Native American, Latin, African, Caucasian, Asian, Roots – A vegan event.

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. Register: https://conta.cc/36U25re

Each event has a live Zoom event. The October 25th event is for 2 hours. People are invited to share their vegan ferments or foods or beverages with those on the call, although the call is hosted by Chef Dave Smoke-McCluskey – codchef ✊🏽💪🏽🔪🔥✨🌽🌮🎃 , Ed Ferrada of fermentemos (https://www.fermentemos.cl) and Kirsten K. Shockey of Fermentation School, and Ferment.Works Dave will definitely be talking up corn, and the other sisters.

As always, at every event, there is an opportunity to request a scholarship, reduced fee, or free entry because you are flat out broke.

To access videos you must be registered with Vimeo. Vimeo does not charge a fee to regsiter, although they really want to get you to subscribe on a monthly basis. Be persistent if you do not want to purchase a monthly Vimeo plan. Look for really small print! The option is there.


This program covers fermentation, preservation, increasing food resources, science, traditional and novel applications of microbes, food justice, soil development, farming, fungus and bacteria as environmental tools, and the preparation of food and drink through fermentation, preparation and cooking techniques.

Event event has a specific focus on a topic that often is a geographic region that includes the techniques and cultures that make the foods and drinks from France, Japan, Russia, Armenia, Iran, Scotland, Taiwan, China, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, England, The Baltics, Georgia, The Caucuses, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Chile, India, Egypt, Chile, Israel, Finland, Denmark, Taiwan, Canada, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, South Korea, Palestine, and other African and South American countries and immigrant diaspora throughout the world. 


Octoberfest is upon us. #FermentsandCultures Videos and Upcoming Events

On Oct 4th the live chat version of The Silk Road (Kosher/Halal) is taking place. We have been editing and loading all the newer videos. Hopefully we’ll be able to send out a note to registrants and start screening.

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. October 4, Part 2 https://conta.cc/3j5HK5Q These videos are password protected.

The Part 1 of The Silk Road (Kosher/Halal) as well as the French Ferments videos are all at the showcase that registrants already have a passcode for. All of these videos and all the new videos will be in a part 2 showcase that requires a new passcode.

The information for the live chat for Part 2 on October 4th, 1 PM to 2 PM (New York Time), The Silk Road, Kosher and Halal including Israel and Palestine event is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81518628478 Meeting ID: 287 521 6492, Passcode GRAB7

Whether or not you have a Seasons Pass you must register. When you do you get the passcode. There is an event fee for each event, or you can purchase a Seasons Pass for $137.

As always, at every event, there is an opportunity to request a scholarship, reduced fee, or free entry because you are flat out broke.

To access these videos you must be registered with Vimeo. Vimeo does not charge a fee to regsiter, although they really want to get you to subscribe on a monthly basis. Be persistent if you do not want to purchase a monthly Vimeo plan. Look for really small print! The option is there.

We think Vimeo is a great deal that let’s you control your content and avoid advertising. Vimeo does not push content you don’t want to see into your face like Instagram, nor restrict access to things you really want to see by applying algorithms that make you watch their advertising like Instagram does.

We purchased the most expensive Vimeo plan so you don’t need to. But it is one of the reasons we ask for fees for our events and screenings. We try to have a live chat portion for each event but if enough people do not register for each event we will not have them.


Fermentations and Cultures Event Hosts: Jelena Belgrave, Payal Shah, Nickawanna Shaw, Marika Groen, Anton Nicola, Peiman Khosravi, Ebonee McCorvey, Kirsten Shockey, Zoe Mitchell, Connie Chew, Dr. Johnny Drain, Maria Mantilla, Ken Fornataro, Julia Skinner, Robin Sherrill, Alex Gunuey, Zoe Mitchell, Dave Smoke-McCluskey, Amy Kalafa, Alex Gunuey, and Ed Ferrada.

After the entire event is over we hope to create a book and a documentary for sale that will benefit all the presenters and volunteer staff for the entire program.


This program covers fermentation, preservation, increasing food resources, science, traditional and novel applications of microbes, food justice, soil development, farming, fungus and bacteria as environmental tools, waste management, land and water access and the preparation of food and drink through fermentation, preparation and cooking techniques.

Event event has a specific focus on a topic that often is a geographic region that includes the techniques and cultures that make the foods and drinks from France, Japan, Russia, Armenia, Iran, Scotland, Taiwan, China, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, England, The Baltics, Georgia, The Caucuses, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Chile, India, Egypt, Chile, Israel, Finland, Denmark, Taiwan, Canada, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, South Korea, Palestine, and other African and South American countries and immigrant diaspora throughout the world. 


Ferments and Cultures Videos and Upcoming Events

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.

To access these videos you must be registered with Vimeo. Vimeo does not charge a fee to regsiter, although they really want to get you to subscribe on a monthly basis. Be persistent if you do not want to purchase a monthly Vimeo plan. Look for really small print! The option is there.

We think Vimeo is a great deal that let’s you control your content and avoid advertising. Vimeo does not push content you don’t want to see into your face like Instagram, nor restrict access to things you really want to see by applying algorithms that make you watch their advertising like Instagram does.

We purchased the most expensive Vimeo plan so you don’t need to. But it is one of the reasons we ask for fees for our events and screenings.

For every event there is a registration page. Register for The Silk Road and Halal and Kosher (including Israel and Palestine) events here: September 28, Part 1 https://conta.cc/36721UI and October 4, Part 2 https://conta.cc/3j5HK5Q These videos are password protected. No password, no watching.

We try to have a live chat portion for each event but if enough people do not register for each event we will not have them.

Live Chat Info (Zoom)

The information for the live chat for Part 1 of our September 28th https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81518628478 Meeting ID: 815 1862 8478 Passcode: HALAL , 1PM to 2 PM EST (New York Time) and October 4th, 1 PM to 2 PM (New York Time) The Silk Road, Kosher and Halal including Israel and Palestine event is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81518628478 Meeting ID: 287 521 6492, Passcode GRAB7

Please Register

Over 95% of those that have a Seasons Pass did not purchase it. Very hard working volunteers were given one as a way to thank them for volunteering for this International Fermentation Festival, but mostly to thank them as a way to thank them for creating videos for the events.

If you are only interested in a specific event, just register for that. Again, we need to raise money to cover our expenses. If you can’t afford anything, say that on the registration form.

If you don’t register for either a Seasons Pass or an event you’d like to attend you won’t get updates or announcements or passcodes for that event. Passcodes will be re-instituted in October.


Fermentations and Cultures Event Hosts: Payal Shah, Nickawanna Shaw, Marika Groen, Anton Nicola, Peiman Khosravi, Ebonee McCorvey, Kirsten Shockey, Zoe Mitchell, Connie Chew, Dr. Johnny Drain, Maria Mantilla, Ken Fornataro, Julia Skinner, Robin Sherrill, Alex Gunuey, Zoe Mitchell, Dave Smoke-McCluskey, Amy Kalafa, and Ed Ferrada.

We don’t keep track of what events you attend. If you miss a specific event after the 7 day period you will not have access to the videos for that event.

We will not refund a partial amount of a Season Pass fee for any reason, even if we can’t put on any more parts of this event.


After the entire event is over we hope to create a book and a documentary for sale that will benefit all the presenters and volunteer staff for the entire program.


This program covers fermentation, preservation, increasing food resources, science, traditional and novel applications of microbes, food justice, soil development, farming, fungus and bacteria as environmental tools, waste management, land and water access and the preparation of food and drink through fermentation, preparation and cooking techniques.

Event event has a specific focus on a topic that often is a geographic region that includes the techniques and cultures that make the foods and drinks from France, Japan, Russia, Armenia, Iran, Scotland, Taiwan, China, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, England, The Baltics, Georgia, The Caucuses, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Chile, India, Egypt, Chile, Israel, Finland, Denmark, Taiwan, Canada, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, South Korea, Palestine, and other African and South American countries and immigrant diaspora throughout the world. 


French Ferments and Cultures

Peiman Khosravi

Wild Fennel – Peiman Khosravi

You can no longer register for this event. The info on the Zoom call is above. All videos are at Vimeo.com/culturesgroup. We are leaving all videos posted for last session up until the 28th of September in deference and honor of all our friends and family, colleagues and fellow Native Americans and those whose families came here as immigrants that are struggling with so many serious issues.

Alex Gunuey

Yes, you do have to be registered with Vimeo. That’s where all these videos are housed. There is no registration fee required to participate in this event, although please go to our Instagram page or sign up for email to receive notice of some special upcoming events that you won’t find out about in other ways.

The September 28 event on The Silk Road (Halal/Kosher) – including India, Georgia, Israel, Palestine, etc takes place on September 28th.


Fermentations and Cultures Event Hosts: Payal Shah, Nickawanna Shaw, Marika Groen, Anton Nicola, Peiman Khosravi, Ebonee McCorvey, Kirsten Shockey, Zoe Mitchell, Connie Chew, Dr. Johnny Drain, Maria Mantilla, Ken Fornataro, Julia Skinner, Robin Sherrill, Alex Gunuey, Zoe Mitchell, Dave Smoke-McCluskey, Amy Kalafa, and Ed Ferrada.

We don’t keep track of what events you attend. If you miss a specific event after the 7 day period you will not have access to the videos for that event. We will not refund a partial amount of a Season Pass fee for any reason.


After the entire events are over we hope to create a book and a documentary for sale that will benefit all the presenters and volunteer staff for the entire program.


This program covers fermentation, preservation, increasing food resources, science, traditional and novel applications of microbes, food justice, soil development, farming, fungus and bacteria as environmental tools, waste management, land and water access and the preparation of food and drink through fermentation, preparation and cooking techniques.

Event event has a specific focus on a topic that often is a geographic region that includes the techniques and cultures that make the foods and drinks from France, Japan, Russia, Armenia, Iran, Scotland, Taiwan, China, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, England, The Baltics, Georgia, The Caucuses, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Chile, India, Egypt, Chile, Israel, Finland, Denmark, Taiwan, Canada, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, South Korea, Palestine, and other African and South American countries and immigrant diaspora throughout the world. 


Turnip Ohistashi



The purple top turnips were used instead of celery root for two reasons. We like the taste and ease of preparation of this vegetable, and it is available fresh even during winter months. Slice the turnips into long matchsticks and massage with the coarse sea salt. You will end up losing about 20% of their original weight. You do not have to peel these if you don’t want to. Make sure they are well scrubbed though.



Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup Rémoulade Sauce
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 TB shio-koji
  • 1 to 2 tsp grated lemon peel
  • 1/2 tsp celery seeds
  • Freshly ground black pepper (up to 1/2 tsp)
  • Green shiso leaves (or fresh dill or fresh tarragon or scallions)
  • 1 pound or 450 grams purple top turnips, julienned and salted down for at least four hours with 1 to 2 TB of coarse sea salt.


Once the turnips have been fast pickled in the salt soak them in cold water to remove the salt. You could chan ge the water several times. Squeeze the turnips very well to remove any excess water. They should only taste very lightly salted when biting into the center.



Mix all the ingredients together and serve immediately. A crisp apple, cut like the turnips, can be added right before serving as well. You could also grind up the celery seeds if you like. If you want to avoid the mayonnaise or Rémoulade sauce entirely, use another TB of shio koji and 2 tsp vinegar.

Rémoulade Sauce

Mayonnaise and Hollandaise -nEgg emulsions are one of the Mother Sauces in Classic French cooking, and are used in many other cuisines as well. Egg emulsion sauces are almost always made by combining an acid such as vinegar or lemon juice with eggs, then adding fat.

There is usualy enough water in these ingredients that help the sauce to stay together as they are made. If you ever have problems holding an egg emulsion sauce together try adding a very small amount of water, and putting it in a colder place.



Sauces that depend on an egg emulsion include Hollandaise Sauce, and Mayonnaise, and sometimes Vinaigrette (for salads). In some cases, the fat is heated along with the eggs while making the sauce, although that is not always required.

Of course, the acids can vary. We’ve used sour grapes, tart cherries, acid whey, and infusions of koji made with Aspergillus luchuensis to create citric acid that can replace the need for lemon, vinegar or anything else. Liquid shio-koji can also be used, bringing even more umami to the sauce.

The fat used in an egg emulsion sauce could be butter, olive oil, chicken fat, or even lard. In classic French cuisine, clarified butter is almost always used.

We’ll provide you lots of recipes for all these different variations things as we go along but remember in life, and especially in food that balance is the technique, layers of taste the rewards of knowing how to orchestrate the right tongue, mouth, and throat feel.

Smell is often the key to unlocking all the pleasure receptors you want to unlock with whatever it is you are eating or drinking. A lot of that depends on what you can unlock from fats. It also depends on what acid you use. And of course on the liquid, whether water, mushroom broth, fish sauce or microbe infused stock.


Egg Emulsion – Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise is really just a cold version of Hollandaise. For this first sauce we kept it simple. Mother sauces, including the progeny of mayonnaise called Rémoulade, should always be capable of becoming the parent of another sauces.

If you add additional onion and fresh dill and sour cream – we do that often – it’s no longer a simple sauce. It would be pretty hard to create another sauce from such as sauce.

That’s not a good thing for a home cook, or a chef unless that is the end goal. With this sauce, you could easily make a dozen variations if you don’t need all the sauce at once.



Rémoulade Sauce
  • 1 3/4 cup or 365 grams mayonnaise
  • 2 TB mustard powder (regular or hot, your call)
  • 2 TB or 25 grams chopped capers
  • 1 TB or 16 grams sugar (organic, unrefined, not brown)
  • 1 tsp celery seeds
  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 finely chopped scallions – around 1/4 cup
  • 2 teaspoons dried tarragon or 1 TB fresh tarragon

We are going to assume you either know how to make mayonnaise according to your taste, and if you don’t, how to buy whole egg or low fat or olive based or vegan mayonnaises from a store or online.

Mix the first five ingredients. Then, blend in the herbs and scallions. It should look like a mayonnaise with capers and herbs, not a green sauce. Let flavors meld for an hour or more.

This recipe makes 2 cups or 420 grams of sauce. It keeps really well in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days. If you are going to use this right away, you could add the lemon juice from the lemons you grated for the peel. Add a 1/2 tsp of salt and 2 more TB capers if you want it to last longer.

This is great with turnip, kohlrabi or carrot ohitashi.


Basic Pickle Technique


Daikon Radish. Fresh, with bright green leaves. You could use carrots, kohlrabi, or another radish instead. Or mustard greens. Or kale. Follow the instructions in this recipe.

People have been fermenting and preserving food for at least 4,000 years. What tends to be forgotten is that preservation and fermentation methods almost always grew from a need to survive during periods of time – usually a change of seasons – when there was no fresh food available for months. 

This pickle is incredibly hard to keep down – as far as smell goes, anyway. An air lock that allows release of gas (carbon dioxide) is very useful at the start, as is wrapping it in several bags when refrigerating, but it will most likely smell anyway.

There are sulfur containing compounds in many of the ingredients and they tend to smell when they are broken down during the fermentation process.

If this is your first fermentation journey put a bowl under your pickles, or something that can catch potential spill over.

When ferments are still alive and unpasteurized, you get all the prebiotic and probiotic benefits including lots of vitamins and minerals. They are usually easier to digest, and tastier.

A temperature of 72F is usually a good temperature to keep your ferments under. Lower than that, and they will take longer.

This does not contain any koji or a starter culture other than the sourdough starter. It really depends on bacteria to make it sour and protect it. We’ll have hundreds of recipes that use koji and other cultures as we go along.

Try this and see if it serves as a good go to recipe for anything fresh you see at the market, or grow. Be aware of how the water or juice content changes.

This will become very important if you ever decide to start adding fermented shrimp, raw fish, or other high protein ingredients with another recipe, and making longer ferments.

Those ingredients may not have enough salt in them, so you would need to increase the salt in your recipe one way or another, and watch how it affects the water content and movement in your ferment.

Then again, salt can affect the enzymes in your ferment and that can spell disaster over time. For now, keep things clean and follow the recipe for this type of pickle.

Weighing your ingredients using grams as the basic measurement will avoid a world of regret and sorry. This is a fact.


Fast, Simple, Tasty Kimchi using sourdough starter throwaway

Sautéed Fermented Garlic. For this recipe you cold also steam it, but you should cook it.

  • 950 grams radish (3 medium sized) with stems, or another vegetable
  • 32 grams fresh ginger (organic, candied ginger also works very well)
  • 2 TB dried red pepper (or another mild pepper or 2 tsp good turmeric)
  • 62 grams or 4TB coarse sea salt. Use 1/2 the weight/2TB if using fine salt that doesn’t have anti-caking agents or added chemicals.
  • 62 grams peeled and de-stemmed garlic (fresh or pickled)
  • 104 grams or 1/2 cup wheat sourdough starter (rice paste or another starch if not available)
  • 1 TB sugar or dried fruits or diced apple or pear (optional)
  • 2 TB Fish sauce or fruit juice or kombu flakes or tamari (optional)

We first salted down our daikon radish (see salt amount above). After an hour, strain the liquid off, but save it. If this were cabbage, you would now rinse it very well and squeeze it out or let drip off. You would do the same with any greens, and things like zucchini or cucumbers as well.

Because we only put a quarter cup of salt (62 grams) on this amount of radishes, and we are going to ferment this with fish sauce – you don’t have to put fish sauce in here, and could replace it with seaweed or soy sauce – you don’t need to rinse anything off. An easier, yet still very tasty pickle.


Sautéed daikon greens, garlic and ginger

We sautéed the radish greens, garlic and ginger in 3 to 4 TB of rice bran oil. Use what oil you prefer, but a bland one. You could also use water.

Cool this mixture down before adding to the sourdough starter that has been mixed with the salty radish water you had left over from the hour long soak that released at least a cup of liquid.


Leftover sourdough starter that has been slow fermenting at 40F for 3 weeks in the refrigerator. Makes great pastas, and bread. Mix with other ingredients for the fastest gnocchi or dumplings you’ve ever made. Or use leftover baked potatoes or another starch.

The starch feeds the yeast and bacteria while your pickle becomes tasty and sourer over time. You could add a few pitted dates or sugar for the same reason if you like.

As the sugars are eaten bacteria known as lacto-bacteria (LAB) are produced. This lowers the PH, protecting your ferment from other microbes that are not invited.


Ingredients ready to be assembled.

We used 2 TB of Red Boat 40% because we had that much left in a bottle. You can use any fish sauce you want, or none at all. We also decided to add 2 tablespoon of red pepper.

Typically we’ll use fresh Holland red peppers, but the dried flakes that are sometimes caled Dutch chiles, might be easier to source. These are much milder than the cayenne peppers from which they were bred. By the Dutch, obviously. They are called gochugaru in Korean.

Some people are intolerant to pepper so be careful how much you use, and how you handle any pepper. Some people can’t even smell them without having an adverse (allergic) reaction.



Gloves are always a good idea, and a good habit to get into. Don’t ever touch your eyes, or other parts of your body if you think you may have gotten any juice on them.

Wash your gloves as you go along, and watch out for seeds. The seeds of hot peppers tend to be really hot.


No air lock because this was already finished, and was refrigerated.

This ferment should be done in five or six days. You can eat it when you like the taste. Keep it under the juices (also called the brine). Kimchi is one of those ferments we like to press down to remove air pockets that could rapidly spoil it. That’s also why it has to be under the brine.

Don’t stick unwashed or used utensils in a ferment to taste it, ever. You can ferment this or up to a month but eat it as soon as possible after that, even if refrigerated. This is not the kind of pickle that ages very well.

This is one of our favorite and easiest things to make because you have a really good pickle you could eat right away, or let ferment, pressed down under and under air lock for up to a month. It doesn’t even need refrigeration.


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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