Pizza Quest Globe

Pizza Talk Season Two, Episode 7: Meet Mark Todd, the Cheese Dude

Written By Peter Reinhart
Thursday, 19 August 2021 Pizza Talk

Welcome back to Pizza Talk!

Some background: Over 35 years ago, before I was a bread baker, I entertained the notion of becoming an artisan cheese maker — that is before I lost control of a batch of about 20 wheels of home made cheddar cheese and was greeted by a walk-in covered in blue mold, including all the produce my wife was counting on in her job as head cook at a retreat center with about thirty residents. I spent most of that day scrubbing out the walk-in and trying to figure out how to save my cheeses (“Maybe I can just call them blue cheese instead of cheddar,” I thought).  Anyway, despite this near disaster (yes, I washed the mold off of every wheel and saved the cheese which, after some additional aging, turned out amazing and probably non-replicable), I love cheese — all cheese — which helps to explain why I also love pizza.

Recently, I heard about this guy, Mark Todd, who lives only 10 miles from where I lived during my cheese making days, in western Sonoma County, who is known as the “Cheese Dude.” That’s all you need to know at this point, as the rest of the story is all told here, in this conversation with Mark the Cheese Dude, as he takes us on his journey of fermentation passion, and also gives a master class in understand the category of cheese known as pasta filata, of which mozzarella is the most familiar example.  In future episodes Mark has promised to take us through all the categories of cheese, so enjoy this session and I’ll keep you posted, as we continue to explore the whole gamut of cheeses, category by category.

Pizza Quest Info


Vision Statement

Pizza Quest is a site dedicated to the exploration of artisanship in all forms, wherever we find it, but especially through the literal and metaphorical image of pizza. As we share our own quest for the perfect pizza we invite all of you to join us and share your journeys too. We have discovered that you never know what engaging roads and side paths will reveal themselves on this quest, but we do know that there are many kindred spirits out there, passionate artisans, doing all sorts of amazing things. These are the stories we want to discover, and we invite you to jump on the proverbial bus and join us on this, our never ending pizza quest.

Peter’s Books

American Pie
Artisan Breads Every Day
The Bread Bakers Apprentice
Brother Junipers Bread Book
Crust and Crumb
Whole Grain Breads

...and other books by Peter Reinhart, available on