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Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods Paperback – September 1, 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 544 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Fermentation is one of the earliest natural processes involving food and its preservation that humans sought to control. The earliest puffed-up breads, wines, and cheeses likely occurred by chance, and results were scarcely uniform or predictable. Disconcerted by off-flavors and spoilage in beer, wine, and baked goods, early peoples learned to control microorganisms whose existence would not be demonstrated for centuries. But in that process of control, people lost some of the benefits of wild fermentation. Sandor Ellix Katz has experimented with Wild Fermentation, and his book explains to others how to take advantage of natural fermentation processes to produce bread, yogurt, cheese, beer, wine, miso, sauerkraut, kimchi, and other fermented foods. A gold mine for science-fair projects, Katz's work presents properly supervised young people ample opportunity to explore both the science and the art of fermented foods (alcoholic beverages excepted). Mark Knoblauch
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

Booklist-

Fermentation is one of the earliest natural processes involving food and its preservation that humans sought to control. The earliest puffed-up breads, wines, and cheeses likely occurred by chance, and results were scarcely uniform or predictable. Disconcerted by off-flavors and spoilage in beer, wine, and baked goods, early peoples learned to control microorganisms whose existence would not be demonstrated for centuries. But in that process of control, people lost some of the benefits of wild fermentation. Sandor Ellix Katz has experimented with Wild Fermentation, and his book explains to others how to take advantage of natural fermentation processes to produce bread, yogurt, cheese, beer, wine, miso, sauerkraut, kimchi, and other fermented foods. A gold mine for science-fair projects, Katz's work presents properly supervised young people ample opportunity to explore both the science and the art of fermented foods (alcoholic beverages excepted).

(Mark Knoblauch)

"This immensely valuable book belongs in the kitchen of anyone interested in health, nutrition and wild cultures. It is a feast of fact, fun, and creativity by a modern wise wo-MAN."--Susun Weed, author of Healing Wise



"A nostalgic journey... this is a book that will fascinate and inspire food lovers."--Saul Zabar, owner of Zabar's, New York City's Most famous food market



"Sandor Katz has labored mightily to deliver this opus magnum to a population hungry for a reconnection to real food."--Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 187 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing; 1st edition (September 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1931498237
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931498234
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (544 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,622 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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Format: 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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
`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.
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