The Art of Natural Cheesemaking: Using Traditional, Non-Industrial Methods and Raw Ingredients to Make the World’s Best Cheeses
by David Asher, 320 pages, 8x10, softcover. More often than not, something is missing in cheese these days—even when it tastes good, when it is made artisanally or just off the ship from abroad. A mysterious element sets some cheeses apart as “the best.” David Asher assures us that this missing ingredient is nothing more than a foundational connection to, and cooperation with, nature: the seasons, the fauna and flora and, especially, the microbes. The methods detailed in this book suggest a traditional yet radical approach to cheesemaking that reflects Asher’s “fermentationism,” and his belief that all bacterial and fungal cultures needed to make good cheese are native to good raw milk. No fancy equipment or weary lab-grown cultures needed. If you want to make the best cheese, prepare to smell the milk and and trust your clabber, harvest and process your own rennet, keep your own Penicillium roqueforti on homemade sourdough bread, backslop your whey for a starter culture, don’t wash your milk bucket, respect your kefir, improvise your own cheese forms and just say no to Big Dairy. Both a manifesto and a framework. And, yes, you’ll find 35 recipes with beautifully lit photographs to guide the way. -Aktan Askin
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