Food & Beverages Workshop | Fermentation Fascination by Aditya Raghavan

Venue Old GMC Complex and Courtyard

Course: Understanding the Art of Fermentation through Two Different Processes
Capacity: 30 registrations
Course Outline:
Day 1 & 2: Fermentation 101: Lactic Acid Bacteria (40mins)
Day 3: Fermentation 201: Bacteria and Yeasts (40mins)
Day 4: Fermentation 202: Bacteria and Fungi: Vertical of Bries (40mins)
Four days, four workshops with a walk through exhibition that participants & non participants can study / observe
Day 1 & 2: Fermentation 101: Lactic Acid Bacteira
–––> Demo: Make a simple yogurt cheese (labneh
–––> Tasting: Paneer made with milk + yogurt vs made with milk + vinegar. Key component: lactic acid flavour in yogurt-based paneer providing a full dairy flavour. Connection: traditional paneer coming from pastorolists in northwest India/Punjab while chhena comes from Portuguese influence in West Bengal.
–––> Demo and Tasting: Buttermilk cheese, i.e. fresh chhurpi (will follow the traditional Himalayan method)
–––> Tasting: Butter churned out of yogurt vs Butter churned out of cream; Asia vs Europe
–––> Tasting: Fromage blanc: Mesophillic vs Thermophillic cultures. How yogurt did not exist in Europe and instead their version of soft cheese for ages used to be fromage blanc-style. Other names: Queso Blanco, Queso Fresco, Quark, and so on.
–––> Tasting: Tomme-style cheese. A simple farmstead cheese. Connecting simple dairy traditions in the west vs those in India.
–––> Historical/religious context on how rennet never made it to India and how yogurt never made it to Western Europe.
(Certainly there is some disagreement by historians on whether or not rasgulla was part of the original chappan bhog in the Jagannath temple. I’m of the opinion that chhena was popularised by the Portuguese, but will make for a fun 10 min discourse)
–––> lacto-fermented vegetables in the walk-through section.

Day 3: Fermentation 201: Bacteria and Yeasts
–––> Basic role of yeast. Quick one-day ginger beer.
–––> Tasting: Ginger beer made out of bread yeast vs made out of champagne yeast. Discussion around flavour compounds produced.
–––> Sourdough: How old fashioned breads were made.
–––> Tasting: Kefir – a SCOBY of yeast and LAB. Historical origins of these wonder grains of yeast and lactic acid bacteria.
–––> Visual comparison: bubbly sourdough starter vs spongy over-carbonated kefir curd mass. Similarities.
–––> Tasting: Vertical of homemade apple cider vinegar: Explaining the basic idea of the role of acetic acid bacteria (AAB). The two-stage process. The development of the mother. What is the mother?
–––> Tasting: Kombucha – a SCOBY of yeast and AAB. Connecting it to all that we just tasted and learned.
–––> Sour beer tasting

Day 4: Fermentation 202: Bacteria and Fungi
–––> Difference between Fungii and Yeasts. Microscopic images, possibly.
–––> Visual and potential tasting: a mouldy wheel of cheese. How mould develops in cheese
–––> Demo: Show preliminary steps into making of cheese. Recipe attached on how to proceed to make bries.
–––> Tasting: Brie vertical. The different stages of development in a brie exhibiting different properties.
–––> Visual and other sensory evaluations: Natural moulds. Bread left in high humidity, controlled temperature environment.
–––> Tasting: Churru, Nepali “spoiled cheese”. If not tasting, people can just smell it
–––> Tasting: Blue cheese. Similarities between mould growing on bread vs blue cheese mould. Historical context (first blue cheeses were made in France where old loaves of rye would be kept in the cheese cave, etc.)

Walk-by Exhibits:
–––> Fish tank with bubbling sourdough (freezedried vertical)
–––> Vertical of lacto-fermented cucumber wedge and how it loses structure.
–––> Horizontal tasting of five fermented soy-based products
(Historical and cultural context. Will definitely include axone – pronounced Akhuni)
Here’s a lovely little folk tale of how axone was discovered in Nagaland
Khujunakaliu was a young orphan who was adopted by her uncle. She worked hard in the fields, but her aunt was unkind to her and gave her boiled soybeans, packed in dirty banana leaves, for lunch. Unable to stomach this dish, Khujunakaliu left her wrapped lunch packets in a hut near the field. After a few weeks, she smelled a funky aroma suffusing the hut. Khujunakaliu enjoyed the taste, shared it with friends, and axoné was invented.

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