The Noma Guide to Fermentation is destined to become a classic.
This is an encyclopedic guide for home-cooks to one of the oldest methods of food preservation (think wine, beer, vinegar, cheese, pickles, sourdough bread, soy sauce, and the bacteria, molds, yeasts or combo thereof that create them). At Denmark’s two Michelin-starred Noma, which has been named the world’s best restaurant four times, every dish includes some form of flavour-goosing fermentation. In fact, Noma—trailblazer of new Nordic cuisine—has its own fermentation lab, helmed by Toronto native David Zilber, who co-authored The Noma Guide to Fermentation with renowned chef and co-owner René Redzepi.
Chock-a-block with photos and illustrations, the book provides step-by-step instructions for making everything from simple preserved plums (just add salt, then wait several days) to coffee kombucha to a “mole” sauce made with koji (grain to which a fungus has been applied) to all manner of umami-packed garums—in which an animal’s normal digestive process is essentially turned on itself (as in dry-aging beef ).
It’s kitchen alchemy that will seem fussy to some and miraculous to others. The tips are very precise, including those for cleanliness: “Remember, you’re playing with live ammo,” the authors warn. — PATRICIA HLUCHY
The Noma Guide to Fermentation: Foundations of Flavor, René Redzepi and David Zilber, Thomas Allen & Sons,