Butter: A Rich History

Algonquin Books
18
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“Edifying from every point of view--historical, cultural, and culinary.” —David Tanis, author of A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes

It’s a culinary catalyst, an agent of change, a gastronomic rock star. Ubiquitous in the world’s most fabulous cuisines, butter is boss. Here, it finally gets its due.

After traveling across three continents to stalk the modern story of butter, award-winning food writer and former pastry chef Elaine Khosrova serves up a story as rich, textured, and culturally relevant as butter itself.

From its humble agrarian origins to its present-day artisanal glory, butter has a fascinating story to tell, and Khosrova is the perfect person to tell it. With tales about the ancient butter bogs of Ireland, the pleasure dairies of France, and the sacred butter sculptures of Tibet, Khosrova details butter’s role in history, politics, economics, nutrition, and even spirituality and art. Readers will also find the essential collection of core butter recipes, including beurre manié, croissants, pâte brisée, and the only buttercream frosting anyone will ever need, as well as practical how-tos for making various types of butter at home--or shopping for the best.

“A fascinating, tasty read . . . And what a bonus to have a collection of essential classic butter recipes included.” —David Tanis, author of A Platter of Figs and Other Recipes

“Following the path blazed by Margaret Visser in Much Depends on Dinner, Elaine Khosrova makes much of butter and the ruminants whose milk man churns. You will revel in dairy physics. And you may never eat margarine again.” —John T.  Edge, author of The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the Modern South

Butter proves that close study can reveal rich history, lore, and practical information. All that and charm too.” —Mimi Sheraton, author of 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die

“Irresistible and fascinating . . . This is one of those definitive books on a subject that every cook should have.” —Elisabeth Prueitt, co-owner of Tartine Bakery

“The history of one of the most delectable ingredients throughout our many cultures and geography over time is wonderfully churned and emulsified in Khosrova’s Butter . . . Delightful storytelling.” —Elizabeth Falkner, author of Demolition Desserts: Recipes from Citizen Cake
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About the author

Elaine Khosrova is an independent writer who specializes in stories about food history and gastronomic culture. A former pastry chef and fellowship student at the Culinary Institute of America, Elaine holds a BS in food and nutrition. She began her career in food publishing as a test kitchen editor at Country Living magazine, followed by staff positions at Healthy Living, Classic American Home, and Santé Magazine. In 2007, she received a Gold Folio journalism award, and in 2008 she became the founding editor of culture, a national consumer magazine about specialty cheese that continues to serve cheese enthusiasts. She’s contributed to numerous national food and lifestyle publications, as well as the forthcoming Oxford Companion to Cheese. After many excursions into the world of dairy for the sake of cheese lit, Elaine left culture magazine in 2013 to begin research on her book about butter--the first and only publication (thus far) to chronicle the life and times of this beloved fat. Her butter chase took Elaine throughout the United States and to France, Ireland, India, Bhutan, and Canada. She’s never been the same. An avid cook, baker, traveler, camper, cyclist, and musician, Elaine lives with her family in New York’s Hudson Valley.

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4.4
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Additional Information

Publisher
Algonquin Books
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Published on
Nov 10, 2016
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Pages
368
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ISBN
9781616206505
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Language
English
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Genres
Cooking / History
Cooking / Specific Ingredients / Dairy
History / Social History
Social Science / Agriculture & Food
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Just a century ago, cheese was still a relatively regional and European phenomenon, and cheese making techniques were limited by climate, geography, and equipment. But modern technology along with the recent artisanal renaissance has opened up the diverse, time-honored, and dynamic world of cheese to enthusiasts willing to take its humble fundamentals—milk, starters, coagulants, and salt—and transform them into complex edibles. 

Artisan Cheese Making at Home is the most ambitious and comprehensive guide to home cheese making, filled with easy-to-follow instructions for making mouthwatering cheese and dairy items. Renowned cooking instructor Mary Karlin has spent years working alongside the country’s most passionate artisan cheese producers—cooking, creating, and learning the nuances of their trade. She presents her findings in this lavishly illustrated guide, which features more than eighty recipes for a diverse range of cheeses: from quick and satisfying Mascarpone and Queso Blanco to cultured products like Crème Fraîche and Yogurt to flavorful selections like Saffron-Infused Manchego, Irish-Style Cheddar, and Bloomy Blue Log Chèvre. 

Artisan Cheese Making at Home begins with a primer covering milks, starters, cultures, natural coagulants, and bacteria—everything the beginner needs to get started. The heart of the book is a master class in home cheese making: building basic skills with fresh cheeses like ricotta and working up to developing and aging complex mold-ripened cheeses. Also covered are techniques and equipment, including drying, pressing, and brining, as well as molds and ripening boxes. Last but not least, there is a full chapter on cooking with cheese that includes more than twenty globally-influenced recipes featuring the finished cheeses, such as Goat Cheese and Chive Fallen Soufflés with Herb-Citrus Vinaigrette and Blue Cheese, Bacon, and Pear Galette. 

Offering an approachable exploration of the alchemy of this extraordinary food, Artisan Cheese Making at Home proves that hand-crafting cheese is not only achievable, but also a fascinating and rewarding process.


From the Hardcover edition.
Including more than 35 step-by-step recipes from the Black Sheep School of Cheesemaking

Most DIY cheesemaking books are hard to follow, complicated, and confusing, and call for the use of packaged freeze-dried cultures, chemical additives, and expensive cheesemaking equipment. For though bread baking has its sourdough, brewing its lambic ales, and pickling its wild fermentation, standard Western cheesemaking practice today is decidedly unnatural. In The Art of Natural Cheesemaking, David Asher practices and preaches a traditional, but increasingly countercultural, way of making cheese—one that is natural and intuitive, grounded in ecological principles and biological science.

This book encourages home and small-scale commercial cheesemakers to take a different approach by showing them:

• How to source good milk, including raw milk;

• How to keep their own bacterial starter cultures and fungal ripening cultures;

• How make their own rennet—and how to make good cheese without it;

• How to avoid the use of plastic equipment and chemical additives; and

• How to use appropriate technologies.

Introductory chapters explore and explain the basic elements of cheese: milk, cultures, rennet, salt, tools, and the cheese cave. The fourteen chapters that follow each examine a particular class of cheese, from kefir and paneer to washed-rind and alpine styles, offering specific recipes and handling advice. The techniques presented are direct and thorough, fully illustrated with hand-drawn diagrams and triptych photos that show the transformation of cheeses in a comparative and dynamic fashion.

The Art of Natural Cheesemaking is the first cheesemaking book to take a political stance against Big Dairy and to criticize both standard industrial and artisanal cheesemaking practices. It promotes the use of ethical animal rennet and protests the use of laboratory-grown freeze-dried cultures. It also explores how GMO technology is creeping into our cheese and the steps we can take to stop it.

This book sounds a clarion call to cheesemakers to adopt more natural, sustainable practices. It may well change the way we look at cheese, and how we make it ourselves.

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