Black Garlic: How to Make it at Home

Take a quick black garlic internet tour and it is quickly clear. A lot of people are talking about black garlic and much of the information is conflicting. But one thing everyone agrees on: the flavor is nearly indescribable and the culinary possibilities endless. Descriptions include tastes of dark caramel, chocolate, hints of balsamic vinegar, molasses, fruity aroma, and hints of vanilla. No surprise black garlic is the new wonder ingredient for high-end chefs and cooking shows. Learn how to make black garlic at home. It is easy with a Folding Proofer.

Black garlic is NOT fermented

The black color results from a common chemical reaction involving sugars called the Maillard process. This is what causes browning in many foods such as sauteed onions, seared steak, toast, pretzels, and even roasted coffee beans. The reaction produces hundreds of flavor-making compounds giving black garlic its unique taste. Fermentation is unrelated to black garlic.

Black garlic is easy to make

There is no mystery to the creation of black garlic. Just moderate heat and time will convert a fresh head of garlic into this creamy black concoction. Maintaining garlic at 140 °F / 60 °C for about 4 weeks (while ensuring that the garlic does not dry out) will produce excellent results. Think of it as a extra long and slow roasting process. The Folding Proofer provides the ideal environment for making black garlic.

Printable Instructions          recette imprimable

Find out what all the buzz is about with our simple directions below:

Brod-and-Taylor-Stages-of-Black-Garlic-800x2501637Black garlic is more (and less) than you think.

Yield: Varies with pot size.

Timing: 15 minutes set up and 3 to 4 weeks in the Proofer.

Instructions:

Ingredients: Garlic bulbs

Equipment: Brod & Taylor Folding Proofer and Slow Cooker, metal pot with snug lid

Determine how many bulbs will fit into your metal pot. The pot should be paired with its original fitted lid or one that is snug. The Proofer will easily hold a 6 quart / 6 L stock pot. As garlic ages in the Proofer there is a noticeable aroma of garlic emitted. The greater the number of bulbs you age, the more intense the aroma. One solution to reducing the garlic smell is to wrap the entire pot and lid on the outside thoroughly and tightly with heavy aluminum foil before placing it in the Proofer. Just make sure the bottom of the pot fully contacts the aluminum heater plate in the proofer.

Prepare garlic bulbs: If necessary, clip any long roots off the bulb. If the stalk on the bulb is long, trim it to about ½ inch. If the outer papery skin of the bulb has soil or debris, remove just enough to expose clean skin.

Note: Trying to clean after you’ve made black garlic is difficult because each interior clove will become very soft and they can be smashed with handling. Garlic purchased in most grocery stores is ready to wrap with foil. Select fresh and firm bulbs for best results.

Wrap in foil: Cover each bulb with a generous sheet of aluminum foil. Press the foil tightly against the bulb to ensure it is completely wrapped with no exposed surfaces. If there is a tear in the foil, use another piece to cover the tear. This will prevent the bulb from drying out by retaining the bulbs’ natural moisture.Brod and Taylor making Black GarlicTransfer to pot: Place all of the foil wrapped bulbs inside the pot and place the lid on the pot.

Prepare Proofer: Set the Folding Proofer on a surface which will tolerate about 140 °F / 60 °C temperatures. Natural wood surfaces such as butcher block can expand and contract with fluctuations in heat. Marble, granite, ceramic tile, concrete, or plastic composite (such as Formica) countertops work well. Remove the water tray and wire rack from the bottom of the Proofer. Place the lidded pot containing the bulbs directly in the center of the Proofer and on the metal surface in the base of the Proofer. Close the lid of the Proofer. Select Slow Cook Mode, using no rack or water tray. Set the Proofer to 140 °F / 60 °C and allow it to remain on for 3-4 weeks.  Note: To use the original Folding Proofer Model FP-101 or FP-201, set the Proofer to 102 °F / 39 °C and allow it to remain on for 3-4 weeks. At a setting of 102 °F / 39 °C, the aluminum heating plate reaches 140 °F / 60 °C .

Check garlic: After 3 weeks remove one bulb from the pot and gently peel back the aluminum. Using a small knife, separate one clove and peel it open to expose the interior. It should be a very dark brown or black in color. If the bulb is not dark enough, place it back in the Proofer and allow it to remain in the Proofer for approximately 1 more week.

Storage: To store black garlic, the bulbs can be separated into individual cloves, left in their skins, wrapped in air tight plastic bags, and stored in the freezer for at least 1 year.

Black garlic has a soft, slightly sticky, intensely sweet and savory very rich flavor which is quite different from normal fresh garlic. It can be used in lamb, beef, poultry, seafood, pizzas, pastas, risottos, aioli, eggs and even dessert dishes.

Brod-and-Taylor-Black-Garlic-Salmon-800x3001799

BLACK GARLIC & ORANGE GLAZED SALMON Season salmon with salt and pepper to taste. Heat olive oil in skillet, add remaining ingredients to skillet except ghee and cook until slightly thickened. Remove rosemary and whisk in ghee. Bake salmon for about 10-15 min at 350 °F / 175 °C and pour glaze over salmon before serving.

Brod and Taylor Black Garlic Salmon recipe1713

2017-08-04T13:27:46+00:00 Specialty Foods|17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Matt August 4, 2017 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    Great article. I like the method.

    I should point out, however, that fermentation is not usually due to bacteria in cooking, but fungi. Specifically, yeasts such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae. While some fermentations can be done with bacteria, they are usually quite bespoke processes such as sour dough and salt raising breads.

    • Diane August 4, 2017 at 1:30 pm - Reply

      Matt, Thank you for your feedback on this article. We just updated the article and appreciate your comment. All the best to you.

  2. Ngurah Gungde August 6, 2017 at 4:32 am - Reply

    Hi iam from Bali
    39° C for 4 weeks? So the oven on until 4 weeks?

    • Diane August 9, 2017 at 2:34 pm - Reply

      Yes, the Folding Proofer Model 101 or 201 is set to 39C for 4 weeks. If you have the Folding Proofer & Slow Cooker Model 105 or 205 you would set the Proofer to Slow Cook Mode at 60C. Be sure you have removed the rack and follow the instructions online at: https://brodandtaylor.com/black-garlic-how-to-make-it-at-home/ Thank you for your interest and good luck making black garlic. It is delicious.

  3. Jeanne Marklin January 19, 2018 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    This sounds delicious, and we love garlic so I’d like to make it. Does this mean the proofer would be out of commission for any other use during the 3-4 weeks? Or can the pot be removed and placed in an oven or on low on the stove top?

    • Wes January 20, 2018 at 2:11 am - Reply

      Jeanne

      Great question. It is probably fine to remove the garlic container from the proofer for a few hours and keep it in a warm place. We would suggest that letting it get a bit cooler for a few hours would be better than overheating it. Be careful using the oven. Low temperature control in a conventional oven is typically very poor.

  4. Dave January 27, 2018 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    I’m not sure where you get the assumption that black garlic is not fermented from
    Yes clearly the darkening and sweeting effects are due to the Malliard effect but these two effecets are not mutually exclusive.
    I have produced Black Garlic using a yoghurt maker set to 41 degrees that I use for making probiotoc yoghurt with thermophilic cultures
    The yoghurt takes between 7-9 hours depending on the tangyness I am after, which I vary slightly between the thickened yoghurts i have made, the labna style yoghurt cheeses, the drinking yoghurts and plain yoghurts. The black garlic took six weeks, i see no reason to believe that it that this temperature and with high humidity, fermentation with wild yeasts would not have occured

    I have also made black garlic in a slow cooker, using a wet bed of straw at the base and sides to stop direct contact with heated surfaces, and foil wrap to stabilise moisture. The temperature here was around 60 degrees which is obviously specifically chosen to be high enough enough to kill off most bacteria and yeast, so in this case I see your point.

    I first encountered Black Garlic back in the 80s when friends made it in a earthen crock buried in a hot compost heap. which would have been somewhere between 40 and 60 degrees, generally not too hot to kill off microbial activity. This is how I understand it was done traditionally.

    Basically I guess I am saying that I am not clear why you make this determination, certainly any scientific articles I have read refer to it as fermentation, perhaps the most comprehensive being https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1021949816301727
    Please do let me know if you have a source for this claim

    • Wes January 28, 2018 at 7:53 pm - Reply

      Dave

      Thanks for your comments and link to an interesting article. We are not biochemists, but from our readings still understand that the technique we recommend for making black garlic at 60C does not involve any bacterial or yeast processes. It is a thermal Maillard reaction. A careful reading of the article you mention, and several of the references, reveals several points. First, the authors clearly are not being careful with the use of the term “fermentation”. While they use this term repeatedly in the introductory paragraphs, they then describe a thermal process involving the Maillard reaction. Perhaps this is a language issue. One of the references: The Comparison of the Contents of Sugar, Amadori, and Heyns Compounds in Fresh and Black Garlic, also describes an analysis of the Maillard reaction with regard to sugars in the black garlic.

      I think the confusion is because it is possible to specifically create “yeast-fermented aged black garlic”. This may involve fermenting black garlic after it is produced by the thermal Maillard process, or possibly by aging black garlic at very low temperatures (~40C) that are compatible with yeast reproduction – but this would likely take a very long time as you mention. The 60C process that we recommend, and seems to be used widely be others making black garlic at home or professionally, is to our understanding, completely thermal and not biological.

  5. Thomas Casten February 12, 2018 at 4:09 am - Reply

    I grow my own hard-neck garlic, put 10 bulbs in a simple rice cooker for 3 weeks, turned lovely black, soft, deep taste. We then made the black garlic orange sauce recipe and glazed baked salmon. 5 stars! Still have some of the taste in our mouths an hour later.

    We find totally conflicting recommendations on storage of black garlic from do not peel and refrigerate to peel all and put in paper bag inside hermetically sealed plastic bag. Haven’t seen anything on web (02/11/2018) that seems definitive about storing balck garlic.

    • Diane February 12, 2018 at 5:55 pm - Reply

      Thomas, Thank you for contacting us. We are delighted you were pleased with the recipe. It is a customer favorite. As far as storage, we first carefully separate & peel the bulb sections after they are black, next lay them on a sheet pan to freeze. After about 12 hours we divide the pieces into a quantities suitable for recipes, place each group in a vacuum-seal bag and vacuum seal them before freezing. We have had frozen black garlic for 6 months this way with great success. We do not have another tried and tested method to recommend at this time but if we do in the future we will be certain to post the results. All the best to you.

  6. Pauline February 18, 2018 at 5:17 pm - Reply

    Can you use a slow cooker/

    • Diane February 20, 2018 at 7:33 pm - Reply

      Pauline, You can certainly use our Brod & Taylor Folding Proofer & Slow Cooker in the Slow Cooker mode. As far as other slow cookers on the market, most of them do not have the degree-by-degree temperature settings which our product has and so we would not be able to tell you how to use one of them. We have doubts about the success in trying to make black garlic in most slow cookers on the market. For example, many have a “High” and “Low” setting however, but they actually both reach a boiling point with one setting simply faster than the other. The idea of our Brod & Taylor Slow Cook mode is to prevent boiling foods for both healthier meals and for the best texture and flavor (chicken, for example). Thank you for your interest and we hope this answers your question. Black Garlic is delicious and also freezes well after you make a batch.

  7. Cranberry April 24, 2018 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    Just tried my first cloves of black garlic. The package said it was processed for 120 days. This is far greater than what many articles are stating. Any idea why so much difference in time? The taste/flavor was incredible. Instant addiction..This is very expensive to buy retail…So do want to make this my self. Some reviews of the NEX black garlic cooker say the flavor has burnt taste.. cant determine if that is just personal pallet subjection.. and most people use that for an 8 to 12 day time per batch.. So.. huge difference between 12 days, 4 weeks and 120 days.. YIKES.

    • Diane April 25, 2018 at 2:04 pm - Reply

      Cranberry, Without further information on the product you tried we can not comment. “Processed” could include any or all of the following: acquiring garlic from a farm, cleaning the bulbs, preparing for and leaving them in the warm temperature chamber, separating bulbs into individual cloves, boxing and sending them to distributors, etc. As far as the black garlic made in less than 12 days, the cloves may have been in a chamber at a higher than ideal temperature to blacken the garlic. This could and likely would certainly result in burnt or off-flavors. Our black garlic experiments revealed the shortest time possible at an ideal temperature in our Proofer to be 4 weeks. There is no burnt taste. Our goal was to add another Proofer application which would avoid the very expensive retail cost of buying black garlic. We agree with you that black garlic is delicious!

  8. Cindy maynard April 27, 2018 at 1:54 pm - Reply

    Do you make a larger proofer than the model shown ?

    • Diane April 27, 2018 at 2:00 pm - Reply

      Cindy, We do not make a larger Proofer. We are considering making one but the costs will be very significant and demand for a larger model to this point has been very infrequent. We appreciate your input for consideration. All the best to you.

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