anna brones

writer + artist + activist

Posts Tagged ‘fermentation

The Wonderful World of Yeast

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Sourdough Rye Bread

Ever since starting to brew my own kombucha, I have been fascinated with wild yeast. Most of us think of yeast as packets of little brown granules that we buy at the supermarket, but yeast is (quite literally) all around us.

It’s thanks to yeast that we can enjoy some of our favorite foods and drinks, like beer, wine and bread. It’s how the beautiful loaf of sourdough rye bread pictured above came to be. We need yeast to keep us healthy.

I tackled the topic of yeast in this month’s Wild Culture column over on Paste Magazine, and I took some time to get the input of journalist Simran Sethi. Sethi just released her new book Bread, Wine, Chocolate: The Slow Loss of Foods We Love, in which yeast appears as a very important character. As Sethi says, “Microbes, including yeast, are everything. Not just in beer, but in life. The study of yeast is the study of us.”

You can read the column all about yeast, and my interview with Sethi, here.

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Written by Anna Brones

December 7, 2015 at 22:43

Wild Culture: A New Column Devoted to Fermentation

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SCOBYmain

I am excited to be launching a new column over on Paste Magazine, all about one of my favorite subjects: fermentation!

The first column is devoted to the subject of SCOBYs, the gelatinous looking organism that you have to have in order to brew kombucha at home. Amongst those who brew their own kombucha, I have found that many people have stories about their SCOBYs, as well as a sense of emotional attachment to them. One friend of mine even named his.

An excerpt:

Today we have a renewed appreciation for this old tradition, and people are taking to fermentation with fervor. Some of us get into baking sourdough with a starter and others launch into the world of pickling. But whatever kind of fermentation you do, there’s a high chance that you’re adamant about it.

Kombucha is the perfect example.

For many, kombucha has become a gateway drug into the world of fermentation. Fueled by an increasing interest in the health benefits of probiotics, the sales of kombucha have grown exponentially. Kombucha sales for 2015 are projected to be upwards of $500 million. But at one point or another we realize that our addiction to the bottles at the grocery store is becoming an expensive habit, and it’s high time that we brewed our own. This is the moment that we turn from kombucha fan to kombucha fanatic.

You can read the column here.

Image: Iris

Written by Anna Brones

October 6, 2015 at 10:20

Fermented Foods 101: Yes You Do Need Bacteria!

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kombucha

Considering that I have been brewing kombucha for quite some time now, you could call me a bit of a fermented foods addict, so it was fun to get to do a fermented foods guide for Refinery29 and get to interview the fermented foods extraordinaire Sandor Ellix Katz.

“Almost all the fermented foods and beverages we know of are so ancient that they predate recorded history. Humans could never have settled many regions of the world without the benefit of fermentation, and agriculture would not be possible without it.” Ellix Katz explains, “How could people ever begin to invest their energy in crops that are ready at particular times of the year if they didn’t have techniques for preserving the harvest to get them through the rest of the year?”

It’s true: In a world before refrigerators, people had to preserve their food somehow, and often fermentation was it. Those preservation techniques are still used in cultures around the world today, from miso in Japan to cheese in France, and while fermented foods might sound like a fad, you’re probably already eating them. Coffee? Fermented food. Chocolate? Fermented. Wine? Also fermented. In fact, as Ellix Katz points out, “most people in most parts of the world eat or drink products of fermentation every day.”

Read the full article here.

Written by Anna Brones

January 8, 2014 at 03:38