Tips and Guidelines: Fermentation Crocks

Follow this expert’s advice to help you choose the correct type of crock to suit your home fermentation needs.

| September 2019


Most of the general principles of fermentation laid out in part one apply to the recipes in this chapter, but there are few additional points to take into account.

Choose the Right Crock for You

There are two primary types of ceramic crocks available in the West. Each has advantages and disadvantages to consider before purchase.

Water-Sealed Crocks

Water-sealed crocks, sometimes referred to under the brand name Harsch crocks, make for a very easy ferment. They are generally more expensive than their open crock counterparts, but they come with a lid and often with weights that create the perfect fermentation barrier. No air enters the crock once the water “seal” is poured, but CO2 created during fermentation easily bubbles out. Batches made in water-sealed crocks rarely accrue a layer of Kahm yeast during fermentation. They can be somewhat challenging to clean after fermentation, depending on their size.

Ideal for: This crock is ideal for fermenters with a deep and abiding (though let’s be honest: illogical) fear of surface molds or yeasts; fermenters who want to set it and forget it; fermenters who want to create larger batches of favorite jarred ferments. It’s perfect for Simplest Sauerkraut (page 76) or Classic Cukes (page 162).

Special tip: Check the moat around your crock about once a week to make sure there’s still water in there. If it seems a bit low, top it off with fresh water. If the moat dries out completely, the seal will be broken and air will be allowed to flow into your crock. Opening the crock also lets air in, so it’s better to keep the lid on until the end of fermentation when using a water-sealed crock.



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