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Mastering Basic Cheesemaking: The Fun and Fundamentals of Making Cheese at Home

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This illustrated beginner’s guide covers everything you need to know to start making cheese at home—from tools and techniques to basic milk chemistry.
While the craft of home cheesemaking gains in popularity, most books on the subject gloss over the fundamentals.  Mastering Basic Cheesemaking  is a complete hands-on guide to making cheese and other fermented dairy products from scratch, geared toward helping the novice cheesemaker get started in their home kitchens.
This fully illustrated practical guide covers topics such as: Graduating to curdled, aged and ripened cheese—mozzarella, feta, cheddar, gouda, and parmesan.

273 pages, Kindle Edition

First published May 15, 2015

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Gianaclis Caldwell

9 books22 followers

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 reviews
Profile Image for Barb.
504 reviews41 followers
August 23, 2017
For anyone interested in learning about cheese and how to make it, this is a really well done guide.

Gianaclis Caldwell is a professional cheese maker who has written a text book for those interested in learning to make cheese. The book is not really one you would sit down to read. Instead it is a series of lessons. The lessons increase in difficulty and demonstrate not only how to make a specific form of cheese, but also provide a technique that can be built upon by the student.

Mastering Basic Cheesemaking starts with some historic background on the making of cheese. It is fascinating to see how similar forms of cheese have popped up around the world. But, the history lesson also includes some of the fundamental science behind cheese by describing the most likely methods used by primitive humans, and how those processes have evolved.

We then move on to the ingredients of cheese making, including the milk, the acid, the coagulant, the salt, etc. A discussion of the tools and processes then rounds out the introduction. Then each chapter becomes a lesson with the student learning a new process and recipe. The author recommends doing the lessons in order, as they are not simply recipes, but techniques that will be utilized further along as the reader becomes a more accomplished cheese maker.

What I liked about the lessons is how clear they are. All of the tools and ingredients are listed to help the reader gather everything they will need. A very high level list of steps is provided with a time approximation. Finally come the step by step instructions for completing the lesson, including troubleshooting techniques.

I have not started any of the lessons, but I am excited to give them a try. This books looks like a really fine way to get started at making cheese at home with a well-developed curriculum that is step by step easy to follow. I will update this review after trying a lesson or two.
Profile Image for Jina.
138 reviews1 follower
June 22, 2018
Gianaclis Caldwell has a wealth of knowledge to share with those who pick up this book. Despite not actually performing any of the recipe lessons, I still learned the basics of cheesemaking and I must say - I feel like my tongue has lied to me for years. I would have never guessed that all cheese is essentially the same recipe; with only small tweaks here, maybe in temperature, or something done slightly different there, like the timing for draining the curds. Some of the recipes are insanely simple. For instance, it’s a bit baffling to me that mascarpone is literally just whipping cream and an acid that’s been heated up. Cheddar, on the other hand, can be a bit more complicated with perfectly timed stirring, draining, and pressing. Aside from learning this magic, I also learned that rennet is used to make a lot of cheeses. Caldwell, who has done blind taste tests on her own products, swears rennet alternatives are just as good as the real stuff (which is harvested from slaughtered calves’ stomachs). With this knowledge, if I took up making cheese, I don’t think I could, in good conscious, use legitimate rennet. Vegan cheese always made sense, but now I can see why there are “vegetarian” cheeses out there, too. Also, being lactose intolerant, it’s good to know that the more a cheese is aged, the less lactose it has. Regardless, one thing is for certain - if I do ever decided to make cheese, I’ll be buying this book for my own personal library.
Profile Image for Steven.
39 reviews
August 22, 2019
Great resource. Not as many recipes as Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll, but it is laid out to teach you how to play and experiment with cheese making, not just follow a recipe.
Both are good, just depends what you are wanting to do.
11 reviews
December 10, 2020
Fantastic first book in the area. Teaches techniques and understand of cheese making, not just recipes. However it still includes a bunch of easy recipes going from quick cheese the whole way to parmesan.
Profile Image for Rachel.
218 reviews
April 30, 2022
This book truly is a love letter to cheesemaking and all who wish to learn the art form.
Profile Image for Vik Arch.
Author 2 books6 followers
November 13, 2015
Cheesemaking is the rocket science, you’ve got to be precise and know how things work. There is no second guesses.

Cheeses and all the diary products are my favorite part of the meal. Even when I go to dieting weeks, diary milk is the first choice I stick to. Just imagine all the cottage cheese, yogurts, heavy cream desserts…Yummy! With fresh berries, banana slices, oatmeal, cereal.

My mom knows how to make cottage cheese. And I want to learn to do it, too.

This book has it all to start your cheese-making factory… the fundamentals: why to make your cheese, understanding ingredients, the list of cheese-making tools. Then you will learn the process of making cheeses: quick and easy cheeses, cultured milk and creams, fresh cheeses, semi- firm cheeses, aged cheeses.

Book includes some pictures, recipes, cheese-making journaling, experiments, and resources.
Profile Image for Leslie.
137 reviews
March 24, 2020
I plan to work my way through the lessons in this book. The section on the science of cheesemaking and the equipment necessary are clear and easy to follow.
Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 reviews

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