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424 of 433 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wild Fermentation
This is the only cookbook that I know of that you will read from cover to cover. It is not the dry "do this in this order" kind of book, it walks with you on your culinary endevors like your mom or grandma would, telling you stories along the way, including the secrets that make not just sourdough bread, but unforgettable sourdough bread.
Sandor doesn't...
Published on September 15, 2003 by noemi barabas

versus
298 of 311 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a "Flip Open and Cook" Kind of Book
While the introductions to the chapters and the recipes definitely catch my interest and make me want to prepare these recipes, I am finding over and over again that the recipes are not written in a way where you could flip to the page and go.

Frequently, the instructions refer in an unclear manner to a different recipe that you need to follow in part, but make...
Published on April 11, 2010 by Frances E. Klein


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424 of 433 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wild Fermentation, September 15, 2003
By 
noemi barabas (Ann Arbor, MI United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods (Paperback)
This is the only cookbook that I know of that you will read from cover to cover. It is not the dry "do this in this order" kind of book, it walks with you on your culinary endevors like your mom or grandma would, telling you stories along the way, including the secrets that make not just sourdough bread, but unforgettable sourdough bread.
Sandor doesn't just tell us, he shows us, how to be self-sufficient about making and storing food (with little need for a stove or a refrigerator): making sourdough, cheese, miso, making tempeh, making wine, beer and, it seems, almost every other fermented food made the world over. And he gives you a list of resources where you can order the most mundane and exotic of starter cultures and even seaweed from our own Atlantic coast.
And your concept of "self" will never be the same again. He shows us how to reclaim and restore a part of ourselves that has protected us like the ozone layer protects the earth: the world of microbes in and around us, the protective cloak of the microecology that is meant to be a part of us like our skin.
Fermented foods restore a health balance like no probiotics and vitamins can. Happy reading, happy fermenting, happy eating!
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298 of 311 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a "Flip Open and Cook" Kind of Book, April 11, 2010
This review is from: Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods (Paperback)
While the introductions to the chapters and the recipes definitely catch my interest and make me want to prepare these recipes, I am finding over and over again that the recipes are not written in a way where you could flip to the page and go.

Frequently, the instructions refer in an unclear manner to a different recipe that you need to follow in part, but make some changes.

Other times one of the ingredients is a recipe in itself, but no page number is given for where to find these extra instructions. For instance, many recipes call for "honey water," but give no information about how to prepare "honey water" or where in the book to find this concoction, leaving you to page through and search for it. Once you find honey water, you find that it is in a recipe for honey wine. Are the the recipes that call for "honey water" intending for you to use the ingredients from this honey wine recipe or use the final product? No answer is apparent.

I feel like I will have to re-write each of these recipes to include their FULL INSTRUCTIONS to make them user friendly. I don't know whether this was a choice made to save space, a sign of a disorganized mind, or simple laziness on the part of the author.
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179 of 194 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OH So Good!!!, December 2, 2005
By 
R. Haeckler (West Chester, PA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods (Paperback)
I love this book! I've tried a few of the recipes and just love the results! I can't believe none of the "back to nature" type books and publications I read talk about the simple and healthful ways of preserving food through fermentation!

Sandor does a fantastic job of taking the mystery and careful measuring out of fermentation. Most of the recipes I've read for fermentation say you must follow the recipe exactly or risk food poisoning. I'd rather play around with the recipes, so this is just perfect for me! I'm also impressed with his research into traditional recipes.

I just read that kimchi may cure Avian Flu, and the recipe in this book is a fantastic hit here! We use it as salad dressing with some sesame oil!
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122 of 134 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the cookbook of my dreams!, October 8, 2003
By 
Nancy Hendryx (Simsbury, CT United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods (Paperback)
This cookbook has all the mundane and esoteric recipes I've ever wanted to own but have not been able to find all in one glorious place. Non-vinegar pickled pickles? It's there. Amazake? No problem! Kimchee? Likewise! And it's all written in a very intelligent, humorous and engaging manner with short and entertaining anecdotes that do not go on forever or stray far afield. **This book is a gem.** I recently attended a cooking class conducted by the author, who is just as amazing as his cookbook. He is full of energy and enthusiasm for spreading the gospel of these traditional and oh-so-nourishing foods. I own about 60 cookbooks, by the way, and this book is in my top five. I can't say enough good things about it. Buy this book!
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163 of 181 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars viva fermented foods!, October 29, 2003
By 
Rob Sherlock (Salinas, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods (Paperback)
To refer to this as a 'cookbook' is disingenuous; it's a book about life and living foods! Having first read through a 20-ish page xeroxed copy of Katz' guide to fermented foods, I welcomed the increased breadth and volume covered in this published edition. I especially appreciate the cited references, although some works are relied on too heavily and there is a relative dearth of scientific citations. That said, there are some and the critique is balanced by the realization that Western science and nutrition have not been overly interested in such topics. A friend with Krohn's disease is hopeful it will help him to find foods he can more easily digest. Katz' book is an unconventional guide to storing foods with methods proven useful over centuries of preservation....and years in his own kitchen. It's detailed, thought provoking and contains a host of colorful characters worth reading about all on their own. It gets four stars because I look forward to a 2nd edition - thanks for a fine book!
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251 of 284 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended Modern Treatment of Ancient Technique, June 26, 2004
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This review is from: Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods (Paperback)
`Wild Fermentation' by Sandor Ellix Katz appears like a living fossil of the sixties counterculture, surfacing after forty years of being both shaped and scarred by the currents and tides of the last forty years. The author is a member of a very sixties hippie influenced rural community whose lifestyle seems to be grown directly from the soil laid down by `The Whole Earth Catalogue', `Easy Rider', `Alice's Restaurant', and the Hog Farm, but without any trace of the Merry Pranksters' antics or inclinations towards mind-altering drugs. The shaping of the last forty years is seen in the author's being HIV positive AIDs infected young man with a major interest in sharing his passion for fermented foods with the rest of the world through modern publishing and scholarly rigor.
Fermented food products are probably much more common in our lives today than they have been since the advent of the processed foods industry. And, this is a fact that even the average foodie may not be conscious. A quick inventory of fermented foods commonly used in modern American homes will show how widespread they have become.
The most obvious fermented product is beer, which has always been with us. Their cousins, wines and meads are also the product of fermentation. Virtually all cheeses are produced by fermentation, and our interest in and consumption of artisinal cheeses is rising fast. Yogurt is a close cousin of cheeses and consumption of yogurt has been rising since the early seventies. Sauerkraut and Choucroute have been with us since the beginning, but Asian fermented cabbage such as Kimchee and other fermented vegetables are becoming more popular. Pickles have also been a part of western cuisine for millennia Another part of the increasing interest in Asian foods is an increase in consumption of miso and tempeh, both from fermented soybeans. Asian fermented fish sauces from Thailand and Vietnam are also much more common today than they were 50 years ago. The granddaddy of fermented foods for Western cultures is yeast bread, especially sourdough breads.
Fermentation has at least four beneficial results, two of which have been known since prehistoric times. The first and most important effect is that fermentation is a method of natural preservation by the creation of acetic acid (acid in vinegar) or lactic acid (acid from milk sugar). The second, represented most clearly by the brewing of beer, is in the action of microorganisms on sugars to produce ethanol (alcohol in beer, wine, and liquor). The third is based on our physiological salivation response to acidic foods, or even the anticipation of acidic foods, thereby making the mouth feel of these foods more succulent by the combination of natural food moisture and our own saliva. Ancients may have sensed the last beneficial result, but it probably has not been fully realized until the 20th century. This is the ability of fermentation to break down foods which were hard to digest into different products which are both easier to digest and more nutritious. The two best examples of this action are the conversion of soy carbohydrates into miso and the conversion of milk into yogurt.
All of this has made fermentation into a darling of vegan advocates, as it broadens the range of useable non-animal protein and makes it all more palatable. It has also made fermentation into a favorite of alternate lifestyle nutritionists such as Sally Fallon, the author of the excellent book `Nourishing Traditions' who supplied a Foreword to this book. Fermentation is also one of the hallmarks of the slow food movement. Aside from the North African method for preserving lemons, I know of no other culinary methods that take as long to complete.
Anyone who has made pickles, sourdough bread, or beer should have a very good idea of the times involved in fermentation. And this doesn't even get into some of the olfactory `delights' that accompany the process of fermentation.
The author covers all of the types of fermentation mentioned above, devoting the greatest amount of space to vegetable, bean, and dairy fermentation. Bakers should not miss the lesser attention paid to breads, as for every book on yogurt, pickles, and kraut, there are ten books which cover artisinal baking with its sourdough sponges, poolishs, and begas.
On the political front, the most active issue regarding fermentation is the issue of unpasteurized cheeses being imported into or made in the United States. It is truly ironic that the home of Louis Pasteur relishes their raw cheeses while the squeaky-clean US won't let it in.
Aside from the thoroughly careful presentation the author gives of his material, the veracity of the book is strengthened by the extensively footnoted research behind his statements and the fact that the fruits of fermentation are essential to the lifestyle of the author and his comrades at their rural homestead. The similarity to both the hippie counterculture doctrines and the Amish lifestyle are unmistakable. One would almost take them for being scions of the Amish except for the names cited in the acknowledgments that I found myself checking against the names of the communities' goats. We owe this book in part to humans who go by the names Echo, Nettles, Leopard, Orchid, Spark, Book Mark, and Ravel Weaver.
I also thank Echo, Nettles, Leopard, et al and author Sandor Ellis Katz for this deeply thought out exposition of a pervasive and growing part of the modern culinary and nutritional environment.
This book may not be for everyone, or even for every foodie, but if anything I said sounds a chord in your psyche, I recommend you get a copy of this book and read it carefully.
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74 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There is no guide better than this one!!, January 31, 2004
By 
J. Foster (west palm beach, florida United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods (Paperback)
This book is trully awesome. My husband has Crohn's disease which affects his digestive system and he was told that he needed to recolonize his gut with good bacteria and one of the ways is to eat fermented vegetables. This book guided me thru the process joyously and easily. Well researched and fun to read. Recipes for all kinds of vegies, dairy ferments and breads. Makes you pine for the simpler life in an intentional community.
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47 of 51 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a book of recipes, November 18, 2013
By 
Auberry (PENNSYLVANIA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods (Paperback)
I was given this book as a gift. While I VERY MUCH appreciate the sentiment behind the gift, this is not a book I would ever buy for myself, nor is it a book I can recommend to anyone who is interested in learning how to prepare cultured foods.

It is not at all in a 'cookbook' kind of format. It seems to me that it is more about the author's 'agenda' rather than teaching people how to prepare cultured foods. If you're looking for recipes or if you're new to lacto-fermentation, I would strongly recommend that you select a different book. If you're feeling perplexed by my negative review in view of all the other positive reviews, then perhaps a trip to the library would be a good thing. I would encourage you to review the book there before deciding to purchase it. You may very well decide to save yourself twenty bucks.

The first four chapters are real yawners. If you're already interested in fermented foods, you probably don't need to read four chapters about the history and health benefits of cultured foods. I would have been tremendously disappointed in this book if I had spent twenty bucks on it. If that sounds interesting to you, then perhaps this book will be just the ticket for you. (On the other hand, you can read that information online at no cost to your wallet at all.)

However, if you're looking for a 'how to' book of actual recipes, I doubt this publication is going to satisfy you.

I agree with another reviewer who wrote "Frequently, the instructions refer in an unclear manner to a different recipe that you need to follow in part, but make some changes."

For example, when I see "Mixed Vegetable Crock" listed as a recipe, I expect to go to that page and read a list of ingredients, prep instructions, etc. Not the case at all. Instead the author tells about how he had to hurry to harvest the last of his summer garden before a frost one year and the resulting crock of veggies was very good, especially the baby eggplants. Not a recipe at all. It's a story (and not a very interesting one at that), but definitely NOT a recipe.

In the 'recipe' for brined garlic, he talks about eating the garlic at the bottom of the pickle crocks. Again, this is not a recipe for brined garlic at all, but rather just him voicing how much he enjoys eating the 'leftover' garlic after the pickles are consumed.

I definitely would NOT buy the book for its information on culturing dairy products, making fermented beverages or sourdoughs. There certainly are much better books available on each of those subjects. Anyone with a genuine interest in any of those topics will not find sufficient information in this book to be truly helpful.

Let me be clear . . . I am very familiar with fermentation of veggies, cheese-making, wine and sourdough. I have several cheddars, goudas, mont. jacks, and other cheeses aging right now, plus my fridge is filled with various cream cheeses, yogurt, kefir, mozzarella and parmesan cheese that I've made. I've made most of our bread for the past 40+ years, including sourdough breads from 'homegrown' yeast. I have a crock of dill pickles fermenting as I type this, and several half-gallon jars of other veggies fermenting, too.

So, when I say that I found this book severely lacking in information, what I mean is that I cannot imagine a 'newbie' picking up this book, reading the info, and feeling like they have enough information to start a project. In spite of my experience with making cultured foods, I did not find the information provided in most of the recipes in this book to be sufficient to prepare them.
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, inspiring introduction - make room on your counter!, August 16, 2005
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This review is from: Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods (Paperback)
You'll need extra counter space for the many soon-to-be-bubbling crocks of fermented foods that you'll be inspired to try your hand at after reading this exciting, fascinating book. Katz combines some history, some science, some grassroots, and a whole lot of recipes - I couldn't put the book down, and wanted to immediately try fermenting everything I could get my hands on. I've just bought a bunch of jars & will be starting my first batches of sauerkraut, kimchi, and mead (!) - who knew fermenting could be so simple? Katz makes this very exciting process seem accessible to all of us.
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71 of 81 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For those looking for an introduction to fermenting, April 9, 2005
By 
RTC (Los Angeles, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods (Paperback)
In response to the two-star reviewer...could you direct me to the pages where you found those anecdotes and transexual behavior? Because I've had the book for a few days, read most of it, and didn't find any of those anecdotes. I skimmed through the whole book to check, and I didn't find any. The closest he comes to doing so is describing his experiences in dealing with AIDS, and how his passion for fermented foods have aided him in this process. That's far off from anecdotes about sexual behavior. Maybe you were reading an earlier edition of the book.

Anyways, I like this book because it addresses all of the subconscious thoughts that I had about fermentation, such as why we ferment foods, how we discovered the process, and the subjectivity of distinctions between foods fermented to perfection and rotten foods. Most of all, I like how he encourages us to experiment and tells us that fermentation does not require precision and control, as others may tell us. The simplest recipe in the book involves leaving fresh apple cider out. I also like his desire for us to recycle foods as much as possible, such as by making fruit peel vinegars. He gives us about fifty recipes, which includes all of the popular items, such as sauerkraut, miso, and beer, along with a few more obscure ones, and he encourages us to experiment with these. Although over half of the book seems to be anecdotes and stories, they give helpful knowledge for anyone new to fermentation. You may find his writings on the analogy of fermentation to cultural revolution and the process of life cheesy. (Damn, I spent more time on this review than I wanted to.)
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