of using beer yeast. By slow rising our dough, it allows the yeast to take the time to create delicious aromas as well as allowing the carbon dioxide formation to blend with gluten formation for a nice delicate chew.
Our Asheville location uses a 800+ degree wood-fired oven produces varying degrees of char on each pizza.
Ever heard of probiotics? Lactobacillus is a bacteria where some species are generally considered to be a probiotic producing acids to aid in gut microflora. Lactobacillus is also known as Lactic Acid Bacteria as it produces Lactic Acid in the presence of sugars. Certain food products such as yogurt, kombucha, and kimchi carry these organisms.
For our Lactobacillus-brined fries, we brine and ferment our fries using our WLP677 Lactobacillus delbrueckii to allow our organisms to create lactic acid infusing the fries with a bright and tangy flavor. This bright acidity adds an extra layer of complexity to go along with the crisp, savory, melt-in-your-mouth fries.
Kimchi is a fermented Korean staple usually made with salted vegetables, such as napa cabbage or Korean radish.
Like Sauerkraut, the probiotic organisms already come from organic cabbage or other fermented vegetables. What makes Kimchi different from Sauerkraut is the spice from gochugaru, also known as Korean chili powder. This spice adds another layer to its salt and sour flavor, making every bite enticing and mouthwatering.
Our kimchi is brined and fermented using WLP672 Lactobacillus brevis.
Did you know, everybody’s favorite sweet, chocolate, is also fermented?!? Chocolate comes from huge cacao pods that are cut open and the seeds and pulp are dried and cured for 3 to 10 days. During this time, many yeast and bacteria ferment and turn the bitter, flavorless cacao pods into the flavorful, decadent chocolate we know. The cacao is then roasted, ground, and mixed with sugar and other additives to produce a smooth mouthfeel.
Check out our WLP546 Marañón Canyon Wild Cacao Yeast where we isolated yeast from a thought to be extinct Pure Nacional variety of cacao.
Just like chocolate, coffee undergoes a fermentation process. Coffee growers either utilize an aerobic, presence of oxygen, or anaerobic, without the presence of oxygen, fermentation. With more growers moving toward the latter, as they are better able to control the microbes fermentation to produce and refine the acidic, sweet, and aroma notes we associate with coffee.
Fermented Sauces and Pickling
From pickled vegetables to fermented sauces, fermentation is everywhere. Pickling is usually performed by using the natural organism on the vegetables and submerging these ingredients in brine, a highly concentrated saltwater. By submerging these ingredients in a brine, it purges the organisms of oxygen, making them undergo anaerobic fermentation. This fermentation is where all the tasty flavors and aromas are made.