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on 1 May 2010
I have tried a number of the recipes in this book and they work reasonably well. I'm particularly proud of my Cheshire! I'd like to have seen a bit more explanation of why the recipes are the way they are; for instance what is actually going on during acidification and pitching - but then I am a microbiologist by training. Also it would be good to have a bit more problem-solving; if the cheese didn't come out quite the way it ws intended, what did we do wrong, and what should we try next time?

A few pictures of the mould developing on the rind would be helpful too - and a description of how to rub the rind to keep the growth in check. It is a bit worrying for the first-time cheesemaker when your home-made cheese goes "furry", as we are all conditioned to throw mouldy food away.

This is generally a good introduction and it is very satisfying to produce edible cheese at home.
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on 28 June 2011
Very annoyed with this book. I admit the recipes are good, lots of different types of cheese are mentioned. However, the author has not bothered to mention what TYPE of starter should be used for the different types of cheese. This is ridiculous. You cannot just use any starter culture but from reading this you think you could. Furthermore, it doesn't give any information on the types of mould cultures needed for different cheeses with mould rinds or veins (camembert, brie, blues all need specific moulds) as each mould culture has very different charachteristics and flavour.
All you are told is go get a starter ..... and a mould culture .... em, what kind??
I think this oversight makes this book basically useless unless you are an experienced cheesemaker who already knows these details.
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on 28 January 2013
I choose this book due because it was metric and has pretty good reviews, it has a friendly British feel which I like. I'd hate to use a US book with quarts and Fahrenheit.

The sections on the history of cheese making were fascinating and theres a great step-by-step guide to the general cheese-making process and the equipment used. There's a good number of recipes, about 30, from curd, cottage and cream cheese up to hard cheese including the famous cheddar (probably the most complicated). The recipe section is divided into two with the final section entitled "taking your cheese further" and it contains some more complex recipes such as Brie/Camembert, Halloumi and Feta, and other recipes, but strangely some are not more complex at all, such as Paneer which is probably the simplest in the book. At the back is a section on cheese making as a business which looked very good.

I made my simple cheese starter fairly successfully, though it took about 15 hours to set properly. I've tried cottage cheese and Paneer, feta cheese and 2 simple hard cheeses. With unhomogonized milk they worked well, though the Feta cheese was extremely salty, almost inedible - not sure why this was as I followed the instructions.

A mesophillic simple cheese starter is used throughout the book - for all recipes, though some other bacterial additives are used, for veined and brie type cheeses. I'm not yet sure how critical this is - its certainly possible to buy different starters and I suspect they could be rather important in development the right cheese flavour.

I would definitely recommend the book for a beginner, and it will take you a long way, you will have fun and learn, but you might need some other sources of information to fill in any gaps. One big issue. She makes no real mention of homogonized milk, I've never found a homogonized milk that worked properly (it didn't set the curd), apparently you can add Calcium Chloride but I haven't tried this yet. Use non-homogonized milk.
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on 22 September 2009
The book is well-written and edited to be clear and concise, while still conveying the passion the author clearly feels for the subject. I stumbled once or twice with sentences that didn't quite make sense, although on the whole it was very well done and working in publishing as I do it is rare that I can say that about a book! It is these points (of which there are only a few) that will add an air of experimentation to any actual cheesemaking I attempt, and why I personally would like to read several more cheesemaking books before taking the plunge and making cheese at home.

However, if you are looking for a one-stop introduction to cheesemaking and you only want one book then I think this book would be the one to have. It is arranged into clear sections, with each recipe given at least a page, with a nice introduction and history of each cheese being made and a clearly numbered list of steps to follow. The author is English, and most of the cheeses in the book are from the UK or from Europe, although she does mention American techniques occasionally. There are no recipes for American cheese.

The author appears to have extensive experience setting up small businesses, and there is a detailed section asking the questions a would-be cheese seller should ask themselves and giving tips for getting them on their way.

My only complaint is that there are very few pictures in this reasonably slim book, although if using it as a manual for no-nonsense home cheesemaking this wouldn't necessarily be an issue for some. I personally would have liked the author to have dwelt longer on the equipment section, and to have included some pictures there as many of the items described are antique. Some of the equipment is quite unfamiliar too, and more pictures would have helped to clarify. This is a very approachable manual for home cheesemaking but definitely not a coffee table book.

I recommend it, and on the strength of this book alone I suspect that the rest of the "self-sufficiency" series from this publisher will also be excellent too.

(On a personal note, I also recommend this book to people with mild lactose intolerance who still like to eat cheese. I can tolerate some cheeses but not others, and I found that reading these recipes helped me to clearly understand which cheeses I should avoid and why, and that it is not possible to tell by looking at the cheese which they will be, only by studying the recipes.)
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on 17 January 2011
it's a perfect little book to get you into the cheese making world. all explained in a simple way, but covers pretty much everything you need to know to start making your own cheese. would definitely recommend to everyone interested in the subject.
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on 25 February 2013
I bought this for my Daughter as part of her chirstmas present as she is interested in cheese making. She found the book very informative and has already made different types of cheese at home. The delivery was prompt and arrived before promised.
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on 22 May 2013
It is interesting to compare different cheese books with each other. Many books copy recipes straight out of Ricki Carrolls classic 'Home cheese making', this book doesn't do that. Recipes and knowledge should have variation between authors, it's the nature of cheese making, the climate you live in etc. So full marks here. Where this book is let down is the lack of detail in the recipes. Recipes are done by ratios rather than actual amounts, for example 'use 0.5ml Rennet per litre' What was needed here was an actual recipe for a 1kg cheese for instance. Then there's the lack of information about type of starter (there are several and it matters which one you use). Milk type is not specified well enough - some cheese use light milk, some use full fat milk. Overall, there are enough nuggets of information scattered throughout to make this book a worthwhile part of the cheese makers library. I would suggest using several books and would only attempt these recipes once you have a better understanding of cheese making as you'll need to fill in the gaps yourself.
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on 17 April 2013
I have purchased several in this series. The format is always the same: information, instructions broken down into different categories.
I wanted more information about how to make soft cheeses without rennet but there wasn't any. If you want to be more ambitious it would be ok.
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on 27 December 2013
Well received by the person it was bought for and covered the subject. delivery was excellent.worth the money if your into cheese
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on 13 March 2013
I picked this up for my husband in a little book store while on vacation in August, because he had expressed an interest in cheesemaking. Then I started reading it and decided to try my hand at this ancient skill. I started out with the hard "house cheese" recipe. I used a candy thermometer I had, raw cows' milk from my farmer friend, and a big pasta pot. I made my own starter using some of the raw milk (easy to do). The only things I had to buy were three plastic cheese molds and a jar of liquid rennet, from the local farmer's consortium. The resulting cheese was good. As I continued to experiment it got better and better. This book is clear, simple and basic. A great place to start if you want to make cheese!
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