The Creamery Kitchen

The Creamery Kitchen: Discover the age-old tradition of making fresh butters, yoghurts, creams and soft cheeses
by Jenny Linford
Rayland Peters & Small, London 2014

I was so excited when I first saw this book. I had been making my own ricotta for some time now and have made yoghurt in the past, and I felt it time to expand my diary horizons. Upon getting the book, I quickly read through the 120 or so pages. The core of this book and its real value is the recipes for making fresh dairy products (not considered real cheeses) – all shown to good effect in photographs of creamy whites and buttery yellows.

Jenny Linford spends a short time at the beginning of the book discussing the ins and outs of creating your home creamery. The topics include the dairy environment (with specific emphasis on cleanliness), the types and properties of milk, and lists (surprisingly short) of other ingredients and equipment required (with sources and suppliers for North America and the UK listed at the end of the book). Eleven chapters follow, each detailing a specific dairy product: butter, buttermilk, sour cream, crème fraîche, yoghurt, labneh, cream cheese, cottage cheese, ricotta, mascarpone and feta-style cheese. Those chapters are structured to describe the product, provide instructions on how to make it, and then give at least three recipes that make use of the product. The recipes using the dairy are interesting if not (in my opinion) exceptional, and range from starters to main meals to sweets. Of course, all beautifully photographed.

I made it a personal policy that when posting about books on food that I would concentrate on the positive. That, of course, did not mean overlooking any flaws a book might have. This book has many positives – such as the simple instructions for making buttermilk or crème fraîche, the easy to follow recipes that use these ingredients, and its lovely layout and photographs. It, however, does have a tendency to make the production of some of the fresh dairy products appear a bit too easy. I found this out the hard way with the most complex recipe in the book – making feta cheese. My experiences were detailed in my post, Rennet Experiments.

Given its pluses and minuses, I’m glad that I purchased the book and will no doubt consult it again in future when I have the urge to make buttermilk or sour cream. Although I will take into account lessons learned in dealing with rennet when making any dairy product that uses this ingredient. It is a wonderful experience starting with milk or cream and being able to change these into a number of different subtle flavours and textures by adding a few drops of lemon or vinegar, by heating, by agitating or whipping, or by letting it sit and mature in the right environment. Linford was right the process of “transforming cream into butter and milk into yoghurt…are wonderful acts of kitchen magic”.

Advertisements

21 comments

    • Two shelves of books in the kitchen – with some moved and crammed in for the photo. They are pretty! It is so easy to be negative about things, so I try not to fall into that trap. The book does have so e good points.

      Like

  1. I had yoghurt in the making explode when we were in the tropics last year. I decided then and there that some things are best left to the experts, but I admire your tenacity with all things milky and your clear and fair assessment of The Creamery Kitchen

    Like

  2. All interesting information and useful ‘if’ we get tempted to make the dairy product at home. My mother used to make them all at home, I never watched closely to see what she was doing, but always wonder about it. I’m glad there is a book that takes these ‘wonders’ away. 🙂

    Like

    • I notice the ‘if’ in quotation marks! 😄 With all the lovely dairy products available in the market now, it is surprising that anyone does this at home. I was curious… The créme fraîche was lovely, but I still grab a tub of the half fat stuff when in the supermarket!

      Like

      • No, you didn’t. What happened was (and this is worth a post in itself) that my brother and sister-in-law simply drank it up before it was fully mature. They ate the evidence. Bad. I couldn’t control the experiment from 3000 miles away. I have to repeat the mead experiment myself here. Like you said, sometimes life is too short for everything.

        Like

Comments are closed.