Sourdough bread making has produced its fair share of winners and losers since the trend took the locked-down world by storm. If you’re fortunate enough to be in the winning camp you may be seeking your next fermentation adventure. Look no further than Sharon Flynn: considered to be Australia’s foremost expert on fermentation.
Flynn is the ideal spiritual guide for a journey into fermentation (not least because her own self described ‘fermentation fervour’ started with making sourdough bread) as she has spent more than 20 years immersing herself in the flavours and techniques of the ancient art of slow fermentation. She’s explored and built on these techniques while spending time in Malaysia, Japan, Europe and the US.
Flynn and The Fermentary are now based in the regional Victorian town of Daylesford. From there, Flynn makes her beautiful products: award-winning kimchis, krauts, kefir and pickles and also runs workshops when the world is not in lock down.
We caught up with Sharon so we could share some of her brilliant recipes with you as part of our Small Living series (check out her simple recipes for pickled veggies in episode 2).
Flynn loves to share her passion through workshops, talks and classes, she explains.
“I now know first-hand the difference that consuming a variety living foods and drinks can make – making from scratch and being aware of what is in your food,” she says.
“Our focus has always been sourcing simple, good ingredients and letting the slow ferment – (making time and care/love) very important ingredients that are, unfortunately, in short supply in our modern food industry.”
“Unlike current food standards which encourages anonymity, we don’t use any synthetic starter cultures or other processes to help speed our ferments, making us ‘wild fermenters,” Flynn says.
“This may sound a bit rogue, but really this makes us more traditional and old fashioned than radical.”
The Fermentary website offers a wealth of resources for beginners. You can pick up a copy of Flynn’s book here too: Ferment for Good: Ancient foods for the modern gut. If wading into the world of wild fermentation feels intimidating, fear not: Flynn has written this book with you in mind.
Ferment for Good features many of The Fermentary’s own recipes along with chapters on how to ferment with dairy, vegetables (including kimchi and kraut) and how to make your own miso.
Flynn says it includes many of the recipes she makes at home for friends and family too as well as “lots of stories – perhaps a bit of oversharing – from the different times and places that I picked up a new ferment skill.”
“I am trying to convince you to be as into wild fermentation as I am.”