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Home Cheese Making: Recipes for 75 Homemade Cheeses Paperback – October 14, 2002
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
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“[Ricki Carroll] has inspired artisans from Lorie to Las Vagas. She’s the Billy Graham of Cheese.” – Barbara Kingsolver, from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.
“This book covers everything the novice cheesemaker needs to know about making delicious cheese on the first try” – San Francisco Examiner
“A thorough and practical guide.” – Bon Appetit
“A must-read for anyone interested in cheese making!…offering abled cheese makers knowledge to excel at their craft and novices a world of information…” – Jodi Wische, Old Chatham Sheepherding Co.
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This one has a lot more different types than the other book I mentioned. It has instructions for soft quick cheeses to the longer hard cheeses. The instructions and ingredients are clear and easy to understand. I didn't make any mistakes due to misunderstanding information and everything I have tried so far has turned out great tasting. This book gives you some basic information that you need to know about ingredients and supplies and then takes you into the recipes.
My frustrations with the recipes' conflicting information aside, I learned a lot from reading it, such as cheese history, detailed breakdown of the different ingredients used, and an explanation of the various stages in the cheese making process, such as how to sanitize you equipment, and to which I strictly adhere. However, despite strictly following directions, I've had very little success using her ricotta and fresh cheese recipes. It will be awhile before knowing the results of my hard cheese since it still has to age. I've since spoken with an experienced cheese maker about Ricki's book, someone who certainly knows much more than I, and whose opinion I respect and share regarding the book; it is okay, but not great. She has suggested that I go to other sources for better information. I'm going to follow up with her to ask about those sources since I've been underwhelmed by my success following the book's recipes to date. Perhaps my farmhouse cheddar will turn out better.
My husband and I hosted a cheese-making weekend with some friends, and both parties got this book in advance to read over. We made mozzarella, which was quite good, and chevre, which was even better. We also tried the farmhouse cheddar, but I won't know how that came out until the end of the month!
The books is clearly written, but you can't just go to the recipes. It is imperative that you read the introductory chapters first, which go over the ingredients, the equipment, and the general process. If you do that carefully -- and then write notes into the recipe you will use -- then the recipes should work out just fine. But walk through the whole process carefully in your mind at least once, with all the equipment and ingredients front of you, before you try it for real; there are lots of details, and the recipes do not remind you of all of them. For example, you must sterilize and then cool down the water for the rennet, crush the rennet tablets, and let them dissolve for 10-30 minutes before adding it to the milk. I had to write this into the recipes to remind me to do it well in advance. I also noted on the recipe pages the stages at which you are NOT supposed to stir! All these things were in the introductory chapters, but are not repeated in the recipes.
Also, I would add that you should get a really reliable digital thermometer that alerts you when the temperature goes above and below a certain temperature. The hardest part of cheese making, for me, was keeping the curds at a set temperature for 30 minutes! Those cheap, dial meat thermometers you get at the grocery store are just not going to be all you need them to be...
FInally, I love that the book profiles artisanal and farmhouse cheese makers around the country. It is interesting to find out how they got started, details about their farms and operations, and their words of encouragement and advice. I actually contacted one of the profiled cheese makers and asked if we could visit. Graciously, they wrote back and invited us. Visiting their farm and cheese operation was one of the highlights of the trip!
This book worked well for us -- told us what equipment we needed, how to make a cheese press, how to prepare a place to age the cheese, etc. For the absolute beginner, this tells you everything you need to know.