Reinventing the Wheel: Milk, Microbes, and the Fight for Real Cheese

Category: Book
By (author): Percival, Bronwen
By (author): Percival, Francis
Series: California Studies In Food And Culture
Subject:  COOKING / General
  COOKING / Specific Ingredients / Dairy
  POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Agriculture & Food Policy (see also SOCIAL S
Publisher: University of California Press
Published: September 2017
Format: Book-hardcover
Pages: 320
Size: 9.00in x 6.00in x 1.00in
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$ 40.75
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Additional Notes

From The Publisher*In little more than a century, industrial practices have altered every aspect of the cheesemaking process, from the bodies of the animals that provide the milk to the microbial strains that ferment it. Reinventing the Wheel explores what has been lost as raw-milk, single-farm cheeses have given way to the juggernaut of factory production. In the process, distinctiveness and healthy rural landscapes have been exchanged for higher yields and monoculture. However, Bronwen and Francis Percival find reason for optimism. Around the world-not just in France, but also in the United States, England, and Australia-enterprising cheesemakers are exploring the techniques of their great-grandparents. At the same time, using sophisticated molecular methods, scientists are upending conventional wisdom about the role of microbes in every part of the world. Their research reveals the resilience and complexity of the indigenous microbial communities that contribute to the flavor and safety of cheese. One experiment at a time, these dynamic scientists, cheesemakers, and dairy farmers are reinventing the wheel.  
Review Quote*"Book of the Year 2017"
Review Quote*"Provides input that is as valuable to a contemporary wine drinker as it may be to anyone interested in delicious cheese, or in personal health."
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"Not since Harold McGee's monumental ‘On Food and Cooking' (1984) and Sandor Katz's masterly ‘The Art of Fermentation' (2012) have I enjoyed and learned so much as I did from the Percivals' book."

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"This book should convince anyone that the making of wondrous cheeses is a science as well as an art."

Review Quote*"Imperative reading for anyone who wants to understand why a small number of cheeses are extraordinary."
Review Quote*"Combines scientific rigor, commercial expertise and passionate connoisseurship."
Review Quote*"The book isn't light reading, but if you are interested in artisan vs. commercial cheese production, microbes as fairy godmothers and evil witches, and raw milk vs. pasteurized milk, you'll come away with a much more nuanced approach to all three topics."
Review Quote*"Part manifesto, part history and part reference book, this summary of modern cheese-making will appeal equally to microbiologists, cheese aficionados, farmers and cheesemakers." 
Biographical NoteBronwen Percival is the cheese buyer at Neal's Yard Dairy in London. She initiated the biennial Science of Artisan Cheese Conference and is cofounder of the website In addition to serving on the editorial board of the Oxford Companion to Cheese, she recently edited an English translation of the leading French textbook on raw-milk microbiology for cheesemakers.
Francis Percival writes on food and wine for The World of Fine Wine and was named Louis Roederer International Wine Columnist of the Year in 2013 and Pio Cesare Wine and Food Writer of the Year 2015. His work has also appeared in Culture, Decanter, Saveur, and the Financial Times. Together with Bronwen, he cofounded the London Gastronomy Seminars.