Book Review–Fermentation for Beginners

Fermentation for Beginners, by Julie Eldred, is a cookbook for fermented food with recipes for krautkimchi, créme fraiche, water kefir, and other fermented beverages.

 My favorites are the ones that combine regular ingredients with fermented ingredients, such as a pea salad with bacon and créme fraiche, spicy and creamy potatoes and several fermented fruit salad recipes.  Adding a bit of fermented food to regular recipes is a great way to get your family eating more probiotics.

Recipe format

I prefer for recipes to have bulleted ingredients and numbered directions. In Fermentation, Julie Eldred wrote everything in paragraph style. This format makes it difficult to pull the ingredients out of the recipe to write a grocery list.

I also like to see more specific amounts. For example, Eldred’s recipes ask for medium-sized cabbage heads with no reference to what kind of cabbage to use. There are so many different types of cabbages. All of these cabbages have different sizes, shapes and weight. I imagine her recipes use the normal cabbage we call green cabbage. If the reader were to use Napa (or Chinese) cabbage, the difference in the weight may make a huge difference in the outcome. A solution to this problem is listing ingredients with weight or volume. A more precise measurement  is helpful to keep consistency, flavors and results similar.

Easy to read, but lacking information

Eldred’s writing style is very down to earth and easy to read. There are no complicated terms in this book that I did not understand. The recipes got to the point and so did the writing. It is a great read for a beginner in that sense. Although, for beginners this could serve only as a cookbook. Fermentation does not include basic information for beginners like choosing vessels, which salt to use, why not to use a fork to taste test your ferments, and so on. So, a beginner would need a firm grasp of these concepts in order to fully understand this book. 

In the beginning of Fermentation, Eldred takes the reader through all the wonderful benefits of fermented foods. It reminds the reader from the start what interested her in starting to ferment foods in the first place.

Overall, I like this book. I love the recipes, especially the fruit salad. They are recipes I have not seen anywhere else and I know they will be a big hit. I am happy that I have this book and found some new recipes to try! I do recommend this book.


For everything you need in your fermentation journey, visit the Fermentools Store. Turn your everyday Mason jar into a compact, convenient fermentation vessel.


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