Several criteria will ensure that your desired ferment strain will easily take over the unwanted micro-organisms. But, as it happens when two "enemy" strains are sitting near the pool, it is better to take extra precautions to ensure that our VIP bacteria are not intimidated.
Before starting a fermentation; all containers, instruments, worktops and hands (!) should be thoroughly washed and rinsed to limit the presence of unwanted micro-organisms. No need to become a sterilization freak, simply because it is often not necessary to sterilize.
- Acidic or mixed fermentation (vegetables, kombucha, water kefir, vinegars, etc.) are sturdy and often fierce enough not to let the invaders take over. A good wash is enough.
- Milk-based fermentations have a medium strength. It is probably wise to clean your containers and instruments the first few times and, after a few successful tests with your equipment, you can proceed without cleaning.
- For the more delicate fermentations such as alcoholic fermentations (beer, sake, root, cider, mead, etc.), sanitation is necessary.
- Cleaning: Wash with dishwashing detergent and hot water, then carefully rinse with clear water.
- Sanitation: Rinse with a solution of 1c. Soup Bleach in 4 litres (16 cups) of water for 30 seconds, then rinse neatly with clear water. Always clean the previously cleaned equipment!
By following the proposed remediation method, spores or micro-organisms will remain, but in insufficient quantities to contaminate fermentation. Sanitizer products for brewers can also be used.
Sanitation by scalding or by spraying alcohol at 70% is not recommended: boiling water can crack the carboys and alcohol sold as a disinfectant in pharmacies often contains bittering which, without proper rinsing, could find their way back into your food.
Text taken from Fermentation Revolution Book.