Please assist regarding water added to the moat during a 4 to 5 week ferment, because one cannot simply keep adding water to the moat because if the crock's vacuum is sucking in the water and you keep adding it will eventually reduce the salinity of the brine water and ruin your kraut!

My 1st batch I followed what i presumed were correct instructions and added water to the moat to keep full. Within 1 week I added 4 cups of water and discovered after lifting the lid for inspection the water was actually being sucked into the crock from the moat as the water level inside was clear up to the top of the crock! Initially I had at least 5 inches from the weight stones up to the top. The pulling of water into the crock fix no one has been able to tell me.

I thought well if it keeps pulling the water in from the moat that is not salted maybe it would be better to add salted water into the moat. Wrong! Because then it grew white mold or yeast floating all over the exposed moat salt water to the air & then since it was a real sucker and always thirsty that same white stuff got sucked into the crock and grew above the weights! So I skimmed off the white floaties best as possible, emptied the moat well and wiped clean & then refilled with clear distilled water & replaced the lid.

I have 2 more weeks to go before it is done and hope all my hard work and efforts & expense is not wasted. None of these issues is presented clearly or what to do to correct and I have searched tons online. I even emailed the store that sold me my 10 liter crock and they had no answers other than to just say "fermenting is an art that you just have to learn"! Wow, they were zero help after the sale.

Now the pros who know these answers and have faced such issues good luck trying to phone them or get the answers we all need because like an internet search you just do not get to THE person with THE knowledge needed after so much frustrations. The crock I bought the inner lip on the crock is the same height as the outer and this may be in part why water was getting sucked inside easier than those whose inner lip is higher? I did not know these things pre-purchase cuz nobody tells you.

I mainly bought my 100 + dollar 10 liter crock due to the convenient handles and the glass weights which are easier to clean & do not get moldy. Here is the one I bought: https://www.stonecreektrading.com/collections/fermenting-crocks-2/products/copy-of-fermenting-crock-10-liter-Egyptian-style-with-stone-weights If anyone can help this issue of water being sucked into the crock and how to remedy please do so, then my next batch will be less of an issue hopefully.

  • The fermentation process creates CO2 with enough pressure to burst glass jars in come cases if not vented. Extreme temperature fluctuations might cause some retraction of the water in the outside channel, but that would tend to reverse upon a return to the previous temperature. Atmospheric pressure changes CAN cause dramatic changes in the level on the outside or inside, but would tend to be self limiting since if so much water were drawn to the inside of the channel, then it would lose its seal and equilibrate the presure - causing the water levels to return to normal. – That Idiot Apr 4 '17 at 12:13

Is the crock kept in a place where the temperature is steady (such as a cellar/basement) or is it exposed to daily temperature swings? As a a rule the ferment should produce gas to some extent (which would push water out, if anything) but repeated temperature swings would tend to "pump" out when warm, in when colder. When the initial gas production slacks off, that could lead to water pumping in, particularly with a defectively non-tradtional design as you describe (I have looked at fermentation crocks a lot, and so far refused to spend money on them - but I soon grasped that the entire contents of the "moat" should not be able to rise above the inner lip in a "suck" situation, for precisely the reason you have experienced.)

One option would be to go back to a very basic airlock - a sheet of plastic wrap, or a (food grade) plastic bag, that covers the top of the crock, and a large rubber band holding it in place.

Another would be to NOT fill the moat - put just a bit of water in so it seals, but not so much that suck-back would pull it over the inner lip.

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