Customer Reviews: Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods
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Showing 1-10 of 35 reviews(3 star). Show all reviews
on April 11, 2010
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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on February 13, 2012
Though I read the Kindle sample first, I thought surely the full Kindle edition would have a Table of Contents. It does not. The reason I gave this Kindle book only three stars is because of the formatting of this book. I would have liked to have seen all of the recipes in one central location. You have to sift through the book to find the recipes, even in a given section. This is really necessary when using your ebook as a cookbook.
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on October 4, 2009
i'd say all the fermentation recipes are to be found in sally fallons book "nourishing tradition" + the cookery and all. a much more complete book for the money.
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on June 13, 2015
If you're looking for a simple beginner's guide this is fine. I was disappointed, however, after pouring through the comprehensive, in-depth treatise "The Art of Fermentation" by the same author (which is superb and won the James Beard Foundation Award.) "Wild Fermentation" is a simpler precursor with much of the same information but a narrower focus. It does, however, have some step-by-step basic recipes that "The Art of Fermentation" doesn't have. For those who want an introduction into the subject with some basic recipes, this is fine. I'm still looking for a book with a greater range of recipes and variations on sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented fruits vegetables and tsukemono.
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on December 20, 2011
It's not exactly what I thought it was, which was a more thorough explanation of how/why fermented foods are good for you and how they impact your health.

There are a fair number of recipes for various fermenting projects, but it read to me more like a philosophical discussion by the author.

It's not bad for what it is, but just wasn't my cup of tea.
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on May 23, 2016
While looking to gain more information on fermentation as a beginner, I first opted to try this wildly popular book. This is the first book that people seem to reach for and thus seemed like an excellent place to start. The book is well organized by types of fermentation and covers an absolutely enormous variety of types of fermentation: from basic krauts to alcoholic beverages. Sandor Katz tells you a bit about the history and gives you recipes for each item. He will tell you about everything from the most common types to truly unusual, exotic varieties. I appreciated that greatly.

However, the recipes are very vague. I understand that for someone more advanced with fermentation, this makes perfect sense. It's more of an art than a science in some ways. However, as a beginner, I could use a bit more guidance. And pictures, I could really use pictures. The way I would really sum this book up is a modestly guided stream of consciousness through the mind of Mr. Katz as he tells you about the deep spirituality he feels about persimmons or how he met the guy that gave him this crazy starter culture from a small African tribe that *you will never ever get*.

If you want to understand the science and history of fermentation better, try Katz's book "The Art of Fermentation." If you want a great how-to guide with pictures, excellent explanations, great recipes, guidance on how to tweak your own recipe and a troubleshooting guide (with pictures!) get Shockey's Fermenting Vegetables. If you want to be taken on a journey through the lovely land of fermentation and spiritual persimmons, give this book a shot.
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on April 11, 2012
If you know very little about fermentation but want to get a basic understanding by reading, then you can by GLEANING it from this book. The best description I can think of is that it is a hippy/homosexual view of life mixed with some insight into NY Jewish culture from an immigrated Eastern European background through the eyes of fermentation. He is open about his thoughts and lifestyle, and his worldview. This is fine, if it is what you expected from this book.
I read it through like a book, not a recipe book. It does give you good ideas for many types of fermentation. It also gives you the reality of what fermentation is about, so you can understand what you are wanting to happen and not wanting to happen.
The recipes are basic and general in keeping with the tone of the book. They are very helpful.
My biggest frustration was plodding through his particular worldview dissertations that he inserted inbetween the fermentation information. I was willing to do this to gain the knowledge he has on this subject. A glimpse into his background is helpful to determine his motivation and expertise, but I would have preferred a more concisely informative book. More info, less politics.
I am not dissappointed in what I have learned, but in the future I will look for books that are more to the point.
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on October 12, 2008
This book really is wonderful in its coverage of fermentation recipes. My kitchen is brimming with them at the moment. I have millet porridge, saurkraut, kimchi, sour dough starter, kefir, and yogurt all going right now. If you want to find recipes that are simple and inexpensive then this is a great book. If you are at all uncomfortable about alternative lifestyles, however, you may not be able to stomach this book. I accidentally bought two and was going to give the extra to my mother in law, but I knew she wouldn't probably appreciate it. I ended up returning the extra copy. The author has AIDS and lives in a queer commune where they call themselves faeries and does go into some depth about his lifestyle. If you are ok with this then it would be a great book for you.
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on September 8, 2013
This book reminded me of living in Eugene, OR -- both the good (natural, healthy, thoughtful) and bad (crazy, hippie, commune). I had bought this book after hearing Katz interviewed on NPR/Fresh Air about his more recent work. This book has some good ideas, but he also spends a lot of time talking about the hippies he lives with in a commune who also ferment things (and so are credited with certain of the recipies). A little of this would be fine, but he talked about his commune to the point where I found it a distracted from learning about fermentation processes. I'll keep it for the miso recipe alone, but be warned that his voice is... strong.
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on March 24, 2013
This is a decent introduction to fermentation, and covers the basics, however the recipes are too general and vague. For instance, for the recipe for Sauerrüben (fermented turnips), the author states:

"My fellow communards have rarely been as enthusiastic about any of my ferments as they were the night I first served sauerrüben. They went on about it as if it were a rich chocolate dessert."

Great, so what is the exact recipe for this particular delicacy? In step 3:

"As with sauerkraut, add any other vegetables, herbs, or spices you like. Or don't, and enjoy the strong flavor of the turnips unadulterated."

So, I guess we don't get the details on the specific recipe that his friends went on and on about. Is it so good that he's keeping it a secret all to himself? I guess we'll never know.

Some of the other recipes are more specific, but others, like "Spontaneous Cider" are even cruder and could well lead to nasty results. I have a degree in microbiology, and while I have no objection to the use of wild organisms as a starter culture in some fermentations, I believe that if you are going to lead the novice fermenter down this path the least you should do is provide more precise instructions than this book offers.
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