The Joy of Cheesemaking

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“The Joy of Cheesemaking,” by Jody M. Farnham and Marc Druart, offers all you need to know about cheese — from how to make cheese to which wines pair best with each kind.
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Cabot Clothbound Cheddar Cheese

The
Joy of Cheesemaking (Skyhorse Publishing, 2011), by Jody M. Farnham and Marc
Druart,
 offers easy-to-understand instructions for how to make cheese.
Beautifully illustrated with gorgeous photographs, this comprehensive guide
includes a basic overview of cheese manufacturing and aging, from the raw
ingredients to the final product. The clear guidance and convenient glossary
allow the reader to learn all about cheese, from creating to choosing it, as
well as pairing it with the right wines. The following excerpt comes from the
introduction.

You can purchase this book at the GRIT store: The Joy of Cheesemaking.

More from The Joy of Cheesemaking:

Mossend Blue Cheese Scalloped Potatoes Recipe

Marc
Druart and I come from very different
backgrounds. We weren’t even born on the
same continent or in the same decade. But working together,
developing programs, instructing and coordinating the practical science needed
in teaching students how to make cheese, we have discovered that: Cheese is
cheese the world over.

You love it or you hate it
(and I haven’t met too many cheese haters). The students who have
attended classes at the Institute over the years have shown us a diversity of
professional backgrounds. They come from all walks of life seeking to learn the
science and the art of cheesemaking. From career changers like
brain surgeons and art historians, to chefs looking to add cheesemaking to
their growing list of on-farm restaurant practices, they all want to learn how to
make cheese.

I’m a child of the sixties,
born and raised here in Vermont
in the mythic place known as suburbia. On any given evening there would be forty-eight
kids on my block showing up to play kick-the-can. I had five siblings, and I
knew cheese as Kraft American slices sandwiched between two pieces of Wonder
Bread and grilled.

Milk was delivered to our
house a few days a week. Eggs, too. But for me the silver galvanized box with
the word milk stamped on the lid, out by the back stoop, was a place to hide
the back door key, or to be commandeered for use as a boost to the first rung
on the ladder to the tree house.

Milk at that time never
struck me as essential to all life, or related in any sense to cheese. Marc was
born in a small French town outside Lille and
spent his formative year in the nineties, “driving cars fast” and raving in the
nightclubs of Menen, Belgium. Believe it or not, cheese
wasn’t even on his radar. His first love was oysters, and he thought a great
job would be to live in French Polynesia and
become an oyster farmer and scientist. Lucky for us, he developed his palate
for cheese while traveling around the world, working as a cheese tech for dairy
plants. In 1998, he told his parents he was traveling for the weekend and ended
up at an open house at the National Dairy School
in Poligny, France. It was love at first test
tube — chemistry, physics, microbiology . . . bring it on!

Today, he lives here in Vermont with his wife, a
French master cheesemaker as well,
enjoying the never-ending supply of all the fantastic American cheeses he can find
and okay… a few French ones, as well.

When Marc and I were first
approached to write a book on cheesemaking, we just looked at each other and
started to laugh. Although Marc and I have been working together for six years,
and have been officemates for the past three years, we realized how different
our backgrounds are both personally and professionally. Perhaps the gap was too
wide to bridge, but once we stopped joking and got our schedules out, we got
down to work. The results are what follow in The Joy of Cheesemaking.

We have packed this book
full of helpful information and ideas, from the basic steps in how to make
cheese, so that hobbyists, enthusiasts, and professional cheesemakers alike
will be able to use practical science to get started in cheesemaking.

You only need to know how to
make a few basic cheeses in order to get started. We’ve included seven here. A
world of possibilities opens up as you master the “make process” and start to
add your own finesse and skill to the cheesemaking. We want you to get a
glimpse of the cheese industry as a whole, including the technical side of
making cheese, the science and best practices, and the practical side of this
profession — what life is like outside the cheese house.

We have profiled a number
small cheesemaking farms around the country. Everyone has a story about how
they got started in cheese. (Be sure to record yours someplace so you can share
with us and the world later on.) The families and farms in these profiles have
achieved something wonderful: a sustainable lifestyle on the land and with
their animals. See what’s cooking in the
farm kitchens and try out some of the recipes. Cooking with cheese is a
sustainably savory way to add even more value to your day, and may inspire you
to create a tasty new recipe of your own.

Enjoy the stories about
those who have gone ahead and carved out the lifestyle they dreamed of and you
may be dreaming of, too! The book also introduces you to a number of
cheesemakers who have been creating quality cheese and building integrity
within the industry for years. We call them the “rock
stars” of cheese, “Rockin’ the Wedge” by bringing great vitality and industry
to the world of cheese, we would not be as far along in this ever evolving
industry without their valuable contributions. You will also find information
on the wonders of tasting and pairing cheese and the how-tos of impressing your
next dinner guests with a gorgeous cheese board and some fun practical
information about the cheese you are serving. We like to call it informed
entertainment
, kind of a new take on the old cocktail-party scene.

In cheesemaking, creating
cheese by hand and working toward the art of the possible, you will find people
to collaborate with. There are those people who will know a bit more about a
certain aspect of cheesemaking than you do, such as the breed of animals you’re
milking or the seasonality of the milk, so don’t be afraid to ask, reach out,
and build a team of cheese experts who will support and nurture your project.

Most important, have fun!

Jody Farnham
Vermont, 2010

This excerpt has been
reprinted with permission from
The Joy of
Cheesemaking: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding, Making, and Eating Fine
Cheese, published by Skyhorse Publishing,
2011. Buy this book from our store: 
The Joy of Cheesemaking.

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