Perfect Your Fermentation Skills with the 7 Best Books on Fermenting (And My Favorite Go-To Book)

Fermenting is a great way to preserve food, increase the nutritional value of your meals and drinks, and create unique flavors. But it can be intimidating if you are new to fermenting. That’s why we have compiled this list of the 7 best books on fermenting to help you perfect your skills.

These will help those focusing on fermenting:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Beverages
  • Seeds
  • Meats
  • Cheeses
  • Bread

And many more tasty health-promoting fermented foods!

Whether you are looking for a comprehensive guide to all things fermentation, recipes for specific types of ferments, or answers to questions about troubleshooting and safety, you’ll be sure to find something useful in this list.

7 Essential Fermentation Books For Homesteaders

1. The Farmhouse Culture Guide to Fermenting: 100 Recipes from Kimchi to Kombucha

The International Association of Culinary Professionals offers the prestigious annual IACP award, and The Farmhouse Culture Guide to Fermenting is one of the few cookbooks to have won it in its category. This book is an approachable and comprehensive guide to fermenting, with over 100 recipes for making kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, hot sauce, soy sauce, miso, pickles, and more. Kathryn Lukas and Shane Peterson both work for Farmhouse Culture, an organic fermented foods company.

Many of these recipes offer an opportunity to explore less common ferments, making this text perfect for those who are intermediate or advanced fermenters that are looking for new recipes and techniques.

However, the basics are also covered in simple terms, so even a beginner just starting out with fermentation can follow along.

  • Wide variety of recipes
  • Includes historical information
  • step-by-step how-to’s including photographs
  • Some recipes require uncommon ingredients

2. The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World

The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz is a must-have for any fermentation enthusiast. This 498-page encyclopedic guide to all things fermentation covers topics like the science behind lacto-fermentation, different types of fermentations, safety protocols, and more.

It’s one of the best fermentation books on the market and my personal favorite when it comes to expanding my wild fermentation knowledge.

This book reads more like a set of guidelines than a line-by-line recipe. Sandor Katz offers his personal opinion as well as cultural and historical insights that help the reader understand the importance of fermentation.

Here’s a peek inside the pages. As you can see, Katz is going to introduce you to other culinary figures and add stories to each fermentation recipe along the way:

  • Covers a wide range of topics
  • Detailed explanations
  • Highly informative and educational
  • Great resource section for further learning
  • Not a recipe-based book, so not ideal for those who are looking for specific recipes.

3. Kombucha, Kefir, and Beyond: Fermenting Your Own Probiotic Beverages at Home

If your fermentation focus is specifically on probiotic beverages like kombucha and kefir, this book is for you. Written by veteran fermentation authors Alex Lewin and Raquel Guajardo, a natural food writer, and nutritionist, this book outlines the science and health benefits of drinking probiotic beverages as well as providing recipes for them.

Some drinks you’ll learn how to make include:

The tone of this book is warm and friendly, making it approachable for those working with starter cultures for the first time. Its attractive layout, pictures, and illustrations further add to the reader’s experience.

  • Comprehensive guide to probiotic beverages
  • Detailed instructions on brewing and fermentation
  • Includes simple recipes
  • Only focuses on fermented beverages

4. The Noma Guide to Fermentation

The Noma Guide to Fermentation is an indispensable guide that provides readers with all the information they need to understand and master fermentation techniques. This comprehensive resource offers step-by-step instructions on equipment, ingredients, and recipes, plus traditional and modern methods of fermenting food and beverages. It also includes helpful tips to assist even the most inexperienced fermenters in their journey.

The book features detailed explanations with illustrations and diagrams that explain how to use a range of tools such as canning jars, fermentation weights, and pH meters for accurate and delicious results. There are also visual guides for building a fermentation chamber at home. Plus, more than 25 recipes offer plenty of useful inspiration for both beginners and experienced fermenters alike.

All in all, Fermentation for Beginners is an ideal companion for anyone looking to explore the world of fermentation. With something for everyone – from novice to experienced – this book is a valuable resource.

  • Specific detailed charts that clarify the process
  • Shares interesting ferementation-themed history
  • Some beginners found this guide a bit advanced to start out with.

5. Home Cheese Making: Recipes for 100 Favorite Cheeses

Ricki Carroll is widely renowned as “the Cheese Queen.” Her classic book, Home Cheese Making, has become an iconic reference in the world of artisanal cheese making since its first publication in 1982. With over 400,000 copies in print, the book has inspired and guided thousands of home cheese makers over the years.

You’ll learn how to make:

  • Burrata
  • Stracchino
  • Brillat-Savarin
  • D’Affinois
  • Cambrales
  • Drunk Gouda
  • Pecorino Pepato
  • Goat milk’s gouda

These varieties of cheese are surprisingly easy to make, but overall, cheesemaking is generally a good food fermentation process for intermediate or late beginner students.

In the world of fermentation, this is one of the best books for culturing foods with dairy bases. It’s comprehensive, detailed, and will ensure that you get the best results from your cheese-making endeavors (even when you make your first batch).

  • Cheeses are ordered from easy to advanced to prevent overwhelm
  • Clear steps even beginners will understand
  • The recipe book doesn’t expand to every type of cheese, excluding more advanced aging processes

6. Fermented Vegetables: Creative Recipes for Fermenting 64 Vegetables

Few fermented foods and drinks are as healthy as fermented vegetables. They offer the multiple benefits of probiotics, fiber, and nutrients, created effortlessly in a fermentation crock or jar.

So if you’ve just started fermenting and need to learn the basics behind fermentation, this book is a great place to start.

Fermented Vegetables is a comprehensive guide that provides readers with a clear understanding of the fermentation process. It gives step-by-step directions walking through the use of brine and salt as well as explains techniques and seasoning. Additionally, it covers over 60 different vegetables and herbs with recipes, suggestions, tips, and advice to complement each one.

Finally, the book offers several recipes on how fermented foods can be used in meals and beverages such as Smoky Kraut Quiche, Tempeh Reuben, Pickle in a Blanket, Kimchi Mary, and Sauerkraut Coconut.

  • Full of recipes with variations for custom approaches
  • Many fermentation recipes for vegetables
  • Overall the book is perfect for beginners
  • Only covers vegetables for those looking for a book full of all types of fermentation recipes and techniques

7. The Sourdough Bible: Prepare Homemade Sourdough, Delicious Yeast Bread, and Perfect Pastries

Making fermented bread is a sacred fermentation process. It requires the right combination of ingredients, timing, and technique to create light, flavorful loaves that are both delicious and healthful.

The Sourdough Bible is an absolute must-have for serious bakers looking to master sourdough bread. Authored by renowned artisanal baker Lawrence M. Northern, the book offers an in-depth exploration of the science, art, and tradition of sourdough. It covers everything from mastering the art of sourdough starters to working with different flours and techniques to create delicious baked goods.

  • Takes the complexity out of natural bread making
  • Also covers pastries
  • Many readers wish the book contained more sourdough recipes rather than a blend of yeast and sourdough bread recipes

And the Best Fermentation Book Is…The Art of Fermentation By Sandor Katz

I have been a huge fan of Sandor Katz’ work since I met him at a curated dinner at the Reedsburg Wisconsin Fermentation Festival. He treats fermentation as a passing down of cultural knowledge and nutrition, and helps initiates understand the science behind it.

When he speaks on the topic, it’s as if he has a complete library of information in his head, and he can draw on that to provide an incredible depth of knowledge.

His seminal book, The Art of Fermentation is my favorite fermentation book because it can guide me through any fermentation project I decide to do.

Whether it’s making my own kombucha, kefir, kimchi, or a variety of pickled produce, The Art of Fermentation is a comprehensive guide that can help me understand the science, safe practices, and process behind each type of ferment. Plus, the resources section at the back for further learning is the icing on top.

Here are some of the topics this wonderful tome will cover:

  1. Fermentation as a Coevolutionary Force
  2. Practical Benefits of Fermentation
  3. Basic Concepts and Equipment
  4. Fermenting Sugars into Alcohol: Meads, Wines, Ciders
  5. Fermenting Vegetables and Fruits
  6. Fermenting Sour Tonic Beverages
  7. Fermenting Milk
  8. Fermenting Grains and Starchy Tubers
  9. Fermenting Beers and Other Grain-Based Beverages
  10. Growing Mold Cultures for Tempeh
  11. Fermenting Seeds, Beans, and Nuts
  12. Fermenting Meat, Fish, and Eggs
  13. Commercial Enterprise Considerations
  14. Non-Food Applications of Fermentation

As you can see, no stone is left unturned when it comes to this text, making it the best fermentation book for beginners and advanced fermenters alike who want a full understanding of the process.

FAQs: Best Books on Fermentation

Have some additional questions before we get you started with books on the topic? Here are a few of the most common questions new fermenters have:

Where do I start with fermentation?

If you are new to the world of fermentation, it is best to start small. Learn the process by trying one or two recipes and then expanding your repertoire as you become more comfortable with the methods and techniques.

What are the top 10 fermented foods?

There’s a word of possibilities when it comes to fermentation, but here are the 10 most popular ones:

  1. Sauerkraut
  2. Kimchi
  3. Kombucha
  4. Yogurt
  5. Cheese
  6. Sourdough Bread
  7. Pickles
  8. Miso Paste
  9. Tempeh
  10. Beer

What is the healthiest fermented food?

Vegetable ferments are generally very healthy for you. Fermented vegetables offer a variety of health benefits, including improved digestion, immune support, and better nutrient absorption. Sauerkraut is one of the most popular fermented vegetables and has been used for centuries to improve digestive health. It can also help reduce inflammation in the body and boost overall immunity

Additionally, kefir is one of the healthiest due to its high levels of probiotics and beneficial bacteria. It is also rich in vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. Kefir is low in calories and fat while being high in protein. For these reasons, it can be an excellent addition to any diet.

How do you ferment vegetables step-by-step?

Here is a quick and dirty guide to fermenting vegetables:

  1. Select and prepare your vegetables: Choose denser vegetables like cabbage, carrots, or beets. Wash the vegetables and cut them into small pieces.
  2. Add salt: Sprinkle salt onto the vegetables, using a ratio of 3 tablespoons of salt per quart (or liter) of water. This will help draw out the liquid and create the brine that ferments your vegetables. Start with 2 tablespoons and taste along the way to make sure you don’t oversalt it.
  3. Let sit for 30 minutes: Allow the salt to do its job by letting the vegetables sit for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer if time allows.
  4. Pack in a container: Place the salted vegetables in a fermentation vessel such as a crock or jar with a weight on top to keep the veggies submerged in their own brine.
  5. Ferment for 2-10 days: Place your fermentation vessel somewhere cool and out of direct sunlight, allowing it to ferment for 2-10 days depending on taste preference and temperature conditions of where it is stored.
  6. Check progress regularly: Monitor the process during fermentation by checking daily to ensure everything looks normal and tasting every few days until the desired flavor is achieved.
  7. Store in the fridge: Once you reach the desired flavor, place the jar in the refrigerator to halt further fermentation and enjoy!

For a full guide, check out my complete article on how to ferment vegetables.

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