I started making sauerkraut about two years ago when I found a recipe and happened to have an abundance of cabbage from the garden. The first batch was great and the second not so good. I kept trying. I then came across a recipe by Michael Ruhlman where he makes a brine with a gallon of water, most recipes just add salt and expect the water the salt extrudes from the cabbage to be sufficient. I have never found that work so I have adopted the Ruhlman recipe but I use less salt than he does. I have crock that seals with a water seal and keeps unwanted cultures out so I can use less salt. It is also important to use organic cabbage so you get the micro-organisms you need and you want slow growing varieties. You can add all kinds of flavorings but I prefer to leave it simple giving me options on flavors later. This is exceptionally great in the Fall when you can make the classic Alsatian dish Charcroute Garni or just put a side of it out for your next hot dog roast. There is also lots of information on this online so just search around. —thirschfeld
makes 1 gallon of sauerkraut
heads of cabbage, or however much you want to use
water, one gallon
minus 2 tablespoons of kosher salt, I used Diamond, salts measure and weigh different that is why I say the brand
Combine the water and salt and stir until the salt is dissolved.
Remove the cores of the cabbage . Shred the cabbage into thin 1/8 inch slices. Pack into a crock or jar and pour the salt water over the top until it just reaches the top. Whatever vessel you chose you need to be able to keep the cabbage from floating. I generally take a piece of plastic wrap and place it on top and then put a small plate on top.
Let it ferment in a cool spot for about two weeks. I check it about every 4 days to see if there is yeast on top. This needs to be removed using a clean spoon or it will cause mold.
After it has fermented strain the cabbage and save the brine. Pack the cabbage into jars. Boil the brine and then let it cool and pour it back over the kraut. Then place the jars into the fridge to slow the fermentation. Joy of Canning has a recipe and they also tell you how to can it. I like having the live culture though so I don't want to can it.