Friday, December 3, 2010

Making Cheese at Home

For the first cheese we made at home, we relied on a homespun recipe in the appendix of a book about cheesemaking history. For subsequent attempts, we purchased a copy of cheesemaking guru Ricki Carroll’s popular and well-regarded Home Cheese Making (see note). Later we bought Margaret Morris’s Cheesemaker’s Manual, thinking it would give us more technical detail. At that point we felt we had more than enough instructions. Nevertheless, the online retailer's computers noted our interest in home cheesemaking and began sending messages announcing releases of still more books of instructions. How many can there be? We wondered.
The answer is 25, based on listings on the website. We do not include a number of bulletins put out by agricultural extension agencies and other governmental organizations, counting in the total only books that by all appearances are commercial publications. The first one listed by Amazon came out in 1974 and in the subsequent 25 years, 10 more were published. In the most recent 11 years 14 more have come out, and five of those were published since the beginning of 2010.

Whether or not the accelerating production of new recipe books for homemade cheeses accurately reflects growth in the activity, it is beyond doubt that resources available to home cheesemakers have never been greater.

Note: Rikki's   Home Cheese Making was first published in 1982 and expanded in editions appeared in 1996 and 2002. The cover of the copy (3rd edition) we own indicates that 140,000 copies had been sold.

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