The Old World Brat as Served at The Root Cafe in Little Rock, Arkansas, as seen on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Season 29.
Recipe courtesy of The Root Cafe

The Root Cafe Sauerkraut

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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 28 days 35 min (includes fermentation time)
  • Active: 35 min
  • Yield: 3 to 4 quarts finished sauerkraut



Special equipment:
a wooden meat tenderizer; twine
  1. Remove papery outer leaves of the cabbage, then cut head into quarters and remove core. Set each quarter on a flat side and slice thinly crosswise with a sharp chef's knife. To every 2 pounds 3 ounces of sliced cabbage, add 1 1/2 tablespoons salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons caraway in a 2-gallon glass or ceramic crock, then smash and stir with a wooden meat tenderizer (the goal is to break cell walls so that water will come out) and tamp down to get air out. Continue until all cabbage is chopped, seasoned and gently smashed. Mixture will produce its own brine from salting and smashing.
  2. Brine should completely cover cabbage by about 1/2 inch; if not, add necessary amount of brine made of 1/3 cup salt to 1 gallon water. Place a plate down inside crock on top of cabbage; weigh down with a clear plastic bag or two filled with brine.
  3. Put a breathable cloth on top that is big enough to cover the surface of the crock and tie gently with twine, tight enough to hold the cloth in place but loose enough to be slipped on and off. Check kraut daily, skimming any white mold from the top and making sure brine is high enough, adding more brine if necessary. (See Cook's Note.) After 1 week, begin tasting kraut for doneness. If more salt is needed, dissolve some in water and add to kraut.
  4. Kraut should be ready after about 2 to 4 weeks, depending on temperature. When the kraut is ready, transfer kraut to containers, then pour or ladle brine over kraut to cover. Put lids on containers and store in the fridge. (Once the sauerkraut is stored in the fridge fermentation and flavor development will stop.)

Cook’s Note

If sliminess or black mold develops at any point, the batch is ruined and must be discarded.