All the videos I have seen always wash the salt off the Napa cabbage in kimchi but they never do in sauerkraut? How come? Is the brine necessary for fermentation?

  • I don't know about kimchi, but the brine is definitely neccessary for sauerkraut. Read e.g. the 25% of Michael Pollan's Cooked that's dedicated to fermentation. He goes into extensive detail about the processes taking place in the brine. – user34961 Jan 31 '17 at 10:30
  • Jan, would you want to give a brief summary of the book in an answer? This sounds very useful. – Stephie Jan 31 '17 at 10:53

The initial salting draws water out of the cabbage, otherwise the kimchi tends to get soggy/mushy. As you mention, it is frequently rinsed off after the initial salting. If you listed the ingredients that follow, I think you will see that there is quite a bit of salt re-introduced. The recipe I use, for example, includes, soy sauce, fish sauce, and salted shrimp, among other things...this creates the brine necessary for lacto-fermentation and preservation.

  • Actually, Most of the ones I found had almost no salt after the initial washing, at least not Kimchi. Some said the salt was to kill off bad bacteria. – johnny Feb 2 '17 at 20:25
  • @johnny my point was twofold, (a) that soy sauce, fish sauce and salted shrimp are high in salt, and (b) a brine is necessary for proper fermentation and preservation. – moscafj Feb 3 '17 at 0:34

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