Sunday, July 27, 2008

What have you fermented?

Out of 120 people:
Beer 113 (94%)
Cider 63 (52%)
Mead 56 (46%)
Sourdough Bread 45 (37%)
Wine 34 (28%)
Cultured Milk (yogurt, buttermilk, quark etc...) 30 (25%)
Cheese 23 (19%)
Pickles 22 (18%)
Sauerkraut/Kimchi 21 (17%)
Kombucha 17 (14%)
Other 15 (12%)
Cured Meat 14 (11%)
Ginger Beer Plant 5 (4%)
Sake 3 (2%)

Certainly looks like most of the people visiting the site at least dabble in beer brewing. Other beverages cover three of the next four slots. Sourdough bread and cultured milk products are also high up, I find them to be two of the easier and faster fermentations to do at home. Cheese, and fermented vegetables take a bit more time and care, and thus are a bit further down.

I'll probably start doing some cured meat soon, I've been reading the excellent book Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn. A very inspirational and well written book, I'll probably start by breaking down some Duck and making Duck Prosciutto from the breasts and confit from the legs before moving on the the more microbial driven recipes.

For the people who answered Other, what have you made that doesn't fall into one of the other categories?


  1. If you have any questions about the confit, let me know. I make it all the time. I always have duck fat standing by in the fridge ready for some confit. I make Cassoulet periodically with it, and it's such a crowd pleaser.

    P.S. I think my pellicle is starting to form. This Flanders makes my mouth water just thinking about it. I'll just have to be patient for a year or so! Is there a store in the area that sells Rodenbach? Duchess is easy to find, but I'd like to try some other examples, without paying an arm and a leg at the Brickskeller.

  2. How about Mountain Dew®?

    (If I can ever get Blogger™ to allow me to leave a comment! ARGH!)

  3. I gotta wonder who the OTHER sake maker who voted is....

    Only two votes! Egad! Here I was thinking that my guide was reaching people....

  4. Is there a good place in the area to buy duck fat, or did you just render some yourself? Rodenbach has been hard to come by recently because they were without a distributor for awhile. Now they have a new distributor and their beers should be showing up more regularly. Cairo Liquors had some last time I was in there, but that was maybe 6 months ago. Another great Flanders Red you can get in the area is Zoetzuur from de Proef, I picked some up at Village Pump House in College Park a few weeks ago. I also like Monk’s CafĂ© Flanders, which isn’t too hard to find less sweetness than some of the other ones out there.

    Mountain Dew is certainly a fermentable I haven’t give a try (and doubt I will). Your link doesn’t work for me but I remember a “Mountain Brew” recipe from BYO.

    I’ll probably get a batch of Sake done once the temperature cools down a bit. I think homebrewers gravitate to mead/cider because they are both so easy, Sake seems like a lot of effort in comparison.

  5. Duck? Mmmmmm.

    The first mention I've heard of aging meat was in Shots at Whitetails. It's written as a guide for hunting and it's really a good read. Grain of salt warning: Hunting is me and my fathers activity, there may be bias. ;)

    But, in 1900, refrigeration wasn't common, so Koller talks about hanging the meat, preserving it, and what's required when processing the newly dead animal to make for good eating. Venison you buy from the game farms isn't quite the same stuff, especially if it's been shipped quite a distance. Also probably in your interests is The Bounty of the Earth. The 1979 edition has preservation in it while I believe this is omitted from the reprint. Unfortunately my copy of the 1979 edition was destroyed in a leaky basement incident.

  6. Hmmm - the link SHOULD be working: what kind of problem are you having with it? Is it a "host not found" type of message or is it connecting but not sending anything?

    (I've just moved to a new host, so if it's having problems it'd be good to know. The OLD host is still up, too, so DNS ought not to be an issue. It's coming up for me at the moment.)

  7. Thanks for the book tips, I'll certainly check them out.

    Your site is giving me a "Cannot find server" error, I'm at work behind firewalls and so forth so it might just be a problem on my end. Is it working for anyone else?

  8. I render my own duck fat. It's really easy. Just take all of the fat scraps from fabrication of the whole duck, cut them into chunks and put in a saucepan. Add a few cups of water and crank the heat. The cool thing about this method is that it renders very efficiently without burning, because as long as the water is present, it can only reach 212F, once the water is completely evaporated, just keep cooking until the fat chunks get crispy and golden. Strain out the chunks, and reserve your crystal clear fat. Use the duck fat crispies in salads, slightly salted as a snack, or even on ice cream (I'm not kidding).

  9. It's also possible I screwed up my DNS last night - if so, it should hopefully be fixed now.

    I've moved the web server from a box on my DSL line in my living room out to a hosting service, and I think perhaps my over-cautiousness to try to make the move without interruptions came back to bite me. Sorry about that...