Milk and Microbes: Reinventing the Wheel

3:00 PM

Sunday 29th October, 2017

Square Mile Coffee Roasters, 8 Pritchards Road, London E2 9AP

In just over a century, cheese has changed, perhaps more than any other fermented food. A process once entirely driven by native microbes has given way to pasteurization and inoculation with isolated strains with defined functions. In the process, cheese has become more consistent and cheaper to produce, but at what cost? Rather than mourning this loss, this tutored tasting looks to the future, and to the ways in which microbiologists on both sides of the Atlantic are shedding light on the composition of milk and farm microbial communities. Their research shows how time-honoured farming and milking practices, and bioactive materials including wood and cloth, can revitalize the healthy microbial biodiversity of raw milk, and gives cheesemakers the outline of a road map to restore a sense of place that consumers can taste.

The £12.50 ticket includes the seminar and guided cheese tasting.

Pre-release copies of Reinventing the Wheel: Milk, Microbes, and the Fight for Real Cheese [hardback, 384 pages] will also be available on the day for £16.99.

Advance praise for Reinventing the Wheel:

“A rich and eye-opening insiders’ account of the modern cheese world: the anonymous uniformity underlying the apparent bounty of the cheese counter, the near extinction of truly exceptional cheeses, and the new scientific appreciation of prescientific cheesemaking, with its canny reliance on biodiversity in pastures and cattle and the dairy, which may help bring more distinctive and flavourful cheeses to tomorrow’s table” —Harold McGee

““A fascinating, timely tale of re-learning how to work with microbes and rescue healthy traditional cheese” — Tim Spector

“Milk and cheese are demystified and explained, with far-ranging discussions of great interest to anyone with an insatiable curiosity about cheese, or food production more broadly.” — Sandor Ellix Katz

About the speakers:

Bronwen 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, and the Financial Times.

Event Details

3:00 PM

29th October, 2017

Square Mile Coffee Roasters,
8 Pritchards Road,
London E2 9AP