Baker & Taylor "Reinventing the Wheel is equal parts popular science, history, and muckraking. Over the past hundred and fifty years, dairy farming and cheesemaking have been transformed, and this book explores what has been lost along the way. Today, using cutting-edge technologies like high-throughput DNA sequencing, scientists are beginning to understand the techniques of our great-grandparents. The authors describe how geneticists are helping conservationists rescue rare dairy cow breeds on the brink of extinction,microbiologists are teaching cheesemakers to nurture the naturally occurring microbes in their raw milk rather than destroying them, and communities of cheesemakers are producing "real" cheeses that reunite farming and flavor, rewarding diversity and sustainability at every level."--Provided by publisher.
University of California Press
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.