A HUGE Thank you + photos + media

This year Ferment! Ferment! was produced with the help of close to 20 volunteers, countless individual donors, and all those who brought homemade ferments to share and cultures to swap. Ted Gusek and Clara Waloff also took some wonderful photos (below) of the event. Thank you all!

Ferment! Ferment! is an annual event, but if you’d like to stay involved with a community of fermenters throughout the year, consider stopping in to an NYC Ferments Meetup. We usually meet at Jimmy’s No. 43 in the E. Village on the first Monday of the month.

Lastly, Brokelyn ran a nice piece on the event. Same for the Bushwick Food Cooperative blog. Thanks for helping spread the fervor.



Brokelyn Writer participates in Ferment! Ferment! and Joins The Chorus in Declaring “fermenting is the new pickling”

Trends and bold declarations aside, Brokelyn ran a nice piece about the fermentation party. Same for the Bushwick Food Cooperative blog. Thanks guys.


A few last minute notes: If you will be joining Ferment! Ferment! please take a moment to make a label for your ferment. It certainly doesn’t need to be anything fancy, just something simple that lets people know what it is, the ingredients and who made it. If you don’t have a chance to write a label in advance there will be supplies on hand when you arrive to make one.

If you’re planning to bring something to share/swap at the Culture Exchange table, please try and provide bags/containers for others to bring the culture home in.

There will also be a large steamer of rice to help balance out all the funky, salty and sour flavors. Enjoy!

Full Workshop Schedule


4:15-4:45pm  Sour Power: Probiotic Veggies for Vibrant Health with ANGELA DAVIS, founder of Fermentation Matters and co-founder of NYC Ferments
Learn how to transform fresh vegetables through lacto-fermentation into probiotic goodness. The process of fermentation increases the nutritional value and vitamin content of vegetables through beneficial bacteria. In this demo, you’ll learn how to make sauerkraut and other fermented veggies that will help boost your immune system and overall health.

5:15-5:50pm  Fermented Nut Cheeses with CHERYL PASWATER of Contraband Ferments
In this workshop we will be covering the basics of making your own dairy-free cheeses with a focus on nut based cheeses.

6:15-6:45pm  Intro to Sour Beer with JAMES KINNIE
A primer on making and troubleshooting sour beer and other mixed fermentations.

7:15-7:45pm  Kefir: Fruit Beverages, Milk Drinks, Yogurt and Cheese from One Culture with KEN FORNATARO of culturesgroup
One culture – milk kefir grains or SCOBYs – can be used to create a wide variety of great tasting and nutritionally enhanced foods from fizzy sodas of fruit or vegetable juices, mild to sour interestingly flavored milk kefirs, yogurt, and just about any type of cheeses you can imagine. Hear how it’s done, and taste different samples all made from this one live culture that can be used over and over again.


Sour Cream & Crème Fraîche: Any Cream Will Do

As much as I love the salty, sour tang of vegetable ferments like sauerkraut and kimchi, there are few foods that satisfy me more than dairy fat in its various forms. When that fat takes on the complexity that comes from fermentation, I’m eager to indulge.

For the purpose of this recipe, I am treating sour cream and crème fraîche as functionally the same. I refer to them both simply as sour cream since I’m more interested in illuminating the incredibly simple process for transforming fresh, high-fat dairy (cream or even half-and-half) into a slightly sour, thickened cream. Although there certainly are differences between the two ferments – including – the degree of sourness, fat content, and thickness of the finished product I see them as existing quite closely on a fermented dairy spectrum and shy away from focusing on the binary of one versus the other.

Reading through numerous sour cream recipes, I noticed that many – but not all – advise against using ultra-high-temperature pasteurized cream (also known as ultra-pasteurized or UHT cream) and none of them suggest that you can get by with half-and-half. A few even suggest you need to buy a special sour cream culture. The reality is that you don’t need a specialized starter culture and that any of these fresh creams will work; I’ve had good results with every combination listed below.

starter cultures

A selection of starter cultures, clockwise from top left: cultured buttermilk, pasteurized sour cream, plain yogurt, sour cream

In my experience, for the base, heavy cream produced the smoothest, creamiest sour cream while half-and-half was generally thinner. For the starter, yogurt tended to produce a thinner but very smooth sour cream. Despite all this variation, don’t be surprised if your sour cream turns out a little thinner than store-bought versions, which often include thickeners such as guar gum and carrageenan. But really, they all work well. Take advantage of the simplicity of this recipe, use what you have available, and enjoy the satiating pleasures of the fat.

base creams

A selection of base creams, from left to right: pasteurized heavy cream, UHT heavy cream, and pasteurized half & half


You can easily increase or decrease the size of the recipe, just keep in mind the general ratio of approximately 1 tablespoon starter for each half cup of base cream.


  • The base: 1 cup cream (just about any will do: heavy cream, pasteurized cream, half-and-half, UHT cream)
  • The starter: 2 tablespoons plain yogurt, sour cream (pasteurized or not) or cultured buttermilk


  • A glass or plastic container (avoid metal unless you know it’s stainless steel)
  • Lid or cover for the container
  1. Mix the cream and starter in the container until combined.
  2. Place a lid or clean cloth over the top to keep dust and flies out.
  3. Leave the container out at room temperature for anywhere from 12 hours to a few days, until a desired texture and consistency is reached. If the whey (a translucent liquid) separates out, just stir it back in. Enjoy!

Yields about one cup. You can easily halve or multiply it to your liking.

finished sour creams 2 (1)

Various finished sour creams


Ferment! Ferment!

Gather for a celebration of homemade fermented food & drink!

Fermentation is everywhere and it deserves our love and attention. The goal of Ferment! Ferment! is to encourage home fermentation, and to come together to enjoy and share our experiences making these foods. In a world of fetishization of the food professional, let’s celebrate the amateur fermenter. Think of this as not only a party, but also an informal tasting.

Do you make something special with your homemade ferments? Maybe you concoct a unique mustard from your own vinegar, or cook up a satisfying soup from your own miso, or perhaps you incorporate home-aged cheese into a delicious dish. How about a funky kraut or fiery kimchi! If so, this is your opportunity to share these types of things.

The guidelines are simple: bring a homemade fermented food or drink or something made with a homemade ferment to share. If you’re unsure if it’s fermented, just drop me a line and ask. Alternatively (or additionally) bring a culture/starter to swap at the culture exchange table.

There will also be a few workshops going on throughout the afternoon and evening. We have a bunch of open spots, so if you’ve got skills and you’d like to share, let me know; there are modest stipends available for workshop facilitators.

RSVPs to Zack at z[dot]schulman[at]gmail[dot]com requested.

Sunday, April 10
4 to 8 pm

Brooklyn Free School
372 Clinton Ave (between Greene & Lafayette)
Brooklyn NY 11238

This event is free, but we’ll pass the hat to support our generous hosts.

Sour is the new sweet!

Thank You!

A huge thank you to everyone who facilitated a workshop, set up, shared a culture, washed dishes, cleaned, made signs, played music, promoted, shared space, donated, snapped photos, lent equipment, shared wisdom and of course, contributed your marvelous fermented creations. Ferment! Ferment! could not have happened without all of these contributions from so many of you.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to connect with fellow New York fermenters on a more frequent basis, join the NYC Ferments Monthly Meetup for year-round community building, skill-sharing and fermented food enjoyment.

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