As just about any fan of fermentation will know, Sandor Katz is the man that brought fermentation back to the masses.  It is not overstatement to say that his book, Wild Fermentation, is the seminal work for the current generation of fermenters.  It is a fantastic book and I highly recommend buying it if you don’t already own it.  I have often thought of pulling a Julie/Julia on Sandor, but in the end, that kind of goes against the spirit of the book and the spirit of fermentation that Mr. Katz admires so much.  His approach is all about  giving it a try, seeing what works and experimenting as much as possible.  His philosophy has definitely influenced my approach to fermentation.

Yesterday, Katz came to Philly to speak at a free event at the Free Library to promote his new book The Art of Fermentation.  Since then, I’ve been diving into this tome with every spare moment I have and I can honestly say it is AMAZING!  It has a completely different vibe than Wild Fermention.  It’s anything but wild, actually.  It’s a comprehensive, beautiful, extraordinary guide to fermentation in all of its ugly beauty.   It is full of information that really brings home what an essential part fermentation plays in global cuisine.  Exciting stuff, to say the least.

Katz’ talk was everything a fan girl desired.  Smart but not snobby, informative but not preachy and so very inspiring.  Those who have read Wild Fermentation will know his story, but that didn’t make his thoughts on food and community, the history of fermentation or the health benefits of eating ferments any less fascinating.  I wanted to cry 1,000 tears when I realized I didn’t have time to grab my copy of Wild Fermentation from home for signing.  I’m alright with it now.  The event wasn’t about his celebrity.  He made it about community, global food culture and the joy of getting back to our culinary roots.

The Free Library is the shit, and they’ve linked to a podcast of the event here.  If you are on the fence about starting your own ferments, check it out.  If you are an old (or new) hand at fermenting, check it out.  There’s a lovely long Q&A and a great view into Katz’ fermentation mentality.

Ferment Sandor Katz


  1. Carel B says:

    Question to any of you expert fermenters:

    I made a batch that has alot of VERY YEASTY smelling liquid.. in addition to the usual coating. it smells MUCH yeastier than any batch I have made before.
    isit o.k.? or do i toss it and what did i do wrong?

    • Amanda says:

      Hi Carel,
      I’m sure the time has passed on this one! I apologize! I’ve been out of town, then trying to catch up on everything. I would not call myself an expert, but I do have a couple of questions.
      Were you fermenting other things very near to your sauerkraut (sourdough, kombucha, etc)? I once got a scoby on some pickles that were about 5 feet apart from my ‘bouch. If not, what did you add in the kraut, seasonings-wise? Any carrot chunks or anything sweeter? Could be that the sugars got excessive.
      Was it in a hot area or in direct sunlight?
      Sorry if those seem like super basic questions. That’s really all I could think of.
      I’m curious what you ended up doing. I’m sure an attorney would tell me to tell you to toss it. Generally speaking if there’s a weird flavor/odor you don’t like, probably don’t eat it, to be safe. That said, if it were me (and I’m not recommending this to you!) I would probably skim it, pour off some of the liquid and try a very small amount. If it tasted good, I’d probably keep it. If not, seems like it’s not worth it.
      Good luck, and please do let me know!

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