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Foundations of Flavor: The Noma Guide to Fermentation

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  496 ratings  ·  51 reviews
At Noma—four times named the world’s best restaurant—every dish includes some form of fermentation, whether it’s a bright hit of vinegar, a deeply savory miso, an electrifying drop of garum, or the sweet intensity of black garlic. Fermentation is one of the foundations behind Noma’s extraordinary flavor profiles.

Now René Redzepi, chef and co-owner of Noma, and David
Hardcover, 440 pages
Published October 16th 2018 by Artisan (first published 2018)
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Average rating 4.51  · 
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Jan 06, 2019 rated it liked it
As a home cook who has done a fair amount of lacto-fermentation, alcoholic fermentation, some acetic acid fermentation, bread-baking, and with miso and meju fermenting as I write, I found the book both illuminating and stingy, like the kind of smart person you sometimes meet at parties who will say an intriguing thing, and you are just sure they know something really interesting and they're holding back because "This is a party, and I'm not going to digress. It's in bad taste." I know that what ...more
Dec 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
I made the blueberries, and they were OK. If I ran a restaurant, I would be trying everything in the book. Lovely, clear presentation and easier to work from than Sandor Katz, but a bit much for me as a home cook.
Jan 09, 2019 rated it liked it
I was hoping for something that was more useful for the home fermenter, but was well written and fell into a life style porn genre for me - beautiful foodie experience that is far and away from my office job, kid wrangling and elder care. Not what I was looking for, but well written.
Mike Moore
Really beautiful and well-written, but c'mon. I'm gonna make a fermentation chamber in my basement to make miso? Gonna age vinegar for like 4 years in a wine barrel? So, I don't really know who this book is for. Other cooks that also have an entire fermentation department at their restaurant?

Interesting to learn about everything, but this isn't something the average person can act on.
Aug 04, 2019 rated it liked it
this book was fascinating but absolutely impractical even for my extremely extra fermentation loving ass self

also I like my kombucha recipe better than theirs. idk!!! I do feel like I learned so much, the chemistry was the exact right level of depth for a non scientist culinary nerd.
Little Bby
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love! Love! Love! This book is everything I didn’t know I needed! Thank you René and David for this masterpiece!!
Daniel Burton
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I did not read every word of every recipe, but the overall concepts and explanations were excellent
Taylor Rickett
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Big fan of the ideas and flavors presented within. Truly inspiring to see a kitchen family so dedicated to flavor and the pursuit of new ones that they’ve created space, methods and time for this exploration outside the retail aspirations of the storefront. A triptych of one group’s discovery of and reconnection to a powerful cooking tradition.
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing guide and one of those magical cookbooks that really expands your food world. It takes simple ingredients and gives very thorough step by step instructions for what to do. The pictures are beautiful, but it isn't all style over substance. It's just a great book that I will go back to and a great guide to some basics.
Jonah Krueger
Jan 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The holy grail of fermentation books. Approachable guides for the ferments tested and used at Noma. Less broad in scope than "The Art of Fermentation" by Sandor Katz, but detailed where it counts and extraordinarily beautiful in presentation.
Tony Cheang
Dec 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The first "cookbook" I've read cover to cover. If you enjoy food and cooking, the book's just down-right fun to read, even the chapters on ferments you might never decide to make.

The book strikes a balance of depth and breadth. On a high level, the chapters are (generally) arranged from easier (lacto-ferments, kombucha, vinegar) to harder to make (koji, miso and miso-like products, shoyu, etc.). Koji is that gateway. It'll be a while before I decide to build a temperature and humidity controlled
Dec 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Some cool ideas in here, but this is definitely a book aimed at the restaurant class and not home cooks. Which is understandable, but left me feeling that a lot of the ideas were impractical.
Susan Peterson
If you're interested in how fermentation is done by the experts, this is your book. If you are looking for recipes to try yourself, it's less useful. I've tried fermented pickles, wine and cider, vinegar, hot pepper sauce and several other things, so I'm a pretty adventurous. But I didn't find a single recipe that I thought might be interesting. This is the kind of interesting food you go out and pay Noma to cook for you.
Robert Hudder
Mar 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a simple book with just a few recipes done well. It acknowledges Shurtleff, Aoyagi, McGee and Katz. It takes some of the mystique of fermenting and takes it down to the basics. It works at making it fun to play in this field.

Several of the techniques are repeated and the steps are shown with pictures. It is very reassuring. The text props this reassurance up and talks about the stuff to worry about and what not to worry about. There are times when their experiments didn't go well and
Oct 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
While this was an interesting read (and I'm in awe of NOMA's food), I doubt I'll be venturing into making koji, miso, or garum at home. Most of this book was a bit above my current skill/interest and level of commitment, which sits at "many bottles of kefir, two successful batches of sauerkraut, and a spicy carrot/lime slaw."

The lacto-ferments chapter did remind me that I've been meaning to make kimchi (and conveniently I received a napa cabbage in my CSA box on Saturday). I now have two jars
Tim Artz
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
It's a pleasure to read with a friendly, familiar style. At first I thought, yes, this is all the stuff I am used to doing in my kitchen. Later on, the book is packed with nuggets that caused my brain to come up with all sorts of new directions and ideas. The book suits those who want a step-by-step approach to the cool projects with yeast, bacteria, and fungi, but it also presents in a way that I found appealing: to explore beyond what they do at Noma, and chart a course that is uniquely mine. ...more
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's deserving of the name guide. Every type of fermentation has a clear description of its conditions, then first a very basic recipe focussed on the process, after which ferments with alternative ingredients follow which may appeal more to the foodies amongst us. Every ferment comes with recommendations where to apply them, but this is not where the focus lies.

The book is targetted at the home cook, in how it supplies simple DIY solutions to make the techniques possible, and how it coddles
Alicia Bayer
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
This was another one of those books that took a subject that I'm passionate about and wanted to learn more about, and convinced me that I probably shouldn't even try. I know that's not the goal, but it really makes it seem absolutely expensive, fiddly and complicated. I highly recommend Sandor Katz's fermentation books if you want to feel inspired and actually do the things you're reading out. This will be a good fit for people who just want to be impressed with the process or for really hard ...more
Christina Chen
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is a mix of detailed theory and recipes, good for readers who are interested in food science and like to experiment in the kitchen. There are also plenty of pictures as they show you step-by-step on how the fermentation process will look like over time.

The kombucha chapter is my favourite as it is probably the easiest to re-create in the kitchen. The other chapters on koji, miso and shoyus will require some make shift equipment.

The book has recipes for sauces and dips that Noma uses
Calvin Rye
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This has quickly become the most important cookbook in my collection. I've only made a handful of the fermentations in the book, but plan to run through all of them. The book gives you a fundamental understanding of fermentations and how to construct dishes around fermentations. It will connect you to your local food and farm culture, make you feel proud of the complex flavors you create, and get you thinking in an experimental way about food. For example: I made an ice cream from lacto ...more
May 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
The first chapters of the book have some great recipes for home fermentationists, but the fermentations get more complicated as the book progresses--by the second half of the book, we're easily out of home cook territory and into recipes and procedures that are more suited to restaurants. Other reviewers were disappointed by this shift, but I enjoyed reading the concepts behind shoyu and garum, even if I'll never make it myself.
My main qualm with the book is that once you read the first base
Erik Waiss
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wish more technique based cook books were written like this. The plethora of step-by-step photos, and especially the time lapse photos of the actual fermentations, make this an invaluable resource. Plus, the nature of the recipes within not only give you detailed instructions on how to make that specific recipe, but help you to refine your understanding of the process so that you can make your own products and your own recipes, with your own ingredients. This is a top-notch book that will ...more
Kurt Chircop
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great Work!

Really detailed explanations of koji, kombuchas, shoyus, misos, vinegars, garums, lacto-ferments, and black fruits and vegetables. Photos detailing step by step guides.

Also Included in the book is a list of online sites that explains where you can get the hard to get ingredients like bee pollen, grasshoppers and wax moth larvae, koji spores and scobies.

Rene and David did a great job.

Also Paula Troxler's illustration are an aesthetic pleasure.
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book provides introductions to many ferments, but the instructions are short and limited with most ferments not providing a "shelf-life" which just feels dangerous to omit. If you are already an avid fermenter this book will definitely give you a few new ideas. But please research these ferments in other sources before getting started to learn how and why they work along with instructions for processing that do not rely on single use plastics.
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Before reading this book I experimented with fermentation with much success, now that I have this detailed guide the sky's the limit. This takes the guess work out of ingredient and instruction as to what and how you can ferment. The health benefits of fermented foods are no secret and this book will show you how to do it all.
Amy Bourett
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For first time fermenters, this book is a bit intimidating. But, I relished the history and chemistry that was included when switching to different topics to provide background.

The innovation is inspirational; definitely makes me want to experiment in the kitchen. Even if it is simple kombucha and lacto-fermentation.

Maybe someday I’ll get to dine at Noma!
Sep 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Scientific, inspirational, creative and Rene's passion shines through in this marvelous book. The breadth of the book's scope is somewhat narrow, but that is to be expected for a restaurant of this caliber—no restaurant ever wants to give out the entirety of its recipe repertoire, and Noma is no different.
Payton Youngblood
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book for beginner and intermediate level foodies trying to begin or expand their fermentation knowledge. It has many fun and interactive fermentation projects ranging from lacto-fermented fruits and vegetables to misos and peaso.
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Definitely a lifestyle cookbook and mostly useful for people who are reaaaally serious about this. If you know nothing about the art or microbiology of fermentation, the first 100 pages are super interesting. Very nice design too.
Ben Doherty
Nov 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm feeling very motivated to ferment things now. It gets a bit repetitive in places, but has lots of really useful practical advice. The table to convert refractometer deltas to ABV was, embarrassingly, a revelation.
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“There’s a thin line between rot and fermentation, and that line might best be understood as an actual line, like the kind you’d find outside a nightclub. Rot is a club where everyone gets in: bacteria and fungi, safe or unsafe, flavor enhancing or destructive. When you ferment something, you’re taking on the role of a bouncer, keeping out unwanted microbes and letting in the ones that are going to make the party pop.” 0 likes
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