Sunday, January 06, 2008

Cheese in 2008

Cheese is one of my goals for 2008--making cheese that is consistent in quality. And yummy.

Brad designed and crafted a cheese press for me, and on the first day of the year, I preformed my first cheese-pressing experiment. (Plans for the press will be available on our website soon.)

There are many soft cheeses (chevre, queso blanco, cottage cheese, paneer) that do not need a press. These are delicious and easy to make, but they don't last long before blooming blue, green or red molds. To keep and eat more local foods through the off-season, I am interested in creating cheeses that are aged and kept for longer periods. For this, I need to delve into the world of hard cheese.

Because Tonetta is visiting another local farm for breeding and Posey's production is down for the winter (these are the goats that we milk), I used cow milk from Shetler's, a local dairy that does not over-process their product.

My first try at hard cheese is with Monterrey jack.

The curds were placed in the cheesecloth-lined press for 30 minutes with 2.5 pounds of pressure, and then about 16 hours with 5 pounds. The wheel came out of the press looking an awful lot like cheese--a good sign, though it is no guarantee of a good final product.

After drying the cheese for five days, I waxed it carefully, labeled it properly, and set it amongst the wine in the mini-fridge with a small dish of water to keep the conditions humid for proper ripening.

I will report back with my first taste test in 1-4 months.


Lindy said...

Brad and Amanda, I am certainly impressed. :-D What a beautiful cheese press - I will look forward to the plans. I am also impressed with your making of hard cheese as a first attempt at cheesemaking. I have made mozarella which turned out very well and is fun to do but that was a "piece of cake" compared to the hard stuff which I have not tried yet. Perhaps you will run some cheese-making classes in the future?

You may already know about this website but if you don't it's a good one so here it is :

Lindy - in AZ for a few more months.

PS - The goats are also beautiful :-D

ISLAND said...

Thank you!

I have made softer cheeses before, but this is my first foray into the harder stuff. I am excited to work with my hands more to produce epicurean delights.

We'll see how it tastes next month. Hopefully, it will be delightful.