'Mastering Basic Cheesemaking: The Fun and Fundamentals of Making Cheese at Home' Book Review

| 7/6/2015 9:54:00 AM

Caldwell Home Cheesemaking

Making your own cheese. Think about for a moment — romantic right? Visions of unwrapping a cheesecloth — swathed bundle revealing that perfect creamy dense alchemy that takes place in the pot between milk, rennet and bacteria.

The reality is that without proper guidance this nuanced process can quickly go from dream to frustration.

When we brought our first dairy goat in home in 1999 my own Little House vision was within my reach. I would be Ma, pulling perfect cheeses from the press while my wide-eyed children gazed in wonder at the marvel before them. I, of course, had no clue how to make cheese. In 1999, there were no local folks making cheese, old-timers or back-to-the-landers. There were no classes at the extension and there was only one book for the beginning home cheesemaker.

The one how-to book gave recipes and instructions but it was not instructional. I did not learn what I was doing. I just followed along. More importantly, when things went wrong I had no clue why, and therefore no clue how to fix it. My determination to create our homespun life outweighed the frustrations. Meanwhile, cheesemaking was becoming a thing. I bought each new book and gleaned a little more knowledge from each. After a few years I had a mostly successful cheese routine, but not without disappointments — some edible and some horrible. I made some delicious amazing cheeses — enough to keep me going.

So when I read, and I mean read every page, of Gianaclis Caldwell’s new book Mastering Basic Cheesemaking: The Fun and Fundamentals of Making Cheese at Home, I couldn’t get over how much I would have loved this book back in my own early days of cheesemaking.

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