Friday, June 8, 2018

The Lost and Found Art of Natural Cheesemaking

As a growing up child, I had often the experience to assist to some natural cheesemaking experiments, not always successful, but often leaving behind tasty simple food memories. In my memories, the process was doable within a couple of hours, easy, and the taste was always simple. All you needed was a fresh raw milk, that we had brought to us by some old farmer. At the time, I didn't know that practically, you can create at home every kind of possible chess, as long as you have some basic ingredients, maybe a cold space and first and foremost the raw milk. 
However, I prefer to browse the industrial/mass production choices available in any supermarket, including the lovely French cheeses, and that's all. I plan once in a while to do my own paneer or to recreate the easy ricotta-consistency of the childhood cheese, but that's mostly a plan. Very often I give up because of a long list of don'ts: no raw milk, no time, no experience, no other complex ingredients, no utensils. 
In the everyday denial, David Asher's book gave me a chance that one day, I will do my own cheese. I only have to think it as an art and maybe find an organic farm around Berlin from where I can get some raw milk. Based on his experience at his North American farm, natural cheesemaking is 'one whose ingredients are simple, whose culture derives naturally from milk, and which is practiced in conditions that are clean but not necessarily sterile, because the cultures are strong and diverse and the cheeses made well'. In fact, the raw milk offers a complex micro-diversity.
Besides outlining a philosophy and (re)creating a traditional cheesemaking tradition, the book has also a list of recipes and directions about creating different kinds of cheeses and explains extensively about the microbiological features of kefir - that can be also made at home. 
Although maybe it may take some time until you - and me too - would serve your guests your first home-made cheese, at list this book shows that it can be done and you - and me too - can do it. A book recommended if you are looking to make some little difference into your life. 

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