Friday, July 31, 2009
Here is one of the Goat blue wheels I made on May 13. After more than two months of aging, I was curious to how it would be. Well, it might not be the best blue I have ever had, but it is certainly not the worst. The paste crumbly, perhaps a little dry. It is musty, a little ammoniated, and definitely strong. I will let the second wheel age for another month or so. It might just improve with time.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
I have temporary reverted to the dryer as a cave again. Since I made these two wheels, I haven't had a change to bring these upstate. I don't want to put them in a refrigerator, afraid they will dry out. Having nothing else vermin free around and no time to built something, this was the easiest solution. At 70F too warm perhaps for a extended amount of time. But with a humidity of 90%, they'll just age a little faster for the two weeks they will have to spend in here before I have time to move them upstate.
Monday, July 27, 2009
On July 4th I cut into my first Alpine style cheese. It had been aging for a little over six months. As expected it suffered from butyric gas produced by the Clostridium tyrobutyricum bacteria due to bad fermentation in the silage which had been fed to the cows. This condition produces a taste which is detected by a mild tingling at the tip of the tongue. I was surprised by the mildness of this condition. I had expected it to be much worse. Apart from this defect, which is also the producer of the multitude of holes, the flavor is typical Alpine; sweet and nutty. The paste is firm and melts in the mouth.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Last weekend I attended a two day cheesemaking workshop at Consider Bardwell Farm, a goat dairy farm in Vermont. The workshop was taught by Peter Dixon, a master cheesemaker and dairy consultant. He is also in charge of the cheesemaking at this farm.
After a brief introduction and history of the farm by farm owner Angela Miller, Peter arrived with the milk which he had picked up at Jersey Girls, a partner farm with Jersey cows. After filling the vat, we made a Pawlet, an Italian style toma cheese. Peter took us through all basics steps of making the cheese. He talked extensively about starter cultures. He explained the flocculation technique he uses to determine when to cut the curd. After that he took us through the cooking stage, the draining stage and finally the hooping of the curds into the molds. All basic steps of cheesemaking were very well explained and there was plenty of time for questions and discussion.
After a wonderful lunch of garden fresh salads prepared by Angela and, of course, cheese, we went into the caves. We washed and brushed rinds and talked about cave design.
After a good night sleep at the farm we were fresh the next morning to put the cheeses we made into the brine. Before proceeding with this, Peter took the Ph of the cheeses. He took this opportunity to explain the use of Ph as a target in various stages of the making process. Finally it was time to brine the cheeses at which time brine and brine recipes were discussed. After this it was time for cleaning the tools and equipment, a major part of cheesemaking.
After another terrific lunch, it was time for some theoretic discussion of affinage. Using overhead projection, Peter explained all stages of affinage and talked extensively about the different rind developments and different bacteria and other micro organisms and their influence on various types of cheeses.
Driving home, I felt filled with a plethora of new information and can't wait to put it into practice.
Monday, July 20, 2009
The mold is starting to grow in nicely on this batch of lactic cow cheese. I have kept the cheeses in a refrigerator set at 50F. The humidity fluctuates a bit and is not ideal. But as long as the cheeses develop a decent rind and don' dry out, I won't complain. For the cheesemakers out there, I used the penicillium strain ABL. A medium to slow growing mold variety.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
After struggling with gassy curds from goats milk that hasn't been too clean, I wanted to make some lactic cheese without any problems. I had planned to do this from Ayshire milk but when I arrived at that farm, the tank was empty. Not wanting to drive back empty handed to the city, I went to the farm with the holstein cows. Plenty of milk to be had here. After the usual pleasantries other chats, I filled up my pails.
Back in Brooklyn I put the milk to coagulate overnight, and there it was, smooth as silk. No bubble to be seen. Even the set milk in the test tube only shows a few air bubbles. This milk was very clean. Too bad this farmer has only Holsteins.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
I haven't posted anything recently as I've been occupied with other things. I did make some cheeses and will write about this in the next few weeks. Right now I would like to add another topic to this blog. Soon after I started making cheese I began to consider the idea of starting a small creamery. The cheeses I had made were well received, even cheesemongers spoke encouraging words. I have enough land in upstate New York to build a cheese making facility. The area is full of dairy farms where I can buy milk. I don't plan to produce my own milk as this would involve starting a farm which would need a lot more capital and is an entirely different endeavor. There are still plenty of dairy farms around and they can do with a boost--some of them are suffering badly from the low price of milk. In fact a lot are on the brink of extinction.
I've begun to think of a business plan but haven't decided on a name as yet. These are the names I'm considering (no particular order): Dunk Hill Creamery (this is the name of the hill); using my own name-Vulto Creamery, or I could name it after the stream: Dry Brook Creamery (lots of water at present) or Pricklebush Creamery (the local name for the rosebushes which crowd out untended fields), or Walton Creamery (after the nearest town). I'm still pondering and hope the name will evolve with help from others.