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Mastering Fermentation - Recipes for making and cooking with fermented foods
(Ten Speed Press) ISBN 978-1607744382 1607744384

Fermenting foods improves health benefits and flavor. Just compare sourdough bread to doughy white bread, homemade cream cheese to the processed variety and cultured butter to margarine. You can taste the difference.

Mary Karlin's cookbook provides 70 recipes for making fermented foods, such as feta cheese, miso, Greek-style yogurt, kimchi, Dijon-style mustard and sauerkraut. Twenty-two additional recipes show you how to cook with these fermented ingredients.

Tools and techniques

Organized by type of fermented food, from breads to vegetables, the 250-page cookbook teaches you about the techniques and equipment needed to make fermented drinks and food.

Questions and answers help you solve problems related to taste and smell and identify what you should see (surface bubbles, color changes, foam or scum).

Starter cultures

Mary Karlin also discusses starter cultures and how to save a mother starter to make new batches of vinegar or give to friends. Each recipe includes the yield and the time to prepare it, including mixing, sprouting, fermenting, cooking, cooling, ripening and aging.

A culture chart lists mesophilic starter cultures, the active ingredients (e.g., Lactococcus lactis ssp. lactis in Meso 1), what they are used for (making cheddar and jack cheeses, in this case) and where to buy them (Glengarry Cheese-making and Dairy Supply).

The chart also provides this information for thermophilic starter cultures, non-dairy cultures (e.g., Bulgarian 411 yogurt starter) and secondary cultures, such as P. candidum, which is used to make Brie.

Wild yeasts

Color photos by Ed Anderson depict the fermentation process—ingredients, techniques and delicious dishes, such as homemade pastrami, Muenster cheese and gravlax.

A chart lists fermenting agents, including brines, wheys and wild yeasts, as well as their uses. For example, SCOBY (Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeasts) is used to make water kefir.

Beer cheese

Sidebars provide information about how to make beer cheese, vegetable vinegars and malted grains (used in breads and beer-making).

Another sidebar explains how to sprout seeds—such as chia—and legumes, including chickpeas and lentils, to neutralize enzyme inhibitors.

Homemade condiments

One chapter shows you how to make fermented drinks, including root beer, milk, kefir, kombucha, ginger beer and natural sodas.

Mastering Fermentation also provides recipes for soy sauce, whole grain Dijon-style mustard, prepared horseradish, ponzu sauce, smoked chipotles in adobo, Worcestershire sauce, mushroom ketchup and other condiments.

Coconut milk yogurt

Mary Karlin's recipes sometimes add a twist to traditional ingredients, such as making yogurt from coconut milk. She also provides uses for fermentation by-products, e.g., using pulp from making fruit vinegar as a marinade or yogurt flavor.

Other recipes include variations, such as kimchi made with Asian, Italian, Spanish, Mediterranean, Indian and beer flavors. There are also recipes for fermented desserts including chocolate sourdough cupcakes and yogurt-cardamom ice cream.

Cooking schools

A glossary defines fermentation terms such as Fermento (a whey protein and skim milk product which adds a tangy flavor to semi-dry sausages as a substitute for lactic fermentation).

The resources chapter provides websites for fermenting supplies, as well as supplies for brewing and cheese-making. It also lists places where you can take cheese-making classes and lessons on fermentation.

Mastering Fermentation by Marky Karlin


  • Fermentation Basics
  • Equipment, Ingredients and Troubleshooting
  • Fermented Fruits and Vegetables
  • Legumes, Nuts, Seeds and Aromatics
  • Fermented Dairy
  • Fermented Grains, Breads and Flatbreads
  • Cured Meats and Fish
  • Fermented Beverages
  • Cooking with Fermented Foods

Measurement Conversion Charts


Mary Karlin teaches cooking classes in California and an online artisan cheese-making course.

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