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Making Cheese


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I'm watching the weather forecasts, because we're right on the cusp of "safe for making cheese" weather.

Oh, you must expand on that statement! What is NOT safe cheesemaking weather, pray tell? Can it be too hot? Or too cold? Or too moist? I'm terribly curious...

p.s. You are paying more for your goat milk than I am! I'm impressed and probably should suck up and just buy more...

It's raw milk. I want the temperature to be in the 60s or below for the entire 30 hours or so it will take to make the cheese.

I get it -- you are brave. Most of the home cheesemaking books warn against making raw milk cheese. Since most of US has been having a heatwave, I guess that is a critical issue.

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We have a goat dairy here that sells chevre, but I find it really bland and un-goaty.  They say it's because of the breed of goat - is that possible, or is it, as I imagine, more about their cheese-making technique?  Because I might be able to get raw milk from them, but if all I could do with it is make more of what they're already making, boring goat cheese, why bother?

Doesn't it also depend on their diet? What they eat will impact the taste of the milk.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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I REALLY wish I could find sheep's milk, but that seems close to impossible! I'll have to stick to cow's milk cheeses for a while...

Do you have a farmer's market in your area? They may be a good source or may know of someone they can refer you to.

edited to add: Also try food co-ops and health food stores for possible sources or referrals.

I did make a round of phone calls and mostly idiots answered the phone who had no clue and/or no referrals. The farmer's markets are next...

I thought I would try again with a few phone calls... One has to love the varying responses:

"You can't get milk from sheep! You want goat's milk!"

and

"Milk from sheep? Ick, are you sure????"

People really ARE idiots! :wacko:

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I get it -- you are brave. Most of the home cheesemaking books warn against making raw milk cheese. Since most of US has been having a heatwave, I guess that is a critical issue.

I suspect the books are in many cases worried about litigation.

It isn't a matter of bravery, I'm just careful.

I use very high quality milk, in a clean environment. The milk is fresh, and I introduce a large quantity of the micro-organisms that I want into it, and I'm careful with time and temperature.

All that being said, I would not serve it to children, the elderly, pregnant women, or anyone with a weakened or compromised immune system. It's almost certainly safe, but...

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I thought I would try again with a few phone calls... One has to love the varying responses:

"You can't get milk from sheep! You want goat's milk!"

and

"Milk from sheep? Ick, are you sure????"

People really ARE idiots!  :wacko:

This may be sound odd but you could also turn to the reference librarian of your nearest large library. Some of them are super sleuths and can find the most amazing info.

edited to add: Are there any 4-H clubs or FFA's in the area? They could be a source, too.

Edited by Toliver (log)

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Thanks to all for bringing this thread back, I never did post. I've mostly enjoyed the website that's in a nearby above post from the professor:

The Professors Cheese Page

I get raw milk from some local folks: I have a 'share' in their cow and pay them in advance so they won't be busted. No one in my family is immune suppressed and I trust where the milk comes from so... I'm fine with it. We pay $8/gallon, and we have to supply our own jars (1/2 gallon mason jars) and go to their farm to get the milk.

We've been loving the cheese that I've been making: the closest it comes to is something like a 'farmers cheese': not as salty as a feta but maybe a similar consistency.

For a while we were milking some of our goats and that was good cheese too! When the next set begin to kid we might start milking 1-2: right now life is fairly complicated and full as our summer produce is just starting to explode and needs to be sold so....

The next time I make cheese (in the next week or 3) I'll try to take a photo and post here.

I've so far only used the junket stuff and nothing fancier. I did find an interesting simple cheese recipe in a library book called "Scottish Cooking" that was very simple and another one in an Amish cookbook. One of those recipes called for buttermilk.

I tried making yogurt but I left it too long and it turned into cheese.

One essential tool I've been happy I purchased is the real cheesemakers cheese cloth: not the flimsy supermarket stuff.

cg

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Check out www.realmilk.com and also do searches for cowshare. Some states do not allow for the sale of raw milk. If anyone is in one of these states and wants raw milk they can be part of a "cowshare" and still get raw milk. My question is that if I get a cowshare can I take her for walks for 2 weeks each year?

Edited by pounce (log)

My soup looked like an above ground pool in a bad neighborhood.

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I'm watching the weather forecasts, because we're right on the cusp of "safe for making cheese" weather.

Oh, you must expand on that statement! What is NOT safe cheesemaking weather, pray tell? Can it be too hot? Or too cold? Or too moist? I'm terribly curious...

p.s. You are paying more for your goat milk than I am! I'm impressed and probably should suck up and just buy more...

It's raw milk. I want the temperature to be in the 60s or below for the entire 30 hours or so it will take to make the cheese.

I get it -- you are brave. Most of the home cheesemaking books warn against making raw milk cheese. Since most of US has been having a heatwave, I guess that is a critical issue.

I believe the union square wool people have the milk, if you ask...

does this come in pork?

My name's Emma Feigenbaum.

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the new england cheesemaking people are great and very helpful with answers http://www.cheesemaking.com/

they also have a number of newsletters online that share some success stories, but they dont have a forum running that i can see. i have emailed them to ask, and will repost here if i hear anything.

as far as Sheeps milk (should be Ewes milk i guess) is concerned, the reason it is less readily available in this part of the world (the Middle East) is that Ewes only lactate during the first months of the lambs life, which is springtime here, whereas goats reproduce and consequently produce milk most of the year. im not enough of an expert to know whether it is the same situation is cooler places like New England, but maybe someone can venture an opinion.

also, i have been making and eating raw milk cheeses for years and ive never had anyone consume my cheese and suffer any health effects. summer temps here range from 80-100 degrees. I think the prohibition against raw milk cheeses is government nannying at its worst. the focus should be on hygiene rather than pasteurization. the parallel for me would be for the government to combat e-coli by prohibiting the sale of any meat that is not pre boiled for safety. .... heavily boiled ribeye steaks, anyone?

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I'd like to add that I started with The Cheesemaker's Pantry from Hoegger Goat Supply. Honestly, it did not impress me as the accompanying book didn't really explain that you make your own mesophilic starter from their "buttermilk starter" (the packages were not very well labeled).

Also, I purchased a press from them that no longer on their website (I was looking to show a link) -- good reason too as it kinda sucks. I mentioned it to Ms. Carrol when I called her at the New England Cheesemaking company to order more starter and she somewhat assented. The Hoegger press's screw bolt needed to be entirely re-tooled and it does not go deep enough to get the required 50 pounds of pressure. We have to put in shims just to get it to work. I'll get some pictures up at some point...

I paid about $230 for their press and the above-mentioned kit. I am seriously considering this press which will get up to 120 pounds (although I have yet to read a recipe that needs more than 50). But I am tired of having to dick with my cheap press that actually bows on the base when I apply 50 pounds and has no drip spout!

There are some interesting presses here, but again, I don't see a drip spout OR a regulator (most recipes say things like "press at 10 pounds for 15 minutes, 20 pounds for 2 hours, and then 40 pounds for 24 hours...").

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Finally getting off my lazy ass to post some pictures... These are three cheddars that we have been making throughout the week. Kevin and I perversely name all our creations so I would like to introduce you to Earl, the sloppy bulgy cheddar, Carlton, the Caraway cheddar, and Henry, a cheddar to whom we added cream. They need to sit and air-dry before we coat them in wax before aging. For perspective, these cheeses are 5 1/2 inches in diameter and 2" high.

gallery_431_3337_191017.jpg

One of our other experiments has been the production of cheese from the leftover whey. We have tried the Norwegian Mytost with limited success but a better effort was Wolfgang, a Ziegerkase which we brined in wine and herbs. He was 2" across and just over 1/2" high. The advantage was that while we won't be tasting our cheddars for several months, this was one we could at after several days. It was a bit grainy and mild like an under-salted feta (keeping in mind it is cow's milk!). We actually used a ricer as a press for this one...

gallery_431_3337_21590.jpg

This weekend, I am making a stilton...

Edited by Carolyn Tillie (log)
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I'm bumping this in hopes that other cheesemakers know something about cheese salt. How/Why is it different than Morton's, Kosher flake, and/or sea salt? I have been googling around and trying to research it, but am coming up blank. I am out of the small bag I purchased mail order and would like to think that I could use something over-the-counter...

Thoughts?

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Finally getting off my lazy ass to post some pictures...  These are three cheddars that we have been making throughout the week. Kevin and I perversely name all our creations so I would like to introduce you to Earl, the sloppy bulgy cheddar, Carlton, the Caraway cheddar, and Henry, a cheddar to whom we added cream. They need to sit and air-dry before we coat them in wax before aging. For perspective, these cheeses are 5 1/2 inches in diameter and 2" high.

gallery_431_3337_191017.jpg

One of our other experiments has been the production of cheese from the leftover whey. We have tried the Norwegian Mytost with limited success but a better effort was Wolfgang, a Ziegerkase which we brined in wine and herbs. He was 2" across and just over 1/2" high. The advantage was that while we won't be tasting our cheddars for several months, this was one we could at after several days. It was a bit grainy and mild like an under-salted feta (keeping in mind it is cow's milk!). We actually used a ricer as a press for this one...

gallery_431_3337_21590.jpg

This weekend, I am making a stilton...

I'd give my left cucaracha to be able to make cheese like that. I am impressed.

I bought the mozzarella kit from NECheesemaking and it worked, but that was as far as I went. Found a source for raw milk in the next town, he even had a cheesemaking suite of rooms for lease, with marble tables, big aging room, pasteurized milk pumped right into the room, but I'm not that into it...yet.

Can you really make this stuff like yours at home? What do you age it in? I'm fascinated by your seeming nonchalance at this skill.

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For those who are going to be trying any blue-innoculated cheeses, I have some long spinal needles, never used, still in sterile, sealed cartridges with 30 cc syringes (very large) which I have used successfully to inject cheeses.

The needles are large guage and 3 /2 and 4 inches long so are of no use whatsoever to drug addicts (unless they are masochists). I had to buy a box of 100 several years ago and have used less than 20.

I had tried the barbecue injectors but they were not long enough. The neurosurgeon in our office suggested I try the spinal needles and they worked nicely.

PM me if you would like to try them.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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McDuff, these lovely successes were preceeded by a number of failures. I'll take a picture of Edgar, my first blue cheese, who has rather painfully dried out (I've been told I could brine him to see if I can resurrect him, but have been a bit lazy on that front). And you can see from Earl that they may not all be successful! I'd love to have access to an appropriate cheese room and I'll shoot some pictures of my next endeavor to give you an idea how we are doing this in our kitchen. The biggest investment is TIME -- so many of these cheeses take careful watching over several hours while the curds separate from the whey. And the blue I made on Saturday is currently in a mold that has to be flipped several times a day. That brine, BTW, was equal parts wine and water with a bunch of fresh herbs and salt. As a whey cheese, it was only brined for three or four days before we ate it. the cheddars, on the other hand, won't even be tasted until close to Christmas -- so who knows if we HAVE been successful!

Andiesenji, I would be interested in some of your needles! I've been using KNITTING needles. :raz:

Edited by Carolyn Tillie (log)
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Seeing this thread reminded me that I have one of those mozzarella kits lying around somewhere. How long do you think the vegetable rennet is usable? Mine's about 4 years old. :unsure:

Also, I've never added lipase. Has anyone tried that, and is the flavor difference worthwhile?

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Seeing this thread reminded me that I have one of those mozzarella kits lying around somewhere.  How long do you think the vegetable rennet is usable?  Mine's about 4 years old. :unsure: 

Also, I've never added lipase.  Has anyone tried that, and is the flavor difference worthwhile?

The thing about Mozzarella is that it is almost the easiest instant cheese to make (Fromage Blanc is another easy, overnight cheese). I can't answer your question about your old rennet, but I say Try It! and share so we all know... That's the great thing about this thread; hopefully we can all share our successes and failures!

I haven't made a Mozzarella yet because I didn't have citric acid. I picked some up over the weekend and already have my lipase, so I think a Mozzarella will be on my list for this week.

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i've been making pressed cheeses (chedder, etc.) for about a year and a half now, so (hopefully) i can share some of my experience on this thread.

Salt: flaky, non-iodized salt has always treated me well. it may or may not be coincidence, but every time i've used iodized salt it hasn't aged as well. this may be because the iodine messes with the bacteria that is responsible for the flavors that occur with aging--or it might just be superstition. besides, i enjoy the flavor or plain kosher no-iodine salt to just about any others.

citric acid: never used it, cause you don't gotta (except for moz, which i've never made). the bacteria you innoculate the milk with, given time, will produce more than enough acidity. one time i left a batch to ferment over night--the curds tasted like sharp cheddar. i loved it, my wife didn't. to each their own.

rennet: i haven't had a problem using year old rennet. then again, the biggest problem (imho) isn't rennet, it is using homogenized milk. homogenized milk, in my experience, takes much longer to set than others. in some cases, it has taken 3-4 times as long. this is important, because the acidity of directly affected by the time the milk is left to set. the step after the milk firms up (paraphrasing the steps, so don't go nuts) is salting, which arrests alot of the bacteria growth, so that time between you adding rennet, culture, and it firming is pretty crucial. however like i said, i like sour and my wife doesn't.

milk: you don't need raw milk to make great cheese. but you do need milk that hasn't been homogenzied to death. here in the san fran area i use milk from strauss creamery, and it is wonderful. basically, if the cream seperates, you are good. there are some people that advocate using dried milk, but i haven't tried that.

so, i'm not a cheese expert by any means, but those are the things i've come away with in these last few years. i love fermented foods (i'm a darn good brewer as well) and i'm alway looking for ways to improve.

thanks!

Please delete my account from eGullet

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Tristar - Thanks so much for that link! I'm always looking for new resources and I'm sure I'll learn a lot there.

Jupe - Welcome to eG! And thanks so much for the info and sharing your knowledge. We've been brewing a lot as well recently (a stout, a mead, and a triple bock!). One of the the things I would like to investigate is adding a beer to a cheese. I've also been intrigued with an English cheese, Stinking Bishop, which is brined in Perry (pear cider, which we also hope to make in the fall). I haven't read of any home cheesemakers' recipes which use beer.

One of the other "discrepancies" which is curious to me came from a discussion I was having Rob, the cheesemaker at Point Reyes Blue... He indicated that in Wisconsin, they will let the milk sit out for three days before they make the cheese (part of Wisconsin cheese tastes so different). This is definitely not allowed in California. Is there truly an advantage in using ultra-fresh milk vs. some that has aged?

I'll post again as we made our first mozzarella and have pictures. I've also just purchased six quarts of goat's milk (Trader Joe's!) for this weekend's endeavors.

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Makin fresh Mozz.....

6oz Salt

1Gallon of Water

1 Pot

1 strainer... (to put cheese curd in)

1# Fresh Cheese Curd.... Not Cheddar Curd, Fresh Cheese Curd.... Ask around not too hard to find but most stores find it hard to give it up... Because it makes Mozzarella and they mark it up alot after they turn it into Mozz. (make as much as you can)

Gloves if you cant take the heat of the cheese.

Bring the water to a low simmer 180degrees. Place the cheese curd into a strainer... and dissolve the salt into the water. Add the strainer with the curds inside to the water, until the curds begin to melt, start to work the curds into a big mass, when the cheese is almost into a large cogulated mass, start working the cheese, pulling it as you would taffy. When the cheese begins to have a shimmery look to it, then it is done. Form into small balls or a large ball to serve.... Mozz is best hot.

Very Easy very fun for the home.

Do not leave the cheese in the water for too long, the curds are mostly water and will shrink quickly.

Other serving suggestions..... When the cheese is still warm, roll it out inbetween 2 pieces of plastic wrap, into a thin layer (preferbly square) remove the top layer and add any toppings you choose (try to get flat toppings) eg.. sliced meat, herbs, ect... onto half of the cheese, now proceed to rolling up the cheese into a log.

Do this very quickly, the cheese cools and will not bind together if the cheese cools too much. Slice the log into 1/4 inch thick slices, serve with olive oil? balsamic, whatever you want..... Good luck!

**********************************************

I may be in the gutter, but I am still staring at the stars.

**********************************************

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well, if they are letting it acidify for three days, then they aren't using the same type of culture that i'm using :)

it probably means one of three things: first, they are using a culture that that acidifies much slower than the mesophilic you or i can buy (since you brew, think of the difference between fermenting a standard ale and a lager--lagers take much longer to finish fermenting the whole way down). second, they may be using temp. to expand the length of time they can ferment the milk. and third, they may be using a secondary innoculation to break down more acidic compounds--winiers do this all the time by adding malolactic culture to break malic acid down in to less hard lactic acid.

brining with Perry sounds intriguing. they is a great commercially made perry here in the bay area called Ace that may go really well with a high cream content hard cheese. or, if you have a fruit press, you could always make your own ;)

Please delete my account from eGullet

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