Food Fermentation Activity

This course uses hands-on exercises in class lectures and reading assignments, and immediately immerses students in the processes of fermentation.  

Activity: Food Fermentation Activity


  • Gain knowledge and experience in fermentation processes

Class: Eng-Sci Flavor Molecules of Food Fermentations: Exploration and Inquiry


This semester long class involves active learning techniques at various points throughout the course. This course studies fermented foods students are already often familiar with, such as cheese and beer, and some they are not familiar with, such as tempeh and amazake. The course centers on hands-on food fermentations in the lab. In fact, the first day of class does not begin with an introductory lecture but instead, students are immediately immersed in making yogurt, sauerkraut and ginger beer. The instructor intersperses the hands-on exercises with short lectures, reading assignments, guest lectures and local field trips. (see syllabus)


Course Activity:

  • Within 2 weeks of the course, students are required to submit 5 questions about the exercises in particular or about fermentation more generally on a weekly basis.
  • The instructor then takes these questions and uses them in the following ways as part of the teaching process
    • moderates a discussion with class around a particular question
    • arranges collaborative group discussions
    • gives back the questions to the student and ask them to take it as an informal quiz

Materials: For the hands-on experiments, the instructor acquires ingredients for food fermentations.

Comments from instructor:

  • The instructor notes that questions become more sophisticated week after week, and led to an in-depth final project performed with the skills students had developed.

Submitted by Pia Sorensen, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences




food_fermentation_syllabus.pdf223 KB