Download Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods PDF

TitleWild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods
File Size23.0 MB
Total Pages206
Table of Contents
                            Cover Page
Praise for Wild Fermentation
Title Page
ISBN 1931498237
Introduction. Cultural Context: The Making of a Fermentation Fetish
Chapter 1. Cultural Rehabilitation: The Health Benefits of Fermented Foods
Chapter 2. Cultural Theory: Human Beings and the Phenomenon of Fermentation
Chapter 3. Cultural Homogenization: Standardization, Uniformity, and Mass Production
Chapter 4. Cultural Manipulation: A Do-It-Yourself Guide
Chapter 5. Vegetable Ferments
Chapter 6. Bean Ferments
Chapter 7. Dairy Ferments (and Vegan Alternatives)
Chapter 8. Breads (and Pancakes)
Chapter 9. Fermented-Grain Porridges and Beverages
Chapter 10. Wines (Including Mead, Cider, and Ginger Beer)
Chapter 11. Beers
Chapter 12. Vinegars
Chapter 13. Cultural Reincarnation: Fermentation in the Cycles of Life, Soil Fertility, and Social Change
Appendix: Cultural Resources
Chelsea Green Publishing
Back Page
Document Text Contents
Page 2

Praise for Wild Fermentation

"While the recipes are plentiful the authors writing is what pulled me in and
captivated me. He is very knowledgeable on the subject of fermented foods
and examines them through a historical, scientific, and even a philosophical
sense . . .. As I type these words there are crocks of sauerkraut and bread starter
bubbling away on my kitchen counter, and after reading Wild Fermentation I
not only appreciate but also understand the life cycles of each."

"For those of us raised to believe that cleanliness is Godliness and 'sterilization'
the route to health, the notion that we'd sometimes be better off Jetting
microbes have their way in our food seems . . . well, 'wild/ Armed with noth-
ing more than a taste for sour flavors, and a decade of experiment that began
with salted cabbage, Katz takes the reader on a tour of praise for what micro-
bial biodiversity can do for foods and human health. A witty and enlighten-
ing romp with 'mix, wait, and check' recipes for everything from brined garlic
to vineagre de pina."

Joan Gussow, author, This Organic Life

"Katzs desire to help others learn the craft of fermentation shines throughout
this book."

Northeast Food System Partnership

"A gold mine for science-fair projects."


"Yes, this is a good book for anyone who wants to know how to make kraut or
kimchi or goat cheese, but it is also a book for anyone who wants to know
about life, about how life works—how to enjoy it, respect it, love it and eat it."

Indy Media Center

"A unique cookbook for gardeners . . . . This book will appeal to those inter-
ested in world food traditions, the history of human nutrition, and the
"whys" of good food and good health."

The Washington Post

"Katz has obviously done comprehensive research on his subject and is pas-
sionate about it."

Library Journal

"Comprehensive . . . . Delves into the how, when, why, and where of this deli-
cious process with joyfully obsessive abandon."

Kitchen and Cook (the newsletter of the Culinary Institute of America)

"Sandor Ellix Katz delves deep into the magic and meaning of food with
Wild Fermentation.''

Body and Soul Magazine

Page 103

f eriv>en + aHor)

wee nuances make a completely different

product," explains Pinkie.

5. Strain and salt the cheese: Be gentle!

The curds are still fragile. Line a colander

with cheesecloth and place in the sink.

Use a slotted spoon to carefully scoop out

curds and place them in the colander. For

cheese, we are primarily concerned with

the curds, but whey has many uses, so you

might want to save it. (See "Fermenting

with Whey," page 88.) Layer curds with

salt. Don't be afraid of using lots of salt. It

draws water out of the curds and drains

away. You can also add herbs or other fla-

vorings at this juncture, if you wish. My

friend Toad made an outrageously good

cheese layering in toasted crushed sesame

seeds. Collect the curds in the cheesecloth

into a ball by lifting the corners of the

cheesecloth out of the colander; then join

the corners together and twist the cheese-

cloth to tighten the ball and force water

out. Hang the ball from a hook and let it

drip into a bowl.

6. You can serve the cheese young or

age it. The cheese will hold its form once it

hangs for a few hours. Eat it right away and

it is sure to be delicious. But if you can

wait, given some time, cheese develops in-

tense flavors and miraculous textures. Just

a week or two of aging can radically alter a

cheese. One aging method is to form a dry

protective skin. The day after you make the

cheese, wrap it in fresh, dry cheesecloth.

Do not allow flies to touch the cheese or

you may encounter maggots later on.

Rewrap the cheese again the next day and

the next. The cheesecloth wicks moisture

from the cheese. Repeat this daily until the

cheesecloth is no longer wet from the

moisture of the cheese. Then wrap the

cheese in a clean towel and put it in a cool,

dark place, or enclose it in wax for longer

storage. Alternatively, you can simply sub-

merge the cheese in brine, like sour pickles.

This produces a salty, feta-like cheese.

However you do it, cheesemaking is an ex-

citing and rewarding adventure.


Traditionally, most cheeses have been prepared with methods like

those just described, using raw milk and seeking to maintain the

enzymes and live cultures present in the milk. Research on pasteuriza-

tion in the cheesemaking process was first undertaken at the Univer-

sity of Wisconsin in 1907. By 1949, Congress passed a law requiring

pasteurization of all milk and dairy products, including cheeses,

unless the cheese is aged for at least 60 days.

This has been the status quo for half a century. It has meant that

many of the worlds finest soft cheeses are unavailable (legally, at least)

in the United States. U.S. delegates to the Codex Alimentarius, an

international food-standards commission, recently petitioned for an

international cheese pasteurization standard and lost. Currently, the

Page 104

U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the federal agency charged with

regulating food safety, is studying possible health hazards related to

aged raw-milk cheeses, with an eye toward even more stringent regu-

lations. The possibility of more restrictive cheese pasteurization

requirements has quickly galvanized a grassroots response. The FDA

study is being branded "an attack on one of society's greatest, most

traditional foods. . . . Tampering with fine aged raw-milk cheeses is

like slashing an ancient painting by a master, or shredding the original

score of a classic symphony." This from the American Society for


A "Cheese of Choice Coalition" of producers and connoisseurs

has come together to advocate for the continued availability of raw

cheeses. "These cheeses have been with us for thousands of years—

and the FDA is trying to turn us into a nation of Velveeta eaters," says

coalition-member K. Dun Gifford of the Oldways Preservation and

Exchange Trust. "Pasteurization results in increased consistency in the

cheesemaking process and more uniform quality in the end product,"

explains Ruth Flore of the American Cheese Society. "This translates

to a lowering of the flavor bar, eliminating the potential to produce a

depth and complexity of flavor that can exist with unpasteurized milk

cheese." The European Alliance for Artisan and Traditional Raw Milk

Cheese (EAT) concurs: "We call on all food-loving citizens of the

world to respond now to the defense of . . . a food that has for hun-

dreds of years inspired, given pleasure, and provided sustenance, but

is now being insidiously undermined by the sterile hand of global

hygiene controls."7

Do unpasteurized cheeses really pose a health threat? The U.S.

Centers for Disease Control (CDC) compiled a study entitled

"Cheese-Associated Outbreaks of Human Illness in the United States,

1973-1992." The C D C analysis found 58 deaths from contaminated

cheeses, 48 of them from listeriosis traced to a single California factory

producing queso fresco, a Mexican-style cheese made from milk that

had been pasteurized. Food writer Jeffrey Steingarten investigated the

CDC findings and reported that not a single death could be attrib-

uted to raw-milk cheeses, only a single case of salmonella*

If a single case of salmonella justified banning a food, we would

have precious few foods to choose from. "If you can't stand a little risk

. . . shoot the cow," quipped an anonymous microbiologist.9 "There


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