Schedule/Links/Money for May 23, 2020


Welcome! On Saturday May 23, 2PM EST to 11:30 PM EST you have to call into each Session when it opens at the scheduled time. No one wanted to stay on a 7 1/2 hour call/event so it was broken up into 3 sessions. Click the name of the session below, and it will take you to the Zoom event. You need a password for each session. They are below.

Note: You will be muted upon entering. You can use the chat. The co-hosts will monitor it for questions. Do not post off topic chat notes or try to advertise anything during any session. You will be blocked from chatting if you do.

You can’t upload files. You can’t share your screen. The co-hosts will decide if you get unmuted. But, that really creates a lot of noise and ruins the recording according to the people that are attempting to record this. Please do not ask about recordings again. Thank You for your interest!


SESSION 1 – Password: MKF1 – Microbes, Koji, Ferments 2:00 PM EST to 6:00 PM EST. Meeting ID: Meeting ID: 822 9354 4287

SESSION 2 – Password: MKF2 Microbes, Koji, Ferments, Part 2 6:00 PM EST to 9:00 PM EST Meeting ID: 812 4792 9598

SESSION 3 – Password: CF1 Cultivos y Fermentos – 9:00 PM EST to 11:30 PM EST Meeting ID: 833 1798 7281

Payment/Donation/Confirmation

There are two ways to send money to support our work. Make a donation of $20 or more US dollars. Venmo or PayPal will give you a receipt. You don’t get a payment confirmation from us. Again, the links and password for May 23 are above.

Cultures.Group

Zymes 2020 – May 23, 2020


To REGISTER click on the word REGISTER.


SESSION 1 – Microbes, Koji, Ferments – Meeting ID: 812 4792 9598

2:00 PM EST to 6:00 PM EST

Tepary Bean, Corn and Pepino Tempeh from Ferment.Works

SESSION 2 Microbes, Koji, Ferments, Part 2 – Meeting ID: 812 4792 9598

6:00 PM EST to 9:00 PM EST

SESSION 3 Cultivos y FermentosMeeting ID: 833 1798 7281

9:00 PM EST to 11:30 PM EST

This is the second of a monthly or bi-monthly series of culturesgroup’s Zymes2020 program. Our first event has been recorded at our Vimeo site. Although there are already planned events for the series, it is our goal to not publicize these until the previous event has been finalized.


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Cultures.Group

Session Recordings – Cultured & Cured

All Session recordings are at our vimeo site.



Session 2Cultured & Cured


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Contact us through the following means, or join our MeetUp or Facebook group. All these meetings are listed at out MeetUp page.

 

Zymes2020 – Video/Next Event/Last Event Schedule

Upcoming May 23rd 2:00 to 11:30 PM EST. Details Friday, May 8th. No Fee. Pre-Registration Required. You must be validated with Zoom. Again, details this upcoming Friday. New York Time. Recording from previous event below. More coming! Thanks!

Koji Mushroom Making Video: https://youtu.be/Y7cUB4yBltU

May 3 Schedule and Presenters

All times are EST (New York) Click on the name of the presenter to go to the Zoom Link. You need to sign up with Zoom, a very easy thing to do. Because there are space limits, you have to register once for Zoom, then for each Session you want to attend.


Session 1- Flavor of Hands Fermentation and Koji 101 


Session 2 – Cultured & Cured


Session 3 – Hops, Trees and Really Wild Ferments


Session 4 – Fermenting with Flowers, Fungus and Bacteria


Black Soybean Taucho (B.subtilis) Pesto

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Flavor of Hands and Koji 101

Flavor of Hands Fermentation and Koji 101 – Session #1. All times are EST (New York) Click on the Session # to go to the Zoom Link. You need to sign up with Zoom, a very easy thing to do.

  • 4:00 to 4:30 PM – Opening Chef Ken Fornataro
  • 4:30 to 5:00 – Chef Rick Porter Sowden
  • 5:00 to 5:30 – Chef Dave Smoke-McCluskey
  • 5: 30 to 6:00 – Marcus Im

You are invited. Register in advance for this meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Also listed on Instagram here and MeetUp here. The Zoom links for all sessions are also listed there.


Using Microbes to Preserve/Ferment/Extend Food Resources

How Bacteria, fungus and other microbes can keep your food and drink safe and tasty. Also, how pickling, fermenting and kojifying food can help to use things that would otherwise not be edible such as beans, vegetables, and inexpensive meat or fish.

Chef Ken Fornataro has a vast knowledge of the science and techniques that all but disappeared with the industrialization of food. Ken’s knowledge of microbiology and rigorous methodology has helped him greatly in the kitchen where he employs koji and bacteria and enzymes to create tasty and nutritious food and beverages. He is currently the Executive Chef/CEO (pro bono) of https://Cultures.Group


Golden Millet Koji with A.oryzae and R.oryzae

All Koji isn’t Created Equal

Chef Rick Porter Sowden will offer a Koji 101 primer for professional Chefs, cooks, and hobbyists that believe they know koji. 

Rick Porter Sowden is a Chef, Charcutier, Culinary Mycologist, and Food Technologist with Native Son Koji, a Native American owned and operated company. Native Son Koji designed, developed and adapted equipment for a modern, semi automated, in-house koji making process based on traditional standards & practices. The products and proprietary processes they developed and perfected are unique, as such, are not replicated anywhere else, in the world. 



Sour Corn in the time of Corona

Chef Dave Smoke-McCluskey will talk about fermented corn. Obviously. Sofkee is a fermented corn drink or porridge (grits and mush). Typically consumed by indigenous peoples of the Southeast, and the loss of the tradition amongst the Haudenosaunee. I’ll talk a bit about how to make it, and the rediscovery of lost traditions amongst indigenous people. 

Chef Dave Smoke-McCluskey is Executive Chef/Instructor/Co-Founder of Local Pop, Augusta Boucherie and Corn Mafia.


American Kimchi & Sohn-Mat – Making kimchi authentic to your self and environment

As a first-generation American, the exploration of authenticity is a life-long journey. What does it mean to be authentically Korean and American at the same time? Food, locality, and wild fermentation allows for the bubbly celebration of our cultures. There is as authentic American kimchi as Korean.

A Korean concept called “sohn-mat” literally translates to “flavor of hands”. It’s used colloquially to compliment a chef for their oustanding cooking, but traditionally, it carries a connotation encouraging the use of your hands. The wisdom of “sohn-mat” especially rings true in kimchi making, where the maker’s unique touch becomes their signature. 

Marcus Im is a Korean-American fermentation fanatic, teacher, and writer currently in Brooklyn. 


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Cultured & Cured

Cultured and Cured Session #2 Times are EST (New York) Click on the Session # to go to the Zoom Link. You need to sign up with Zoom, a very easy thing to do.

  • Introduction of Session – Sandor Katz
  • 6:00 to 6:30 PM – Alex Gunuey and Amy Kalafa of A-ray.tv
  • 6:30 to7:00 – Dr. Johnny Drain
  • 7:00 to 7:30 – Dr. Darra Goldstein
  • 7: 30 to 8:00 – Dr. Ken Albala

You are invited. Register in advance for this meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Also listed on Instagram here and MeetUp here. The Zoom links for all sessions are also listed there.


Cultured & Cured

Cultured & Cured explores the art and science of cultivating microbes for good health and fabulous flavors. Featuring top professionals in the world of fermentation, brewing, curing and pickling, Cultured & Cured goes beyond food trends, illuminating the biological activities that make food naturally delicious and super-nutritious.

Chef Ken Fornataro of Cultures.Group with Amy Kalafa

Amy Kalafa is a long-time advocate for sustainable food. Her award-winning film, Two Angry Moms created a media sensation and ignited a nationwide movement for better food in schools, resulting in food policy reform locally and nationally. Amy’s book, Lunch Wars: How to Start a School Food Revolution and Win the Battle for Our Children’s Health (Tarcher-Penguin / Random House) was nominated for a Books for a Better Life Award.  She’s been a writer, producer and editor for Martha Stewart Living and Lidia Bastianich’s Lidia’s Italy PBS series and appeared as a guest chef on the PBS series Cultivating Life. Amy has an MBA in Sustainability. She is also a Certified Holistic Health Counselor and holds a Lectureship at the Yale School of Medicine and Psychiatry.

Co-Host Alexander Gunuey won a James Beard Award as Broadcast Producer for the PBS series Lidia’s Italy. He won an Emmy Award as Senior Editor for Martha Stewart Living and is acclaimed as the editor of A Tribute to Julia Child. Alex is a chef and a specialist in traditional French food preservation from confit and terrine to cornichon and confiture. At the invitation of the Obama’s chef Sam Katz, Alex visited the White House on behalf of Chefs Move to Schools along with Marcus Samuelson, Bea Smith and 1000 other American chefs.  Alex is a co-founder (with Amy Kalafa) of the east coast’s first Certified Organic poultry and game bird farm, Animal Farm. Their innovations in pasture ranging and herbal diets drove demand from Dean & Delucca, Anthony Bourdain, and numerous Michelin-starred restaurants in New York City.


Dr Johnny Drain: researcher, fermenter and food designer. Master of microbes!

MOLD and/or creating tasty things from food waste

Johnny creates delicious things for the world’s best restaurants, bars, and food brands. He’s a world expert in fermentation, using it as a tool to amplify flavour, create new products and increase sustainability. He writes and speaks about the future of food and challenges in global food systems through his work with MOLD, a critically acclaimed editorial platform about designing the future of food.

Combining his PhD in Materials Science from Oxford and years of cooking experience, his clients and collaborators have included the Nordic Food Lab (established by Noma), the Argentinian Ministry of Agriculture, Mirazur (#1, World’s 50 Best 2019), and Dandelyan (#1, World’s 50 Best Bars 2018). He set up the Cub Cave in London to provide research and ferments for Cub, founded by drinks wizard Ryan Chetiyawardana, and zero-waste chef Douglas McMaster’s restaurant Silo, using innovative techniques to turn food waste and by-products into delicious things to eat and drink.

Exploring how to feed 9 billion people by the year 2050, MOLD works with next generation food brands, commissions products from emerging designers, and has run summits for Copenhagen’s TechFest. A visionary voice on the future of food, it was described by the New York Times as “one to watch” in a new generation of independent food magazines.


Darra Goldstein (Photo by Stefan)

Beyond the North Wind: Russia in Recipes and Lore

The founding editor of Gastronomica, talks about her new cookbook, Beyond the North Wind: Russia in Recipes and Lore, and Russian practices of fermentation, which go back over a thousand years. Most people are familiar with lacto-fermented vegetables like dill pickles, sauerkraut, and salted mushrooms, but the Russians also ferment fruits like apples, watermelon, and tomatoes in a light brine that yields a beautiful wine-like flavor. Russians are perhaps most famous for kvass, a lightly fermented alcoholic drink most often made from stale black bread. It can also be made from fruits and vegetables. 

Dr. Darra Goldstein has spent much of the last four decades falling in love with Scandinavia; its people, its landscape, and most of all, its food. She is the founding editor of the James Beard Award-winning journal Gastronomica and a professor of Russian at Williams College. Goldstein has authored or edited more than a dozen books, including The Georgian Feast, which won the 1994 IACP Julia Child Award. She lives in Williamstown Massachusetts.


Living with Microbes

In the past century modern society has waged a speciesist war against bacteria, fungi and molds. Assuming the only good microbe is a dead one, we wiped them off our countertops, out of our soil and nearly purged them completely from our bodies. There are of course pathogenic germs and “good” microbes that have been used for millenia, but it is only recently that we have begun to appreciate what we have lost in terms of the pre-pasteurian food supply. Award winning historian Ken Albala will ramble on about bread, cheese, cured meat, pickles and answer any questions you have about the very unscientific approach to living with microbes. 

Dr. Ken Albala is Professor of History at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, where he teaches food history and the history of early modern Europe. He is also a Visiting Professor at Boston University, where he teaches an advanced food history course in the gastronomy program. He earned an M.A. in History from Yale University and a Ph.D. in History from Columbia University. Professor Albala is the author or editor of 16 books on food. His four-volume Food Cultures of the World Encyclopedia was published in 2011. He is also coeditor of the journal Food, Culture & Society and general editor of the series AltaMira Studies in Food and Gastronomy, for which he has written a textbook titled Three World Cuisines: Italian, Mexican, Chinese, which won the 2013 Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Best Foreign Cuisine Book in the World. In 2009, he won the Faye and Alex G. Spanos Distinguished Teaching Award at the University of the Pacific. Other books include Eating Right in the Renaissance; Food in Early Modern Europe; Cooking in Europe, 1250-1650; The Banquet: Dining in the Great Courts of Late Renaissance Europe; and the award-winning Beans: A History. He also coedited Food and Faith in Christian Culture and A Cultural History of Food in the Renaissance, among other books.nd co-authored “The Lost Art of Real Cooking” and “The Lost Arts of Hearth and Home.”


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Hops, Trees and Really Wild Ferments

Hops, Trees and Really Wild Ferments Session #3 – Times are EST (New York) Click on the Session # to go to the Zoom Link. You need to sign up with Zoom, a very easy thing to do.

  • 8:00 to 8:30 PM – Chris Cuzme of Fifth Hammer Brewing
  • 8:30 to 9:00 – Chef Sean Doherty
  • 9:00 to 9:30 – Mallory O’Donnell

You are invited. Register in advance for this meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Also listed on Instagram here and MeetUp here. The Zoom links for all sessions are also listed there.


Hops, Brewing and Fermenting

Chris Cuzme and Mary Izett of Fifth Hammer Brewing 

Listen and watch a uniquely talented brewer and fermenter, co-owner of Fifth Hammer Brewing Chris Cuzme of Fifth Hammer Brewing along with his equally brilliant brewing and fermenting partner Mary Izett. 

You can still get some of their amazing brews in Long Island City. And hopefully someday have another meeting with all the incredible fermenters and microbe wranglers that meet there only due to the generosity of The Fifth  Hammer Brewing team. Chris and Mary also host https://heritageradionetwork.org/series/fuhmentaboudit/ “Ferment About It! (Fuhmentaboudit!), aims to demystify the art of home fermentation with a primary focus on home brewing beer. Chris and Mary take listeners on a journey through fermentation, sharing history, practical methods, recipes and anecdotes from personal experience as well as from those of guest fermenters both amateur and pro.”


Thai Fermented meat called Naem (sour) using Beef and Fish


The Thai fermented meat preparation that Chef Sean Doherty will demonstrate is called Naem (sour). He will use both a beef tri tip and a filet of Cobia. This type of fermentation employs lactic acid bacteria so it’s essentially a “souring” taking place. The meat/fish are safely preserved by these (food safe)bacteria which is possible through precise ratio of salt combined with sticky rice plus fresh garlic. After the items are sufficiently fermented, they can be grilled, deep fried, etc., with no need to rinse off the cure. This only contributes to the flavor, becoming crispy and deeply satisfying. This is a relatively unknown method that could very well be the next “umami bomb”.aem (sour) using Beef and Fish. 

Chef Sean Doherty earned a Grande Diplome from the renowned Le Cordon Bleu program in 2004. Having worked with great chefs such as Larry Matthews Jr. at Back Bay Grill and Melissa Kelly at Primo, Sean was tapped by Harding Lee Smith to be the opening Chef of two of his successful restaurants: The Corner Room and The Oyster Room at Boone’s Fish House shortly after. Sean has spent the last ten+ years learning the ‘oldways and traditions of food preservation’ which includes fermentation, foraging, baking, and brewing; with a strong focus on Asian pathways (koji, miso, soy sauce, garum and vinegars). He now resides in Brunswick with his wife, two daughters, and countless culinary experiments. 



How to Ferment a Tree – Wild Food Fermentation with ingredients from the Trees – Flowers, Conifer Needles and Tips, Ornamental Flowers, Sap, and Syrup

Sauerkraut and kvass are two vegetable ferments that require a minimum of special equipment and Mallory O’Donnell is a wild food gatherer, cook, writer and teacher who focuses on sustainable and ethical ingredients. Many of the most abundant foods come from ornamental or invasive plants,  common garden weeds, and native or introduced trees. These ingredients not only tend to be the most nutritious but also are often the most culinarily intriguing. Items like the Japanese sansai taranome (collected from the invasive Aralia elata), the sap, flowers and leaves of the Norway Maple, and the flowers of ornamental quince, cherry and crabapple trees can and should be used by both enthusiastic amateurs and world-class chefs. When it comes to fermentation, these ingredients also excel, providing exciting flavors that can be added to conventional ferments as well as used to create unique original concoctions.


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Fermenting with Flowers, Fungus and Bacteria

Session #4 – Times are EST (New York) Click on the Session # to go to the Zoom Link. You need to sign up with Zoom, a very easy thing to do.

  • 9:30 to 10 PM – Kirsten Shockey
  • 10:00 to 10:30PM – Alex Henao
  • 10 30 to 11 PM – Heidi Nestler 
  • 11:00 to 11:30 PM – Josh Hembree
  • 12 to 12:30 PM – Alex Lewin

You are invited. Register in advance for this meeting. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Also listed on Instagram here and MeetUp here. The Zoom links for all sessions are also listed there.


Flower Yeasts to make Alcohol and Vinegar

Kirsten to discuss how to make vinegar and alcohol from yeast collected from flowers.

Kirsten Shockey is an author, writer, educator and speaker who has co-authored 3 books including “Miso, Tempeh, Natto & Other Tasty Ferments”, and two others that are available through the https://Ferment.Works website or any independent bookstore. They just started an online fermentation school at fermentation-school.thinkific.com . Their first course is out: “May Flowers bring June Brews. Learn to harvest wild yeast for delicious wild brews.” It includes 11 videos and a 20 page mini-book workbook. 

Ferment.Works Tempeh (look for the upcoming online class!)

How to preserve and add digestive value to foods using Koji products

Alex Henao is a chef by trade. Mostly self-taught, he is always striving to learn from new people, anyone willing to share and from unconventional sources. Over the past few years, Alex has been interested in the micro world around us we so unknowingly depend on, and the chemistry of bacterial and enzymatic fermentation. Mostly focused on preventing food waste, and promoting Indigenous type food systems emphasizing food sovereignty, local community farmers and keeping most food in the local markets, and of course broader trading of excess and regional specialties.


Making natto with soy and other beans

hoto by: @sandrinehahnperez

Natto truly is a superfood superstar.  Typically eaten as part of a traditional Japanese breakfast, natto is rich in Vitamin K2 and the enzyme nattokinase, which are important for bone and cardiovascular health.  Natto is also highly probiotic and has been used for centuries in Japan as a folk remedy for an upset stomach.  Heidi will show how she makes natto using soybeans and other beans.  Also she will share some recipe ideas- both traditional and more unexpected. 

Heidi Nestler is the owner of Wanpaku Natto and one of the organizers of the Portland Fermentation Festival, now in its 11th year.  She also teaches fermentation and cooking at the non-profit Quest Center for Integrative Health in Portland, Oregon. www.wanpakunatto.com


Sake, Sake Lees and Fermentation

A presentation on sake, sake lees and fermentation. 

Josh Hembree is an American sake brewer at Setting Sun Sake (www.settingsunsake.com)


Covid Cabbage and Confinement Kvass

Sauerkraut and kvass are two vegetable ferments that require a minimum of special equipment and ingredients. Sauerkraut is a great way to keep a vitamin- and enzyme-rich raw vegetable food for years, without the need for refrigeration. Kvass is a versatile fermented health tonic that can also be used as the basis for soups, as a cocktail mixer, and much more.

Alex Lewin is the author of “Real Food Fermentation: Preserving Whole Fresh Food with Live Cultures in Your Home Kitchen” and the co-author of “Kombucha, Kefir, and Beyond”.

Alex will demo sauerkraut and kvass, talk about ways to eat them, provide lots of context, connect the dots with the current challenges in the world, and answer any questions.

Seeking to remove barriers to home fermentation, he offers simple processes and recipes that are easy to execute in home kitchens, using as little special equipment as possible.

More generally, he seeks to create a healthier, tastier, and more just world by spreading the good news about fermentation and nutrient-dense real food. He leads fermentation classes and workshops in the US and abroad. He served on the opening board of the Boston Public Market, an indoor, year-round market selling only local food. He has also been involved with the Boston Fermentation Festival since the beginning.

He believes that applying high technology to food has caused many of the problems of the last hundred years, and that applying more high-tech may not help: part of the path forwards is a return to low-tech foodways. He lives in Cambridge, MA and Oakland, CA.


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Maple Syrup and Smoked Pomegranate Kvass


Organic beets. Do not discard the greens, including the stems.Do not discard anything you trim off, unless it is not organically grown. You only need the actual beet bottoms for these recipes, though.

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

The Event is January 27th, 7 to 9:30 Come ask questions about any of the recipes or methods used in this post about beets. Try some things that we made using enzymes, and yeasts starters. We’ll answer any question that you have about anything fermented. Plus, this is a #vegan event.


Pomegranate powder about to be incorporated into a smoky maple syrup and fennel seed beet base for a great probiotic drink. And for cockatils as well. Got shochu?

Smoked Maple and Pomegranate Beet Kvass

  • 425 grams washed and diced raw organic beets
  • 1250 grams of water (enough to cover the beets in a half gallon jar)
  • 1 to 2 tsp toasted fennel seeds
  • 30 grams coarse sea salt. Do not use fine sea salt for this. Kosher salt is okay.
  • 4 TB maple syrup
  • 4 TB pomegranate powder (or just add more maple syrup or molasses)
  • 1/8 tsp liquid smoke or ash. Do not use more. Add more when finished if you like.
  • 2 TB unpasteurized vinegar (apple cider vinegar with the mother, etc.)
  • 4 TB Pomegranate Molasses (or more maple syrup)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (organic, any type. If replacing maple syrup and pomegranate with dark molasses, use 1/2 cup more)

Mix everything together in a large bowl with gloved hands or a spoon. Otherwise, your hands will get stained. If you can’t get pomegranate powder or molasses use more maple syrup as indicated. You can also use organic dark brown sugar or organic molasses. The fennel seeds are essential, but can be replaced with anise seeds.

Other natural smoke flavorings or even smoked soy sauce or smoked salt can be used, sparingly. Smoked salt does not replace the coarse sea salt. Add some smoked salt to your kvass before serving if you like.

Ferment in an area where it is between 72 and 85F. It should take a week to ten days. If the temperature is lower, it will take at least 14 days before it is ready.


Put baby in the corner.


Shiso Leaf and Beet Kvass with pickled beets
  • 216 grams ( about 3 medium sized beets) raw organic beets. If not organic peel them. Otherwise after cutting into thick matchsticks wash them in cold water by rubbing them gently.
  • 1500 grams warm water. This will cover the beets that are placed in a well washed and sanitized half gallon glass jar.
  • 190 grams Shiso Vinegar*. Our Shiso vinegar has enough salt in it to act both as a starter culture, and as a deterrent to unwanted bacteria and yeasts. The base is an apple cider vinegar with lots of the mother in it. There are both yeasts and bacteria in vinegar.

Cover the jar tightly and shake. You could also dump the content of the jar into a bowl and mix them well. Then, put them back into the jar and cover with an airlock, or a tight lid. To be safe put the jar in a bowl or dish. If it looks like air is building up in your jar, loosen it to let it escape then retighten it.

This should be done in 5 to 7 days, but can go for two or three weeks if you like. Save the beets for a fantastic beet, pickle and apple salad. Or dress them with a miso dressing as a side dish. You can also start a new batch using the liquid if you like as a starter culture.

*Perilla vinegar substitute – You can use unpasteurized apple cider vinegar and mix in some umeboshi vinegar (about 1/4 cup), or use some shiso furikake (check the ingredients if you are a vegan) with vinegar and salt. You could also use vinegar, 3 TB of coarse sea salt and fresh dill or toasted dill seeds, or roasted black peppercorns.

The perilla vinegar could also be replaced with 40 grams of coarse sea salt. If you know beforehand then cut the beets thinner or into smaller pieces. Either way it should taste just a little salty at first, but not extremely salty.

Only salt will take about 2 weeks, but check it as you go along. Don’t stick unclean spoons, forks or fingers in your ferments.


Let’s Get Startered

Yeast starters and starter cultures that contain yeast – like the original koji for which the Chinese Kanji (麹) was created – sometimes also contain other types of bacteria, fungus and even other yeasts.

Take, for example, sourdough starter. It’s easy to turn that into vinegar because there are already some bacteria and yeasts in there just like there are in kombucha.

Eventually, often with the help of wild yeasts and bacteria, both of these will eventually become alcohol. Vinegar is made from alcohol, either fermented fruits like apples or peaches, or from grains.

But controlling how much yeast, and especially what kinds of yeast get into a specific starter is how most alcoholic and non-alcoholic fermentations are successfully made.

It’s essential that any utensils and containers you use are very clean. Always kill off as many wild strains that may be lurking before starting or proceeding – unless these are part of your fermenting culture.

Sometimes rinsing everything with boiling water is enough. Other times it is woefully inadequate. Equally important is making sure ever ingredient is properly prepared.

Soaking tree nuts or beans, for example, helps to remove undesirable substances that can ruin fermentations, or mess up your digestive system.

Some yeasts work remarkably well at protecting crops from diseases. These are benign and helpful yeasts. But even then sometimes these microbes in large amounts actually cause allergies, and what are sometimes mistaken as intolerance to a specific grain or nuts.

So soak your nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes. Some recipes call for salt, vinegar, alcohol or lactic acid to help the process along, but it’s usually about how much salt is involved and how the water or moisture content of ingredients is affected.

Some yeasts can take can take up to a 7% sodium content, so controlling the entire microbiome of the things that you are making is crucial. Some harmful microbes can be eliminated by pre-drying or curing.

Soaking ingredients, along with treatment with enzymes produced by sprouted grains or microbes such as Aspergillus strains or lactobacteria, can also greatly assist in making breads, misos, kefir, and soy or amino sauces more nutritious, digestible, and free from potential residues.


January 27, 2020 – Event at Fifth Hammer

Come and ask questions of two extremely skilled fermenters and cutting edge brewers, Chris Cuzme and Mary Izett. They create their brews at Fifth Hammer Brewing Company in Long Island City.

You’ll also get to try some things that we made using enzymes, and yeasts starters. Plus, we’ll answer any question that you have about anything fermented. Of course it would be great if you had any hard core science related questions posted here, or sent to koji@earthlink.net beforehand so we could have a concise answer for you.

We revised the agenda based on specific requests from people about yeast starters that are useful when making a wide array of things such as beer, miso, soy sauce, meat or fish sauce, sourdough bread, vinegar, sake or kvass.

For example, someone really wanted to know about using a yeast starter for making beer. Although someone knew what sourdough bread kvass was, they asked if a yeast starter could improve it. Kvass made with fresh or old sourdough bread, heavily toasted for flavor and color, can be improved by a yeast starter, and can be flavored not only with wild herbs and roots and dried fruits but also with hops like beer.


Making Kvass

  • 1/2 gallon room temp water, left out overnight, covered, if you are concerned about chlorine or other substances.
  • 4 cups of leftover sourdough starter at room temperature (most people collect it in the fridge or freezer)
  • 1/2 cup Zante currants or other dried fruits such as raisins or cherries
  • 2 cups heavily toasted cubed or ripped apart sourdough bread. Not burnt, but really brown.
Heavily toasted sourdough bread and dried carrots were combined with a yeast starter to make a deep carrot and caramel toast flavored Kvass. Kvass typically is made with dark breads that contain rye, wheat, barley and often dried fruits, but you can use any heavily toasted bread.

Mix all the ingredients above in a well cleaned vessel that is able to take a doubling in volume. Unlikely, but until you’ve had to clean an overactive or over yeasted beverage that didn’t actually explode we recommend not letting it get above 80F.

Do not increase the amount of yeast. Give it space. The mixture will most likely be very thick after about an hour, at which point you will add:

  • 12 cups room temperature water
  • 1 – 2 cups sugar (jaggery, piloncillo, dark brown, organic cane, palm sugar, etc.)
  • 1 tsp brewers yeast, or bread yeast or even unpasteurized kasu (the pressings or dregs) from a recently made sake.

Do not add more yeast unless, at four or five hours at 75F, it appears that nothing is happening. The bread wil most likely have floated up to the top, so once you mix it the yeast will grow. Because yeasts love oxygen. And the bread top may be blocking air flow. Stir.

Always cover loosely with a cloth or several layers of mesh. Do not cover tightly. Strain at 24 to 48 hours if you like the taste. It will becomes a little more sour each day.

Once you strain it – don’t discard anything – put it in bottles and chill. Do not fill the bottles to the top. Do not screw lids on tightly. After a day at 50F or less degrees, you can rack off your strained kvass.

Racking is siphoning off, or pouring off the liquid on the top and leaving the sediment. This is a standard brewing technique and it comes in very handy for a whole range of different things.

Strained kvass being racked and chilled. We added dried carrots to the brew. Very low alcohol content, lower than most kombucha.

Hope you did not throw away anything. We’ll make vinegar and a beer from the dregs! Register for the January 27th event for more details and recipes.


Malted Grains, Koji and Rhizopus. Amazing tasty foods and brews. #Zymes2020:

Monday, Jan 27, 2020, 7:00 PM

Fifth Hammer Brewing Company
10-28 46th Ave Queens, NY

13 Members Went

Yeast starters and starter cultures that contain yeast – like the original koji for which the Chinese Kanji (麹) was created – sometimes also contain lactic acid or other types of bacteria, fungus and even other yeasts. Take, for example, sourdough starter. It’s easy to turn that into vinegar because there are already some bacteria and yeasts in the…

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