The best cheese-making instruction books
There are thousands of cheese-making books out there. And they all vary. Some are uncomplicated and easy to use, others go into great detail.
Over the years at The Courtyard Dairy we have read and studied a lot of cheese-making books! Here are my top five best cheese-making books for any budding cheese-maker (in no particular order):
- Home-Made Cheese: Artisan Cheesemaking Made Simple – Paul Thomas
A really great place to start for those new to cheese-making. Lots of cheese-making recipes, lots of explanations and handy tips and tricks, and, usefully, lots of pictures of each step. Sometimes, however, the ingredients for a recipe can be tricky to source. But treat the ingredients list like one in a cookbook – if you can source something similar than that it might well work.
- The Art of Natural Cheesemaking – David Asher
David’s method of cheese-making is a bit unconventional, using natural methods to make cheese. Yet this book gives lots of good information as well as handy recipes. A great read, but be wary of using Kefir to make cheese – it works OK for soft/fresher types, but for longer-keeping cheese, lactic acid bacterial cultures are much better.
- Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking – Gianaclis Caldwell
This book has a great depth of information, is easy to use and has relevant recipes. It’s a great place to start not only for new cheese-makers, but also those looking to start up a small business making cheese.
- American Farmstead Cheese – Paul Kindstedt
For those wanting to really understand cheese-making, this book covers the how and why behind everything. It’s not full of recipes and how-to make cheese information, but teaches the reader about the science and theory behind cheese-making. It’s best used in conjunction with one of the books above. Read it all the way through and you’ll start to understand cheese-making to a greater level, as the book covers the more technical detail. A great book to buy once you’ve made a few batches of cheese at home, to increase your knowledge further.
- The Fabrication Of Farmstead Goat Cheese – Jean-Claude Le Jaouen
Not just for goats’ cheese! At The Courtyard Dairy we love this book. It is very dry, not many pictures, all black and white, really intended for the serious small-scale farmhouse cheese-maker. It has lots of good information on cheese-making techniques and production, as well as good tips on setting up a cheese-making facility, a few recipes and a great background on how to make cheese commercially on a small-scale.
Also The Specialist Cheesemaker’s, Association Code of Best Practice (in the UK) is a well worth read and will also help massively when assembling your HACCP to make cheese commercially.
A couple of things you might like to look out for if you want to learn how to make cheese through reading cheese-making books:
- Be wary of cheese-making recipes that don’t include any measurements of acidity (pH, dornic or titratable acidity) or just make cheese by times (e.g. do such-and-such after an hour) – you’ll make cheese, but you won’t learn what is going on or be able make a cheese that can easily be made again if it tastes lovely!
- To make good cheese you need to acidify the milk using starter culture. Be wary of any cheese recipes that use alternatives such as citric acid or vinegar. These will make the milk split, but the resulting cheese retains all its lactose sugar so it won’t keep very well.
Finally, if you are a farmer and are thinking about diversifying into cheese-making, please do contact The Courtyard Dairy as early as possible – we’d love to offer our assistance. We are really keen to assist in helping new farmhouse cheese-makers set up and succeed in the challenging business of cheese-making.
Here are some examples of successful farms we’ve already helped: Hebden Goat, Whin Yeats, Stonebeck (Low Riggs).
Natural cheese-making and making your own lactic acid ‘starter culture’: is it the panacea of farmhouse cheese-making?
What is natural cheese-making? Natural cheese-making essentially involves cheese-makers making their own starter cultures rather than buying-in commercial starter cultures to make cheese. But it is difficult to do, and…