This is not a line-by-line recipe cookbook, but it contains detailed instructions on fermenting (or creating via fermentation) nearly every imaginable food or beverage. After a foreword by Michael Pollan, Katz ("Wild Fermentation") explores the scientific basis of fermentation, then gives details for creating everything from yogurts to prosciutto to wines, beer, and kombucha. He emphasizes how fermentation influenced human development. Used to preserve food, it affected human biology so that humans could eat foods that would be poisonous otherwise, and it had an impact on global human culture as a reflection of indigenous cultural identity. Simply put, fermentation allows lactic acid bacteria naturally found in the air to overcome and exclude bacteria that are harmful to humans, and it increases advantageous chemical compounds, such as vitamins, in the process. There is a generous photo section of tools, containers, and processes; along with fascinating electron microscope photos of bacteria, which convey a sense of wonder at the unseen world of fermentation. VERDICT: Katz takes fermentation down to the molecular level while keeping it conversational and accessible to the generalist. Fermentation foodies will be ecstatic.
"The only resource guide you will ever need."--Jenn Garbee, LA Weekly
"The Art of Fermentation is an extraordinary book, and an impressive work of passion and scholarship. It lays the foundation for fermenting all kinds of foods, and whoever reads it will be able to negotiate any recipe for ferments (and conquer any lingering nervousness about fermentation) with impunity. I am so impressed - and ready to begin! Thank you, Sandor Katz."--Deborah Madison, author of Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone and Local Flavors
"Sandor Katz has captured the essence of fermentation in this new book, which bubbles over with scientific, historical, and practical information about humankind's first biotechnology and earth's first energy source. The mystery and sensory allure of naturally fermented products ranging from fruit, honey, milk, all manner of starchy grain, tuber and stalk--even fish and meat--are laid bare and enthusiastically and lucidly brought to life for both epicure and the do-at-homer."--Patrick E. McGovern, Scientific Director, Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory, University of Pennsylvania Museum, and author of Ancient Wine and Uncorking the Past
"The Art of Fermentation appeals to our personal and fundamental well being, with a thoroughly engaging account of wild, tamed, and unaccounted-for microorganisms. Based on theory, science, and practical observations, Sandor Katz casts thousands of dots onto the pages for us to connect with our own experiences and interests. There are things he writes in this book that are relevant to everyone. Whether we are at war or peace with the tiny creatures we call microorganisms, we can't help but conclude that they are the building blocks of the communities we observe as organisms. His obsession with ferment is contagious. With the flip of a page it's easy to find oneself discovering our own personal journey embedded in this thoroughly engaging book."--Charlie Papazian, author of The Complete Joy of Homebrewing and many other books on beer
"This is, quite simply, the finest book on fermentation available. It is comprehensive, erudite, and surprisingly profound. Sandor Katz is the guru of a large and growing tribe of fermentation enthusiasts and this book will awaken you to the thrilling world of benign bacteria all around us. Not only do they provide us with pickles, cheese, bread, alcohol - but our existence depends on bacteria and they deserve our reverence and respect."--Ken Albala, Food Historian and Coauthor of The Lost Arts of Hearth and Home: The Luddite's Guide to Domestic Self-Sufficiency
"Sandor Katz has proven himself to be the king of fermentation with this new book, an exhaustive yet very readable compendium of fermentation wisdom and techniques from around the world. A must-have in the libraries of anyone interested in food and nutrition."--Sally Fallon Morell, President, The Weston A. Price Foundation
"The Art of Fermentation is a remarkable testimony to the astonishing passion that Sandor Katz has for all matters fermentative. History, science, and simple how-to wisdom are woven together in this extensive journey through the amazing diversity of foods and beverages that are founded upon fermentation."--Dr. Charlie Bamforth, Professor, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of California, Davis and author of Food, Fermentation and Microorganisms
"The Art of Fermentation is much more than a cookbook...Sure, it tells you how to do it, but much more important, it tells you what it means, and why an act as quotidian and practical as making your own sauerkraut represents nothing less than a way of engaging with the world. Or rather, with several different worlds, each nested inside the other: the invisible world of fungi and bacteria; the community in which you live; and the industrial food system that is undermining the health of our bodies and the land. This might seem like a large claim for a crock of sauerkraut, but Sandor Katz's signal achievement in this book is to convince you of its truth. To ferment your own food is to lodge an eloquent protest-of the senses-against the homogenization of flavors and food experiences now rolling like a great, undifferentiated lawn across the globe. It is also a declaration of independence from an economy that would much prefer we were all passive consumers of its commodities, rather than creators of unique products expressive of ourselves and the places where we live."--Michael Pollan, from the Foreword
About the Author
Sandor Ellix Katz is a fermentation revivalist. A self-taught experimentalist who lives in rural Tennessee, his explorations in fermentation developed out of overlapping interests in cooking, nutrition, and gardening. This book, originally published in 2003, along with his The Art of Fermentation (2012) and the hundreds of fermentation workshops he has taught around the world, have helped to catalyze a broad revival of the fermentation arts. Newsweek called Wild Fermentation "the fermenting Bible," and The New York Times calls Sandor “one of the unlikely rock stars of the American food scene.” For more information, check out his website www.wildfermentation.com.