Step 1: The Magic Fermenting Box
I now have a fan and two switches to control the two elements that will regulate and circulate my heat. The last item that is need is a thermostat, these will run anywhere from $80-$120, all depending on what type you get. The thermostat that I used came from Johnson Controls and they can be purchased here, this device will turn the power on and off to the box based on temperature.
Now go find yourself a vessel to make the garlic in, a device to heat the box with, a thermostat, and based on the size of the box, you will need a fan.
Step 2: Assembling the Fermenting Box
Next, find a suitable place to mount all of your controls, if you do not have a fan or a switch, do not worry. The switch for the fan that I have is adjustable, so I can change the speed of the fan, which also allows me to turn my fermenting box into an over sized dehydrator. Anyways, the thermostat has built in switches to control when the lamp and fan should come on, and in this case the fan and light can be run on the same circuit because you want them both on at the same time.
Once the thermostat has been mounted, you are ready for wiring.
Step 3: Wiring the Thermo
When you remove the cover to the thermo you will see a coiled copper wire, this is what reads the temperature, gently stretch it out to the length that you will need. I fed this wire through the side of the box and secured it to the bottom of the box. There will also be three screws; The top one is yellow, the middle is blue, and the bottom one is red, you will not be using the yellow screw. Find a cord that you will be using to plug into the outlet, this can come off of an old fridge or in my case, the wine cooler. Clip the cord, and separate the wires, strip the wires (Two if you have two prongs on your plug or three if it has a ground/three prongs), gather all of your white wires and splice them together securely. All of your white wires, including the one from the outlet cord should be spliced and secured together. Now take the black wire from the outlet cord and secure it onto the red screw. Take the remaining black wires and splice them together with an extra black wire, run the remaining black wire to the blue screw and secure.
Screw a light bulb into the socket, plug in the box, and you are ready to begin the black garlic process.
Step 4: Starting the Garlic
Start with 2.5# of fresh cloves of garlic, place them in an even layer in the baking pan, cover with plastic wrap (make sure to wrap the baking pan all the way around to ensure a nice tight seal), then a layer of aluminum foil. The purpose of the plastic is to keep the humidity in, the foil helps keep the heat even. Set your thermostat to 140 degrees, close the door, and hurry up and wait. I found that after the garlic has started it requires very little attention, the room that the box is in will smell of fresh garlic and will gradually change to a nice roasted garlic smell. My first batch of garlic was started in my living room, after 40 days my clothes smelled of roasted garlic, not necessarily bad but I eventually moved the box to my garage.
After 40 days open your pan of garlic and take in the glory, you should be able to gently peel back the paper like skin protecting the clove and visibly see a color change. If it looks black then you are headed in the right direction, next grab a clove and squeeze it between your fingers, it should turn into a paste. If it does not and it still feels firm then you have not achieved a finished product. This usually happens when the heat is uneven, wrap the pan again with plastic and foil and continue to ferment for an additional ten days. I found that having the pan sitting on some wire racks so it was elevated to allow the air and heat to circulate, I was able to make the product in 30-35 days.
The next step is the drying process which can take three days to a week.
Step 5: Drying Your Black Garlic
For my full process and experiments you can visit my blog.