A couple of weeks ago, I was sent a copy of a new book, Homemade Cheese by Janet Hurst. The book is beautifully illustrated, with vivid photos of cheese, cheese makers, and animals. Ms. Hurst’s affinity for goats is well-documented in her recounting of her first goat, her descriptions of goat personality, and all of those goat photos and makers showcased throughout the book. I’ve been reading the book on the bus on the way to work, so when I set it out on my desk, all of my (French) coworkers ask me about American cheese, and if it really is any good. Since this is a recipe book for cheese, they are now all waiting for me to make something so they can taste it.
The book features recipes from well-known and well-respected artisanal cheese makers, as well as cheese maker spotlights and explanations of the elements of cheese making, like milk, bacteria types, temperature, aging conditions, and oh so much more. It’s well-written, apart from the fact that the cheese maker spotlights sometimes split cheese making articles. I guess it’s a minor drawback for me, but I know others will appreciate them.
I must admit, reading the book’s recipes makes making cheese all look so easy! Could it really be? With some more egging on by other friends, I’ve realized I have to at least try some of them. I’ve got to get some equipment, like–a thermometer, some cheese molds (like for the form), some rennet, bacteria, and of course, milk . . . . I’ve got to figure out where I can age them in my little apartment. Mr. Cheesemonger may have to help me out a little keeping me company while I sit there surveying the cooking/curdling/moulding. I might be able to catch up with my reading.
The next step would be figuring out when to start! This is a busy time, and there are lots of things to get together. It will happen, though! I will keep you updated on the progress.