Winstein’s (Your Fertility Signals, 1991) two-volume work will teach readers how to make the cheeses they know and love—and probably some they’ve never heard of.
The author first experienced fine cheese while traveling to Denmark as a teenager but didn’t try making it until many years later. In 1993, she took a one-day cheese-making class and was frustrated when she couldn’t replicate the strong tastes that she remembered. She began taking more advanced classes in Massachusetts and Vermont with a number of master cheese makers. In these volumes, Winstein hopes to convey the tips that she picked up from them in addition to her own knowledge from years of trial and error. Cheeses are helpfully grouped by order of complication to allow beginners to start small and then challenge themselves as they gain more experience. The photos in the book are in black and white; the author explains that monochromatic images show better detail about texture, that the ink will fade less over time, and that, in her opinion, the style is more aesthetically pleasing. The design is sparse and simple, with large pictures of each step. The recipes are very wordy, however, and color photos might have been preferable for readers who absorb information more readily from images or have poor vision. It’s possible that a reader may look at these texts and think that they contain much more information than they want about cheese making; however, the perspective of this book indicates that cheese is a precise undertaking and that if a person is truly hoping to make quality product, they’ll need to know everything here. In addition to recipes and an index of terms, there’s information about milk choice, starter cultures, rennet, cleanliness, safe cooking procedures, and equipment. It’s clear that the book is meant for people who are serious about taking on cheese making as a hobby or as a small business venture. Potential readers should also note that they may need to find a local source of raw milk, as Winstein explains that supermarket milk has limited functionality for cheese creation.
A massive wealth of knowledge for dedicated cheese-making students.