Just a century ago, cheese was still a relatively regional and European phenomenon, and cheese making techniques were limited by climate, geography, and equipment. But modern technology along with the recent artisanal renaissance has opened up the diverse, time-honored, and dynamic world of cheese to enthusiasts willing to take its humble fundamentals—milk, starters, coagulants, and salt—and transform them into complex edibles.
Artisan Cheese Making at Home is the most ambitious and comprehensive guide to home cheese making, filled with easy-to-follow instructions for making mouthwatering cheese and dairy items. Renowned cooking instructor Mary Karlin has spent years working alongside the country’s most passionate artisan cheese producers—cooking, creating, and learning the nuances of their trade. She presents her findings in this lavishly illustrated guide, which features more than eighty recipes for a diverse range of cheeses: from quick and satisfying Mascarpone and Queso Blanco to cultured products like Crème Fraîche and Yogurt to flavorful selections like Saffron-Infused Manchego, Irish-Style Cheddar, and Bloomy Blue Log Chèvre.
Artisan Cheese Making at Home begins with a primer covering milks, starters, cultures, natural coagulants, and bacteria—everything the beginner needs to get started. The heart of the book is a master class in home cheese making: building basic skills with fresh cheeses like ricotta and working up to developing and aging complex mold-ripened cheeses. Also covered are techniques and equipment, including drying, pressing, and brining, as well as molds and ripening boxes. Last but not least, there is a full chapter on cooking with cheese that includes more than twenty globally-influenced recipes featuring the finished cheeses, such as Goat Cheese and Chive Fallen Soufflés with Herb-Citrus Vinaigrette and Blue Cheese, Bacon, and Pear Galette (See Recipe).
If you’re just dipping your toes into the art of cheese making, or if you have some experience under your belt, Artisan Cheese Making at Home by Mary Karlin should be the only book you’ll need to complete your toolkit. This detailed guide to cheese making is a gorgeously presented, all-in-one picture book, text book, recipe book and inspiration for anyone interested in getting serious with fresh dairy. The book begins with a detailed outline of equipment and supplies available, a chart of cultures and each one’s specific purpose, and all basic lessons in the alchemy of culturing. This one is a dense chapter that you’ll reference again and again.
The beginners’ chapter is chock full of all of the information and recipes that a newbie could possible dream up – ricotta, yogurt, cottage cheese, and more “exotic” varieties like haloumi, mascarpone, and goat feta. Subsequent chapters include Intermediate (stretched-curd and semisoft, firm and hard cheeses) and More Advanced (Bloomy rind and surface-ripened cheeses, washed-rind and smeared-rind cheese and (oh my) blue cheeses!) and Cooking with Artisan Cheeses are advanced and detailed, but not to the point of wonk – you are given what you need to know – no more, no less – in a straightforward manner.
Offering an approachable exploration of the alchemy of this extraordinary food, Artisan Cheese Making at Home proves that hand-crafting cheese is not only achievable, but also a fascinating and rewarding process.