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Cold Water Bound

Any amateur cheese makers around?

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Greetings all, I have recently moved from Calif to the PNW. I am curious if there are any amateur cheese makers around the Olympic Peninsula? I have read a few threads recomending various cheese shops in the Seatle area and over in BC but have not seen anything on those who make there own cheese.

I know I can't be the only one intrested in making my own cheese so let's hear from you!

Rukus

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I've had the interest just never have attempted to take the step after an occasional batch of Paneer. From what I understand Mozzarella is not that difficult to do at home but anything more complex takes more skill and equipment than I posess.. I think WAZZU offers a crash cheese making class--Their Cougar Gold is excellent by the way. I would certainly be interested in exploring resources. Know any good books or web sites?

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Welcome CWB! There are most definitely cheesemakers here (tho not sure about the Oly Peninsula, but I'm in Tacoma.. which isn't too far away). You'll find a handful of threads on our cheesemaking adventures... there's a great thread from last February about making cheese at Laurel's apartment (soooo much fun and she is the best party host in the universe, of course). And here's another thread from about a year ago (or so) where lots of people posted advice for me on places to find cheesemaking supplies and milk.

Placebo is a fountain of information (and will probably chime in on this thread). Placebo is a cheesemaker at Beecher's in Seattle, a great cheese factory/store/foodie mecca. Here is a thread on Beecher's. If you haven't visited there, you must! It's a great place for cheese addicts.

You'll find that the best place to find cheesemaking supplies -- as in acids, starters, cheese salt and rennet (both veal and vegetarian) is Beecher's. They also have cheesemaking kits for sale at very reasonable prices (bought my first kit there). I also picked up a really handy book called "Home Cheese Making : Recipes for 75 Delicious Cheeses," by Ricki Carroll and Laura Werlin. This is a fantastic book for an introduction to making cheese.

If you're too lazy to click over to the other links to find out where supplies can be found outside Seattle (hey, I can relate), I have a few tips for you on where to get milk down in the south sound area (I live in Pierce County on the other side of the bridge). I make my own mozzarella at least a few times a month and I get my milk in Tacoma at Faith Dairy just off of Canyon and 72ndish. They have a line of non homogenized milk that makes really good mozz called Creamline. Also, if Gig Harbor is closer to you than Seattle, a cheese cafe (fabulous place) called Isa Mira does stock a few cheesemaking supplies. They also have a pretty good selection of cheese there .. and a great view for snacking on cheese.

Have you searched in the cooking forum for info on making cheese? There are many threads on the subject of cheesemaking.. and you have to read Placebo's cheese blog

edit: stupid typos/fixing links, yada yada


Edited by girl chow (log)

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Girl Chow has some great resources listed. you might also check out New England Cheese Making Supply Co if you can't find stuff locally. They're who I got all my stuff from initially.

Oh and look into "goat sharing" if you want to find unprocessed milk.

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Actually, we're not carrying any supplies anymore as it required a pretty hefty amount of training for the staff for products that sold very little. New England Cheese Making Supply is a great resource. For more advanced goods (i.e. when you start wanting more sophisticated equipment, specific culture strains and such) is the Glengarry Cheesemaking & Dairy Supply Website. They are also a great resource for things like high-grade wrap for soft cheeses.

There are also some small-scale cheese producers out on the peninsula. I think that the Estrella Family cheese company is there. They make some lovely cheeses and have been getting a lot of great press lately. I'll do my best to answer any questions.

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Thanks all for the warm welcome. I've already started collecting a few supplies, and belive it or not I have the room and supplies to make an aging cave on my property. This being said I have book by Ricki Carroll and Laura Werlin already and am looking for fellow cheese lovers for advice and fun times.

If there si going to be another cheese making party count me in, sounds like a great time was had by all. Placebo, thanks for the link and info, I hope to drop on in someday soon and see the place.

Cold Water Bound

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I started making mozzarella from mailorder curds around 5 years back. More recently (a year or two ago?) I saw that Larry's Market was selling mozzarella curds with an attached instructional DVD - pretty clever idea, but I haven't noticed the kit recently so maybe the business went bust. Anyway, since September I've been focusing on hard and sem-hard cheese. Last month I did a 4 gallon batch of Camembert, and earlier I was quite successful with Monterrey Jack, Cheddar, and a few other hard cheeses.

I'll second the recommendation for the Glengarry Cheesemaking website. The owner, Margaret Morris, sells an excellent video showing the production of four cheeses. If you need a leg up, you'll probably find the video a really useful adjunct to the various beginning cheesemaking books.

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Mr. Toast, for the Camembert what did you do to keep the humidity are the requisite high level for aging? I'd love to attempt to make some, but the critical need for very careful temperature and humidty control has dissuaded me from trying.

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Mr. Toast, for the Camembert what did you do to keep the humidity are the requisite high level for aging?  I'd love to attempt to make some, but the critical need for very careful temperature and humidty control has dissuaded me from trying.

That concern kept me from trying for quite a while, too. While watching the aforementioned Margaret Morris video I learned that humidity control can be easy: just put the fresh cheese in a plastic storage bin with a lid. For the first few days you leave the lid a bit ajar and wipe down any condensed moisture daily. When the white mold starts to develop in a few days, cover the container completely. The entire process should take about a week, if I remember correctly. This initial aging should take place at around 50-60F. In my case I just put the storage bin with cheese into my garage. After 5 days nothing had happened but at that point I checked the temperature and measured 42F. So next I moved the bin to a warmer location and just one day later the cheese was starting to cover over nicely with the characteristic white P. Candidium mold. A day or two after that the cheeses were all ready for refrigeration. I have a few photos showing mold formation and could be convinced to post them if you think they'd help.

After refrigeration, Camembert takes another 2-4 weeks to ripen. I'm about 1 week in at this point, and really curious about how my end product will taste.

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Wine refrigerators can be used for the first week of aging of bloomy-rinded cheeses. You can set them up into the 50's and put in a bowl of water to maintain the humidity. They do not tend to hold the most consistent temperatures (at least the cheap ones I've seen). They vary by as much as 10 degrees between the top and bottom shelves and cycle up and down over a range of a few degrees as they go through defrost cycles. I haven't noticed any problems from these temperature issues so far.

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I was told if you can find a old refrigerator, one that does not have a defrost cycle and works well. You can then purchace a little thermostat that gets placed on the power cord of the frig. Set that to your desired tempature and plug it in. The one catch, the thermostat needs to be inside the fridge which means you will have to some how route the wire both into then out of the unit. I used one of these termostats on a large 240 gallon reef tank I kept in order to regulate ambient tempature and they work very well. Place a container of water inside and you should be set.

CWB

They vary by as much as 10 degrees between the top and bottom shelves and cycle up and down over a range of a few degrees as they go through defrost cycles. I haven't noticed any problems from these temperature issues so far.

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I'm thinking of heading to Seattle for the cheese festival in May....has anyone been to this? Is it actually good or it a slick way to sell cheese to newly minted culinarians? I'm thinking of taking a few workshops and eating around. Anyone have insight to share?

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