I collect information. Yes I said it I collect information. I am not a person who collects information to crush my enemies; wait I do try to crush the evil Mozzarella Monkey, but that is another story. I try to collect information about things that really interest me, nothing quite peaks my interest like the knowing that there is a new Cheese Making book on the shelves of my local library or bookstore. I usually borrow them, read them, and then decide on whether they are a “buy” or make notes and return. There have been many in the return group and only a few in the buy. I have come across my very first “Must Have” and I wanted to share it with you. The book is called “Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking: The Ultimate Guide for Home-Scale and Market Producers” by Gianaclis Caldwell (http://gianacliscaldwell.wordpress.com/)and published by Chelsea Green Publishing.
A Co-worker who works in the acquisitions department of the Library of the post-secondary institution where I work, sent me an email saying that she had ordered this book for the library and for the upcoming Artisan Cheese Making Course, and she had put me on the list to get the book when it arrived. Well two weeks ago it arrived, and I have been hardly able to put it down.
I have to say that this is one of the best “how to” books I have ever read, Gianaclis’ passion and love of cheese making shows in the book’s “voice” often it seemed like I was sitting across the table from her and she was talking about cheese (if I ever get the chance to meet her in person I really hope that scenario happens), which makes the book an easy read, even when you get into the science of cheese making which can be a dry topic to some. There is a warning of sorts in the introduction, where the author says “If you never want to understand the science behind the process that converts a fluid, rather bland, perishable liquid into a solid, flavor-intense, long-lasting food, then this book is probably not for you (at least not yet).” After reading this book it should be taken to heart; however, she does say in the first chapter that it is okay to skim over these sections, but to remember that the science is still happening.
The book is divided into several parts. Part I: The Art and Science of Making Cheese, which is not as dry as you would think it would be. As someone who likes the process of making cheese I appreciated the explanation of how this art mixes well with science. From what causes the coagulation of the milk to how cheese is flavoured by adding the cultures and salt, it is explained in easy to understand language.
Part II: Recipes for Success and the appendices that are full of reference and trouble shooting information. The main goal of the author is to get people making cheeses in the “Style Of” more famous cheese, often those with protected names like Stilton, or Parmesan, thus giving you the tools to create your own cheese. This is brilliant because no matter what you try you may not get the exact flavour of your favourite Brie from France unless you have the right cows and environmental conditions of that area where the producer is. She is not saying that you should not even try, but here try this you can get something similar that maybe even better so give it a go. This is clear in the how the recipes are named and divided into sections, and each have a write-up about which style or type of cheese could be made from the recipes.
Something must be said about the beautiful pictures that are in the book, all the pictures unless noted were taken by Gianaclis Caldwell, all you have to is look at the cover to see that she takes beautiful pictures as well as making amazing award-winning cheeses.
I have already put several of her recommendations into use with my semi-lactic cheeses. I would recommend this book to anyone who is serious about cheese making.