Making Your Own Cheese: How to Make All Kinds of Cheeses in Your Own Home by Paul Peacock. A reviewPosted by Fiona Nevile in crafts, Reviews, Vegetarian | 8 comments
This year is the year that I’m determined to start making my own cheese. Ever since I’ve watched the progress of Suzanne McMinn who writes the addictive Chickens In The Road blog describing her progress on the cheese making front, I’ve been curious and a bit envious of her endeavours. Last year her partner bought her a cow for her birthday.
Now let’s get things straight immediately, I do not want to actually own a cow and would be horrified if Danny led one up the drive on the next big birthday day. A cow is a massive commitment – all that milking and mooing and just one cow need more space than we have to offer. But I would like to make cheese and as Paul Peacock notes, cheese can be made from shop bought milk.
I’m not talking about simple cream cheese, I’d like to make Feta, Mozzarella, Cottage and Cheddar cheese. Even blue cheese. We eat a lot of cheese and it’s not extortionate bought from a shop but, come the revolution, it would be good to be able to make my own. And until then I reckoned that cheese making could be satisfying and fun.
So I was delighted when I was sent Paul Peacock’s book Making Your Own Cheese: How to Make All Kinds of Cheeses in Your Own Home to review a few weeks before Christmas. At the time I was busy with producing hundreds of lavender birds but I couldn’t resist the occasional sneaky look at this book. It’s an excellent introduction to the art of cheesemaking and I’d imagine that experienced cheese makers would enjoy a sneaky look too.
This is a cracker of a book. Beautifully laid out and written. Peacock takes the reader through an overview of the types of cheese, milk and other ingredients and basic equipment. By the time that I reached this point in the book I felt confident to try my hand at cheesemaking.
A cheese press is an expensive piece of kit and could put a lot of people off having a go at developing their cheesemaking skills. Peacock points out that a fruit press can be just as good – we have a baby press that was included in the wine making lot that we won on Ebay all those years ago and I hadn’t even considered using that for cheese! He goes on to note that a G clamp or even strong bungees work very well too! So the initial set up need not be too expensive.
The cheese recipes in Making Your Own Cheese are designed for home cheesemaking. The 46 recipes produce cheese in the style of a broad range of famous cheeses such as Boursin, Cheddar, Gruyere and Roquefort. The milk used in the recipes is from cows, goats and sheep.
Some cheeses are very easy to make, such as cream and cottage cheese. Others are much more complicated needing months to mature but whatever the recipe the instructions are very clear. There is also a good section of cheese recipes to inspire the reader – such as lamb and feta cheese burgers and Indian cheese sweets to eat with ice cream. At the back of the book is the essential troubleshooting section – an absolute must for a new project.
The tone throughout is calm and conversational from someone who clearly is an experienced and inventive cheese maker. It’s good to find a writer that is happy to share his successes, failiures and secrets. If you are considering developing your cheese making skills and becoming a bit more self sufficient I thoroughly recommend this book.
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