Fermented Bread and Butter Pickles

For a while we were racking our brains to post an amazing pickle recipe that is different from the pickles we sell. We finally have one, and these pickles are absolutely delicious!  Let me start off by saying these pickles will not be a sugary type of sweet like most bread and butter pickles. There is no sugar, honey or sweeteners added. This recipe is inspired from the spices found in bread and butter pickles with some more "sweet" spices added. These spices added in this fermentation gave the finished product a sweet-like taste without the added sugar. This is probably one of my favorite flavors we've developed in a fermentation. It's fantastic, and better than I imagined it would be.

 
 

Bread and butter pickles are almost always pickled, not fermented. The ingredients present in the pickled version are usually vinegar, sugar, turmeric, mustard seed, celery seed and onion. The pickled version is also not probiotic. For our recipe we added dried turmeric, mustard seed, allspice, and caraway with fresh chopped sweet onion. This combo of dried spices and fresh sweet onion fermented with the cucumbers to produce a wonderfully warm, sweet taste. Another fun thing about this recipe is that we used locally grown salt and pepper pickling cucumbers for the first time. We picked them up from Inglewood farms at the Market at the Horse Farm in Lafayette, LA. They're a yellow type of pickling cucumber and they sort of look like yellow squash when sliced. The slices are still crisp after the fermentation, so we are very happy with our first experience with this type of cucumber. This recipe is definitely a must try if you are a pickle lover. We've got a vegan version of a charcuterie and cheese board in mind, where these pickles are going to fit perfectly.  Hope you all enjoy this recipe! Happy Fermenting!

Fermented Bread and Butter Pickles

Ingredients

  • 2 large Pickling Cucumebrs, any type
  • Cultured Guru Fermentation Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 Tablespoon caraway seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon whole allspice
  • 1 Teaspoon yellow mustard seed
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 1/2 sweet Onion Chopped
  • Fermentation Weights

Takes

Brine Method: The brine method we use to make fermented pickles is to weigh your vegetables and add 3.0% of that weight in salt, then to add a 3.0% salt water solution. This will be explained in the recipe steps. Read the science behind fermenting here.

We highly recommend just investing in a kitchen scale for about $10 from Target or Amazon. If you're going to master fermentation and select for the best probiotic bacteria in your ferments, you'll need one to weigh salt. Weighing is the only way to create an accurate salt concentration.  The scale we use in our home kitchen is this one.

Instructions

  1. First, make a 3.0% saltwater brine. To do this, put an empty large jar on your kitchen scale, and tare it. Fill the jar with warm filtered water and record the weight of the water (in grams).
  2. Next multiply the weight of the water by 0.03, the number you get is the amount in grams of salt you need to add to the water.
  3. Place a small separate bowl on your scale and tare it. Weigh out your Fermentation Salt in grams. 
  4. Add your salt to the water and stir it in until it dissolves. Then let the mixture cool. 
  5. While the salt water cools, chop your pickling cucumbers however you desire. If you perfer pickle spears, or slices, or chuncks chop however your heart desires.  
  6. Place an empty bowl on your kitchen scale and tare it. Place the chopped cucumber and the chopped sweet onion in the bowl and record the weight in grams. Using the same math method, multiply the weight of your vegetables by 0.03. The number you get is the grams of salt you need to add to the chopped veggies.
  7. Place a small separate bowl on your scale and tare it. Weigh out your Fermentation Salt in grams. 
  8. Add your salt to the vegetables and mix until evenly distributed. 
  9. Add the spices to the bowl of vegetables and mix thoroughly. since this recipe calls for turmeric, be sure to mix in the spices with gloved hands or a spoon. Turmeric will stain your hands yellow.
  10. Once you have mixed in the salt and spices thoroughly, it is time to add the mixture into a jar. We used a quart sized mason jar for this recipe. Before you add in vegetable pieces, you need to dump any liquid from the bowl into the jar. Then add in all the vegetable pieces, and the two bay leaves, leaving room for a fermentation weight. The bay leaves are important because they will help to keep the pickles crunchy by providing tannins.
  11. Place a fermentation weight in the jar to hold everything down. Then once the saltwater brine you made is cool, pour it over the vegetables and weight until everything, including the fermentation weight is submerged. 
  12. Store your fermentation jar in a cool place out of direct sunlight. It should be kept in an area that stays around 70-75 degrees F
  13. During the first few days of fermentation carbon dioxide and  bubbles will be produced. You must make sure that your fermentation weight and vegetable are staying submerged BELOW the brine. You may have to press everything down with a spoon/tamper a few times. 
  14. If you lose brine during the first few days (which is common in very full jars when bubbles are produced) use steps 1-4 to make a salt solution to replace the lost brine. Replacing lost brine can only be done during the first 4-5 days. Adding brine after that will dilute acid present in the ferment, disrupt bacterial sucession, and cause the ferment to not be properly preserved. 
  15. The cucumbers need to ferment for 2 weeks, so that all the stages of bacterial succession can occur. The time line is a little different from a cabbage fermentation since vegetables like cucumbers, squash and zucchini naturally have a high amount of lactic acid producing bacteria to start off with. 2 weeks also allows enough time for the final stage Lactobacillus bacteria to produce enough lactic acid. Visit our Science of Fermentation blog to read more about the stages of fermentation!
  16. We tracked our bread and butter pickles throughout the fermentation process. By checking the progress of microbial stages under the microscope we have provided you with this handy timeline! If you follow our recipe and directions, your timeline of pickle fermentation should approximately match ours!

    24 - 48 hours: all contents in the jar should be submerged beneath the brine. At this time there are still Gram negative bacteria and possible pathogens present.

    48 - 72 hours: After 48 hours you should start to see lots of bubbles being produced. and we mean A LOT. There will be way more bubbles than in a cabbage based fermentation. This is when the ferment enters stage two of vegetable fermentation. Leuconostoc bacteria begin to thrive and produce a lot of carbon dioxide. Gram negative organisms die off.

    3 - 7 days: The bubbles in the brine will decrease, as the ferment leaves stage two and enters stage three. The ferment will become cloudy and start to develop a pleasant sour smell. Lactobacillus species are most abundant during this time period.

    10 - 14 days: Lactobacillus make up majority or all of the microbial population. They produce copious amounts of lactic acid, and make the ferment smell even more pleasantly sour. This is the time in which the vegetable mixture becomes preserved. This is when you want to smell and taste test.

    14 days: Wait for the veggies to smell and taste as you like, and refrigerate when you find the smell and taste most pleasant! We like ours best when we refrigerate at about 14 days. refrigerating at this time point also keeps them crunchy.

Peace, Love and Probiotics,

Kaitlynn Fenley