Sunday with Friends


Sunday February 21 Zoom Event (Click for call)
Meeting ID: 287 521 6492
Passcode: FC1

Please join our mailing list for $1.00 using the button so we don’t have to pay big bucks managing our mailing lists. Otherwise write us at kojiandpickles@gmail.com

February 21, 2021– Click to Register

A discussion of African spice blends and cultures as interpreted by the diaspora of Africans throughout the world, the creation of Caribbean and Creole food and basically all Southern Cooking, and more. Hearth baked and prison and slave bread and Western kenyan fermented milk and ash.

A simply amazing array of applications of koji to regional African resources including Eland and Wildebeest, interpretations of standards like koji-cured bacon and koji cured bresaola, along with some unique experiments using koji to create new flavors and textures in meats and drinks by Sacha Wilson, some unique recipe demonstrations, and a Gullah-Geechee story and a Hoppin’ John recipe from Ebonee-McCorvey.

Making Mopane Garum and a discussion of the context in which it is made including a history of family hunger during which termites and other insects – actually, a delicacy – were eaten during hungry times by Anja de Klerk.


The videos are broadcast at Vimeo.com/culturesgroup. Please make sure to be a verified Vimeo user. Otherwise, you will not be able to view the videos for any event.


March Madness

These 3 events of #FermentsandCultures2021 offer presentations on making shio-koji, using koji as an agent to create foods from otherwise wasted food sources, African spice blends and cultures of the diaspora of Africans throughout the world, the creation of Caribbean and Creole food, Asian fermentation techniques using Corn, Squash, Rice, Nuts or Roots for vegetable fermentation, drinks, baked goods, misos and pickles.


February 21 – 12 PM to 2:00 PM Eastern Time – Diaspora of Africa. $10 for event plus video viewing. All 3 events are no fee for presenters. $45 for all 3 for non-presenters and volunteers.

Use the pulldown! Here: paypal.me/FermentsandCultures


Dent Corn Koji

March 21, 2021 – Tonics and Ferments 10 AM to 12 PM ET – 5 minute videos in our Vimeo library viewable for months by registrants, and a live event at time above. Vegetable ferments. Restorative Tonics. Sacred Beers. Meads. Shio-Koji. Dashi. Bone broths. Shoyuzuke. Medicinal brews. Doboroku. Foraged rescue remedies. Fire tonic. Miso soups. Mushrooms. Cultural histories. Lactofermented brines. Amasaje. Shrubs. Seaweed salad. Tree bark water kefir. Fresh Cheese. Vinegar. Chocolate. Filamentous Fungus. Amino Pastes. Jiangs. Tea. Kombucha.Jun. Things to spiritually and emotionally and physically propel you from the winter into Spring!


If you’d like to present at any of these events, or would like to have your business, book, restaurant, webpage, classes or yourself listed let us know. right away!


• April 11, 2021 – 10 AM to 12 PM ET – Corn, Squash, Rice, Nuts and Root VegetablesAsian Techniques to make Tempe, Misos, Amino Pastes, Drinks, Fish or Meat Marinades, Sauces, Sake, Rice wine, Shio-koji, Jangs, Bokashi, and baked goods.


$45 for all 3 events including Zoom meeting and associated videos, or see pull down menu. Use paypal.me/FermentsandCultures Contact us at kojiandpickles@gmail.com to discuss presentations, videos, interviews, talks you would like to create, or to become an intern or volunteer. We are actively soliciting input from people worldwide to share one or more videos for these sessions.


Each event has a live Zoom event at the following time and dates, Eastern Standard. All videos are always at Vimeo.com/culturesgroup Some may be in a specific showcase, either visible or hidden to anyone without the passcode to get in. Our videos are always password protected. You must have both the showcase address, and the passcode for a specific event.


Spring, Asia, Africa

Vegetable ferments. Restorative Tonics. Sacred Beers. Meads. Shio-Koji. Dashi. Bone broths. Shoyuzuke. Medicinal brews. Doboroku. Foraged rescue remedies. Fire tonic. Miso soups. Mushrooms. Garums. Cultural histories. Lactofermented brines. Amasake. Shrubs. Seaweeds. Tree bark water kefir. Fresh Cheese.

Vinegar. Chocolate. Filamentous Fungus. Amino Pastes. Jiangs. Tea. Kombucha. Jun. Things to spiritually and emotionally and physically propel you from the winter into Spring! Corn. Koji. Buckwheat rejuvelac. Tempe. Amino Pastes. Shoes. Sake. Rice wine. Jangs. Bokashi. Sourdough. Sweets.

Sacha Wilson‘s Koji cured Bresaola

These 3 events of #FermentsandCultures2021 offer presentations on the above – hopefully! – and also making shio-koji, using koji as an agent to create foods from otherwise wasted food sources, African spice blends and cultures of the diaspora of Africans throughout the world, the creation of Caribbean and Creole food, Asian fermentation techniques using Corn, Squash, Rice, Nuts or Roots for vegetable fermentation, drinks, baked goods, misos and pickles.


February 21 – 12 PM to 2:00 PM Eastern Time – Diaspora of Africa

Ebonee McCorvey and Family bringing the Gullah-Geechee real

A discussion of African spice blends and cultures as interpreted by the diaspora of Africans throughout the world, the creation of Caribbean and Creole food and basically all Southern Cooking, and more

$10 Fee. All 3 events are no fee for presenters. Use the pulldown! Here: paypal.me/FermentsandCultures


February 21 – 12 PM to 2:00 PM Eastern Time – Diaspora of Africa with


All events are priced differently but $45 for these 3 events includes the Zoom meetings and viewing of associated event videos until May 2021. Videos are only available on Vimeo in secured showcases that require addresses and passcodes to find and view. Please use: paypal.me/FermentsandCultures


March 21, 2021 – Tonics and Ferments 10 AM to 12 PM ET – 5 minute videos in our Vimeo library viewable for months by registrants, and a live event at time above. Vegetable ferments. Restorative Tonics. Sacred Beers. Meads. Shio-Koji. Dashi. Bone broths. Shoyuzuke. Medicinal brews. Doboroku. Foraged rescue remedies. Fire tonic. Miso soups. Mushrooms. Cultural histories. Lactofermented brines. Amasaje. Shrubs. Seaweed salad. Tree bark water kefir. Fresh Cheese. Vinegar. Chocolate. Filamentous Fungus. Amino Pastes. Jiangs. Tea. Kombucha.Jun. Things to spiritually and emotionally and physically propel you from the winter into Spring!


If you’d like to present at any of these events, or would like to have your business, book, restaurant, webpage, classes or yourself listed let us know. right away!


Corn with A.sojae
Corn with A. sojae for all corn shoyu

• April 11, 2021 – 10 AM to 12 PM ET – Corn, Squash, Rice, Nuts and Root VegetablesAsian Techniques to make Tempe, Misos, Amino Pastes, Drinks, Fish or Meat Marinades, Sauces, Sake, Rice wine, Shio-koji, Jangs, Bokashi, and baked goods.


$45 for all 3 events including Zoom meeting and associated videos, or see pull down menu. Use paypal.me/FermentsandCultures Contact us at kojiandpickles@gmail.com to discuss presentations, videos, interviews, talks you would like to create, or to become an intern or volunteer. We are actively soliciting input from people worldwide to share one or more videos for these sessions.


Each event has a live Zoom event at the following time and dates, Eastern Standard. All videos are always at Vimeo.com/culturesgroup Some may be in a specific showcase, either visible or hidden to anyone without the passcode to get in. Our videos are always password protected. You must have both the showcase address, and the passcode for a specific event.


Chocolate Cake #7


Fold a sheet of parchment paper across the pan to lift the cake out after it has cooled.

This version of a versatile chocolate cake base is one of our favorites, not just because of taste but also the variations in ingredients that can be made.

You can easily make it a vegan, and gluten free cake. We’ve done that using an egg substitute made with nut or rice milk. We like the egg white and old sourdough rye starter more because we often have those lying around.


Dark cocoa and dark rye sourdough starter

You could replace the sourdough starter with mascarpone cheese or cultured butter or cocoa butter. Otherwise, the only fat would come from the finely ground almonds and the unsweetened chocolate you chose to use instead of the cocoa powder. It’s all good.

The version that results from the recipe below is not at all sweet, has very little fat, but is very satisfying with something to contrast all the deep goodness of the cake. Black coffee or milk kefir or nut milk or tea all work well. As does cow’s milk. People say this cake rocks with a stout beer.

You could simply slice and serve this cake. In this case we made an orange infused maple syrup, and served it with some cinnamon infused milk kefir for a probiotic kick.

You can also use maple syrup, infused or not, to soak the cake then freeze in slices for super easy ice cream sandwiches. Or you cold coat then with a semi-sweet chocolate coating – like tempered chocolate with a little corn syrup or a little maple syrup – then eat them straight out of the freezer.


This also makes a great bread pudding with eggs, milk, butter, sugar and sour cherries.


Ingredients
  • 112 grams or 1 cup fine almond flour
  • 55 grams unsweetened dark cocoa powder
  • 278 grams old sourdough starter
  • 55 g or 1/4 cup unrefined, organic sugar
  • 6 egg whites
  • 110 grams or 1/2 cup mirin (honey or rice syrup work as well)
  • 1 TB baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 TB chocolate extract

Directions
  • Preheat your oven to 350F
  • Grease a 9 by 5 inches pan. Line with parchment paper to lift out.
  • In a large bowl, whip cocoa, sourdough starter and mirin
  • Whisk the eggs whites and the sugar side to side until peaks form.
  • Add the blended almond flour, baking soda and baking powder.
  • Add the sourdough, cocoa and mirin mix to the batter until blended. 
  • Pour into prepared pan
  • Bake for 45 minutes or 190F

Serving suggestion

Coconut Fennel Beer


Roasted Sourdough Coconut Fennel Bread in a rich malt broth.

Eventbrite (Register at this link, or at MeetUp for cash donations)

January 27th, 7 to 9:30 come ask questions about any of the recipes or methods used in this post. Two extremely skilled fermenters, and cutting edge brewers, Chris Cuzme and Mary Izett will be in house helping us answer questions.

They create their brews at Fifth Hammer Brewing Company in Long Island City, where the event is taking place. Take a look at their menu! And try some things that we made using enzymes, and yeasts starters. We’ll answer any question that you have about anything fermented.


We used lots of different types of grains inoculated with koji. We made syrups out of them by making amasake from both rice and barley inoculated with Aspergillus oryzae (koji), then slowly boiled them down to a very thick sweet paste.

You could use store bought barley malt or rice syrup.

We also added some DME, or direct malt extract, to the broth or what is called the mash if you are making beer. You could use all powdered DME if the syrups are too time consuming or expensive.


Sweet Malted Wort meets Toasted Coconut Fennel Sourdough Bread

Our yeasts were from what are sometimes called Shanghai yeast balls. These typically contain koji as well as other fungal enzymes like the ones you can make tempeh with called Rhizopus oryzae.

These enzymes work to break down big starches into small digestible sugars for humans, and for yeast food. When starches are broken down like this they are then called fermentable sugars. The yeast can eat them and create alcohol and gas.


Yeasts balls crushed up, and a fancy instrument to measure the SG of your beverage. This is important when you want to know how much alcohol something contains. Not much at all at the start – or at the end.

Chinese yeast balls called 麹 in traditional Chinese also contain specific bacteria that are widely used in the food sector to turn starches into sugars, including for fermenting. The Japanese recognize the word 麹 as meaning koji as well.

But the Japanese got their alphabet (or kanji) from the Chinese. It’s a system of pictograms. The Japanese dramatically altered both the language and the koji so that now most people refer to koji as the purified, Aspergillus only Japanese version.

Chinese starter cultures are dramaticaly different, but do often contain some Aspergilllus oryzae as well. It can be confusing when 麹 is used. All the great spore producers are in Japan.


The original koji mash we boiled.

We wanted to introduce people to the concept of mashing, above, as well as adding house made or store made malt extracts in powder or liquid form.

If you have enough you won’t even need the powdered malt extract. On the other hand, you could double the dried malt extract and skip the koji syrups. (original recipe)


The yeast forming a nice top of the beer. This beer doesn’t have hops, though. So this is really, really old school.

After straining the liquid we had intended to use for something else we realized we had lots of liquid koji extracts in the refrigerator. We also had lots of sourdough bread that had some flavoring components in them. Those became this spiced beer.

  • 6000 grams liquid cooled down to 95 to 105F
  • 950 grams heavily toasted sourdough bread (coconut and fennel sourdough bread was used in this recipe)
  • 22 grams crushed yeast balls (2 to 3 balls)

When the malted liquid made from either koji syrups or liquid or powdered malt – your goal is a starting SD of 1.040, but don’t worry about it if you can’t measure it – is below 105F, pour over the sourdough and let it absorb the liquid. Keep warm.

After about an hour the bread should have absorbed the liquid and be around 95F. As long as it’s between 72F to 95F it’s okay. Add the crushed up yeast balls and stir for about 5 minutes.

Cover with a towel and leave in a warm place for about an hour. Stir well again and put in a sanitized container. It should not fill the container more than half full. Put in warm area, maintaining a temperature as close to 82F as you can, covered with an air lock or just a sanitized cloth. Stir once or twice a day for 3 days, tasting as you go along.

At day 3 strain the mixture well with a sanitized strainer. Put in smaller sanitized container and let it settle for a few hours. Then pour off the top liquid into sanitized bottles and let sit again, this time in a cool area.

Either pour off the liquid again after about 12 hours – rack it some more while pouring the liquid through a very fine nut bag or brewing bag – or don’t and refrigerate until very cold.

Leave about an inch space in each bottle, then seal the bottles tightly. Be aware of carbon dioxide buildup. Burp the bottles if they appear to be building up gas.

Careful when taking the bottles from a very cold refrigerator to a warmer area. As with water kefir and milk kefir, open bottles with a towel over a bucket if necessary.



Ask questions at our upcoming event! There are two ways to register depending on whether you have cash or credit. Most people are registering using Eventbrite, but register at our MeetUp page if you have cash or can’t afford anything. Just register.


Part 2 of the Chocolate Brew

Eventbrite (Register at this link, or at MeetUp for cash donations)

January 27th, 7 to 9:30 come ask questions about any of the recipes or methods used in this post.

Two extremely skilled fermenters, and cutting edge brewers, Chris Cuzme and Mary Izett will present and answer questions. They create their brews at Fifth Hammer Brewing Company in Long Island City, where the event is taking place. Take a look at their menu!

Try some things that we made using enzymes, and yeasts starters. We’ll answer any question that you have about anything fermented.


The following recipes demonstrate methods that are useful across the board for anything you brew. Yeast is involved, as are bacteria.

We measure the starting SG (specific gravity) and PH of everything. We count on bacteria to create lactic acid to lower the PH in some brews, but not this one.

We could easily just add some lactic acid up front to lower the PH quickly to protect the yeast from infection in any brew, but that does not avoid the need to always be sanitary. Even when you have an open brewing system like with sake.

Once the yeast takes hold it will be able to control the environment of the brew, but in many cases unless the lactic acid producing bacteria are prevented from infecting the moromi or mash, the yeast may not stand a chance.


Utensils hanging out in Star-san. You can even save it for bottle washing weeks later.

We’ll talk about sanitation in future posts. For now wash everything, use gloves, and boil everything that could come in contact with your brew.

Everything always follows strict rules of sanitation. Get some Star-san and use it. You could also use bleach, but that’s a lot more tricky.


Rice sugar extract, similar to a liquid malt extract.

We wanted to introduce people to the concept of mashing, as well as adding house made or store made malt extracts in powder or liquid form.

Obviously introducing people to some basic principles of yeast starter building and maintenance for everything from sake to shoyu to beer if they haven’t been introduced is always a good thing.

We’ll discuss all these things at the event, and in future posts after the event.


Chocolate Koji Kvass (濁酒)- continued
  • 3785 grams (1 gallon) water
  • 1400 grams rice koji syrup (warm)
  • 445 grams barley koji syrup (warm)
  • 240 grams dried powdered barley malt extract

After straining the liquid we realized we had lots of liquid koji extracts in the refrigerator. We also had lots of sourdough bread that had some flavoring components in them. So we set the liquid we made in the previous post – our sweet little wort – and decided to make a more refined base for our Chocolate Koji Doboroku.

We boiled these together in a sanitized pot being careful not to scorch or burn the bottom.

  • 85 grams bittersweet chocolate

We added the chocolate right near the end of the boil of 60 minutes and mixed it well with a sanitized whisk. At the 50 minute mark is fine.


The cooling down wort waiting for it’s yeast.

When the boil got down to 90 F we added the yeast and stirred. You can use an ice bath and cold water to get the temperature down.

Proofed S.bayanus yeast ready to go.

After that, we put a sanitized lock top lid on top. We waited a week or so until we sampled it. Keep it at 72F or below if you can.

We may add some additional chocolate at this point similar to an infused sake. If you plan on doing that hold back some chocolate and let it steep in a small amount of alcohol or water in the fridge. Come try some.


Chocolate Koji Kvass (濁酒)


Heavily toasted rice koji (A.oryzae) sourdough bread.

Recipe
  • 150 grams rice koji
  • 200 grams wheat berry or brown rice koji (or more rice koji)
  • 300 grams heavily toasted cubed or ripped apart sourdough bread.

Mix above ingredients and toast slowly in oven for two hours at 200F. Stir occasionally. Not burnt, but really brown for the bread. The koji won’t change color much but will smell amazing.

The rice koji bread above is obviously not as dark as a pumpernickel bread would be. Bread made with rice or another koji is preferred, but use whatever leftover bread you have.

Use whatever koji you have. Can’t get your hands on koji? Use malt extracts. We’ll discuss those tomorrow.


Two hours after slow roasting our kojis and bread.

  • 24 cups boiled water, cooled down to 140F

Pour the water onto the mixture hanging over your fermenter in a brew bag. Stir the contents in the bag well.

Let sit, covered with a sanitized cloth or plastic wrap for 24 hours as close to 120F as you can.

It’s okay if you can only keep the temperature at 72F.


In the sanitized brew bag. In a fermenter (a plastic, food safe bucket that fits right into our cooler) that can easily be chilled.

We’ll decide what to do for yeast once you lift the brewers bag out carefully letting every last drop drip out. Don’t squeeze the bag, though. Save the dregs to make vinegar or compost it.

You can also dry it out and use as breading for fried foods or as a thickening agent.

You should have either brewers yeast, yeast balls, champagne yeast, sake yeast or even another type of yeast for tomorrow.


Ask questions at our upcoming event! There are two ways to register depending on whether you have cash or credit. Register here if you want to bring cash or make donations. If you want to register with a credit card use the Eventbrite link.


Walnut Amasake Bittersweet Chocolate Muffins


Baking with microbes

Almost everything we bake, brew cook or ferment contains one or more microbes. Bacteria, yeasts, fungus and other fermented products that already contain microbes (like miso, milk kefir, and vinegar) work exceptionally well in and with baked goods.

Even if you set aside the yeasts common in bread baking, we almost always use shio-koji instead of salt, milk kefir or amasake instead of milk, and often lacto-fermented fruits,vegetables and even grains in baking.

Muffins and tea breads are basically are usually the same batter baked in different size baking pans. Obviously a bigger pan means a longer baking time, maybe 45 minutes as opposed to 30 minutes at 350F for the 8 big muffins that this recipe makes.


Ingredients

Our rules of muffin making as well as tea breads are simple.

  • The batter should be just barely mixed
  • The batter should be on the wetter side
  • Never fill a pan more than two thirds full
  • Add 1 tsp baking soda with the dry ingredients
  • Mix ins like nuts go with dry ingredients
  • Fruits and/or flavored essences or sauces go with wet stuff
  • Don’t mix in wet fruits or ferments until the end if color maters
  • Let muffin batter rest and puff up before spooning into cups

Half baked at 15 minutes. Looking good.

The recipe for these muffins pretty much follow the standard muffin ratio that every baker has memorized. Butter by weight equals sugar by weight. That combined weight is the weight of the flour. It’s also the weight in whatever measurement system you are using in liquid. In most cases add-ins like nuts or berries should never exceed in volume the sugar or flour volume.

Because we add a fermented or microbe inclusive ingredient to our baked goods – typically of a lower, acidic pH – we always add baking soda with the powder. Sourdough leavened muffins follow a different procedure based on bakers ratios that we’ll explain in another post.



  • 8 ounces or 1 1/2 cups or 236 grams all purpose flour or other
  • 4 ounces or 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar or other
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4.3 ounces or 1 cup or 124 grams roasted chopped walnuts
  • 3.1 ounces or 1/2 cup or 90 grams bittersweet chocolate chips/chunks
  • 1.2 ounces or 2 TB or 32 grams shio-koji (or 1 tsp salt)
  • 8 ounces or 3/4 cup or 230 grams rice amasake (or nut or dairy milk)
  • 1 TB vanilla (or chocolate extract or mirin or soy sauce)
  • 4.5 ounces or 2 extra large or 126 grams eggs (or two vegan eggs)
  • 5 ounces or 1/2 cup or 156 grams dark maple syrup
  • 4 ounces or 1/2 cup or 112 grams roasted walnut oil (or butter/oil)


Procedure

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Have bottom shelf ready for one or two muffin tins.
  • Prepare the tins with grease or just paper linings.
  • Mix flour, coconut palm sugar, baking powder, roasted chopped walnuts, bittersweet chocolate chips/chunks together
  • Whisk your eggs, walnut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, amasake, and shio-koji together well. Add to just incorporate with the dry ingredients.
  • Add add ins if you have reserved them to maintain the color or spacing of the add ins in your batter. *Check your chocolate to ensure it is non-dairy if vegan baking
  • Spoon about 4 ounces into each of 8 prepared muffin cups.
  • If using a smaller muffin tea or mini-muffin pans remember the rule – never more than 2/3 full.
  • Bake at 350F for 30 minutes in a pre-heated oven.
  • Don’t open the oven door until 20 minutes have elapsed.
  • Internal temperature should be 205 F, or a clean toothpick.
  • Remove muffins from oven and let rest 30 minutes away from heat.
  • Place on wire rack for further cooling after removing from the pan.


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