2022



Baker’s breakfast! A really great third attempt at a new type of bread I’ve been trying out. A sourdough starter that gets turned as if you had already made the dough. It sits at 39F for a few days or even weeks during a very long autolyse, the step after you first mix the flour and liquid. No salt, levain, or any other ingredient gets added. It’s very important not to use a flour that has added malted barley (almost all commercial white flours in the US) or it will begin to ferment much more quickly.

It’s like bread bouillon. When needed, you remove some, add your levain such Incredibly tasty. I actually ground the berries myself because the malted barley that gets added to most AP flours eventually turns this into a super hard dough to work with. Should have used a hard red winter wheat, but the flavor of this soft wheat at 11% protein is great.

Incredibly tasty. I actually ground the berries myself because the malted barley that gets added to most AP flours eventually turns this into a super hard dough to work with. Should have used a hard red but the flavor of this soft wheat at 11% protein is great.

So this will be my breakfast treat. An olive oil and pepper cured two year old goat cheese labneh – use milk kefir grains to make the cheese, then strain and press – that has fresh herbs and toasted seeds that over time have developed amazing flavors. And yes I am going to eat the entire loaf.

InRetrospect 2022 

Now Playing. With over 6 years of re-edited and first time viewable videos on a wide number of topics. Interested? InRetrospect is $75 USD for the entire year of 2022. There are already 400+ videos there, some that are an hour long, on everything from making shoyu, miso, pickling, making tempeh, wild fermentation, foraging, vinegars, curing meat, vegan cheese making, sake making, and much more.

Jalapeño Kasuzuke


Jalapeno Kasuzuke

A master class by Kevin Farley of The Cultured Pickle Shop in Berkeley, California on using sake kasu, or the microbe rich remains after a sake is pressed, to make pickles.

Although there is a tradition of using something like this to ferment or preserve vegetables, fish, meat or even to make condiments throughout Asia, over at least the last 500 years the Japanese have developed an extensive array of pickles (tseukemono) and food preparation techniques that are acclaimed throughout the world.

In a sense, the Japanese have codified the ways in which they make pickles, each type it’s own class. Of course, a specific locality might have a way they make their pickles. What is available after the harvest, or sometimes what can be foraged, often dictates what gets pickled.

But the technique pretty much remains constant. As with all fermentations getting to the appropriate water content of what is being pickled or , usually by using salt or some drying technique, is the paramount concern.

As Kevin explains in this video, if water from a vegetable crashes out into the pickling medium it can change the entire fermentation process. One of the more brilliant techniques used by The Cultured Pickle Shop is to create a type of mirin, a traditional Japanese cooking seasoning, from the kasuzuke brine.

How that is then aged or immediately utilized is discussed, as well as the characteristics of aged kasu itself. This very little known technique of aging sake kasu to be used in a year or two to make pickles based on the taste of the kasu is also explained.

This video was originally created to celebrate the release of Sandor Katz’ Fermentation Journeys, one of Sandor’s many amazing books. In fact, you can pick up a copy when you visit The Cultured Pickle Shop.


December 19 - Fruit From the Sands 11AM to 1 PM EDT 

With Dr. Robert Spengler III, author of Fruit from the Sands. Co-hosted by Zizinia de Les Flors’ Caspar Hall. The last Zoom event is free, as they all have been over the last 11 years.

Available from Independent Bookstores and other online sources.

InRetrospect

There are now 3 ways to register for InRetrospect  or to  get on our mailing list.

InRetrospect is $15 a month, or $75 all five months until June 1, 2022. (pro tip: $15 gets you in the billing system and it’s unlikely yoiu’d get thrown out so don’t hesitate if $75 is just too much for you).

The point is that if you pay anything you get into the payment system, and we don’t have to maintain any mailing list. Because that’s what payment systems do.

Unsure? Watch some great videos already posted


Indian Himalayas: Cheese


Maeshraej Cheese or Kalari is a cheese from the Indian Himalayans. In this video by Anita Tikoo, a longtime friend and contributor to Cultures.Group, she explains the wonders of this cheese. Sometimes they are sun dried and a very tasty fungus grows on them. Most people have no idea of the amazing cheeses made throughout India for thousands of years.

Anita is a practicing Landscape Architect who enjoys cooking with seasonal ingredients. In her terrace garden she grows some of the foods that fuel the ferments in her kitchen. She conducts online Food Workshops where like-minded people join her in the kitchen on weekends to cook with locally sourced seasonal ingredients, and has recently started pop-ups with some great Indian Chefs, Bakers and Brewers.

Anita has been baking sourdough breads at home for years using her lively wild yeast starter and local flours. Anita blogs about food matters at A Mad Tea Party Her Instagram handle is a_madteaparty



According to Kashmiri Life: “Kalari cheese is one of the favorite snacks of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Kalari is a dense cheese and is also called the mozzarella of Kashmir. Like mozzarella, it melts on heating and hardens on cooling. The flavor and taste of Kashmiri cheese are just fingers licking well.

Folklore says Kalari is an authentic traditional cheese of the Dogra dynasty of Jammu and Kashmir. Kalari is indigenous to Ramnagar, a town in Udhampur district of Jammu and Kashmir. As shepherds the Gujjar and Bakarwals are highly dependable on Milk, it is popular among the Gujjar and Bakarwal community of Jammu and Kashmir. This cheese is also called “milk chapatti” or “maish krej” in Kashmiri.

Traditionally Kalari cheese is made from Cow’s or Buffalo’s milk but nowadays people also made Kalaris from Goat’s milk, which is whitish in color. Preparation of Kalaris takes hard labor and the nomadic women of Jammu and Kashmir have proved to be the best in this Task.

Preparation of kalari cheese of Jammu and Kashmir is women power: 

Yes, the women play the most important role in Kalari preparation. It is more like a skill that has been passed on among every Gujjar and Bakarwal women folk in Jammu and Kashmir from generation to generation.


December 19 - Fruit From the Sands 11AM to 1 PM EDT 

With Dr. Robert Spengler III, author of Fruit from the Sands . Co-hosted by Zizinia de Les Flors’ Caspar Hall. The last Zoom event is free, as they all have been over the last 11 years.

Available from Independent Bookstores and other online sources.

InRetrospect

There are now 3 ways to register for InRetrospect  or to  get on our mailing list. Either follow us on Instagram at cultures.group and DM with your email address and name, or use PayPal: https://paypal.me/FermentsandCultures or Venmo: @Ken-Fornataro. Email: kojibook@earthlink.net with questions.

InRetrospect is $75 for five+ months or $15 a month (pro tip: very unlikely anyone will give you a hard time until June 1 regardless of what you pay for, so don’t hesitate if $75 is just too much).

The point is that if you pay anything you get into the payment system, and we don’t have to maintain any mailing list. Because that’s what payment systems do. Unsure? Watch some great videos already posted at https://vimeo.com/culturesgroup.


Anita Tikoo’s Kalari Cheese Sandwich

Rice as Medicine and Food

Rice as Food and Medicine by Melanie McIntosh

“Like the millets, Asian rice first evolved in eastern China but eventually became prized in cuisines far to the West. Rice is indispensable in Arabic and Turkic cuisines today, and it was a significant part of the diet, at least as far as back as the medieval period. Persian, Arabic, and Islamic cuisines cook rice in oil or steam it and serve it with a wide variety of vegetables, spices, and meats. Rice also featured in the diet in other ways: It was an important component of medieval Arabic desserts, rice flour was used to make breads, rice was fermented into beer and vinegar, and it was used medicinally. However, among most Central Asian cuisines today it’s starring role is in pilaf.” from Fruits from the Sands by Robert Spengler III.

“Long grain basmati and short grain rice . Anyone who has eaten rice with curry at an Indian restaurant and the sticky rice in sushi rolls knows that rice grains vary in  shape. Although there are many varieties of domesticated rice, they fall mainly into two well defined clades, or branches: O. sativa ssp. indica and O. sativa ssp. japonica- or Indian and Chinese rice. Indica Rice is generally long-grained: the claimed is exemplified by the well known basmati rice. Japonica is usually short-grained and is sometimes referred to as pearl rice. Many locally grown Asian varieties are intermediate in size between indica and japonica. Many japonica grains become sticky, or glutinous, with cooking, although there are glutinous and nonglutinous forms of both japonica and indica. Some varieties of both clades have traits that make them suitable for growing in wet paddies, other forms are adapted to grow on drained land.” from Fruits from the Sands by Robert Spengler III.


December 19 - Fruit From the Sands 11AM to 1 PM EDT 

With Dr. Robert Spengler III, author of Fruit from the Sands . Co-hosted by Zizinia de Les Flors’ Caspar Hall. The last Zoom event is free, as they all have been over the last 11 years.

Available from Independent Bookstores and other online sources.

InRetrospect

There are now 3 ways to register for InRetrospect  or to  get on our mailing list. Either follow us on Instagram at cultures.group and DM with your email address and name, or use PayPal: https://paypal.me/FermentsandCultures or Venmo: @Ken-Fornataro. Email: kojibook@earthlink.net with questions.

InRetrospect is $75 for five+ months or $15 a month (pro tip: very unlikely anyone will give you a hard time until June 1 regardless of what you pay for, so don’t hesitate if $75 is just too much).

The point is that if you pay anything you get into the payment system, and we don’t have to maintain any mailing list. Because that’s what payment systems do. Unsure? Watch some great videos already posted at https://vimeo.com/culturesgroup.


Koji Idlys



Idlys are usually a steamed soft bread made from fermented rice. In this case, Maya used basmati rice koji. Maya Seetharaman is a globally trained designer, passionate cook, and fermenter, with a passion to enhance meaning, equity, and quality in people’s lives, through research, food, and human-centered design. Maya has lived and worked across multiple cultural contexts, and spends most of her time – when not covered in flour, oil, or Koji spores – observing and unearthing socio-cultural insights for fortune 500 companies, that can drive innovation, sustainability, and cross-cultural empathy.


InRetrospect

There are now 3 ways to register for InRetrospect  or to  get on our mailing list. Either follow us on Instagram at cultures.group and DM with your email address and name, or use https://paypal.me/FermentsandCultures or Venmo: @Ken-Fornataro.

InRetrospect is $75 for five+ months or $15 a month (pro tip: send $15if $75 is just too much). The point is that if you pay anything you get into the payment system, and we don’t have to maintain any mailing list. Because that’s what payment systems do.

Unsure? Watch some great videos already posted at https://vimeo.com/culturesgroup. Email: kojibook@earthlink.net with questions.


December 19 - Fruit From the Sands 11AM to 1 PM EDT 

With Dr. Robert Spengler III, author of Fruit from the Sands . Co-hosted by Zizinia de Les Flors’ Caspar Hall. The last Zoom event is free, as they all have been over the last 11 years. But we’re moving on.

Available from Independent Bookstores and other online sources.

Corn Misos and Corn Koji


Alan Callaham @dirty.beets presents an Explanation of Pure Corn Misos

Alan Callaham began his career hitchhiking around the west coast, volunteering on small farms and working in kitchens. He found beauty in the intersection of these two worlds and set off on a journey to explore connections between agriculture, restaurants, and local food traditions. In pursuit of this he has managed market and kitchen gardens, cooked in Michelin-starred restaurants, established preservation programs for kitchens, and worked on food-related projects in Sri Lanka, Turkey, Denmark, and Norway. He currently resides in his home state of Massachusetts. Currently with Food Preservation Lab at @bluehillfarm / @stonebarns


Sweet Corn Miso

There are hundreds more videos like this, and hundreds more on the way! There are now two ways to register for InRetrospect or to get on our mailing list. Either follow us and DM at  https://www.instagram.com/cultures.group/ with your email address or PayPal: https://paypal.me/FermentsandCultures

InRetrospect is $75 USD, or $15 a month and has been extended to June 1, 2022. You can subscribe now for $15 and decide whether to do another month on February 1 if you like. We will be adding new videos every month.

Follow us here at Vimeo https://vimeo.com/culturesgroup and you get to watch a whole lot of them as they are created for free, and decide if you want to watch lots of them by subscribing.

Again, if you made videos in the past and want access to them all you have to contact us and let us know. It’s that simple. DM us on Instagram. 

These are corn grits koji. In other words corn grits that have been steamed to pre gelatinize the sytartch, then inouclated with different Aspergillus spores. In this case a combination of spores was used including Aspergillus oryzae and Aspergillus sojae. Made by @kenfornataro

December 19 - Fruit From the Sands 11AM to 1 PM EDT 

With Dr. Robert Spengler III and Caspar Hall of Zizinia de Les Flors)

“The foods we eat have a deep and often surprising past. From almonds and apples to tea and rice, many foods that we consume today have histories that can be traced out of prehistoric Central Asia along the tracks of the Silk Road to kitchens in Europe, America, China, and elsewhere in East Asia. The exchange of goods, ideas, cultural practices, and genes along these ancient routes extends back five thousand years, and organized trade along the Silk Road dates to at least Han Dynasty China in the second century BC. 


%d bloggers like this: