Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Louise Dutton in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Louise with a couple of her Camemberts.
(The "73" has special meaning to her (see the end of this article)

She knows food!

Louise Dutton has been making everything she eats from "scratch" for over 30 years.  She says, "I'm just an old hippy at heart and I like to know exactly what is in my food."  Well, we do too, of course, but Louise actually makes it happen!

Recently, she started her own non-gluten bakery called Weezie's Gluten Free Kitchen.  For now, she is only licensed to sell in her local area, but soon, hopefully, she will be able to extend that to internet sales and we can all order from her.  (According to Dr. Oz, 99% of the folks who are gluten intolerant don't know it and he recommends we all go gluten free for 2 weeks to see if we notice a difference in our health.)  We'll hear more about this from Louise later in this article, but for now, our priority is cheese, glorious cheese, of course.

How did you get started making cheese?

I first made cheese in the early 90's because I wanted to see if I could actually do it.  Now I make cheese as a delicious hobby. My husband wanted to start making his own cured meats but we found the wine fridge was more practical for cheese.

I started making Mozzarella about 25 years ago. I would go to the Italian market and buy these chunks of buffalo curd, soak it in hot water and keep stretching it until I got mozzarella. It was a hoot! Then I started making my own feta about 10 years ago. Lovely stuff, feta!

Then, last year, my husband wanted me to start making Camembert and Parmesan so I looked into it, bought the supplies, bought some books and we were off! Now I make Camembert, Blue cheese (I call it "Weezie's Blue") and Cambozola cheese. Making cheese is like doing science experiments…that you can EAT! I get quite obsessive and sometimes just can't stop myself from making more and more!

What are you making now?

I've been experimenting with different brands of milk and different types, different mixtures like double cream and triple cream - different starters and combinations as well.  Some turn out wonderful and some ... not so wonderful.

Raw milk is REALLY expensive ($15 a gallon!) and it's illegal here!  (You can only buy it as "pet food" in Florida and they are constantly raiding the places that sell it.  I wish I had my own cow but I don't think my neighbors would appreciate that.)

So, I stay with the pasteurized local organic milk.  It isn't quite as expensive and I know where it's coming from.  One of my colleagues actually works on the "government milk council" (whatever that means) so anytime I have a question about milk, I just call her.

I love making cheese. It's like science projects every week!  The first time I made the cheese with raw milk, I got terrible slip skin until I learned you have to let it dry an extra day in the open air. It's still fantastic, taste wise, just not the perfection I try to achieve.

Here are a few pictures of Louise's Camembert and Cambozola:

Is this milk gorgeous or what? It really is golden!
This is 2 gallons of raw milk.  I used MM100 + P.Candidum + G. Candidum + B. Linens.  I added them all together but only because I wanted to do the whole batch at once. If I had done them separately, I would not have added B. Linens to the Cambozola batch. We'll see how it comes out!
Clean break
Curds & Whey
These have been salted and are now drying. Tomorrow, they'll be put in containers and into "The Cave." (Back 2 are Cambozala front 2 are Camembert.)  I filled my 2 Camembert molds first, then drained the rest of the curds in a draining bag before putting it into molds. I filled them half way, then sprinkled on the Roqueforti bacteria and topped off with the rest of the curds. I also salt the blue cheese more heavily than the Camembert. When the white bloom begins, I'll pierce holes in them.
I line a container with a paper towel and a small rack
Put the cheese on the rack
Isn't it lovely!?
It's a wrap.
And here's the blue
The bottom part of the fridge is where I put the containers of cheese while they are getting their "bloom" on.  Once wrapped they move to the top of the case where it's a bit cooler.  When cheese is one week away from being fully ripe, it moves to my main refrigerator to slow it down a bit more.  I can only fit 4 new wheels a week in the bottom of the cave.

Just a few of Louise's gluten free baked goodies
On discovering she was gluten intolerant 2 years ago:

It's been QUITE a challenge but it's getting easier. When I was vegetarian, I was the gluten "Queen!" I made gluten "ribs," gluten "beef" stews. Folks just went gaga over it. I taught people how to make and flavor it. Believe me, I was the master of gluten.

Plus, I was French trained (in the school of hard knocks) for baking breads, pastries etc. I really, really miss bread. This time of year I am usually baking loaves of French bread as the temperature is perfect for it, 76F.  I miss pizza most of all. I keep trying to make it gluten free, tried several of the commercial varieties, but they all fall very short. Basically what they need is GLUTEN!

I've lost at least 20 lbs in the last two years but I think it's mostly from not eating for fear of getting sick.  As long as I don't eat even a micron of gluten, I'm fine.

You wouldn't believe how much stuff has gluten in it! Even lip balm! I blame Monsanto and DOW Chemical for f'ing up our food supply and I'm MAD!  It's not enough to eat well.   You must know where the seed supply came from that produced that food or fed that cow, pig or chicken.

Gluton is in EVERYTHING! The worst part is no pizza, pasta, sandwiches, French bread, cookies, cake etc... It's devastating.  Thank goodness I know how to bake and I did also work in a vegetarian restaurant as a baker for a couple years, so I knew about alternative flours - somewhat.

When I first determined it was the gluten making me sick, I went online to find support asking "What do I do? I miss bread and the stuff in the stores is horrible!" They said to me "Oh, you'll get USED to it"! Some support huh? Well, when life hands ME lemons, I make Lemoncello!!

Right now, I am baking out of my own kitchen. I fall under a new law called the "Cottage Foods Act" and I'm not subject to food regulations so I don't need a special license, etc.  However, I cannot sell over the Internet. I can only sell within my county. So people in the Broward county area can call or email me their order and I either deliver it directly to them or they come pick it up. And I sell at Farmer's Markets. As long as I am selling directly to the consumer, I'm safe.

I'm working on getting the proper certifications and licenses so I can rent a commercial kitchen and then I can sell over the net as well as wholesale locally. It's a growth process. Right now, I don't want to get any busier. So far this morning I've made 9 loaves of French bread, a dozen English muffins, 2 loaves of regular bread and some pizza crusts.

More about Louise:

We always say that cheese makers are the most interesting people in the world and Louise is no exception.  She has degrees in photography and in computer science.  She gardens and her main hobby is restoring motorcycles!

We've been doing hydroponic gardening for 12 years here. This year we're trying vertical hydroponics. I've got 4 different varieties of tomatoes in this mess - zucchini, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, various herbs, cucumbers, lettuce and chard.
In here we have eggplants, chard, carrots, beets, cabbage onions and herbs. We keep a cage over it because the iguanas like to help themselves. I hate iguanas! Last years winter seemed to kill most of them but there are still a few around.
We have several earth boxes we use around the house. We grow tomatoes and onions in them. You can see my compost bin in this photo. Everything we grow is organic and free of pesticides including our banana "forest" and our fruit trees. Our growing season is the opposite of the north. It's far too hot in the summer to grow anything. I have gotten tomatoes as late as July.
Here's a project I just picked up the other night. It's a 1968 Ducati 350.  Hopefully in a couple of months, it will look like the next picture.
Here's me in my "hello kitty" welding outfit I got last Christmas.
Here's one I did recently, a 1968 Ducati 250 Monza.
My husband and I on my two 1966 Honda Dreams (Barbie and Cherri) riding on the Barber Race Track in Alabama. He collects Nortons and Triumphs. I think we have close to 30 bikes between the two of us. We call it our retirement fund.
Here I am with good friend Georgia Bird from Forbes magazine. We were on our way to a "party" in a helicopter....well you didn't expect us to DRIVE to the other side of the island, did you???  That was a Forbes helicopter. I used to work in the mega yacht industry, up till last year. We were at a yacht show in Nassau, Bahamas and had to get to the other side of the island for a jet show or something. Mr Forbes let us take the helicopter over. Georgia does a lot of work for them and she invites me to tag along if I'm around. She writes books as well. She just released a novel about the ghosts of Savannah, which is where she lives.  If I had money, I would learn to fly those!

The number 73:

Well, since you ASKED....

Seventy-three is the 21st prime number. It is also a permutable prime with thirty-seven.

73 is a star number.( Think Chinese checkers board.)

73 is the largest minimal Primitive root in the first 100000 primes. In other words, if p is one of the first 100000 primes, then at least one of the primes 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, ..., 73 is a primitive root modulo p.

The mirror of 73, the 21st prime number, 37, is the 12th prime number.
The number 21 includes factors 7 and 3 and it is a palindrome in binary (10101).

Seventy-three in binary, 1001001, is a palindrome. In addition, of the 7 binary digits representing 73, there are 3 ones.

Also, 37+12=49 (seven squared) and 73+21=94=47*2, 47+2 also being equal to seven squared.

Additionally, both 73 and its mirror, 37, are "sexy" primes twice over, as 31, 43, 67 and 79 are all prime numbers. "(sexy" is Latin for divisible by 6)

Every positive integer can be written as the sum of 73 or fewer sixth powers (see Waring's problem).

In base 5, the smallest prime with a composite sum of digits is 73.

73 is the smallest factor of the first composite generalized Fermat number in base 10 (104+1 = 10,001 = 73*137)

73 is the length of the Arecibo message, sent to space in search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

It just happens to be my favorite number!


pickle5482 said...

73 is also used by amateur radio operators. It means best regards.

pickle5482 said...

73 means best regards in amateur radio talk.

barbara said...

I live in hollywood fl and cant find a place locally that sells rennet. Would you be able to recommend a shop?