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Book Review: Home Dairy: All You Need to Know to Make Cheese, Yogurt, Butter and More

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Home Dairy is part of a the Homemade Living Series that teaches people to embrace local, seasonal food and to have an interest in knowing how and where it’s produced. It encourages becoming engaged in your community, exploring self-sustainability and enjoying fresh flavors. Other books include Keeping Bees, Canning & Preserving, and Keeping Chickens.

The first chapter takes a look at a brief history of the home creamery dating back to about 11,000 BC. It walks you though history including the Sumerians, Egyptians, and Romans. It also talks about the growth of cheese-making into Europe with Roman colonization end explains cheese making as it impacted monasteries and abbeys in the British Isles, England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. It also has a very interesting chart that lists the different types of dairy products in a variety of categories (butter, cheese, cream, frozen, milk, powdered, sour & whey).

Chapter two is an interesting look at the ingredients found in various dairy products. It looks at a variety of different types of milk from the most common cow’s milk to less common llama milk. The recipes in this book have been tested using cow and goat’s milk. This section also contains a number of helpful definitions of words like homogenization and pasteurization. It also explains the different types of milk from skim to whole and takes a look at the different types of starter cultures and has a great recipe for a DIY starter culture. This chapter explains the supplies necessary to make a variety of dairy products including cultures, rennet, lipase, bacteria, molds, salts, acids, herbs, spices & flavorings, calcium chloride, ash, and kefir grains.

Chapter three is all about the necessary equipment including cheesecloth or muslin, colanders, dairy thermometer, double boiler, jars, measuring equipment, pans, sieves/ladles, etc. It also details equipment specific to making cheese, making butter, and making ice cream & yogurt. Included is information on what type of product it’s used for along with where to find it & how to care for it.

Chapter four is devoted to butter and ghee. You’ll learn a brief history and a description of each along with information on color and storage. There’s tons of information on how to make butter and ghee along with recipes to culture and compound it.

Chapter five is all about cultured dairy and explains the fermenting process. Kefir, buttermilk and yogurt are all examples of cultured dairy products and you will find many recipes for each. This chapter even includes Quark which I find is often omitted from dairy cookbooks.

Chapter six discusses cheese making and includes the basic techniques for both hard and soft cheeses. This is one of my favorite sections because it has so many photographs of the process. The recipe section is broken down into beginner (soft) cheeses like queso blanco, cream cheese, mascarpone, etc. and advanced (hard) cheeses like cheddar, swiss, parmesan, etc.

Chapter seven is all about ice cream and other frozen dairy desserts. There are four recipes – one for each season. Chapter eight features recipes that are inspired by diary like kefir cornbread and cucumber yogurt soup. They all use one of the dairy products that you have learned to make previously. Chapter nine is devoted to body care recipes for things like facials, masks and scrubs that use dairy products. Also included in this book are conversion charts, equivalents, suppliers and a glossary of terms.

This is a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to learn to make homemade dairy products. It’s simple enough for even a beginner to follow but has a broad enough selection of products that even someone with a background in making home diary recipes will find something new.

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About Ellen Christian

Ellen is a busy mom of two teenagers who left the corporate world in 2008 to focus on a more eco-friendly life. She lives in rural Vermont where she juggles family, two blogs and a career in social media. You can find her at http://www.confessionsofanover-workedmom.com/ and http://the-socialites-closet.blogspot.com/.