Bearded food hipsters from Brooklyn to Oakland can agree on one thing: Fermentation is awesome. The age-old scientific process of using yeast or bacteria to convert carbs to alcohols and carbon dioxide is the key to making your favorite beer, cheese, dry-aged meats, kombucha, bread and pickles. Some restaurants even have their own giant aging rooms, but what if you could tap into the trend without sacrificing a whole room of your house to the weird smells that come along with fermenting things?
Enter The Cave, a fermentation control unit that's small enough to plug into your refrigerator or freeze, and that lets you remotely control the temperature and humidity via cellphone, tablet or laptop. Many of the items you can use it for, like sausage and cheese, take just a few moments to prepare before you put them into the cave; then you just set it and forget it until the process is done. Think of it like a slow-cooker, but way cooler.
The ease of the unit means you can try it out with all sorts of food items. Founders Karen and James Christian suggest a number of fermented recipes on their Swiss Hills Ferments site, but the cave is also the perfect venue for experimentation.
"Age homemade cheeses. Hang salamis or dry cured meats. Ferment beer (even lager your own home brew). You can make yogurt, proof bread dough, ferment pickles, brew kombucha, make rice wine . . . the possibilities are endless," the creators claim.
A Kickstarter campaign to bring this product into wide production has to gain more ground before it reaches its $75,000 goal (as of this writing it was about 25% funded), so the makers need a little push to get to the next level. The early-bird discount on the Cave is sold out, but if you donate $335 or up you'll receive a Cave along with incentives like a gourmet bacon-making kit, sourdough starter, fermentation e-books and more. Or $12 buys you just an heirloom yogurt starter (which you can use without any special equipment) and the e-books. The campaign must be fully funded by June 8, or it's a no-go.
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