When friend S was over for kimchi making, we started talking about other foods we could make. It seems like there’s the most collective interest in vinegar and in alcohol. ( I’d like to make hard cheeses in the future as well.) So I embarked on some initial vinegar experiments!
According to this source, all you need to do is inoculate an alcoholic liquid with acetic acid-producing bacteria. Some other sites suggested adding sugar, to provide easier-to-access food. You can get the bacteria from unpasteurized vinegar (e.g. Braggs brand), but I figured I would try inoculating with kimchi juice, since it’s sour. I’m not sure what acid is in kimchi. Some of it is lactic acid, but there might be acetic acid as well.
So I mixed together some kimchi juice (1 part), a pinch of sugar, and sake (5 parts) in a little glass jar. I guess I’ll just let it sit and see what happens. I wonder if the sake is too alcoholic. It’s surely possible to kill off all the bacteria.
I also discovered a vinegar subreddit (I’m not even surprised at this point). If you just looked at this, you’d think that everybody’s making their own vinegar!
There aren’t a lot of gochujang recipes online (in English). They don’t explain what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, so it’s hard to tell if it’s working. Because gochujang takes several months to ferment, I wanted to be extra sure that it would work. So I combined three different recipes with some advice from the beer-brewing community. Of course I started with Maangchi’s recipe, but I also consulted this video and Eating Korean. I’ll give you the recipe I ended up using, with some explanation at the end of what we’re doing.
J and I recently ran out of gochujang, a spicy fermented red pepper paste ubiquitous in Korean cooking. Since I’ve been trying more than usual to not buy things in plastic packaging, I was hesitant to buy a new container. (Although Wholly Jang offers gochujang and other products in glass, the company is currently on hiatus as they move to a different facility.) Fortunately, I discovered that you can make your own at home with just a few ingredients!!
Now that I’ve worked the kinks out of my mom’s bun recipe (the first version she sent had a few typos in it…), I can share it with you! These buns are delicious– slightly sweet, moist, fluffy. Even when I substitute a ton of the ingredients, they still turn out completely fine!
Refrigerator Potato Buns (makes 24 rolls)
1 1/8 tsp yeast
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter, softened (1/4 cup butter can be used for lower fat)
Mix. Fry in oil ~3 min on each side. Serve with dipping sauce of choice.
We added some kimchi (~40 g) and some finely chopped leftover pork ( ~20 g), and ate it with mayonnaise and tempura dipping sauce. The fritters were pretty good! Surprisingly sweet because of the sweet corn, but a pleasant change from eating it on the cob.