Mastering Fermentation

“Mary Karlin has done it again, getting me all excited about the passions we share, as she previously did with cheesemaking and wood-fired cooking.”
Peter Reinhart,
author of Artisan Bread Everyday and Bread Baker’s Apprentice.

“Mastering Fermentation is full of recipes and ideas that are imminently doable and also delicious”.
Deborah Madison,
author of Vegetable Literacy and Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

Artisan Cheese Making at Home

“Part cookbook, part textbook, and part travel guide through the world of hand-crafted cheeses, Artisan Cheese Making at Home is both educational and inspirational”.
Jill Giacomini Basch,
Managing Partner, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company

“If you thought reading about making cheese couldn’t be exciting, this book will change your mind. Mary Karlin’s expert advice, instruction, and passion for cheese making come together to create a page-turning tome that allows us to become DIYers and artisans all at once.”
Laura Werlin,
author of Mac and Cheese, Please! and Laura Werlin’s Cheese Essentials

Wood-Fired Cooking

“A wood fire is always the heart and hearth of a social gathering—I never feel more at home than when I'm cooking over the flames. Mary Karlin's comprehensive and beautiful book introduces you to one of our most ancient, basic, and satisfying ways to cook.”
Alice Waters,
founder and co-owner of Chez Panisse and author of The Art of Simple Food

“In Wood-Fired Cooking, Mary Karlin combines the romance of the fire with practical information and really delicious recipes that are easy to prepare. A surefire hit.”
Joyce Goldstein,
chef and author of Back to Square One and Italian Slow and Savory

Benefits of Fermented Foods

Mothers of Fermentation Photo: M. Karlin

Fermented foods taste better and are better for us than processed or even pasteurized foods. They are probiotic; alive with beneficial organisms that contribute to our digestive and therefore overall health.

Fermentation Transforms Food

During fermentation, whether natural or via a starter culture, the acidity in the fermentation environment is raised (and pH is lowered) to a level that is unfriendly to pathogen growth; keeping the food being fermented safe for consumption. The microorganisms break down complex molecules into simpler substances, and as a result the flavor and texture of the food is increased, the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes of the food are also increased and made more readily available for use in our bodies. In a sense, the fermented food is pre-digested; rendered bio-available. Our bodies can actually utilize fermented food to the maximum. Food that has been fermented is enhanced nutritionally and texturally, resulting in improved efficiency and absorption into our bodies, aiding our digestive system, and the health of our gut flora. The health of our gut flora is essential to our overall well being, and boosts our immune system.

Bring Fermented Foods into your Life

Add fermented foods into your daily diet. Because fermented foods are so good for us, eating a lot of them might sound like a good approach. However, if you are new to consuming fermented foods, too much all at once may produce digestive discomfort. That message from your gut doesn’t mean that those foods are not good for you. The discomfort is a signal that your body needs time to adapt to the friendly, beneficial bacterial occupiers. And perhaps, your body needs a smaller amount.

The overall goal, from my perspective, is to incorporate a sensible amount and variety of fermented foods into one’s daily diet of healthful foods, not to adopt an extreme all-fermented diet. As an example, eating a fermented food (such as sauerkraut or pickles) along with animal protein will aid in the digestion of that protein. Start with small 2 to 4 tablespoon portions as accompaniments to other foods to acclimate your body. Gradually increase to amounts that make you feel good or feel better. Over time, you’ll get to know what the right amount is for your body.

Sweet-Tom-Salsa and Kimchi
Sweet Tom Salsa, and Kimchi | Photo: M. Karlin