Cheese help me!
July 10, 2011 1:07 PM   Subscribe

What's the best resource for learning about cheese-making processes (in general and for specific cheeses)?

I am fact checking some info for a cheese guide app and I've run into a wall. I need to learn more about the cheese-making process so that I can determine whether the examples given are accurately categorized. In particular, I need to learn more about the process of "cooking" and if parmigiano-reggiano, grana padano, beemster, and manchego cheeses are pressed or unpressed.

I've already contacted makers of these cheeses but have yet to hear back (and I'm on deadline). Food Lover's Companion does not go far enough in depth for the information I need. A book like FLC but just about cheeses would be an ideal source, but an online source (that is not Wikipedia) could also work. Alternately, if anyone is a cheese expert (seller, maker) I can reference by name and expertise, memail me so I can ask you more specific questions/get a cheese-making-process lesson. Thanks!
posted by Felicity Rilke to Food & Drink (4 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
In my area (Maine), I belong to the local cheese guild (more of a club-slash-group-of-independent-producers than a proper "guild"). Do you have something like that where you live?

If you can find such a group, they can probably help you find someone in your area making exactly the cheeses you want to know about. Amazing how much you'll learn just from helping someone who already knows their stuff over trying to learn it by reading about it.

Unfortunately, I don't specifically know the answer for the cheeses you mentioned (more of a fan than a cook). As a rule of thumb, hard aged cheeses get properly pressed, hard young cheeses (mozzarella) get... Hmm, "wrung out by hand", and soft cheeses don't get pressed; but obviously you need more solid information than that. Good luck! :)
posted by pla at 1:57 PM on July 10, 2011

The book Home cheese making, by Ricki Carroll, is the best resource I've found for cheese - I've read a whole bunch of different books about making cheese but I keep coming back to this one. I'm just a beginner, but it explains everything clearly and in depth without being dry, and covers a huge range of different cheeses.

There is an education section of her website that you might find helpful.
posted by k_tron at 2:18 PM on July 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

2nding Ricki Carroll. Here's a link to the page where she discusses particular cheeses, and how to make them.
posted by Gilbert at 8:38 PM on July 10, 2011

Thanks for the Ricki Carroll links! Ultimately, I cried uncle and sent the guide back to the client who will send my queries to their resident cheese expert. It would have helped if I'd had access to the resident cheese expert in the first place...

Now that I've learned of Ricki Carroll, though, I think I might try my hand at some cheesemaking myself.
posted by Felicity Rilke at 6:16 PM on July 12, 2011

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