Cheese Making Book Recommendations

June 8, 2012

Since I have a proper cheese cave, I finally did it – I made a cheese with rennet that required aging. I made Gouda, which I discovered was actually easier than making cheddar.

Out of all the books I could get my hands on from the library, I ended up only using two: The Joy of Cheesemaking by Jody M. Farnham and Marc Druart and Artisan Cheese Making at Home and by Mary Karlin, the seoncd of which I have not previously reviewed. It was published in 2011, and it covers the cheese making basics, beginning cheese making (fresh direct-acidification cheeses, cultured dairy products, fresh culture-ripened cheeses, and salt-rubbed and brined cheeses), intermediate cheese making (stretched-curd and semi-soft, firm, and hard cheeses), more advanced cheese making (bloomy-rind and surface-ripened cheeses, washed-rind and smeared-rind cheeses, and blue cheeses), 38 pages of cooking with artisan cheeses, a glossary, resources, and an index. The book is larger than most in page size, and is filled with lots of color pictures and tables. It is a little annoying that there wasn’t something in the table of contents to find a cheese out of the 155 pages of cheese making recipes, but it did contain some cheeses I am unfamiliar with. It even had a few pages on how to smoke cheese. It also had a little tip that when my cheese is air drying for a week and starts to get some mold that I can remove it by wiping the cheese with a cloth dampened with vinegar. All in all, I find this book to give lots of useful tips and I feel like the writer has actually made a lot of these cheeses successfully. The website also has a lot of very useful forms to help with cheese making.

So why was I working from these two books? They both understood that I was new to making cheese, but treated me like I was intelligent. They didn’t dumb things down and leave out things. They embellished with tips and tricks to make things go easier. For instance, this is where I learned to do the little bowl with a sponge/cotton cloth to keep the humidity up in my cheese cave. They both have lots of color pictures, which kind of does make a book more appealing. Overall, I feel like these two books encourage you to learn and you feel like you can learn from them. Other books just feel like a cook book, not a teacher.

I should comment that the two books don’t always agree on things. For example, one of the controversial things for home cheese making is if the cheese should be aged in traditional wax or if modern vacuum packing is acceptable. In the end, I did wax, but it was messy, and I think I would try a seal a meal next time.

How did my Gouda turn out? After two months of aging, I feel that it is flawed but edible. I feel like I left it too long in the brine solution, though others disagree with me, so they think it is better than what I give it credit for. I also find it a tad on the slimy side when I cut into it, making me wonder if I should have air dried it a little bit longer.

Further Reading:

Previous Cheese Making Book Reviews:

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