Editorial: Review of the “BEST” Book Ever on the Technology of Cheesemaking

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Occasionally truly comprehensive books appear that astound and even intimidate. When a single author is behind such a work, it also triggers admiration. Encyclopedic and multi-author volumes cannot be composed by individuals. To have a single subject treated exhaustively by one author requires many years of undivided and dedicated attention. As a result, fewer and fewer such all-encompassing compendia are produced by just one person.

Joseph Kammerlehner, however, has done it. He has spent 6 decades with milk and its conversion to cheese and has diligently put order into that complicated subject. After a productive career as a cheesemaker, dairy plant manager, and researcher and instructor at the Technical Univ. Munich-Weihenstephan, he is definitely and superbly qualified to tell others about his professional experiences. He not only produced dozens of technical journal articles, but also a 3-volume standard textbook on rennet cheese technology (1986, '88, and '89). In 2003 much of that information became the core of Kammerlehner's well-received 896-page text and reference book “Kaesetechnologie” of which reviewers expressed the need for its translation from German into English. The man to perform that arduous task was Axel Mixa, an experienced and widely traveled dairy technologist who had done other translations of dairy material (such as the Edgar Spreer book “Milk and Dairy Product Technology” published in 1998 by Marcel Dekker in New York).

The Kammerlehner book now stands at the pinnacle of all cheese technology literature. More than 50 years ago, I learned cheesemaking as a dairy technology apprentice in (West) Germany. A master cheesemaker's memory and a few lines of written instruction were all that was needed for the steady daily output of Edam cheese. Several years later I was making small weekly batches of Canadian Cheddar cheese at the Dairy Science Dept. of the Univ. of Manitoba; and the helpful manual at that time was G.H. Wilster's spiral-bound “Practical Cheese Manufacture and Cheese Technology,” 7th edition, of 1951. A few years after that I found myself teaching cheesemaking to dairy science students at The Pennsylvania State Univ., ably assisted with advice from Frank V. Kosikowski's “Cheese and Fermented Milk Products.” After Professor Kosikowski's death, this highly successful practical book was republished as the 3rd edition, in 2 volumes, by one of his former students at Cornell Univ., now a professor at South Dakota State Univ. (F.V. Kosikowski and V.V. Mistry, 1997). I thought I knew it all, until at the end of my food science career I discovered Kammerlehner's massive German book on cheese technology. It certainly eclipsed similar ones on the subject that had appeared in the 1980s which, by the way, and as indicated above, were written by groups of authors and not individuals. There was “Cheesemaking” by A. Eck (editor), in 1987, and “Cheese” by P.F. Fox (editor), also in 1987. Kammerlehner's opus is studded with chemical, physical, microbiological, operational, and other details, all meticulously supported by referenced sources. The most unique and credible statements, however, are the author's descriptions of specific processes. The voice of the experienced cheesemaker can then be heard outlining the likely negative outcome of an operation or situation should the pH be too high or too low or the concentration of this or that not be exact.

There are 9 parts to this book of 930 pages: 1. Basics, 42 p.; 2. Rennet cheese, 681 p.; 3. Fresh cheese, fresh cheese preparations, 69 p.; 4. Acid curd cheese (ripened), 34 p.; 5. Cooked cheese, 14 p.; 6. Processed cheese, 57 p.; 7. Whey cheese, 15 p.; 8. Whey and whey products, 50 p.; and 9. Cheese from milk of mammals other than dairy cows, 45 p. A list of abbreviations and conversions adds another 4 and the index another 16 pages. The 203 figures, 269 tables, and 20 process flow schemes provide effective overviews and define this book also a valuable reference source.

Part 2, the longest, is divided into 9 chapters consisting of the following: 2.1, Milk in general, 37 p.; 2.2, Milk for cheesemaking, 83 p.; 2.3, Additives used in cheesemaking, 70 p.; 2.4, Processing from renneting to curd treatment, 70 p.; 2.5, Curd processing, 33 p.; 2.6, Cheese ripening, 63 p.; 2.7, Rennet cheese packaging, 19 p.; 2.8, Cheese yield and specific varieties, 78 p.; and 2.9, Cheese quality and defects, 129 p. So, overall, the book has 17 chapters, and each has its own Bibliography.

I predict this book will be highly praised by the English-reading dairy audience: not only by practice-oriented milk and cheese experts, but especially the researchers, instructors, and students worldwide. All topics dealt with are solidly steeped in accepted scientific facts. The 1780 literature citations vouch for that. The author, in the interest of making it affordable, has self-published this book; and the printing and binding was done masterfully by Italian craftsmen. It may be examined at http://www.cheese-technology.com.

And now a commercial message: “Cheese Technology” by Josef Kammerlehner, 930 p., publication year 2009, ISBN 978-3-00-021038-9, is available for 198 Euros (plus shipping charges) from Publishing House J. Kammerlehner, Burgrainer Str. 9, D-85354 Freising, Germany (FAX: 08161/63510; e-mail: Kammerlehner@gmx.de).

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