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The Ultimate Guide for Home-Scale and Market Producers
Foreword by Ricki Carroll
If you are reading this book, there’s a good chance that you really love cheese—so much so that you want to make your own. Maybe you have already created your rst satisfying batches or perhaps you are one of the growing number of licensed artisan producers in the United States or elsewhere. Wherever you are on your journey as a cheesemaker, this book is meant to be your guide, resource, and even inspiration. If you never want to understand the science behind the process that converts a uid, rather bland, perishable liquid into a solid, avor-intense, long-lasting food, then this book is probably not for you (at least not yet). But if you’re the type of person for whom deep understanding of a subject brings enhanced enjoyment of the process, then Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking is the book for you. If you are new to making cheese, this book aims to demystify what can sometimes feel like a lot of scienti c language, while still retaining the depth of information every serious cheesemaker—including the hobbyists—should know. If you are already a edgling or even an accomplished cheesemaker, then let this book be your complete resource, troubleshooter, and guide to taking your cra to the next level. Whoever you are, my goal with this book is to help you become an intuitive, enthusiastic, educated, and consummate maker of truly great cheeses. Di erent things lead people to cheesemaking. For me it was a desire to return to my self-su ciency roots, a love for dairy animals, and the desire to provide healthy, a ordable milk and cheese for my family. I never thought making cheese would turn into a profession, much less lead to a book (or two). Cheesemaking has brought me incredible satisfaction; I went from an art career, making work that I believed in, but with which it was di cult for people to identify, to making cheeses that a vast number can enjoy, appreciate, and even admire.
When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a botanist. I would carry little eld guides around our -acre forest and farm, gather specimens, and attempt to study them under an ancient × power microscope that we had. Later, at di erent times in my childhood, I wanted to be a nurse, cook, mother, and—always—an artist. We had a Guernsey cow named Buttercup when I was very young, and later I had two much-adored Jersey cows of my own, Da odil and Butterscotch. We made our own butter, buttermilk, and yogurt. My mother attempted cheesemaking using the only instructions available at the time, a USDA pamphlet that she got from the local Extension o ce. I still have this little booklet, and while its instructions aren’t bad, the reality of the lack of available cultures and quality rennet destined my mom’s rst hard cheese to the chicken yard. When my husband, Vern (who used to come to watch me show my cows in -H while we were both still teens), was close to retiring from his career (really the family’s career) in the United States Marine Corps, we got our rst dairy goats, Nigerian Dwarfs. I had no idea that I would eventually love them even more than dairy cows! I began making cheese using a lessthan-satisfactory book and quickly switched to Ricki Carroll’s pioneering work, Home Cheesemaking. What magic those rst batches were! I’ll never forget how it felt to see, for the rst time, milk being transformed into solid, tasty, amazing cheese. I loved to make it, my family loved to eat it—we were all hooked. Within a year of getting the goats, in , I entered the American Dairy Goat Association’s annual cheese competition in the Amateur division, the incubation ground for many soon-to-be-professional cheesemakers, and I won Best in Show. I entered again the next year, this time with a hard cheese, and won Best in Show again. As our friend Ken Miller, co-owner of Pastoral Artisan Cheese shops in Chicago, Illinois, said, there is nothing like “a win beneath your wings” to make you
Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking
feel that you have found your path. At this time, in the early 2000s, we were just starting to see articles and features about small farmstead cheesemakers. It was still a relatively unknown career path. I’ll never forget when my brother-in-law scoffed at the idea of making goat cheese for a living. It’s amazing to what degree and how quickly things have changed. Now most people, when told of our profession, quickly assume a dreamy look and comment, “You’re living the dream!” A couple of years into my learning, I was fortunate enough to take a cheesemaking workshop from the amazing Peter Dixon, from Dairy Foods Consulting in Vermont. The class was at Black Sheep Creamery in Washington State. Not only was the class great, but being able to work in a functioning creamery was an education in and of itself. Later that same year, I flew to New York to take a workshop on the biology and chemistry of cheesemaking taught by Patrick Anglade, another well-known and respected cheese instructor from France. That class was mind-boggling and well over my head at the time. Fortunately, not long after that, Paul Kindstedt wrote American Farmstead Cheese (Chelsea Green, 2005). Between the notes from the previous class and Paul’s book, the fog began to lift from the science of cheesemaking. My first book, The Farmstead Creamery Advisor, was published in 2010 and was focused on the more numbercrunching and infrastructural aspects of starting a cheesemaking business. I loved the process of writing and began toying with the idea of writing the kind of cheesemaking book, with recipes, that I would want to read but had yet to find—one that would contain a broad depth of information but be easy to read and understand. While I have certainly learned many lessons about cheesemaking the hard way, that doesn’t mean you should, too! I am hoping this book will fill in the blanks missing in most cheesemakers’ educations. I began the formidable task of studying the academic cheese technology books; rereading the many notes and handouts from cheesemaking seminars and classes that I have attended over the years; consulting with cheesemakers far more versed in specific specialty cheeses such as blues; and making every recipe that I
have included in this book, with the exception of several of those provided by the profiled cheesemakers. It was so nice to have their help and contributions! (Unless otherwise noted, every photograph of cheeses and processes was taken here at our creamery.) I hope I have accomplished what I set out to do—to digest, interpret, and translate cheesemaking science and apply it so that all cheesemakers, great and small, will have access to the beautiful knowledge that surrounds our shared passion and making the best cheese possible. Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking begins with a section called “The Art and Science of Making Cheese.” In this section I will gradually introduce you to each facet of cheesemaking and explain the beautiful interplay of science and art that goes into creating truly great cheeses. The first chapter, “Ingredients for All Cheeses,” will thoroughly introduce everything that goes into cheese as well as its properties and how they interact with each other. Next, in “Concepts and Processes for Successful Cheesemaking,” you will learn how you as a cheesemaker can control and influence these interactions through understanding each step of the cheesemaking process. Next is “The Fundamentals of Acid Development and Monitoring during Cheesemaking,” in which we cover the details of understanding and measuring acid development during cheesemaking. Some readers—the beginner cheesemakers—might not feel quite ready for this topic, so those people could skip it for now. But eventually, the consummate cheesemaker will have to master this subject, so why not start pondering it at the very least? Next comes a chapter about the art of aging cheeses called “Aging Cheese Gracefully—The Art of Affinage,” which includes several options for setting up a successful small aging unit, the many options for rind treatments, and a troubleshooting guide. In “Spicing It Up: Adding Flavors to Cheese,” I help you learn how to choose, prepare, and safely add herbs, spices, alcohols, and even cold smoke to cheese using any cheese recipe. The last chapter in part I is “Designing, Equipping, and Maintaining Your Home Cheesemaking Space.” This chapter will give you many options for choosing small-scale equipment and
properly cleaning and sanitizing both the equipment and the cheesemaking space. (The resource guide in the appendix will give you some ideas for where to find equipment and supplies.) And then the fun part—the cheese recipes themselves. First I’ll introduce you to the eight major processes by which I have divided the family tree of cheese. Each recipe chapter will cover the must-know information and the deeper science specific to the type of cheese being made. The recipes themselves might look a bit different from most cheesemaking books. The first thing you will probably notice is that the cheeses are not called by traditional (often protected) names; instead they are called what they really are, which is a process, or a style. There are many cheeses made throughout the world that are very similar to each other, but they have different names. So instead of giving you multiple recipes for basically the same cheese (I could make a few changes in the recipes to make you think they were different cheeses . . . ), I am offering detailed instructions for a process that will create a distinctive cheese, and I’ll give you some examples of cheeses similar to traditional and modern cheeses. It is my belief that this method will not only help you become a better informed cheesemaker, but it also acknowledges and respects the protected nature of many of the world’s most admired and known cheeses, without simply trying to copy them. Next, each recipe includes measurements for small home batches, as well as guidelines for increasing the batch size for larger, artisan commercial production. The recipes are all streamlined to avoid redundant instruction and processes (but these can readily be referenced in each chapter). In addition to the recipes, I have included a few inspiring profiles. These are not cheesemaker celebrities but rather everyday artisans with a passion for exploring and making great cheese. They are you. Several of these awesome folks have also contributed recipes and tips so you can learn from their experiences. This book will help you become an intuitive artist and a scientist—able to create beautiful, flavorful cheeses and deduce answers and troubleshoot problems when
things don’t go as they should. You will be able to design your own recipes based on the results you want. Finally, you will have an even greater appreciation for some of the great cheeses of the world and, even more importantly, for the great cheesemakers of the world— including yourself! A Note About the Photographs Unless otherwise noted, each cheese and process image in this book was taken of a cheese I made, either during our normal cheesemaking process or as a part of my research into the recipes in this book. (This includes most of the images of flaws, too!) I became quite good at using my camera’s automatic timer and ability to take multiple exposures, as I was most often not only the cheesemaker but also the photographer. A Word of Caution for the Commercial Producer Many of the techniques and methods included in this book are practiced widely throughout the world, often under the guidance of “Best Practices” guidelines (followed by commercial producers of all sizes). In many countries, perhaps nowhere more so than in the United States, these best practices are evolving and changing almost daily. Even when a guideline seems firm under one jurisdiction, it is often up for interpretation in a different area and by a different regulator. Therefore it is advisable to verify your practices, whether that be something such as the use of wood shelves for aging cheeses, prematuration of milk (in some areas this is not allowed, while others may interpret this as the “start of the cheesemaking process” and therefore not falling under the rules for fluid milk), or adding vegetable charcoal to cheese (currently under scrutiny) with your local regulators before implementing in the production of commercial products. I recommend joining the American Cheese Society and a regional, active cheese guild (if you have one) to keep abreast of changes and even play a role in our country’s evolving, artisan cheesemaking community. By knowing your craft and continuing to educate yourself, you can be a part of helping develop and maintain the rights to produce one of the most amazing foods civilization has developed.
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