Hot Sauce

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Hot Sauce

Postby bjdmytro on Wed Mar 14, 2018 3:56 pm

This last year I did a lacto-fermented hot sauce that turned out great. I've made two versions:
  • a medium spicy golden sauce made from:
    • 80% yellow wax peppers
    • 20% orange habanero peppers
  • a spicy red sauce (a bit spicier than tabasco, but far more flavorful) made from:
    • 30% red bell peppers
    • 10% orange habanero peppers
    • 10% red jalapeno peppers
    • 15% cayenne peppers
    • 30% red wax peppers
    • 3% fatalii peppers
    • 2% Carolina reaper peppers.

  • fresh ripe peppers. A blend of peppers yields a more full bodied sauce. I often start with about 2 gallons of peppers from my garden. That makes a little less than a gallon of hot sauce.
  • salt (I like a mineral rich salt, like Real Salt, pickling or sea salt would work too)
  • white wine (no sulfite added, because added sulfites will hinder the fermentation)
  • raw kraut juice (this is optional and is used to jump start the fermentation)
  • distilled white vinegar (for somereason apple cider vinegar won't work, it seems to neutralize the spice)
  • xantham gum (this is optional, but it really improves the texture and suspension of the final sauce, otherwise it tends to separate)

  1. sanitize an appropriate sized fermentation vessel. I use a 2 gallon crock.
  2. wash and coarsely chop the peppers, leaving seeds and rips on
  3. process the peppers in a food processor till they are cut up into about 1/4 inch pieces
  4. weight the final chopped peppers
  5. weight out salt that is 2% of the weight of the peppers.
  6. mix salt, peppers, and a couple of table spoons of kraut juice in the crock
  7. add wine until the liquid level is even with the level of the peppers in the crock
  8. cover and stir every day, ferment for 3-9 weeks
  9. if you have an ongoing pepper harvest, about 50% more peppers can be added after a couple of weeks of fermentation. If you add more than that, then you will need to add more salt.
  10. when it has fermented long enough, wearing appropriate protection, press the liquid out through a cheese cloth
  11. measure the volume of the liquid, and for every 2 cups of liquid measure out 1 cup of vinegar and 3/4 tsp of xantham gum
  12. to mix in xantham gum so that you don't get clumps:
    1. put vinegar in blender
    2. turn on blender
    3. pour xantham gum into the center of the vortex
  13. wisk vinegar gum solution into the pepper liquid
  14. bottle hot sauce in sanitized bottles and store in cellar
  15. it will last for a couple of years

I portion out the remaining pulp with an ice cream scoop on a sheet of parchment paper and freeze. I them put these hot pepper balls in a freezer bag and throw them in chili, pizzas, pasta, stirfries, salad dressings, sweet chili sauce, etc.
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Joined: Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:45 am

Re: Hot Sauce

Postby Christopher Weeks on Thu Mar 15, 2018 8:10 am


  • I assume there's no reason to think that any variety of peppers wouldn't work -- just producing different flavor and heat results, right?
  • Have you experimented with fermenting the peppers in bigger chunks? If so, why do you favor the small bits?
  • Wine instead of water is fascinating. Is that how it's normally done? You get clear signs of fermentation in the presence of alcohol?
  • By any chance, have you done pH testing through this process? (I don't do that either, but I'd be really interested to know how acidity develops during the procedure you've described.)
  • And related to the point just above, do you figure the vinegar is a flavorant or a preservative?

I'm interested in trying this!
Christopher Weeks
Nuka Ninja
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Joined: Tue Oct 12, 2010 3:59 pm
Location: Carlton County, MN

Re: Hot Sauce

Postby bjdmytro on Thu Mar 15, 2018 10:00 am

I have measured the PH of the process, and it does get lower. It starts about 6, and I think the final product had a PH between 5 and 4. After adding vinegar, it dropped below 4. I can tell there is fermentation going on, with a little bubbling and a visible layer of bacteria. I have used larger pieces of peppers, but I prefer the smaller because it speeds up the process and there will be less air pockets trapped in the mash. If you use larger peppers, you will need to stamp it down with some like like a kraut masher. I suppose you could use a little water instead of wine. If you search for fermented hot sauce, there are many recipes out there that call for water and some that call for wine. Although I'm not certain, I think most of the alcohol in the wine ferments into vinegar during the process, because that strain of bacterial is probably in the wild culture that I used. I add the vinegar for two reasons, for flavor and to drop the PH of the sauce low enough, where it sill be self stable for a couple of years. If you are going to refrigerate the sauce and eat it within a few months, that wouldn't be necessary.

Each variety of pepper has its own flavor profile, and when you blend many together into a batch, you get a blend of all of those. For example, in the red sauce batch I did, the red bell peppers gave the batch a really aromatic, fruity finish. I made my sauce in August-September, when the pepper harvest was at its peak for me.

For reference, here is the recipe that I modeled mine after:
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