If you’ve studied health and nutrition in any way, you are likely familiar with food fermentation and the variety of benefits that these foods provide. The science of food fermentation has been around for centuries, and the process is still widely used for popular foods and beverages such as sauerkraut, yogurt, wine, cheese, and kombucha.
Fermented foods are high in probiotics that help to balance the bacteria that live within your digestive system. Probiotics can also help prevent irritable bowel syndrome, and even offer positive benefits that can improve specific mental health conditions.
Whether you have been studying the act of fermentation for some time or are new to the practice, there are several excellent books on the market to help teach you the tips and tricks.
1. The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz
Sandor Katz has taught fermentation workshops all over the world, helping to revive the art of fermentation. Katz is self-taught and in 2014 was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Southern Foodways Alliance. This book is chock full of illustrations and extensive resources to help chefs, gardeners, farmers, and food lovers of all kinds to build their skills in the space of food fermentation. Readers will be able to find information on how to ferment vegetables, turn sugars into meads, wines, and ciders, create sour tonic beverages, and much more. This book also provides excellent insight into food fermentation at the commercial level.
- Excellent illustrations throughout the book to help the reader follow along with the content.
- The book stands alone, and readers don’t need to conduct separate studies about the fermentation process – this book contains everything that one might need.
- The book is available in hardcover, as an audiobook, and downloadable for the Amazon Kindle, making it easier for readers to select the medium of their choice to enjoy the book.
- Though the book thoroughly explains the fermentation process, it is not a recipe book and does not contain any specific recipes.
- Some readers have found the book to be lacking in evidence, focusing more on the author’s opinion and other fermentation-enthusiasts.
2. The Noma Guide to Fermentation by René Redzepi
This guide was written by René Redzepi, owner of Noma restaurant in Denmark. At Noma, each and every dish uses fermentation in its preparation. This guide shares never-revealed techniques into creating some of the restaurant’s highly sought-after recipes. Even better, this book includes over 500 photographs with step-by-step instructions to make a wide variety of fermented recipes. A list of pantry ingredients is provided so that cooks of all kinds can prepare fermented delicacies with ease. Readers will also appreciate how to construct a fermentation chamber using sheet-pan racks, a heater and humidifier, and a temperature controller.
- It’s hard to argue with a book written by none other than the chef of Noma, a two Michelin-star restaurant.
- The book covers multiple variations and fresh interpretations on classic fermented foods.
- There is an incredible amount of detail on the process of fermentation, making this book helpful for cooks of any caliber.
- Little to no focus on the tools and vessels of fermentation.
- If you just want a book to open and cook the same day this isn’t the book you’re looking for.
3. Fermentation for Beginners by Drakes Press
If you are new to the process of food fermentation, this book is for you. It contains 60 helpful recipes with easy-to-follow instructions, useful tips regarding critical ingredients for the fermentation process, and an overview that provides insight into the science behind it. Drakes Press is well-known for publishing cookbooks for the creative cook in your household or business. Drakes Press includes fermentation recipes for pear chutney, yogurt, tempeh, garlic dill pickles, corned beef, sourdough baguettes, beer, wine, red wine vinegar, and more. Your taste buds will be dancing throughout the pages, urging you to get into the kitchen.
- Great insights into the health benefits of fermentation.
- Recipes use inexpensive, easy-to-find ingredients compared to other fermentation books.
- Good overview of the tools needed for the fermentation process.
- The scientific process of fermentation is not described with as much detail as other books on the topic.
4. The Farmhouse Culture Guide to Fermenting by Kathryn Lukas
Kathryn Lukas is the former chef and the founder of Farmhouse Culture, located in Santa Cruz, California. In this book, Lukas focuses on the history of fermentation and provides detail into important health information. The book contains 115 recipes for items such as sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, hot sauces, preserved jams and fruits, fermented vegetables, yogurt, and more. Each recipe has been thoroughly tested for accuracy, making it easy to follow. This book is authoritative yet interesting to help keep the reader and fermenting enthusiast engaged.
- Beautiful imagery and photographs throughout the book.
- Completed with detailed instructions for all 115 recipes.
- Excellent storytelling to complement the rest of the content throughout the book.
- Some recipes use unusual, hard-to-find ingredients.
5. Fermented Vegetables by Christopher Shockey
Christopher Shockey and his wife first started fermenting over 20 years ago. Their love for the fermentation process grew into an organic food company. Now, they focus on educating others on safe methods for fermentation. This book provides over 120 recipes so that cooks of all levels of mastery can ferment 64 different herbs and vegetables. The book’s favorite recipes include those for pickled green coriander, carrot kraut, and curried golden beets.
- Recipes are well-detailed and easy-to-follow.
- The fermentation process is very well outlined, making it easy for new and experienced fermenters to get started.
- Excellent insights into what can go wrong in the fermentation process, providing critical information in what to look for.
- This book focuses on the process of Lacto-fermentation, which leverages naturally occurring Lactobacillus to ferment vegetables. Those not interested in Lacto-fermentation will be better served by books that focus on the use of starter cultures.
Summing Things Up
Hopefully you now have an idea of the best fermentation book for you. And if you just can’t wait any longer before starting your first project, check out one of these 11 fermentation recipes you can make at home. YouTube also has a ton of helpful fermentation content if you like learning through videos – The Pro Home Cooks Beginner’s Guide to Fermenting Foods is a great place to start. Enjoy and tell me what you plan on making in the comments below!