Book Review: The Joy of Cheesemaking

As I pore through cheesemaking books during the low milk season (1/2 gallon per day…high milk season is 5-6 gallons per day) and have not enough to make cheese, I am filling my brain with cheesemaking information.  One can (and must) always continue to learn.

So, in the Book Reviews that will follow over the next couple of months, I strive not to be an expert at reviewing books, but only on sharing my opinion with you.

And, I will start by saying:  To write a book must be a HUGE undertaking, and I admire all of the authors who have done it, regardless of what I might say in the review.  Thanks for reading that little disclaimer, and now, I shall proceed.

The Joy of Cheesemaking, The Ultimate Guide To Understanding, Making, And Eating Fine Cheese, by Jody M. Farnham and Marc Druart.

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I enjoyed the book and learned from it.  It provides great detail in some of the more chemical and biological aspects of cheesemaking (ie. molds and cultures), but lacks detail in some of the other chemical and biological aspects (ie. uses the term “flocculation” but I never found an explanation of what it means.).

The recipes it provides for actual cheesemaking are for larger scale cheesemaking than the home cheesemaker would undertake.  However, it does do an exceptional job of describing in great mathematic detail how to break down the larger measurements into smaller home-scale quantities.  When I decide to sit down and tackle the formulas it provides, I know they will be very helpful.

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The authors provide delicious sounding and looking (nice pictures) recipes to accompany the cheeses they write about.  The fact that an odd thing (in my mind) like tomato jam (above) would be “so delicious you can eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner” makes me want to make it and see.

Overall, my opinion is that parts of the book are very well written and detailed, while other parts are not.  It seemed that in some areas of the book, the authors got tired and were less detail oriented.  And, there were many spelling errors.  At one point, they point out that you will get white fizz on your cheese as it ages.  Really, what you’ll get is white fuzz.

I will purchase this book for my library (this one is on loan from the Pikes Peak Library) to consult when I need to use the formulas.  It also has good suggestions for setting up a cheese board.  However, for goat milk specific cheese recipes, I will refer to other books with smaller recipe sizes to avoid going through the math.

Let me know what you think if you’ve read it!

–  The Goat Cheese Lady

P.S.  If you are new to the term “flocculation” in cheesemaking, it means the time at which the milk begins to coagulate/gel and become curd after you add the rennet. To test for flocculation, put a toothpick on top of the milk/rennet mixture right after you mix in the rennet.  Bump the toothpick every few minutes.  It moves, right?  Until it doesn’t.  Flocculation is the time at which you gently bump the toothpick and it doesn’t move.

About The Goat Cheese Lady

I am Lindsey. At first I was a city girl. Growing up, the closest thing I had to farm animals were a cat and a cockatiel. In 2009, Herbert (my husband) and I bought our first milk goat and I instantly became an urban farmgirl, attempting to balance city and farm life..before I knew “urban homesteading” was a thing. That’s when we began The Goat Cheese Lady Farm, hence The Goat Cheese Lady blog you’re visiting now. After moving to the country in 2014, I embarked on life as a rural farmgirl. We continued teaching farm and cheesemaking classes, raising more goats and began construction on our cheese creamery. But life had other plans and in 2017, we decided that, due to financial and health issues, we had to close the farm for business. No more classes, no more creamery, a lot less milking. We went back to off farm jobs, I as an Occupational Therapist, Herbert in construction with his business, D&A Home Remodeling. At that point, I made a silent promise to myself that I would corral my entrepreneurial mind and focus on a job for a year. Well, it has been a year and I am back. Not to classes, cheese, soap or lotion, but back to writing. I love it. I’m not sure where it will lead me, but that’s where I’m starting. I’ll continue to write as The Goat Cheese Lady for now, and whatever the future holds, I’ll let you know. Our two boys are 14 and 11 and continue to be louder than my sister and I ever were. We have two dogs, Montaña and Flash, a cat, Jumpy, a flock of chickens and three goats. Yes, we still have Lucy, the goat who helped us start it all and was milked by over 1,000 people. She’s retired but still the boss. Chocolate provides enough milk for our family with some to spare for the dogs. Soccer friends, school friends, coyotes and mice are frequent visitors. There are way too many flies and every so often we see an owl. I’m glad you’re here. Sometimes you’ll laugh out loud, other times you’ll be inspired to appreciate the small things. My hope is that, over your morning cup of coffee or your afternoon work break, you’ll enjoy the antics and inspiration that are my daily life. Lindsey
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4 Responses to Book Review: The Joy of Cheesemaking

  1. MONICA SALERNO says:

    Do you know if the flocculation times are different from cow’s milk to goat’s milk cheeses? I think they should be (longer) but I cannot find anything to confirm or deny my assumption! The same goes for the multiplying factors. I only find it for cow’s milk cheeses…

    • Monica, I do not use flocculation time currently, but based on my experience with our farm’s raw goat milk and also with various brands of pasteurized grocery store cow’s milk that all milk responds differently to the cheesemaking process, I reason that the flocculation time will be different with types of milk and also with batches of milk. Raw milk reacts differently from day to day and season to season, and pasteurized milk reacts differently depending on the brand and the way it is processed, therefore, I can only assume flocculation time will also be different from day to day, season to season or brand to brand. In my favorite cheese making book by Gianaclis Caldwell, Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking, she explains flocculation and what to look for (which can be applied to cow or goat milk) and how she uses it with her own goat’s milk at her dairy, on pages 46-48. I hope this helps! Lindsey

  2. LeAnn Derby says:

    Lindsey,
    I would also like to buy unpasturized goats milk to make my own hard cheese…under gov’t regulation, I know I must buy part of a goat or I’ve heard in some places (Vail), I can buy it for my dog. I’m in Colorado Springs and spend time in Woodland Park in the summer…do you know of a place to buy goat’s milk for my dog or a goat farm I can “invest” in nearby.
    LeAnn Derby

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