If someone was to ask me my favorite ingredients in the kitchen, I would usually always respond with salt and pepper. Because you can’t have good food without both of those. However, an extremely close third Item on the list would have to be garlic. I don’t know if I have a secret Italian heritage running through my veins or not, but whatever it is, I simply cannot cook without garlic. Roasted, confit, fermented, sauteed, etc. it is all about garlic for me. I can eat it any and all ways. As a chef my entire working career, I’ve always looked for ways to take my cooking and flavors to the next level.
The original conception for our Ooo-mami Bomb seasoning blend actually happened years ago when I was toying with risotto seasonings. I noticed how rich and flavorful the risotto was once I added some earthy porcini mushroom and granulated garlic to bolster it. With Down To Ferment, I took the seasoning to the next level when I decided to ferment the garlic. It definitely added another layer of acidic depth to the blend that elevates everything.
There are 5 basic tastes your tongue receives when tasting something. The more balanced and rounded the food is with all those tastes, the more delicious the meal. That’s why fine dining food has many different components to a dish that all provide a different taste or texture. Incorporating the acidic component of fermented garlic with the earthy umami (savory) component of porcini mushroom, and the salty component of, well… salt, you get an amazing combination that enhances literally ANYTHING you put it on.
So how do we do it?! I’m not about to give you trade secrets, don’t worry. Just teaching you the basics of how we ferment our garlic and the zero waste our company strives for. The ratio of ingredients is the most important part in Ooo-mami Bomb. The proper balance of each flavor is the biggest secret (shhh).
The Process of Fermenting Garlic
First, I start off by fermenting garlic, a lot of it. Each of these containers holds about 20lbs of garlic. For a basic ferment you need to brine within a specific salt percentage range. I’ll let you determine which percentage to ferment yours at, but most brines should be between 2-5%. Ours is super secret. Now just wait however long you want! We usually wait around the 3 month mark as that is where I notice the biggest flavors. You can age for however long you desire. Pictured below are two containers of fermented garlic after 3 months. Remember the basics, leave headroom!
Many people, when they ferment garlic,end up with the dreaded “blue garlic”. That happens when the natural sulfur-containing amino acids react in the acidic environment. I have never had blue garlic in any of my ferments, even when I let them go longer. Just in case you get it though, no it’s not bad. Yes you can eat it, and no it doesn’t taste any different.
Picture Time & Dehydration
For the rest of the process, I feel that it’s best to show you with some rapid fire photos! The first one is a view from the top of the finished garlic ferment before we drain the brine. This is how a successful ferment with no Kahm build up or pellicle formation should look.
My favorite part of the ferment is all that delicious leftover brine! I will never not have it in my kitchen ever again. It has almost an unlimited amount of uses and is in almost everything I cook. More on that later…Once you drain the brine, rinse the garlic. You’ll notice a lot of sediment build up throughout. That’s a good thing. This is a sign of spent lacto that means it was a busy ferment.
Then we blend up the garlic into a paste using our handy dandy vitamix.
Afterward, tray it up and get it ready for dehydration.
Once the garlic is dehydrated, blend it up again and you are finished!
Congratulations on your dehydrated, fermented garlic! Making our Ooomami-bomb is a long and laborious process, but it’s also a labor of love. Most of it is patiently waiting for those flavors to develop, and getting it to its final stage. The difference in flavor is the biggest factor for why it is such an amazing blend. Stay tuned for parts two and three of this series, as we have much more to talk about.