In many recipe I have seen adding sugar to water with starter and no salt. Then how does the undesirable bacteria are kept in check?

Thank you.

  • 1
    How much sugar do these recipes call for? In a high enough concentration, sugar will also kill bacteria. Also, does it call for a commercial starter? Commercial starters tend to be powerful, and would likely hedge out any competition even without the aid of salt. I don't think I can answer this question without a recipe to look at, though.
    – kitukwfyer
    Aug 11, 2017 at 2:19
  • I mean does the sugar solution act similarly, like the salty brine in preparing sauerkraut. Aug 11, 2017 at 3:18
  • Well, that's why I'm asking for more information. There are lots of different ferments out there. The answer to your question depends on the recipes you're looking at. If you're talking about water kefir, for example, then no. The sugar is just a food source for the kefir grains in water kefir. But I have no idea if that's what you're talking about....
    – kitukwfyer
    Aug 15, 2017 at 1:24

1 Answer 1


Undesirable microbes are typically kept in check via sanitization of the equipment and the environment; sanitizers are distinct from cleaners (soap, washing soda) in that they kill microorganisms. You can either purchase sanitizers (e.g. Campden tablets, Star San etc), or roll your own antiseptic solution:

"dilute 2 teaspoons of potassium or sodium metabisulfite and 2 teaspoons of malic, citric, or tartaric acid in 1 quart of water" — Claude Jolicoeur. "The New Cider Maker's Handbook"

(Disclaimer: I don't use any sanitizers in my mead production and only clean the glass jars and other equipment. This may result in a wilder range of flavors, though.)

  • I mean just like when we prepare sauerkraut, we add salt and the salty brine helps keeping undesirable bacteria in check. But with fruit probiotics our solution contain sugar. Aug 10, 2017 at 17:07

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