Kishk is a Lebanese ferment of yogurt mixed with bulgur wheat. Its flavor is unique and distinctive.

During its fermentation, it can smell almost sweet, like coconut, but it ultimately tastes like a strong, musky cheese. Kishk is traditionally dried after fermentation, then used to flavor and thicken soups and stews.

Makes about 1  1/2 cups

Time frame: 10 days


  • 1/2 cup bulgur wheat
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp. salt


Mix yogurt and bulgur in a bowl, cover, and leave overnight. When you look in the morning, the bulgur will have absorbed much of the moisture of the yogurt.

Knead the mixture with your hands. Mix it well. If it seems dry, as though it could absorb more moisture, add a little more yogurt and knead it in. Cover it and leave to ferment for about 24 hours more.

Check it again the next day, and knead. Continue to knead the bulgur-yogurt dough every day for about nine days. (If you neglect to knead it, it may develop surface mold; if so, just scrape off the mold, knead, and proceed.)

At the end of this period (a few days more or fewer would not be significant), knead salt into the kishk.

Spread kishk on a baking sheet and leave in a sunny spot, or in the oven with the pilot light on, to dry. As it dries, crumble it into smaller bits to create more surface area.

Once the kishk is completely dry, use a mortar and pestle or a food processor to crush it into powder and crumbs for storage. Kept dry, it should store for several months in a jar at room temperature.

To cook with kishk, fry the crumbs with butter, then add water and boil to desired consistency. Cooking will thicken it, as in a flour-based gravy or sauce. Kishk cooked with just water is flavorful and delicious; it also enhances soups and stews. Use about 2 tablespoons of kishk per cup of water.

Recipe excerpted from Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods by Sandor Ellix Katz (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2003).

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