Cookbook Review: Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll

Filed in Gather Food Essential by on March 1, 2009 0 Comments

Who doesn't love a great, melty mozzarella on their pizza or sweet, smooth cream cheese on a toasted bagel?

This cookbook is one of my favorites. It tackles a subject that many home cooks feel is outside of their capabilities to pull off, but the detailed instructions make creating cheese at home very accessible. Some recipes are more involved than others, admittedly, or require some specialized equipment, but everything is explained so well that I wouldn't hesitate to try any of these recipes.

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Contents:

Foreword by Laura Werlin
Preface to the New Edition
Acknowledgments
Introduction: The Art of Cheese Making

Part 1: GETTING STARTED
Chapter 1: Ingredients
Chapter 2: Equipment
Chapter 3: Techniques

Part 2: RECIPES FOR ALL TYPES OF CHEESE
Chapter 4: Soft Cheese
Chapter 5: Hard Cheese
Chapter 6: Italian Cheese
Chapter 7: Whey Cheese
Chapter 8: Bacteria- and Mold-Ripened Cheese
Chapter 9: Goat's-Milk Cheese
Chapter 10: Other Dairy Products

Part 3: FOR THE LOVE OF CHEESE
Chapter 11: Serving, Enjoying, and Cooking with Cheese

Appendixes
Index
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I think Part 1 is the heart of this book. This was the main reason I purchased this book. At the time, I knew very little about making cheese and was looking for a basic introduction to the process, tools needed and some good advice. I didn't want a textbook with pages and pages of technical information intended for a professional. This book really delivers for the home cook. Even if you want to scale up and make large batches of cheeses, the instructions in this first part will be all you need to make all the cheese you could want.

I found the ingredients section to be very useful. Milk is not just milk like it was on the farm it seems. Much of it is treated in some way, and some of these processes, like ultra-pasteurization can be problematic for cheesemakers. The author describes all these issues in just enough depth and gives ideas of how to work around these problems. She also discusses milk from sheep, goats and even water buffalos in case you happen to have one of those in your backyard. All of the other additions to good cheese are detailed as well, such as rennet, starters, salts, enzymes, molds, etc.

Equipment information is brief, but gives all the important points without getting too detailed. Sketches of many of the items are shown which really helps with some of the more obscure items like a cheese trier (the long skinny implement that takes samples out of large cheese wheels). Even the elusive butter muslin is described and pictured.

All of the techniques involved in making cheese are also described very well. Sketches of each step are shown too, making the process readily understandable.

The recipes have a huge range and nearly any readily available cheese you can think of has a recipe here. The cover says there are 75 recipes for cheese, but there are also recipes for other milk products like yogurt, kefir, clotted cream, etc. Even if I found a recipe elsewhere that I wanted to make, I would still refer back to this book for the techniques and basic instructions.

The end of the book has some excellent and useful information too in the appendixes. There is a Glossary of Terms, detailed Troubleshooting Guide chart, a Resources section for supplies, media, clubs and regulatory agencies.

My favorite recipe that I've tried from the book is the 30-minute mozzarella. I just love this stuff and could eat it everyday I think. The recipe has many steps, and it almost always takes me more than 30 minutes, but the steps are clearly written out and easy to follow.

For this review and assignment I wanted to try something I hadn't already from the book so made ricotta from whole milk. I've made it before from the whey left over from making mozzarella but that doesn't make too much. This was really simple and made a good quantity. And most importantly, it's really yummy!

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Whole-milk Ricotta

Traditionally, ricotta is made by reheating the whey after making cheese from ewe's milk. To make ricotta from whey, see the recipe on page 152. This simple variation uses whole milk instead of whey; the resulting ricotta has a good flavor and a high yield.

1 gallon whole milk
1 teaspoon citric acid dissolved in 1/4 cup cool water
1 teaspoon cheese salt (optional)
1-2 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)

1. Add the citric acid solution and salt (optional) into the milk and mix thoroughly.

2. In a large pot, directly heat the milk to 185 to 195 degrees F (do not boil). Stir often to prevent scorching.

3. As soon as the curds and whey separate (make sure there is no milky whey), turn off the heat. Allow to set, undisturbed, for 10 minutes.

4. Line a colander with butter muslin. Carefully ladle the curds into the colander. Tie the corners of the muslin into a knot and hang the bag to drain for 20-30 minutes, or until the cheese has reached the desired consistency. The cheese is ready to eat immediately. For a creamier consistency, add the cream at the end and mix thoroughly.

5. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.

YIELD: 1-1/2 – 2 pounds

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Book Title: Home Cheese Making – Recipes for 75 Homemade Cheeses
Author(s): Ricki Carroll
Website or e-mail of author: www.cheesemaking.com
Category: Cheese making, some recipes for cooking with cheese
ISBN: 1580174647
Publisher: Storey Publishing
Website or e-mail of publisher: www.storey.com
Date published: 2002
Edition: third
Description: paperback
Illustrated: yes
Photographs: no
Pages: 278
Retail price: US$16.95

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About the Author ()

I'm single and live with my two dogs, a greyhound Presh, and a lurcher, Samson in a rural part of New York State. Cookbook collecting and cooking are two of my hobbies along with gardening and holistic healthcare studies.

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