In 2006, Claudia Lucero moved from her lifelong home in San Diego, California, to the “maker” capital of the country: Portland, Oregon. It wasn’t long before she started making pickles, sauerkraut, butter, yogurt, and eventually cheese. Her cheesemaking began with Paneer and ricotta, then she moved on to goat cheese and mozzarella, and she was totally hooked. She was in the midst of a personal transformation that included a deep desire to know the sources of her food and focus on quality over quantity in many aspects of her life.
Inspired by cheesemaking recipes in books and a homesteading magazine from the 1970s, Claudia found cheese recipes that called for 5 to 50 gallons of milk at a time—not exactly practical for a casual cheesemaker in the city. But that didn’t stop her. She started tweaking and experimenting with those recipes to make them work for the small-scale urban cheesemaker with no more than a gallon of milk. From this philosophy, Urban Cheesecraft was born.