View Full Version : warning: foods ferment in dehydrator?
04-11-2008, 09:16 AM
i've seen bits and pieces on this board about being careful about foods fermenting in a dehydrator. I have had 9 trays of crackers in the dehydrator for almost 36 hours now (they're not crispy enough yet) and I'm hesitant to eat them. The recipe said 105 degrees for 24-36 hours, but is this controversial?
does anybody else worry about this?
how do I know when foods start to ferment?
04-11-2008, 09:32 AM
I haven't had a problem but it's possible that food dried at low temperatures for an extended period of time could become contaminated with bacterial growth. I don't know that all fermentation is harmful; I intentionally ferment some foods, such as seed cheeses, pickles, sauerkraut. The Excalibur people and others have recommended that you start the dehydration process at a higher temperature to speed the drying process and minimize the risk of bacterial growth.
If you see any mold, don't eat the food. I don't know if this is a major concern but it's something to be aware of.
04-11-2008, 09:42 AM
I am down south with humidity and often it is days and days till things get crispy. When I first started making crackers or pizza crust I would sometimes gag:mad: :mad: but then I realized they HAD begun to ferment. Sort of blew it for me for awhile.
04-11-2008, 10:42 AM
Smell em. That happened to me once and trust me, you'll know.
04-11-2008, 04:37 PM
Almost all of my flax crackers have smelled fermented after a few hours of dehydrating, but I eat them anyway and haven't gotten sick yet. I found that if I am able to flip them off of the plastic sheet sooner (like after 2 hrs) and let them dehydrate on the mesh tray, they have less of a chance of fermenting. The bottom half of the batter that sits directly on the plastic sheet gets very warm and sticky and I think that's where my fermentation comes from, especially if it sits like that on the plastic sheet for more than 2 hrs. I also include tomatoes, sprouted quinoa, parsley, kale, nori, fresh oregano, fresh basil, carrots, garlic, and celtic sea salt in my mixture so my batter may be more liquid-y than some.
P.s. I use an Nesco American Harvest Dehydrator that has temp.adjustment (Christmas gift) with the fruit roll-up tray since I haven't saved up enough money for a 9 tray Excalibur, so this is why I refer to plastic sheet and mesh tray rather than the teflex-excalibur lingo
I've read of many people cranking the D up to 135 for the first two hours, then back down to 105 just to keep food from fermenting.
Supposedly the food isn't actually AT 135 when you do this because it takes a while for the food to heat up.
I don't do this with flax crackers, doesn't seem necessary, but when I make the very occasional bread or other item I do this and it still "feels" raw.
Just an idea. :)
04-14-2008, 11:29 PM
thanks eveyone : )
so it seems I shouldn't worry too much and I'll definitely KNOW if this happens. I started keeping my crackers in the freezer now to avoid any further fermenting after dehydrating. they don't need defrosting at all which is nice! even nicer is knowing that the food i'm putting in my body will NOT survive in a box in the cupboard.
oh and my first batch of flax crackers turned out so bad I don't know i won't try plain ol' flax crackers for a while. right now i'm onto hemp seed and sunflower and corn crackers with Shazzie's cheddary cheese spread...you can even make cheezy slices by dehydrating yummmmmy ....making me hungry now actually :D
04-15-2008, 12:36 AM
Pitaya: thanks for posting about this. I am so new, that I just had no clue about fermentation and I've been dehydrating some onion bread for two days already. Thank you. Glad I happened upon your post.
04-15-2008, 01:24 AM
It's usually the thicker things that end up fermenting...(thicker, grain-based) breads, the calzone, and oftentimes things made with grains.
I've never had crackers to ferment and I tend to leave my crackers in for at LEAST 3 days because I like them extra crispy. But it's mainly when foods are continuously moist for long periods in the dehydrator that they can ferment on you. As Eva mentioned, when I make things that are thicker or that are made with grains, I crank it up for the first couple of hours (it's been said that doing so will not cook the food in up to the first couple of hours) and then turn it back down...haven't had any fermentation problems since I started doing that!
But I wouldn't worry about your crackers...however, I DO tend to dry at a slightly higher temp than 105...usually about 110 is my default setting. But yeah, smell them and give a little taste but they should be just fine.
04-15-2008, 09:57 AM
you're welcome april22 and a big welcome to our board and this incredible lifestyle : )
Rawkinlocs....thanks! that makes sense. i also meant to say earlier that yes, Eva did make a good point about the food temperature being different than the dehydrator temperature.
how do we know if the food temperature itself gets to high?
we can't use a food thermometer for crackers/breads like people do for meat, can we?
thanks again everyone!
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