An amazing resource for adventurous cooks wanting to reconnect with nature and to declare independence from industrialized, mass-produced food. It is not a recipe book per se. More of a guidelines and reference book, but enough to get you started, especially if you have a cabbage, some salt and a jar.
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Introduction To Post-Pasteurianism14 mai 2012
- Publié sur Amazon.com
First off: this book is beautiful. Hardcover, with a series of full-color plates 1/3rd and 2/3rds through. For only twice the price of a flimsy paperback, you're investing in five hundred solidly-constructed pages that will last.
And a good thing, because this book is destined to be a classic.
You don't need to have read Katz' other work, Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods, to understand, appreciate, and use this book - it stands alone. If you already own Wild Fermentation, don't be put off by the duplication of some recipes in the Table of Contents. Yes, sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles are in here, but every section is greatly expanded with much more information and many more references. (Ever thought of using a layer of cooking oil as an airlock? Neither had I, but I'm going to try it!)
Speaking of references... the Resources, Glossary, and Works Cited chapters could keep you busy for a few years.
And yes: you will use this book. As Michael Pollan states in the well-written foreword, this is not one of those cookbooks you buy for the nice pictures and keep on your coffee table. This is a project manual. Fermentation is something you have to experience to understand, and Katz give you absolutely everything you need to get started. The first 67 pages are devoted entirely to the beginner, focusing not on specific recipes but on answering the inevitable questions: "WHY would I want to ferment food? is it safe? what equipment and general expertise do I need?"
Again from Pollan: "Katz writes about the transformative power of fermentation with such infectious enthusiasm that he makes you want to try things just to see what happens." This is so true. Even if you don't initially intend to, many of these 'recipes' are so simple and unintimidating (hard apple cider, mead, sauerkraut and its derivatives, sourdough) that it's hard to resist the urge to pick up a box of Mason jars and some fresh produce the next time you're at the grocery store. Many of us are experimenters at heart, and fermentation is the perfect mix of art and science to tap into this nature and inspire all kinds of crazy projects.
Already the neighborhood King of Kraut? I guarantee that this book will still have something for you. Chapter 12 - "Fermenting Meat, Fish, and Eggs" isn't enough? Turn to Chapter 13, for a short but serious discussion of what it takes to turn a fermentation hobby into a small business. Notes about scaleup, HACCP plans, and licensing are cool to read about, though I have no plans to open a tempeh factory anytime soon. Or how about Chapter 14 - "Non-Food Applications of Fermentation"? Again, I don't live on a farm, but it is neat to read about compost, silage, and bioremediation. (Surprise: Katz doesn't buy into corn ethanol biofuels)
While this is by no means a biology textbook, the scientific content is much improved over Wild Fermentation. Chapter 1 - "Fermentation as a Coevolutionary Force" is, in general, accurate and well-referenced. Katz is not a formally-trained scientist, but he does not shy away from technical details when they are helpful for understanding, and he shows respect for the scientific method and its results. See, for instance, his discussion of 'homofermentative' and 'heterofermentative' organisms in vegetable fermentation (pg 96), or of commercial starter cultures (pg 132).
If you subsist on white bread and margarine and bleach your cutting boards after every use, fermentation may not be the hobby for you. The first time I skimmed some strangely-textured yeast off of a crock of fermenting beets, I have to admit I was a little skeptical what those beets would look like when I pulled them out (they were absolutely delicious). While some of my more imaginative fermentation adventures have yielded delicious results, a few have been downright terrible (yep, ate them anyway!). If you don't see any issue with carving a bit of mold off some cheese or a piece of fruit instead of throwing it out, then you probably have what it takes.
Many (most?) of the poor reviews on Wild Fermentation are from people taking issue with Katz' lifestyle or philosophies. Many of his philosophical discussions in this book are backed up with hard science and references, so even those who found Wild Fermentation to be overbearing may find this new book to be more palatable. If you have some problem with the fact that Katz has HIV (he states this outright in the new book, and includes a sidebar about how fermented foods may be helpful but they are not a disease cure), do the rest of us a favor and keep it to yourself.
I've been experimenting with fermentation for about a year, relying mostly on Wild Fermentation and a substantial collection of online resources. I've only had this book for a week, and I've already had tons of fun and learned a lot. When I'm finished with my read-through, this book will definitely be making its rounds among my friends. A great reference and a worthwhile investment - highly recommended.
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Art of Fermentation vs. Wild Fermentation25 mai 2012
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There have been several excellent reviews that list the strengths of The Art of Fermentation. I can only add one thing - the author does an excellent job of citing his sources. I really appreciate that he does so - it allows me to go back and check for new, updated research and expand my reading. I particularly appreciate this in his section on fermentation and health. He adamantly does not claim fermented foods area a panacea and is skeptical of some of the touted benefits of various foods (kombucha as a cure for diabetes, for example). He argues, quite successfully, that fermented foods have their place in a well balanced, healthy, diet and provides the studies, traditions, and first-hand knowledge that demonstrates why.
For those who are wondering which book would be the better choice, this book is not just an expanded version of Wild Fermentation. It's a different take on the subject that goes in depth in the process and concepts behind fermentation. Many different types of fermentation using different bases - grains, vegetables, fruit, etc - are explored. Be aware that this is not a cookbook or an introductory text, however. Traditional recipes are scarce. If you are looking for "add X tablespoon of salt to Y amount of cabbage" you will be disappointed. If you want to know about different fermentation methods used around the world so you can branch out in your own culinary experiments, this is the book for you.
If you're an absolute novice, Wild Fermentation is probably the better starting place. It gives recipes and walks you through the steps more than The Art of Fermentation. Once you've made a few things and want to know more, the Art of Fermentation will really come into it's own!
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Best Book on Fermentation Currently Available14 mai 2012
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Fermentation was frankly something I had little to no experience or interest in until a few years ago....even then it was a slow progression. For health reasons (we're not getting any younger) we started taking an active interest in food - both the quality of the food and the preparation practices. The more we learned, the more we started cooking, baking and making our own food.
Bread was perhaps one of the very first things we took the time to make from scratch and soon the bread baking became a weekly tradition. Fresh baked bread is so delicious, warm and comforting. Of course, that led to grinding our own flour and since bread is so much like beer - my spouse began experimenting with home brewed beer and wine and even soda. It wasn't long before something always seemed to be brewing in the kitchen and at least one of us, was quickly becoming a fermentation fan.
Over those few years, our diet, shopping habits, food choices and preparation methods changed fairly radically from what we had thought was a decent diet to an all organic, homemade diet with local produce when possible. It was during that time I started hearing more and more about the benefits of fermentation of other foods - but frankly, not having grown up around anything remotely related to food preparation, I had no idea what was/wasn't fermented. In fact, I thought pickles were always made with vinegar and canned - I had no idea they were fermented. Ditto for sauerkrout or oodles of other items. Somewhere along the line, I came across Sandor's first book on fermentation and purchased it. It was NOT love at first sight...in fact, after the first read, I thought it sounded horrible (rotted food?!) and set it aside for at least another year.
Then by chance, I happened to taste some REAL pickles..then fermented salsa and several other things that just knocked my socks off. I pulled that book out and decided to give it a try. Low and behold, it worked like a charm!
Soon I was buying big fermentation pots and since then we have become regular consumers of fermented products made a home. I then bought the book and video set and several other books on fermentation...in fact, by this point, I probably own most of the major books about fermentation. So, when this came up as an advanced order option, I purchased it right away although I wasn't sure what to expect. It was delivered early and right from the start, it is obvious this book is MUCH larger than previous books. It provides a exemplary overview of fermentation from both a historical perspective as well as current uses around the globe. The information expands upon the understanding of fermentation in a dramatic way. It's both interesting and informative. Without a doubt, it's one of the best books I've read on the subject and I've read a LOT of them!
Now, if you are just wanting an introduction to fermentation with a few quick and easy recipes' and examples, the older books by Katz are probably still your best choice. On the other hand, if you are a person that likes to understand a topic in depth when starting something new, this may be more to your liking.
Existing fermentation fans will ABSOLUTELY want to purchase this new book for the expanded knowledge, information and insight. It will not disappoint!
May your beer always bubble, your bread always rise - Your pickles always pucker and your crock never demise! Happy fermenting folks!
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Amazing resource for creativity!14 février 2013
- Publié sur Amazon.com
Firstly, I'd like to say that I majored in microbiology in college, so perhaps I'm slightly biased when it comes to this book. But then again, my food microbiology professor was a major germophobe, who instilled her fears into her students with horror story after horror story, usually involving potato salad at a picnic in Georgia, in the middle of a hot and humid summer, and people dying of some horrid bacterial toxin. This was followed by an unfortunate incident involving culturing and tasting our own yogurt, in a lab shared by the pathogenic microbiology class. It didn't end well, especially for our TA, who'd eaten the leftover, tainted (yet still somehow tasty) yogurt that the rest of the class only sampled out of fear and threats that failure to eat our creations would result in a dreaded F. He ended up in the hospital for several days and the rest of us ended up with major stomach aches and other unpleasant intestinal issues.
To summarize, I did not eat yogurt for probably 5 or 6 years following that incident, and I became my OCD germophobe professor, scrubbing everything with sterilants and heating my food until nothing could possible live in or on it.
Then came Sandor Katz.
I procured a copy of his first book, Wild Fermentation, and somehow fell under his lactic acid induced spell! The scientist in me wanted to play with making things like kimchi and sauerkraut, just for the FUN of it. I went forth and made them, and I liked how these things smelled, but I only sampled teeny bits, savoring them, but expecting to become sick because of the fear I'd been instilled with in college. I fed them to my friends and family, who inhaled them and then asked for me to make more. So I did, and in the meantime, I started reading "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon, and became less and less convinced that my education that bacteria are always the bad guys, maybe, just maybe, was not true.
I made more kimchi, and determined to taste it -- it was delicious!! I made more, and also cortido, and fermented ginger carrots, then came kombucha, and fermented turnips and beets, sour dills, pineapple vinegar, fermented hot sauce, and many, many more!
Gone is my fear of yogurt. I eat miso on a regular basis, while a new batch ferments in a big crock in my kitchen for next year. I purchased a Harsch crock from Germany for huge batches of sour dill pickles. I have a continuous brewer full of kombucha set up permanently on my counter top, and as I write this, plans for trying coconut milk yogurt swim around my head, as well as fermented french fries (as described in "The Art of Fermentation") with a fermented ketchup to accompany them. Thank you, thank you, Mr. Katz! (And take THAT, crazy germophobe professor!!)
With this new book, so many more ideas are given to you for unlimited creativity in fermenting everything from fruits and veggies to dairy, drinks and alcoholic beverages (and grains, and pulses). It includes very nice detailed microbiological information on how these ferments work, taking away much of the mystery (and therefore, fear) that comes when starting out as a novice fermentos. A background in microbiology isn't necessary to understand these concepts, yet in no way does it "talk down" to you.
As other reviewers stated, this book does not really have recipes with exact amounts of each ingredient. It, rather, tells you the process, and lets you go forth, creatively, to make your own, unique concoctions. I find this so exciting, and I'm already revved up to go see what I can create! As the author explains, there are tons of recipes online, with exact measurements, if you need that to get started (I can attest that I did on my first ferment). Also, his book "Wild Fermentation" is chock-full of recipes with ingredient lists that might appeal more to the novice. In "The Art", he does list general guidelines of how much salt to use in veggie/brine ferments, and also ratios to use in things such as mead. That really is all you need!
I especially enjoyed the sections on tempeh and koji, and how to derive your own cultures, thus eliminating the need for having to purchase cultures online.
All in all, this is an encyclopedic volume on everything you ever wanted to know about fermented foods from all corners of the world, and the processes involved to produce a delicious array of fermented foods and drinks at home.
Go forth without fear! Ferment for health and for taste -- you will never look back!!
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Interesting, but disappointing - not a recipe book.1 août 2012
- Publié sur Amazon.com
This book contains plenty of interesting information regarding history and theory and vague descriptions of techniques used to ferment different foods. I would have appreciated, in addition, a basic recipe or two in each category to get me started, a firm foundation from which to experiment. Without that, this book is insufficient for the beginner. For instance, I read the section about kimchi and the related section about brining, and since it didn't contain any recipes or enough information for me to make my own, I googled kimchi and ended up finding a recipe on a blog that was based on a recipe in katz's other book, wild fermentation. Without recipes, this book is not practical unless paired with another source of recipes, or unless you already have some fermenting experience (in which case, I cannot really speak to whether or not this book would be a useful addition). If you are beginning, you might be better off with a different book or just googling specific foods you are interested in fermenting. I see that wild fermentation gets mixed reviews with some thoughtful critiques, so I may look to a different author for recipes.