You Are Eating Ferments Everyday! | The Sandor Katz Mini Series

Cultures For Health Giveaway

We're ecstatic to share the news of our Sandor Katz Mini Series Podcast, as well as a special giveaway this month only.

We had the privilege of speaking with Sandor Katz, a well-known author and fermenting revivalist, about fermentation journeys, and how anyone, even you, can get started.

Sandor’s global journeys, fermentation experiences, and stories to follow!

sandor katz book and bakers bundle giveaway

Best of all, this month, you can enter to win a giveaway from “Cultures For Health” for $129 worth of product!

Click  here to be directed to the page to enter. Or, even easier, text the word “GIVEAWAY” to 1-833-760-1513.

This popular bundle features our Baker's bundle, and Sandor Katz's newest book.

The Baker's Bundle has everything you need to bake your own artisan-style sourdough bread right at home!

Not to mention, you can ace fermentation with your free copy of Sandor Katz's “Fermentation Journeys: Recipes, Techniques, and Traditions from around the World.” The possibilities are endless.

Interested in taking a listen to the new podcast episode? Check it out here!

Cultures For Health’s In House Expert

Before we dig in, we want to share a little bit about Cara, our in house fermentation expert here at Cultures For Health.

Cara’s first fermentation experience was with bread in a high school baking competition.

After pursuing a Culinary Science degree from the Culinary Institute of America, she became the resident fermentation specialist at Cultures for Health.

Today her favorite ferments will be her one true love: sourdough. However, she cannot live without giving an honorable mention to hot sauce, miso, and kombucha.


a girl named cara who is holding kombucha cultures and a scoby


Who Is Sandor Katz, You Ask?

Sandor Katz, a self-described "fermentation revivalist," has led hundreds of food seminars around the United States, and his book “Wild Fermentation” (2003) is regarded as a culinary classic.

He started his interest in the processes of fermentation when he relocated from New York to rural Tennessee and began gardening, growing food, and cooking; he began investigating the fermentation processes.

What began as a simple book tour shortly after the success of his 2003 book quickly evolved into an exciting life of educating people about fermentation techniques and health benefits.


portrait of sandor katz


He has gained knowledge from more than 30 years of personal travels and fermented food encounters around the world.

Needless to say, Sandor has made a huge impact on our fermentation community and we are so excited to have the opportunity to sit down and chat with him.


You’re Already Eating Fermented Foods!


pickles, bread, yogurt and other fermented foods


 In the first podcast episode,Cara speaks with Sandor Katz about fermentation and how it is already a part of your everyday life.

Many of your favorite foods and drinks are probably fermented, some of the most popular being: bread, cheese, wine, beer, cider, pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi, salami, miso, soy sauce, yogurt, kefir, and kombucha.

Katz describes fermentation as the transformative action of microorganisms. It’s bigger than the food itself. It can also be seen in compost and soil fertility.

It is, in a larger sense, the cycling of micronutrients. How we make use of this process for our benefits helps us make food and drink more delicious, nutritious, and stable for storage.

It can also remove toxins, along with other practical benefits for our everyday lives.  


Sandor Started With Sauerkraut

Fermentation doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be simplified! The time that is required for fermentation is mostly not active time, but time spent waiting on the organisms to do their jobs.

Katz goes on to explain how everyone can fit fermentation into their everyday life.


cabbage gardening


He recommends starting with something simple...his solution? Make a quart-size  jar of sauerkraut!

Kraut was actually one of his first ventures into fermentation when he realized he had an abundance of cabbage from his garden.

Hence his popular nickname known in the fermenting community: Sandorkraut!


Keeping Fermentation Simple

Kraut is a simple ferment that can enhance other foods you eat. Think of all the delicious dishes that sauerkraut can accompany: sausages, pierogies, reuben sandwiches, a variety of salads and spreads, and so much more!

The possibilities are endless with what you choose to do with your creations. Check out  our recipe here for some seriously sensational sauerkraut!

The most well-known lacto-fermented vegetable is undoubtedly sauerkraut. Sauerkraut is traditionally made using thinly sliced cabbage and salt.

Sauerkraut, like any other traditionally handmade cuisine, can be cooked in a variety of ways with a variety of components.


jars of fermented sauerkraut and beets


Whether you jazz up your homemade sauerkraut with a hidden ingredient or keep it simple, cabbage provides a host of health advantages.

It's high in probiotics, vitamins, fiber, and minerals, all of which can help with digestion and immune system strength.

Check out some of our recommended varieties to try out with yourkraut journey here.


Another Simple Ferment 

Cara recommends sourdough as another great introductory ferment. Sourdough is naturally leavened bread, which means it doesn’t use commercial yeast to rise.

Instead, it uses a ‘starter’ – a fermented flour and water mixture that contains wild yeast and good bacteria – to rise. This also produces the tangy flavor and slightly chewy texture you’ll find in sourdough.


sourdough bread on a cutting board with a knife and bread bag


Many historians believe that the Egyptians were the first to realize that grain and water could "come alive" and rise into bread dough. Bakeries and breweries were frequently located close to one another.

Someone very definitely used beer mash in their bread and thought it was fantastic! They eventually learned that saving a portion of the dough for the next batch allowed them to consistently produce gorgeous loaves of bread.

Interested in learning a little more about the history of sourdough? Check out this  blog post that goes into detail.

You can also learn more details about the ins-and-outs of sourdough bread at  Cultures For Health where we have a whole section of education dedicated specifically to sourdough.


Sandor Katz’s Experience in Quinfen

In the first episode of our 3-part podcast series with Sandor Katz, Cara asks Sandor about one of his favorite fermentation memories or travels.

Katz finds it difficult to choose only one.  He cherishes how much this phenomenon can be varied and experienced in life. There is so much depth and diversity in cultural practices with this process.

He’s had a lot of memorable experiences, but he flashes back to Quinfen, a village in China where they practice huge amounts of fermentation.

He arrived in early December, just as they were getting ready for the winter. He was able to see firsthand how fermentation benefits this culture's survival.

Everything from fish and pork, to tofu and soybeans, is fermented and used practically in the village.

It's all about taking an experience and being motivated to convert it into something unique that you can utilize every day. In Quinfen, Katz learned a lot of things about rice alcohol fermentation and soy-based condiments.

This prompted him to create a dried spice blend with Nato, dried fermented whole soybean from Japan, which he now maintains in his kitchen on a regular basis.

Katz uses his Nato to mix with other dried ingredients including sesame seeds, chili peppers, and szechuan peppercorns, as well as other flavors.

This dried seasoning can be used to enhance the flavor and nutritional value of a range of sauces and meals.


japanese natto fermented soy beans

Well You Haven’t Tried Mine...

Cara speaks about kombuchaand her experience with those who have told her they’re not into it. She always asks: “...but have you tried mine?”

They haven’t acquired a taste for kombucha, she explains, it can have a funky taste at first when you’re getting used to it. That taste and smell depends on how long it was fermented for and what kind of flavors you infuse.

If you brew your own kombucha, you can easily control how vinegar-y it gets. 

Kombucha is more than just a unique flavor; it's an entirely new experience unlike anything you've likely ever had. One of the first things you may notice when opening a bottle of kombucha is the smell.


homemade bottles of kombucha with a variety of flavors


Maybe there’s a hint of fruits. Or a botanical, floral bouquet. And yes, there can be a vinegar smell. That is very natural.

The vinegary odor isn't as strong as that of a bottle of vinegar or salad dressing, but it's noticeable. It is also able to be controlled when you make your own.  

Because the procedure is less controlled, home-brewed kombucha has a greater vinegar profile than commercially produced kombucha.

The sweetness of the fruits and the softness of the botanicals frequently counteract the tanginess. It's not flat, like a juice, it's somewhat bubbly, tingly, maybe even surprising — just different enough to make you realize you're sipping something special.


making flavored kombucha with cultures for health


What Drives Your Journey?

There’s so much that we know is happening, but there is always more to learn. Whether you’re a seasoned expert who has traveled the world like Sandor Katz, or perhaps you just tried making your first batch of kombucha at home, there is always more to learn.


variety of fermented foods


And even for those who may think they don’t like fermented foods. Whether you are consciously interested in health or you are looking for new ways to play in the kitchen...fermentation has a lot to offer!

Baker's bundle and Sandor Katz's Newest Book

Remember, at Cultures for Health, we believe everyone’s life can be improved by adding more homemade probiotics from cultured and fermented foods to their diet.

That is why we are giving away $129 worth of product to 1 lucky winner! Enter by clicking on the link below or you can text the word “GIVEAWAY”  to 833-760-1513.

This popular bundle includes our Baker's bundle and Sandor Katz's newest book. If you have the flour, the Baker's Bundle has everything you need to make the most delicious homemade sourdough bread!

Our Bakers Bundle includes a proofing basket, a thermometer, and more equipment than any other kit on the market.

In Sandor Katz's newest book, “Fermentation Journeys: Recipes, Techniques, and Traditions from around the World,” you will feel like you're right along his side exploring the world of fermentation.

 All you need to do to enter is  click here and enter your name and e-mail address, or text the word “GIVEAWAY”  to 1-833-760-1513... it's that easy!

Be sure to stay tuned for Cultures For Health’s next podcast episode where we talk with Sandor Katz about his experiences in fermentation around the world and more! If you’d like to learn more about Sandor Katz, you can head over to  his website.