Rejuvelac Recipe

Learn how to create rejuvelac from wheat berries, farro, or other grains with this tutorial.

| April 2019

 soaking-wheat-berries

Adding water to wheat berries. 

 

Making And Using Plant-Based Cultures

Fermentation and culturing are related processes; they both rely on the activity of friendly microbes in altering a single food item or combination of food items from one state (raw) to another. We enjoy the results of fermentation in a number of products: beer, wine, sourdough bread, sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, kombucha, and sour pickles are just some of the most obvious ones. Fermentation of these products primarily refers to lacto­ fermentation. This means that the fermentation activity is primarily the result of lactic acid-producing bacteria such as lactobacillus. These bacteria acidify the food, both preserving it and making it rich in probiotics.



Many of the things we ferment this way rely on naturally occurring bacteria and are thus a form of "wild" fermentation. For a more comprehensive discussion on the topic of wild fermentation, Sandor Katz's Wild Fermentation and The Art of Fermentation are outstanding references. Certainly there can be an element of wild fermentation in plant-based cheesemaking, but I will highlight that in the relevant recipes.

Culturing also relies on the use of bacteria, often many of the same ones as in fermentation, but it also uses yeasts, molds, and other bacteria. The formal distinction between fermentation and culturing may be flexible, but for the purposes of cheesemaking it is significant, in that culturing also implies active involvement from an outside source, in this case the cheesemaker. The cheesemaker controls the amount of time the medium is exposed to cultures, the temperature and humidity at which the cheese ages and ripens, and how to slow or alter the aging process. All of these things rely on understanding how the cultures (bacteria, yeasts, molds) like to function best.






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