At a Glance
Title: One-Hour Cheese
Author: Claudia Lucero
Publisher: Workman Publishing
Release Date: 2014
Cover Price: $14.95
Target Audience: Hobby farmers and homesteaders interested in making another type of food themselves; cheeseaholics who want to save money and create their own tasty snacks
Cheesemaking can seem like a process shrouded in mystery, conjuring images of kitchen science labs and chefs stirring large pots of curds and whey as they add ingredients to their "brew.” (Maybe this is just me—I grew up in a town famous for its Swiss cheese, where cheesemakers were local celebrities and recipes were closely guarded secrets.) Regardless of your mental associations, Claudia Lucero takes the confusion out of cheesemaking without sacrificing any of the fun in her new book, One-Hour Cheese, showing you how to craft 16 cheeses in your own kitchen in less than an hour each.
With every step of every recipe comprehensively (and beautifully) photographed, Lucero equips readers with all the tools they need to make these recipes at home, but she also goes one step further, including a recipe or serving suggestion with each cheese that shows off flavor pairings and textural highlights. (My favorite serving suggestion was using the Smoky Cheater cheese, a turmeric- and paprika-spiced haloumi-style homage to aged cheddar, as bread for miniature sandwiches. Can you imagine making mini BLTs with tender, chewy slices of pan-fried homemade cheese as the bread?! Consider that my next kitchen bucket list item.)
Lucero is no mere upstart, either: Not only does she run UrbanCheesecraft.com and sell DIY cheesemaking kits from her Etsy shop, she also developed Williams-Sonoma’s home goat cheese and mozzarella/ricotta cheesemaking kits—she’s the real deal! Her enthusiasm for homemade cheese is readily evident on each page of the book, and she is quite good at selling readers on it, too. (See my above sandwich enthusiasm.)
In addition to the 16 recipes—17, actually: there’s a bonus beginner’s farmer’s cheese recipe in the book’s introduction—Lucero also includes 50 pages of customized presentation and flavor ideas, as well as recipes for homemade butter, ghee and yogurt. If you’re a DIY-dairy beginner, this book is right up your alley; however, more advanced cheesemaking aficionados may be put off by the ease of this book’s recipes—none involve aging of any kind, hence the title: One-Hour Cheese. Nonetheless, if you’ve ever wanted to make your own farm-fresh ricotta or chèvre but always been a little too afraid, Claudia Lucero might just be your new hero.
(Check out a sneak-peak of one of Lucero’s recipes, Fromage Facile, before purchasing to see if this book is right for you.)
The Final Word
If you’re new to cheesemaking, this is a great intro: The book is fun, light and straightforward without being overly simplistic. However, if you’re looking for an intermediate or advanced look at cheesecraft, you might want to continue your search.
For more on homemade cheese, check out these articles:
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