Saturday, May 31, 2014

Emma Reeves and Her Science Project

Emma Reeves
Emma Reeves (12) in Orem, Utah is already knowledgeable about the role milk plays in the quality of cheese.  For her science project this year, she compared 5 different kinds of milk to see how they performed when making both hard cheese and Mozzarella (see the entire project at the end of this post).

Emma's mother, Lisa, helped her ask Jim Wallace, our technical advisor, a few questions about her project.

Jim loves to get inquiries from young people.   Here are Emma's questions and his answers:

My name is Emma Reeves and I am a 6th grader in Utah.  I am doing a science experiment comparing 5 types of milk, because I want to figure out which is the healthiest to drink.  I am using raw cow's milk, pasteurized, ultra-pasteurized, powdered and canned.  For the first part of my experiment, I put each type of milk in a jar and left it at room temperature for 1 week.

The 5 different kinds of milk Emma used
Emma, it is good to see such a young person take an interest in the food you eat and how it is processed.  We would certainly be a healthier nation if more people did this.  Hopefully, you sanitized the jars before transferring the milk, since ambient bacteria, etc. would skew the results.

The next part of my experiment was making basic hard cheese with each type of milk.  I hope you won't be bothered by my e-mail, but I have a few questions I hope you can answer.

I love answering questions from curious minds.  The only problematic questions are those not asked.


1.  First, the ultra-pasteurized milk and canned milk never formed curds, so I was not able to make cheese with them.

This would be expected since the very high process temperature of pasteurization and cooking the milk for canning would have destroyed most all bacteria.

This heating process also changes the protein structure so that even when culture is added, it will not form a curd for cheese making.



2.  That did not surprise me, but I was very surprised that I was able to make cheese with powdered milk.  It seems like powdered milk would be the most processed and most difficult to make cheese with of all the types I experimented with.

Can you give me any idea of why the powdered milk worked and the canned and ultra-pasteurized did not?

The powdered milk is actually treated pretty well during processing.  Much of what we see is a low temperature and spray dried process that leaves the proteins in good shape for cheese making.  In some of our recipes, online and in our book (Home Cheese Making) we offer info on making cheese from non-fat dry milk powder and cream.


Testing for the clean break
3.  I did find it interesting to observe that of the 5 milk types that I set out at room temperature for 1 week, the ultra-pasteurized, canned and powdered seem the same as when I put them in the jar - they don't stink or anything.

These three are essentially all dead milks.  The bacteria in the first two have been taken out mostly with heat, but the powdered milk undergoes a moderate amount of heat and the bacteria is largely inactivated by drying.  This is why they can be stored on store shelves for so long.


Hard cheese curds
4.  The raw milk has thickened and separated and it smells stronger, but not rotten.  The pasteurized is almost all a clear-ish liquid with a chunk of very firm curd on the very top.  It does not smell good at all.

Here is a case of good and bad bacteria:

The raw milk has a natural load of good bacteria (the kind that have been selected for making cheese).  It has undergone a natural fermentation and smells good like cheese and would probably have tasted good as well. These bacteria formed a more homogeneous curd, it seems.  In times past, they called this 'clabbered milk.'

The pasteurized milk had all of it's good bacteria taken out during processing.  Any bacteria that were working then, were bacteria that were ambient bacteria (not good dairy bacteria) still in the milk and not destroyed during pasteurization (pasteurized milk is not sterile milk).  These are not necessarily good ones and anything that is not killed during pasteurization will grow at room temperature.  This is why normally pasteurized milk goes 'bad.'  This description indicates an over-acid mix of curd and separated whey. 

5.  Could you give me any idea why the 5 types of milk reacted the way they did after 1 week at room temperature?  I am not sure if I would want to eat the raw milk and I would never want to eat the pasteurized one, but what about the other three?

You would be wise not to try the raw milk unless you knew more about its character and healthy condition.  If you could determine that it was safe, then it would be the most healthy milk.  BUT, raw milk can also contain some pretty dangerous bacteria as well.  Common sense and a little background searching should sort out the good from the bad (most folks selling raw milk are required to have it tested for bad bacteria).


Raw milk Mozzarella
6.  They don't seem like they have changed at all after a week.  Is that a good thing?  Or does it mean they are dead and, because of that, they don't change?

A good thing?? only in that the seller can keep them on the shelf longer and not pay attention to them.  A bad thing in that they are dead milk and some of their enzymes and nutrients are no longer useable for your body.


7.  If that is true, why would powdered milk make hard cheese? 

See my 2nd response above.  I hope this helps and I would give you an A+ on your project for the planning, observations and followup questions.  (I was a science teacher in a former life.)

We asked Lisa to tell us about her daughter:

"Emma is very inquisitive.  She is always asking questions.  She is a kind, sweet girl.  She loves all sports and is very involved in soccer and track.  She also likes to snow ski and water ski.  She does some rappelling and loves to go boating with her family.  Emma also plays the cello."

This past summer Emma and her family spent the summer in Europe: mostly in Italy and France but also England, Switzerland, and Netherlands.

Switzerland


England


 

France

Italy



Emma's Science Project

GOT MILK?
Out of 5 Types of Milk, Which is Best for Making Cheese?

Introduction:

I wanted to do this experiment because I wondered what kind of milk would make better cheese and that might help me understand milk and which kind is healthiest for me.

Hypothesis

I think Raw Milk will work best, then Pasteurized, then Ultra-Pasteurized, then Evaporated, and last Powdered.  

Types of Milk Used:

Organic Whole Raw Cow's Milk
Pasteurized Whole Homogenized Cow's Milk
Organic Ultra-Pasteurized Whole Homogenized Cow's Milk
Evaporated Cow's Milk
Non-Fat Pasteurized Powdered Cow's Milk

Hard Cheese Making Experiment

Raw Milk:  Formed a good curd and was easy to cut into cubes. 
Weight:  1.2 lbs 
Appearance:  More creamy looking. 
   
Powdered:   The surface looked bubbly.   It had firm curds so it was easy to drain the whey.   The curds were about the same as the raw milk curds.  
Weight:  1.1 lbs
Appearance:  More yellow looking.
It didn't make sense to me that the powdered milk worked so well.  I thought it would be the most processed, so I wrote a scientist and cheese maker and this is what he said, "Powdered milk is actually treated pretty well during processing. Much of what we see is a low temperature and spray dried process that leaves the proteins in good shape for cheese making."

Pasteurized:  The curd was really soft and in smaller curds after cutting.  Even though I let it sit longer it was still hard to cut because it was so soft.  It was harder to drain the whey off, so when I put the cheese curds in the press it was more full because there was still a lot of whey in the curds. 
Weight:  .14 oz
Appearance:  A little more greyish looking.

Ultra-Pasteurized:  It did not form curds.  I let it sit for half a day and it finally formed a clean break so I could cut it into cubes, but when I started heating the curds they just dissolved and it was just thickened milk about as thick as gravy. 
Weight:  0  (Would not form curds so I was not able to make cheese)

Evaporated Milk:  It did not form curds.  I let it sit for half a day and it finally formed a clean break so I could cut it into cubes, but when I started heating the curds they just dissolved and it was just thickened milk about as thick as gravy. 
Weight:  0   (Would not form curds so I was not able to make cheese)

Mozzarella Cheese Experiment

Raw:  It formed a firm curd and I was able to cut into cubes.  It was really stretchy and made a nice ball of mozzarella.

Powdered:  It formed a thick curd that I could cut into cubes.  When I stretched it, it was not as smooth as raw.  It was stringy and it got shiny like when you pull taffy.  It formed a ball of mozzarella.  It didn't make sense to me that the powdered milk worked so well.  I thought it would be the most processed, so I wrote a scientist and cheese maker and this is what he said, "Powdered milk is actually treated pretty well during processing. Much of what we see is a low temperature and spray dried process that leaves the proteins in good shape for cheese making."

Pasteurized:  It didn't form a thick curd.  It was more like cottage cheese and I was not able to cut the curd into cubes.  It was hard to drain the whey off because the curd was so small.  I had to drain the curds for a couple hours.  When I tried to stretch it, it was impossible because it was liquid like pancake batter and didn't hold together.  I read that you need to be careful what pasteurized milk you use, because many brands of pasteurized milk are heating their milk to a higher temperature closer to the Ultra-pasteurized temperatures and that milk will not work for mozzarella.  If you use pasteurized milk for mozzarella you need to make sure it is a brand that heats milk in a lower temperature. 

Ultra-Pasteurized:  It formed a better curd than pasteurized milk.  I was able to cut it in curds, but then when I heated it, it turned more like cottage cheese.  It didn't stretch at all.

Evaporated:  It didn't thicken or form a curd at all.  If it sits for about half a day it will form a clean break and it can be cut, but then it dissolves when heated, so there is no way that you can stretch it.

Conclusion

Raw milk was the easiest to make hard cheese and mozzarella.  Powdered milk was the next easiest, then pasteurized, then Ultra-Pasteurized and Evaporated. 

As far as taste, the raw milk was voted the best by 6 different taste testers on both hard and mozzarella, then powdered, and then pasteurized.  Ultra-Pasteurized and Evaporated did not work for either hard cheese or mozzarella.



Emma's Data

Hard Cheese Blind Taste Test

#1  Raw Milk Hard Cheese

Tester #1
Taste:  Best Tasting
Texture:  Best Texture
Smell:  Buttermilk smell
Favorite one overall

Tester #2 (Four Year Old)
Like this one
Favorite one overall

Tester #3
Taste:  Very Mild/bland
Texture:  Rubbery
Smell:  Paint
Favorite one overall

Tester #4
Taste:  Mild Cheese
Texture:  Normal Cheese
Smell:  Buttermilk
Favorite one overall

Tester #5
Taste:  Very Mild Cheese
Texture:  Soft
Smell:  Nothing
Favorite one overall

Tester #6
Taste:  Soft and less squeaky.  Not as sour as powdered.  Better flavor than powdered*
Texture:  Feels a little soft and flexible on outside.  Soft and smooth when bite into it.
Smell:  Smells a little like buttermilk. 
Favorite one overall

#2  Pasteurized Milk Hard Cheese

Tester #1
Taste:  Mild, like dry tofu
Texture:  Most rubbery and dry

Tester #2 (Four Year Old)
Doesn't like this one

Tester #3
Taste:  Gross- spit it out!
Texture:  Hard
Smell:  Paint

Tester #4
 Taste:  Nothing
Texture:  Like an eraser
Smell:  Buttermilk

Tester #5
Taste:  No taste
Texture:  Awful, not like cheese!  Too firm and dry. Yuck!
Smell:  Nothing

Tester #6
Taste:  Sweet and sour.  I don't like the flavor at all.    
Texture:  Hardest and driest on outside.   More hard and dry when bite into it. 
Smell:  Smells like a doctor's office and also smells like buttermilk.  It doesn't have a strong smell, but it is stronger than the others.

#3  Powdered Milk Hard Cheese

Tester #1
Taste:  Mild
Texture:  Firm, kind of like rubber
Smell:  Mild buttermilk smell

Tester #2 (Four Year Old)
Tastes like cheese

Tester #3
Taste:  Bland
Texture:  Rubbery
Smell:  Rotten milk

Tester #4
Taste:  Nothing
Texture:  Rubbery
Smell:  Buttermilk

Tester #5
Taste:  A little sour
Texture:  Squeaky
Smell:  Like cheese

Tester #6
Taste:  A tiny bit sour.  Squeaky texture.  When I suck on it, liquid comes out. 
Texture:  Feels a little soft and flexible on outside.  Has a gross milk aftertaste like cows.  Soft and smooth when bite into it.  
Smell:  Smells a little sour, but very mild.

Mozzarella Cheese Blind Taste Test

1a  Raw Milk Mozzarella

Tester #1
Taste:  Cheese
Texture:  Mild
Smell:  Nothing
Favorite

Tester #2
Taste:  Mild
Texture:  Normal Cheese
Smell:  None
Favorite

Tester #3
Taste:  Mild
Texture:  Good, soft
Smell:  None
Favorite

Tester #4
Taste:  Nothing
Texture:  Like fish flesh
Smell:  Nothing
Favorite

Tester #5
Taste:  Like Mozzarella
Texture:  Soft
Smell:  None
Favorite

Tester #6
Taste:  Not much taste
Texture:  Rubbery
Smell:  Nothing
Favorite

2 a   Powdered Milk Mozzarella

Tester #1
Taste:  Nothing
Texture:  Rubbery
Smell:  Fish

Tester #2
Taste:  Tofu
Texture:  Rubbery
Smell:  Glue

Tester #3
Taste:  None
Texture:  Weird, too firm/dry
Smell:  None

Tester #4
Taste:  None
Texture:  Hard
Smell:  Faint Cheese

Tester #5
Taste:  Don't Like
Texture:  Hard
Smell:  Milk

Tester #6
Taste:  Nothing
Texture:  More hard than 1A
Smell:  Nothing

Roland Wilk in North York, Ontario, Canada

Roland Wilk

Roland Wilk falls into our "proof that cheese makers are the most interesting people" category.  When he started making cheese, he designed and built his own mechanical stirrer and a press that handles 300 pounds of pressure.  When he was younger, he designed and built model airplanes and he played bridge on two national teams.  Now, he is an accomplished musician.

Roland's wife, Marion, is a pianist.  They have four children - in New York, Israel, Toronto and Boston.  All are married - the oldest three have children ages 10 down.  So, Roland and his wife have 11 grandchildren (to date!).

Roland entered our 35th Anniversary Essay Contest last December:

Roland Wilk's Essay

I love cheese! When I grew up, all we could choose from was Cheddar and Gouda. I was exposed to the wide variety of cheeses only as an adult, and slowly developed an appreciation for the hard and soft, bland and smelly, dry and slimy.

Two winters ago, my wife and I were visiting my son and his family in New Jersey. Well, that family certainly LOVES cheese, but they have a challenge in that they keep strictly kosher. There is a wide variety of kosher cheeses available, but they all seem to taste the same!

So, I offered to come to the rescue and asked my daughter-in-law what her favorite cheese is. "Gruyere", she answers and the engineer in me naturally responds "OK, I'll make you one!"  To her surprise, I was serious. Straight to the web to find out what makes a cheese "kosher," then to find ingredients that are certified as kosher and a library of books from Amazon. Within the week I had received my cheese-making kit and I was on the way to learning how to make a Gruyere (one of my favorites too).

All the books guide a beginner through fresh cheeses all the way to the more complex ones, like Gruyere. I am rather impatient and decided to skip the step by step learning, jumping straight into the Gruyere as my second cheese - and it worked! Waiting the six months for it to ripen was rough, but the cheese was divine.

Dressed to play in a symphony orchestra that evening (he plays bassoon).
My New Jersey grandchildren (3 to 10 years old) are my most devoted cheese fans and connoisseurs - they have a very discriminating palate. That got me thinking about how I could involve them some more.

My solution - to make each one of my grandchildren a Cheddar that they would open on their bar- or batmitzvah. To date I have made 5 such 1-pound cheeses and when the kids visit, they rush to the cheese cave to see "their" cheeses ripening!

My oldest grandson asked if the cheese spoils after such a long time. When I explained that the cheese improves with age, his jaw dropped in disappointment and he replied "that means that Yoni`s (his younger brother) cheese will be better than mine!" Needless to say, he is very competitive.

I am now up to batch number 72 after going through over 300 gallons of milk. I have built a motorized curd stirrer to do the tedious work (who likes stirring continuously for 1 hour?) and a wall press that can deliver 300 pounds. My grandchildren love helping me make cheese and are fascinated by the process.  Selecting and enjoying a cheese from the cave is now a regular feature of my chamber music rehearsals.  One of my chamber music friends, a Dutch immigrant, bought me a 32 quart pot as a birthday present.  "Cheese-making for the Dutch," she says, "is a serious business."

All in all, a rewarding, life-enhancing pastime - all thanks to my daughter-in-law (who cannot recall that she was the trigger!).

What kind of cheese are you making now?

I make blue (fourme d'ambert), gouda, cheddar, bel paese, gruyere, limburger, camembert, jarlsberg.  The blue is very popular with my friends.  My favorite is the gruyere.

Roland's jarlsberg at 8 weeks
Roland's gruyere

Given the high attrition rate (they are popular!) of my stock of cheese, I should be making a batch (6-1/2 lbs) every two weeks.  As we travel frequently, I have to plan ahead so that I can babysit the young cheeses until they can take care of themselves!  My next batch will have to be mid April.

I tried making a triple cream camembert by tripling the proportion of cream, from 3.8% to 10.4%.  That was a disaster and it took me some time to learn that triple cream does not mean triple cream literally, only one and a half times.

Roland's Camembert

What is your source for milk?

I use store milk.  It is illegal to sell raw milk in Ontario, and unhomogenized milk one can only get by special order on Tuesdays.  I would like to get milk from a farm, but they have a strict quota system here.  The farms are contracted to the dairies for their quotas and may not sell beyond that.

The curds I get are not nearly as well formed as the ones I see in the photos on your website, but the cheeses come out reasonably well.

Cheddars at the end of air drying

Have you always invented things?

I invent things when I'm desperate!! I have an engineering and business background (MSc in Electrical Engineering and MBA).  Much of my professional career was in software design and some digital electronic hardware design.  Mechanical design is something new for me. Since selling my software engineering business in 1999, I have become a serious classical musician, playing "mechanical" instruments - bassoon, clarinet and French horn.

I have always detested physical labour and much prefer intellectual challenges.  So when confronted with all the stirring required to produce cheese, I looked for a way out.  Not finding anything really useful on the web, I set out to design my own stirrer.

Roland's handmade stirrer

Stirrer

I needed something that reciprocated - a simple rotating paddle would not do.  So I starting with a motor that rotates at 9 rpm and converted the rotating motion to a reciprocating motion, much like a steam engine does, but in reverse.


After doing a detailed design using off the shelf parts from McMaster-Carr, I built the stirrer which is tailored to my 32 quart cheese pot.  All the parts in contact with milk had to be from stainless steel, so I had to find a stainless steel welding workshop to spot-weld the paddle.  This took a bit of phoning around. They couldn't speak English well, but they knew how to weld stainless steel.

The paddle is secured to the motor assembly with a single grub screw, so a twist of an Allen key releases it.  All the drive parts are mounted on a 1/8"x 3" stainless steel plate.  All the bits and pieces cost me a few hundred dollars, but what I am most pleased about is that it is elegant and not over-engineered.  That aspect took a lot of time, trying to figure out what thickness plate for the drive, what diameter shaft and thickness plate for the paddle.  I chose a 12VDC motor to keep the main voltage away from the liquid milk, and have a power unit that houses a 110VAC - 12VDC converter and a switch.

Drive bottom

Drive top

Paddle

Power unit

Press

The cheese press is simply a lever attached to the wall.  The challenge here was to make it sufficiently rigid.  I started with a wooden beam, but it could not stand the force and just cracked.  So I replaced it with a flat rectangular aluminum beam, but that twisted.  An I-beam might have worked but I could not find one, so I made a laminated beam with a wood core and aluminum sides - just a composite of my two previous attempts. This one had the strength from the aluminum and the rigidity from the wood, and is perfect.

Resting

I added a spirit level to the vertical post to ensure that the pressure is perfectly vertical on the mold.  The pressure on the mold is a simple multiple of the weight I hang from the end of the beam - in my case I get a gain of 6.  So, 20 pounds translates to 120 pounds on the mold.  I use dumbbells for weights (much better than using them for weight training!).  It is easy to suspend them in a shopping bag.  If I need more weight than the dumbbells I have, I add bottles of water or whatever. This press cost me $20 or so and does the job perfectly.

Plunger

Pressing (in practice, Roland puts a draining board and stainless steel mesh under the mold for drainage).

Other interests

I currently play principal bassoon in two permanent ensembles - North York Concert Orchestra and Silverthorn Symphonic Winds. These rehearse weekly and each one presents 6 or so concerts a year.  In August I'm joining the World Civic Orchestra in a tour to Taiwan and Japan.  I am an avid chamber musician, and play in woodwind quintets and small ensembles that often include my wife, Marion, who plays piano and percussion.  It was her fantastic piano playing that got me interested in playing chamber music and performing.

The bassoon is the latest of my instrument "collection" - I also play clarinet and French horn in orchestras and chamber music groups.  I love the sound of all three instruments - each one is a different character in an ensemble and takes on a unique role.   I suppose you could call arts administration a hobby - I serve on community music-making boards (my orchestra, Toronto Youth Wind Orchestra, Canadian Amateur Musicians Foundation). This takes up far more time than cheese making.


I used to enjoy building and flying radio controlled model aeroplanes - since my teens until the time my youngest son finished school. In my teens I was also interested in photography and chemistry.

In my twenties, I was an avid bridge player, and was a member of the Israeli junior bridge team and South Africa open team. That was before I got seriously involved with music-making which I find is wonderful for the soul and spiritually uplifting.  It is really special when you can sit down with complete strangers in a new country, cannot speak a common language, yet can play orchestral or chamber music together!  It is one of those activities where you can move to a new city (we have moved to Johannesburg, Cambridge UK and Toronto) and within days be involved with the local community.

I'm off now to our North York Concert Orchestra rehearsal - we'll be performing Schubert's Rosamunde overture, a selection of Mozart arias and Stravinsky's Firebird Suite. See www.nyco.on.ca (I'm the webmaster and wear a few more hats, too).

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Danny Kostiuk in Ontario, California


Danny Kostiuk
It's always fun for us when we hear from new cheese makers.  Danny Kostiuk began making cheese in February, 2013. A few weeks after he began, he was so excited, he wrote to us:

To Ricki Carroll:

Yours is the first cheese book I picked up and opened with the intention of making cheese.

You changed my life- I have experienced a complete paradigm shift, I will live the rest of my life making cheese.

May I send you pictures of the cheeses I have made?  Or, if you do Instagram, I am @DadtheBaker there.

I have always been called Cheesy, but now I know it's completely and literally true!

I started an interview with Danny at that time, but, for one reason or another, I wasn't able to finish it until over a year later.  So, now, at this point, Danny is a seasoned cheese maker with a lot of experience under his belt.  (I have added updates to his original answers.)

Danny's cheddar, made with 3 gallons of raw milk


Danny (52) started a website years ago when his boys were younger because he wanted to encourage fathers to spend more time in the kitchen with their sons (click here).

He believes that cooking and baking together is one of the best ways to forge a bond between father and son(s).  Now his boys are 14, 11, and 9.

He also has an Instagram account (@DadtheBaker) where he posts pictures of his life and his cheese making.  Most of the pictures there (and in this post) were taken by his wife, Caroline (@carolineadobo).  He gave us permission to use these pictures here.



Where are you from?

I really don't belong in this part of the world, but this is where the winds have blown me.  I was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, but was transplanted to Philadelphia for 15 years, then New Jersey, then Los Angeles.  Except for NJ, concrete is what was predominately under my toes.

How did you get started making cheese?

I have been making yogurt for over ten years.  As my boys were getting older, and because we consume a lot of yogurt (today about a gallon and a half per week), and I am one of those "make everything from scratch" kind of guys... I found a yogurt recipe and fell in love with making it.  Ricotta soon followed, then creme fraiche (never heard of tartaric acid... Lol)

Danny's ricotta with whey

I just this last month bought in on a cow and I milk her (herdshare - @txbeetree).  The next logical step was making cheese.  My wife Caroline, who is Haute Cuisine, referred me to the book Home Cheese Making, which has now become my bible.  So, the short answer to your question is - less than two weeks.  (It's been 15 months at this point.)


So far, I have made one farmers cheese, one soft curd cheddar cheese and two traditional cheddars.  My goal is to make three cheeses a week until I have enough to open one a week for the rest of my life.  More importantly, I will be teaching this to my three boys who are as passionate about food as I am, so it will be an easy task of love.

Update:  "I have been making cheddar and now wish to move on to parmesan, blue, brie... I will always make cheddar."

Cheddar curds

Small curd cheddar right out of the press

Waxing his cheddar

Danny with Donut

You mentioned that you belong to a herdshare?

We live on the eastern border of Los Angeles and San Bernardino - plenty of mass produced dairies, and a few beautiful mom and pop farms.  One in particular, though not organic, is, for sure, pesticide free (plenty of bug bites on our produce) and that is where Glenda lives.  We have also purchased a pig, a lamb, and soon another pig from them.  My boys all attend the slaughter - if they can't watch it being prepared for us, they shouldn't eat it.

The farm where Glenda is takes 15 minutes to get to.  Tomorrow morning and afternoon, and Saturday afternoon I will be milking the cow for an approximate yield of 12 gallons.... the cheesing must go on!!!

Update:  "Glenda (a Holstein) dried up and we are milking Donut.  Donut is a Jersey.  My cheese production went down, as Donut gives 2 gallons per milking, just enough for consuming.  I try to cover for other people to get the extra milk, but every one is covetous of their precious spot.  Glenda, a Holstein, gave us three.  Glenda is calving in June, she will be back in production soon."


Danny's homemade press

What are you using for a press?

Not wanting to spend a small fortune on a "whim" project, I looked at the fastest, relatively affordable options.  So, I went to a lumber yard, hoping to get a small piece of maple.  The smallest piece they would sell me was 6 feet.  So, I cut out enough board to make a prototype (this one you see), and now that I am addicted, I will make a fancier one.  And as a bonus, I made a two foot long cutting board!

Where are you aging your cheeses?

That's the problem I have - finding a place to age them.  I am fortunate that for the time being, the outside temperature is 50F and I keep them in a thermo cooler box.  During the day, when it is 70-ish, I bring the thermo box in to my refrigerator...not optimum...but I am shooting from the hip, here.

I am looking around for a used fridge where I can keep the temperature around 55... but I can't stop my cheese making urges until I do... (Danny now has an old free standing freezer that cools to about 45-50F.)

6 gallons worth of cheddar in the cave

You made your own curd cutter?

I still have my prototype.  I took heavy gauge wire, notched it and strung the wire to make small squares.  It fits perfectly in my pot and a quick swirl cuts the cheese horizontally.  I then run a blade to do the vertical cuts.



On clabbered milk ...

Here's an experiment for you to try at home: grab a half gallon of store bought milk, put it in a jar and cover the lid with cloth and leave it out for a week.  I did this with raw milk and here is the results: the whey separated from the curds leaving a sour, slightly sweet smelling "cheese."  I do believe our institutions have not been very forthcoming with us.  (Needless to say, if you do this experiment, we do not recommend drinking the pasteurized milk after it has been left out!)

Ziergerkase is a whey cheese, not waxed.  The purple color you see is the result of it sitting in a wine and herb bath for five days.

Danny's website - http://www.dadthebaker.com/
Instagram - @DadtheBaker

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Cheese Making Demo in Southern Vermont

Laine Crandall showed how to milk a goat
Last year around this time, I posted an article about a goat show I attended at the Southern Vermont Dairy Goat Association, located in Marlboro, Vermont (click here).  It was a great show and a good time.

The SVDGA celebrates Goat Education Day every year in the Spring, with a wide variety of workshops and demonstrations.  This year it included a Parasite Talk, a Showmanship Talk/Demo, a Basic Genetic Talk, a Cheese Making Demo/Tasting and demonstrations of Hoof Trimming, Disbudding and Tattooing.

Two of my neighbors (from Montague, Massachusetts) gave the cheese demonstration.  Kathy Burek and Alice Armen showed the crowd how to make chevre. (I did an article about Kathy in 2011 - click here)


It was a chilly morning, so we bundled up.

Alice and Kathy had set out several good books, including the first edition of our book, Home Cheese Making which was originally called "Cheesemaking Made Easy."

Kathy had brought samples of her flavored chevres and there were several flavored fromage blancs from Laine Crandall's farm in Cropseyville, New York.  The logs were made by Terry Terrell of Featherstone Farm in New Hampshire.

Kathy began by speaking about why she and Alice had learned the art of cheese making (primarily because they needed a way to use their goats' milk).

They asked volunteers to help add the culture and rennet to the milk.

There would be a long wait for the curds to separate from the whey, so they had brought a pot of curds ready to be drained.

A young volunteer stirred the curds.

Alice demonstrated how to place the curds in the molds.

Kathy explained that she drains her curds in a colander with butter muslin.

When they were finished, Kathy served the samples (that is not her usual beautiful smile!) and it was time for the next demonstration.

If you ever get a chance to go to Goat Education Day or any of the other events at the SVDGA, I highly recommend it.