Friday, November 30, 2012

Black Garlic Sauce Base

Early this morning, I chopped up some black garlic into a mix of 1 cup of Kikkoman light soy sauce and and 1/2 cup of Michiu, as seen below.

I used four heads' worth of black garlic cloves in the sauce. My intention is to store the sauce in the refrigerator for a week, and then blend up the sauce base, while adding some onion, garlic, anchovies, dark soy sauce, fish sauce and (possibly) ginger. I plan to then store the sauce in a sealed container in the refrigerator for a further few weeks, at which time I will test the sauce to see how it tastes. 

The sauce is meant as a cooking ingredient or base for another sauce. I fully expect that it will impart significant savoriness, or umami, to the dishes in which it is added. 

I also put some rocks in jars tonight. In my current black garlic oven, I have four pint jars full of water between the light bulb and the garlic, to provide the system with some thermal mass.  In thinking that I'd rather the heat be a little more even, I reckoned that stone absorbs IR radiation, so the addition of rocks with  water should deliver more even heat throughout the oven while protecting the garlic from direct light. The jars are pictured below.

I'll next post a detailed guide to the structure and setup of the black garlic oven, when I load it with garlic this Saturday, following the harvest of the black garlic currently finishing its drying process.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Intro and Black Garlic December Harvest

I'm starting this blog as a record of my hobbies. As a DIY enthusiast, I have a number of esoteric interests. I'm going to use this as a way to publicly record my pursuits, and as a basic host for various guides and project details.

That said, I have a December 1st harvest date for the most recent batch of black garlic from my cooler and light bulb based black garlic oven. The above picture is a pre-harvest sample that I took (after mistakenly believing this Wednesday to be my harvest date), including some unpeeled cloves from near the middle of a head, and the peeled cloves from the outside of the head. They have a good texture, and the aroma is great.

While I'll be posting the details for my extremely cheap DIY black garlic oven at a later date, my basic process is pretty simple. I keep the garlic in the oven for 30 days between 140°F and 150°F , adjusting the light bulb used as the outside temperature changes. At 30 days, I remove the lid for the jars the garlic is aged in, to allow for the final drying of the heads, which takes 10 days. My roommate has had the idea of using a higher wattage bulb (probably 60W) in combination with a lower wattage bulb (maybe 30W or 40W, depending on ambient temperature) for heating and maintaining, respectively. The two would be hooked up to a relay, controlled by a circuit with at least one thermocouple as its input.

I plan to chop and dry about four of the heads, after which I'll make black garlic powder. Another four will be soaked in some light soy sauce and blended up with some dark soy and fish sauce, to be used for cooking. The last four will be used as-is. I'll be making 24 heads in the next batch, instead of the 12 that I made in this batch, some of which I'll use in a tomato-based fermented sauce. I might further double up the capacity, since I think the cooler could be more densely packed and work well.