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A Cheesemaker’s Journey – Interview with Mary Jane Toth

A Cheesemaker’s Journey – Interview with Mary Jane Toth

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Hoegger Supply is super excited about Mary Jane Toth’s new recipe book,  A Cheesemaker’s Journey: A practical guide to beginning and improving cheesemaking  at home. We had the opportunity to sit down with Mary Jane and asked her to tell us why this isn’t just another recipe book. We know there’s still snow outside but that’s just another reason to cuddle-up in front of the fire and dream of the cheese we’ll be making later in the year.

 

Why did you want to write this book?

 

Over the past 10 years, as I’ve been teaching cheesemaking classes across the country,  I’ve seen time and time again how hungry people are for straight-forward, clear  cheesemaking information. So many times they’ve been burned out and overwhelmed  with what they’ve learned about cheesemaking that they have actually been scared of  starting. This book is my   response. Cheesemaking can be easy and I wanted to lay it out  clearly and simply so that home cheesemakers will have the confidence to make cheese  without the fear of failure.

 

Why did you name this book “A Cheesemaker’s Journey”?

 

This book is the result of looking back on my own cheesemaking journey, my experiences and frustrations, the recipes I’ve developed and the things I’ve learned simply by making so much cheese. I’ve very intentionally laid this book out as a step-by-step manual, or “journey”, to guide my readers in their own cheesemaking journey without the common stumbles, frustrations, and failures.

 

In A Cheesemaker’s Journey, I first provide the basics of cheesemaking, the practical information everyone needs to understand if they want to make cheese.  The recipes are divided into Soft Cheeses and Hard Cheeses and then further refined by the Easy Scale. The Easy Scale is a tool that allows people to clearly understand what recipes they are ready for and which cheeses they can make with the highest chance for success. Each cheese recipe in this book is rated by the number of steps, equipment required, and overall forgiveness level of the specific cheese. For example, French-Style Soft Cheese and Ricotta are both 1’s while Blue Cheese is a 5.

 

This book has been designed and laid-out for people to literally work their way from the beginning to the end. This progression ensures that people will be successful with the cheeses they are making while building the confidence and experience needed to progress to the next level.

 

What is your own favorite recipe in this book?

 

It is pretty tough to name a favorite, but if I had to choose just one, I’d have to say Parmesan.  I love that I can start with 4 gallons of milk and end up with a 4lb wheel of cheese that is absolutely wonderful. This Parmesan rivals anything you can buy. (Quick note: Parmesan is Easy Scale 5 so you might want to work up to it.)

 

What is next for you?

 

Over the next year I’ll be traveling a lot doing cheesemaking workshops across the country. I’ve included everything in A Cheesemaker’s Journey, but many people find it easier to learn in a workshop environment. In these classes, we’ll be picking specific recipes from the book and working through them together. I love doing this, working with other cheesemakers and doing these workshops is so much fun.

 

I’ll also be hosting the cheesemaking section of the new hoeggerfarmyard.com. This is a new resource for cheesemakers and features help pages, recipes, a cheesemaking forum and blog. I’m on there every day answering cheese making questions and helping folks. Over the next year, I would really like to see that community grow with like-minded cheesemakers and become the primary online resource for cheesemaking.

 

Is there anything specific that you would like to share with your readers?

 

I’d like to say “Thank you”.  I’ve been blown away and so thankful for the response that Goats Produce Too has received over the past years 23 years (there are over 150,000 copies).  Cheesemaking is my passion, this book represents a re-launch for me and I’m looking forward to connecting with cheesemakers across the country and helping them on their own cheesemaking journeys.

 

 

To contact Mary Jane Toth about scheduling a cheesemaking class in your area, email her at maryjanetoth@hoeggerfarmyard.com

 

 

To purchase your own copy of A Cheesemaker’s Journey, click HERE. (Available to ship January 16th, 2012)

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  1. by SweetTooth
    Comment made on: January 6 2012

    Wow, this is FANTASTIC! I have Goats Produce Too and can’t wait to get my hands on this new book. Also, thank you Mary Jane for answering my questions on the forum.



  2. by sakkarafm@aol.com
    Comment made on: February 2 2012

    Just got my copy and it is great Can’t wait to get started Looking forward to your workshops in my area



  3. by vjoanneheyob
    Comment made on: June 11 2012

    I have had my copy for a while now. Love this book as it is simple to follow. I have a question though…do I need to double the water amount for the Quick Mozzarella if I double the recipe and also can I use the Lipase powder in this recipe for added flavor?
    Thanks for any and all imput,
    A trying to learn, cheese maker



  4. by mrstrader
    Comment made on: April 26 2013

    I have this book and goats produce too. My question is about the rennet. I use liquid and the double strength……so do I cut the amount in half when I use your book A Cheesemakers journey

    I got my things from Hoegger’s

    Thank you


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