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How to Master the Art of Fermentation – Part 3 – Aerobic Fermentation
In today’s vodcast, I chat about how to master the art of fermentation when making aerobic ferments. Aerobic fermentation occurs with the presence of air or oxygen.
These conversational vodcasts are available to the Kitchen Pioneers who have joined my YouTube membership community—The Traditional Foods Kitchen Academy.
*Affiliates note: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. My content may contain affiliate links to products and services. If you click through and make a purchase, I’ll receive a small commission. It does not affect the price you pay.
Is Aerobic Fermentation Really Fermentation?
We usually think of fermentation as lacto-fermentation. This is the traditional type of fermentation where we:
- Submerge the contents of our jar—usually some type of vegetable— under a brine.
- Add a weight to ensure the contents stays under the brine.
- Allow the fermentation process to proceed over time to create lactic acid and turn our veggies into nutrient-rich ferments. Yum!
A common lacto-fermented vegetable is when we turn cabbage into sauerkraut.
Fermenting with Air?
It’s funny to think of fermenting with air because technically, fermentation is an anaerobic process, which means no air is present. But when it comes to making vinegar, we need to rely on air for the acetic acid bacteria, specifically acetobacter. This bacteria helps to start the two-step process of aerobic acetic acid fermentation:
- Create alcohol through alcoholic fermentation.
- Transform the alcohol to vinegar through acetic fermentation.
Aerobic fermentation is a bit of an oxymoron! However, it has become commonplace to use these two words together, so don’t become alarmed or confused when you see this term. From now on, you’ll know that it just means you’re going to begin the process of alcoholic fermentation.
Step 1: Making Alcohol
About a week into the vinegar-making process, you might notice an aroma wafting out of your jar that smells yeasty or beer-like. This odor occurs because the first step in the process of making vinegar creates alcohol.
This alcohol is formed from yeast consuming sugars within the fruits, vegetables, or grains you are using to make the vinegar. The yeast consumes these natural fruit, vegetable, or grain sugars during the process and then excretes alcohol. This process is what we refer to as alcoholic fermentation.
Alcoholic fermentation is what beer, wine, and spirit makers use to make their alcoholic beverages. But once their drink reaches the right stage of taste, they have to bottle it to prevent further exposure to air.
But what happens if the alcohol is left exposed to air? You get vinegar! Have you ever opened a bottle of wine, but not finished it and then tasted it a few weeks later? It’s usually quite vinegary tasting!
Step 2: Making Vinegar
So when it comes to making vinegar, we want to go past the alcoholic fermentation stage. We want to move on to step two and transform our alcohol into vinegar. And we do this by relying on air and continued exposure to acetobacter for the second step to take place.
This second step is known as acetic fermentation. Acetobacter are found in the air and on all types of fruits, vegetables, and grains that contain natural sugar. A combination of the acetobacter and an aerobic (air) environment creates the process of acetification, and in turn, vinegar!
Art of Fermentation Member Series
If you are new to this Mastering the Art of Fermentation series, be sure to catch up and watch Part 1 and Part 2 in this series. Part 2 discusses anaerobic fermentation, which I know many of you have shared can be very persnickety! Not to worry. I go over all the problems you can run into and how to solve them.
Aerobic Fermentation Recipes
Now that you have learned about the science behind making vinegar and know why they call it aerobic fermentation, I hope you will give it a try. It’s quite easy to make homemade vinegar, including raw apple cider vinegar, fruit scrap vinegar, and citrus vinegar.
If you like the pine-scented cleaners sold at your local market, how about trying to make your own? It’s easy to do and follows the basic formula for making vinegar.
And yes, maybe I should have called this evergreen cleaner because technically, I am not using pine. But, keep in mind, I live in central Texas so cypress trees—or what we call cedar trees—are much more common. But whether you have pine or cypress, the process is the same.
Traditional Foods Kitchen Academy
My comprehensive vodcasts are exclusively available to members of the Traditional Foods Kitchen Academy, who we call Kitchen Pioneers. You can learn more about my optional YouTube membership community, including members-only videos and exclusive perks.
This membership community is optional. I’m still publishing my weekly detailed instructional cooking videos on my public YouTube channel that you can watch for free. (Thanks so much for being a Sweet Friend and subscriber!)
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Shop for items used in this blog post or video
Favorite Fermentation Supplies
- Favorite Aprons
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Favorite Kitchen Supplies
- Chef’s Knife
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- Mockmill Grain Grinder and Whole Grains (including Einkorn, Emmer, and Spelt)
Use my Mockmill affiliate link for a special one-time 5% discount on Mockmill Stone Grain Mill products, including the new Flake Lover's Flaker. (The Mockmill discount will appear when you checkout.)
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Amazon Shop and Shopping Guide
- Visit Mary’s Nest Amazon Shop
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Get up to 15% off for stocking your Traditional Foods Pantry and equipping your Modern Pioneer Kitchen, including discounts from US Wellness Meats, Mockmill Grain Mill, Masontops, Cultures for Health, Survival Garden Seeds, Redmond Real Salt, Plan to Eat, and More!
**Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, a medical professional, a dietician, or a nutritionist. All content found on the MarysNest.com website, including text, images, videos, eBooks or eGuides, social media, or other formats, were created solely for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or proper nutritional advice. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have watched in a video or read on this website. Use caution when following the recipe in this video. The creator and publisher of this video and website will not be held responsible for any adverse effects that may arise from the use of this recipe and method or any other recipe and method on this website or corresponding video channel.