For easy, authentic German sauerkraut, gather 2 pounds of shredded green cabbage, 1 teaspoon of sugar and 2 tablespoons of salt, either coarse, kosher or sea varieties. Allow the macerating cabbage to sit covered for 2 to 4 weeks, checking occasionally to ensure the product remains submerged in the brine.
Combine the shredded cabbage, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl, allowing the mixture to sit for at least an hour at room temperature before handling it further. During this period, the cabbage should shed an ample amount of water for the brine. With inadequate brine, the cabbage risks rotting before it actually ferments. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible from every handful of cabbage before transferring it to an earthenware canister.
Once all the cabbage is inside the canister, press it down as hard as you can so that it forms a tight clump. Pour in the brine. It should rise to at least an inch around the cabbage. Next, find a plate that fits inside the jar, and place it atop the cabbage to keep it submerged. If you find the single plate insufficient, add another. Allow the cabbage to sit for the allotted time, then check the taste. The product is ready when it simply exhibits the trademark sauerkraut flavor.