Fermented Hot Sauce & Pepper Flakes: I took roughly a half bushel of Hinklehatz peppers, purchased from Who Cooks For You Farm, and simply ground them up in a blender with enough water to make a slurry. After they were all processed, the peppers were placed in a bucket with a breathable cloth lid to ferment. After about two weeks (when a little bit of funky flavor was developed but not enough fermentation to disintegrate the pepper solids) I strained out the pepper solids to dehydrate into flakes. The remaining liquid is a delicious and spicy. I added a quart of persimmons to add sugar, garlic, and salt. The sauce is continuing to ferment.

Amazake Bread: With the recently made koji rice I added more cooked rice and water for amazake and let it ferment a couple days to a nice sweetness. The amazake was then cooked down to a thick porrage. I added the porrage to a naturally leavened rye bread. The result was not necessarily a sweeter or more sour bread, but definitely one with a deeper nuttiness and caramelized flavor.

Koji Tea: I love the flavor variations of koji. I simply toasted some koji rice in a dry pan until light brown. The result is a grain that tastes reminiscent of fruit loops with hints of nuttiness. I’ll steep it as a tea or use it as a texture addition to a dishes.



As I scurry around my daily food project caretaking duties and explorations of natural food-making and earth-based culture meanderings, I paused for a moment to think about how this Ferment Pittsburgh thing is meant to be a resource for my community, and how so much of what I’m doing is in secret. I’m not one to really enjoy most of these internet-based communication methods, I’ve decided to make an attempt at sharing my daily routines and projects on here (I guess that’s a blog?) as much as I can remember at least, in case someone might benefit.

So a taste of today, 

Batch of kvass: chopped up leftover naturally leavened bagels, covered with water, added a good glop of ripe and ready sourdough starter, honey to taste, and covered with a towel fastened by string. The 10 gallon bowl was moved outside in the autumn cool air and hot sun to bubble away. I will taste this evening and adjust the flavor.

Koji Rice: After soaking a couple pounds of everyday- run of the mill rice overnight, I gave it a good rinse and steamed it in batches. This rice I’m preparing for koji for a workshop this weekend. After the rice steams to al dente I’ll let it cool to around 100, add starter culture and incubate in a cooler with Mason jars of hot water and towels, checking every 12 hours or so. Unfortunately i haven’t had a chance to pick up my brother’s Excalibur dehydrator as it makes things way too easy.

Planting of Winter Wheat: My drying beans, two beds that hold malfax and Calypso, have set in a good amount of yellowing leaves so I’m planting my Banathka wheat i got from Eli Rogosa at growseed.org. I’m excited to have found her project as I was specifically looking for ancient graibs heralding from the Carpathian region, as I have ancestory there.

Strawoboshi: The overbearing strawberries are either falling off while still white or if they do turn red are being devoured by the slugs. So I’ve been picking them unripe. I salted a batch yesterday to prepare as umeboshi plums. Juat salt and a weight on top. I checked them today and everything looks good.


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Fermentation Festival


David Asher Workshop


February 2 @ 4-7pm Chatham University Eden Hall Campus in the Mueller House. Map.

David is stopping into town for a free one-day workshop focusing on kefir, which is the foundation of his non-industrial cheesemaking methods. David is a gifted teacher who, in my opinion, has done to cheesemaking and dairy what Sandor Katz has done to fermenting. He is bringing back traditional practices in easily approachable techniques. To learn more about him check out: www.theblacksheepschool.com/

If you need help with transportation email, or call/ text 412-889-8425.

David Asher/ Groundhog Day Potluck
February 2 @ 8pm
5002 Friendship Ave Pittsburgh 15224

If you’re not able to make the workshop or would like to meet David more personally, was well as celebrate Pennsylvania’s best holiday, all are invited to bring a dish/ beverage (optional), but mostly yourself to the “after-party(?)” Groundhog cookies and Groundhog Straub will be there… Will you?


Community Supported Fermentation

Program Information

January 7th- March
8 weeks, 4 bi-weekly shares

Shares will include
Kim chi
Raw vinegar
Dairy kefir
Lacto-fermented pickles

Each share will also include care instructions, recipes and uses for each product, and background information.

Total cost is $200
Your payment is an investment into local and sustainable growers as every product you recieve is made from local ingredients.

Order by sending inquiry to:
Justin @ 412 889 8425