Food Fermentation: The Science of Cooking with Microbes
Explore the roles that microbes play in your food.
Explore the roles that microbes play in the production, preservation, and enhancement of diverse foods in a variety of culinary traditions, and learn about the history of food fermentations.
2-3 hours per week
What You'll Learn
What’s living in your food? Many of the foods that we consume daily owe their distinct characteristics and flavors to microbes, specifically through a biochemical process of fermentation (using bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms to produce diverse foods). Gourmands and everyday consumers can quickly name some of the most popular fermented foods we consume—beer, yogurt, pickles—but, what about that coffee you drank this morning, or the chocolate bar you are saving for later?
Through hands-on, at-home exercises, you will experiment with your food to grow your own microbial environments to make mead, sourdough, tempeh, and more—and discover the important role science plays in food fermentation. In Food Fermentation: The Science of Cooking with Microbes, you will explore the history of food and beverage fermentations and how it changes and enhances flavors, aromas, and tastes. You will engage with your peers in kitchen science, discussing how and why fermentation does or does not happen and what conditions you should consider to create the right growth opportunities.
From chemistry to microbiology to your dinner plate, this course will analyze the role of microbes in production, preservation, and enhancement of diverse foods across a variety of culinary traditions.
Ignore the old adage. Are you ready to play with your food?
The course will be delivered via edX and connect learners around the world. By the end of the course, participants will have:
- A greater understanding and appreciation of fermented foods and their history, culture and science
- A deeper knowledge of beneficial microbes to preserve food and harmful microbes that can contaminate food
- Examined the underlying chemistry and microbiology of different kinds of fermentation through hands-on experiments—and honed your skills in experimental design, data analysis, and interpretation
- Learned the scientific principles and application of instruments used for chemical and microbial characterization
- Explored the chemistry of flavor molecules including the physiology of flavor and the microbial reactions that produce flavor molecules and other metabolites
Ways to take this course
When you enroll in this course, you will have the option of pursuing a Verified Certificate or Auditing the Course.
A Verified Certificate costs $219 and provides unlimited access to full course materials, activities, tests, and forums. At the end of the course, learners who earn a passing grade can receive a certificate.
Alternatively, learners can Audit the course for free and have access to select course material, activities, tests, and forums. Please note that this track does not offer a certificate for learners who earn a passing grade.