Cheesemaking Resources – milk, supplies, books

Good Milk

Looking for good milk for cheesemaking?  Here are some options for sourcing minimally processed, unhomogenized milk in Canadian supermarkets.  Looking for raw milk? E-mail me, and I can give you some hints…

Province by province, here is the list of good brands that I know.  Please contact me if you know of any others.  Not all of the milk produced by each brand may be unhomogenized.  Be sure to read the labels closely, though the labels don’t always tell if a milk is unhomogenized!  The only way to tell for certain is to look for the telltale cream-line…. Click on the links to find out from the producers where each milk is available.  Most natural food stores and many mainstream grocery stores now carry at least one brand of unhomogenized milk.  If your local grocer doesn’t carry any, consider asking them to bring some in…If folks are interested in it they likely will stock it!

In British Columbia there are several brands that I can recommend:

Avalon Dairy – sells standard milk  in glass bottles with a white lid – available in organic and conventional.  This milk is available across British Columbia – I once even found it in Winnipeg!

Gort’s Gouda– produces unhomogenized milk in 2 L glass bottles quite inexpensively.  They produce a fantastic grass-fed milk that is the best legally available cow’s milk for home cheesemaking in Canada – in my opinion. Only available at Whole foods in Vancouver, as well as natural foods stores in the interior of the province.

The Farmhouse – sells their ungomogenized cows milk and goats milk at Whole Foods in Vancouver, and select stores in the Fraser Valley.  This is the least expensive unhomogenized milk available for cheesemaking in BC.

Goats Pride dairy – offers really tasty, certified organic, unhomogenized goats milk which is available in most health food stores.

Kootenay Meadows – produces only certified organic unhomogenized cows milk available in the Kootenays. It is very good for cheesemaking as the cows are pastured, but hard to find.

In Ontario, I only know of a few of brands of good milk, which can now be found in most grocery stores:

Organic Meadow – sells unhomogenized cows milk, in glass bottles with a pink lid.

Harmony Organic – sells unhomogenized milk, labeled ‘Nature’s Whole’, in a glass bottle with a white lid, but also available in cartons and bags that remind me of a cow’s udder.    Their milk is ubiquitous in Toronto’s grocery stores, and even makes its way to Quebec.

Best Baa Dairy – produces some of the only unhomogenized sheep’s milk available in Canada. It’s rich!

In Quebec there are fewer options for good unhomogenized milk:

La Beurrerie de Patrimoine – offers wonderful unhomogenized goats and cows milk that comes from pastured animals.  This is the best milk available in Quebec for cheesemaking, but is only found in select natural food stores.

La Moutonniere – sells unhomogenized sheep’s milk only at the famous Jean talon market.

Cheesemaking supplies:

There are several good online sources  for finding rennet, forms, and freeze-dried cultures if you choose to use them.  Try:

Walcoren in Quebec, supplies excellent, natural, organic certifiable rennet in many different formats.  They have the best calf rennet tablets available, as well as rennet powder, liquid and paste.
They also have goat kid rennet paste if you want to make extra tasty goats milk cheeses. You can buy rennet directly from their site, and avoid the middling middlemen.

For other supplies, try:

Glengarry Cheesemaking in Ontario

New England Cheesemaking Supply Company, in Massachusetts.

And you can often find rennet in specialty Italian or Portuguese grocery stores, culinary emporia, or a new breed of store known that supplies homesteading supplies, like:

Homesteader’s Emporium on east Hastings street in Vancouver.

Books

When it comes to cheesemaking books there are none that I can really truly recommend.  No cheesemaking reference available promotes a similar natural approach to the art.  I’m currently working on a book, which will be available in summer 2015.

In the meantime, consider reading Sandor Katz’s ‘Wild Fermentation’, or better yet, his more recent, and more voluminous ‘The Art of Fermentation’.  The approach Sandor takes to natural fermentation has greatly influenced my cheesemaking style.

A book that offers excellent insight into the nature of milk is ‘Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages’ by Anne Mendelson.