Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Cheese, Grommit!

I was gifted a cheese-making day by my friend Heather at Sweetwood Farm when she needed just one more person to make up the numbers. I was also to be of assistance if one of the goats decided to choose that day to birth .... but that didn't happen. So, I got to just hang out with a great group of people, eat good cheese and learn the magical art of cheese making. 

Now, usually you begin your cheese making lessons with first taking a soft cheese class. It's much quicker and easier:  boil milk, add lemon juice or vinegar, wait a little while and Voila! Strain, season and/or flavor and eat. I've watched Heather teach this a couple of times.  

But this class was a hard cheese making class and it called for much more time, effort and dedication. I had no idea what I was getting into. 

This is the basis for your at-home cheese making:  a kit containing a cheese mold, cheesecloth, cheese mat all in a clear plastic "cheese cave" (used for in-the-refrigerator aging. There are other things needed, of course, that were supplied by Heather: the milk, cultures, Renet, heaters, etc.

It was a full day -- 11 to 6. There was an awful lot of heating milk to the right temperature; and then there was adding the cultures & Rennet; the testing to cut; the cutting of the curd -- always in between more heating and lots of temperature taking. Somewhere in amongst all that we ate a magnificent potluck lunch. When finally it was ready to mold, you get your hands into the pot and gently lift the curd into the cheesecloth-lined mold. More draining and waiting ..... then you unwrap, flip it, wrap it and put it gently back into the mold. Here's my lovely little cheese ..... 

... ready to be taken home and brined and dried before we even begin the aging process. 

After class, there was an opportunity to visit the new baby piggies, the gorgeous little Italian Maremmano puppies and the first of the newborn goats. Here I am with one of the twins. They are so adorable! Another arrived just this morning.

It's so true -- There's never a dull (nor a free) moment on a farm.

What an amazing opportunity it was for me to take part in the cheese making class. It's up to me to tend it now; and it'll be at least 3 weeks before I can even think about tasting it.

How exciting!



Your chunk of cheese looks amazing considering you never did this before. I think a cheese making class is a wonderful idea. Unfortunately nothing like that here.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

What fun that would be. You found a very unusual way to develop a new talent and have some fun too. The little goat is adorable.

Linda said...

What a great experience! Your cheese looks great..waiting 3 weeks before you can eat it? I'd be sitting there with my box of crackers the whole time! Great pics; looks like you had lots of fun.

dealova trust said...

"hmmm yummi, i like cheese"
great picture