It may be easy to buy preprocessed rice bran at rice stores in japan - for small money. But here the situation is totally different: No rice stores. It took me quite some time (several weeks) to get hold on rice bran appropriate for human consumption and not been sold at pharmacies in little units for high prices. You could buy rice bran in huge units for small money just ordering it at farm stores: declared as horse food. But all horse products have additives as vitamines, calcium and so on. Maybe good for glossy horse fur and firm bones for high jumps, but I was in need of something for a pickling bed without fancy food chemistry involved. At least I found a mill selling rice bran of organic grown rice in 1 kg bags. Made of rice only and nothing else.
I ordered 3 bags for one pickling bed. 2 kg to start, 1 kg for feeding the bed from time to time.
I followed several suggestions concerning the kick off so I took:
2 kg rice bran
400 g salt (I used plain salt without any additives)
2 l water
1 slice french white bread soaked and mashed in water
2 cabbage leaves
Additives for flavour development
1 piece kombu
2 big slices of finger ginger
2 starfish chillies halved (ginger and chillie may diminsh bad bacterias)
I decided on bread because I made some experiences with fermentation processes without any seeding/starters: It took much time, the development of good bacterias didn't kick in therefore it often turned bad. So I am going to give it a quick start. First I was thinking about adding one tablespoon dried sour dough starter but I decided against it. This was my idea knowing a little about physiology and food chemistry but I didn't find any recommendations.
Before mixing the bed I had to toast the rice bran. Sources recommend to heat the rice bran up to 70 C to kill bad bacteria but not much higher. I used a very big and deep pan and roasted 500 g batches over medium heat while turning the bran carefully all the time with the help of a wooden spatule. Beware: this is a very annoying business. (Since the son left our home I am missing a slave for this kind of tasks. He was always very useful for a little bit of pocket money).
Meanwhile I boiled 2 l water and let it cool down until lukewarm. I desolved the salt in the water and added it to the bran. After incorporating the water, the bed reminds me of soft clay for pottery. Sorces recommend: Moisture and texture should remind of miso - I guess this is it. Than I added the mashed bread, ginger and chillie and mixed it in. I placed the cabbage leaves and kombu in different layers into the pickling bed and finished with a layer of moist bran, which I pushed and patted until firm and flat to make sure there was no air left in the bed.
|View of the bucket|
I hope this will work out - somehow. The next days will show the results. I may start pickling vegetables soon or give it a new try changing the ingredients.