Thursday, September 13, 2007

County Fair Winner

I entered my cheese in the Santa Cruz County Fair for the first time this year and I won!!! I received a 1st place for a camembert style goat cheese and 3rd place for a fresh chevre with a herbs de provence, basque paprika and sea salt crust.To be honest I expected nothing for the camembert and a first for the fresh so I was pleasently surprised. I have been working on the camembert style and have made several batches, but the one I entered was the first I made.

I will post a pictures of the winning cheeses.

This week I made a chedder which is a really fun cheese to make. It is still in the cheese press, it gets pressed for a total of about 36 hours. It will then get air dried and bandaged or waxed and aged for at least 6 months. The first one I made this year I sent back east to my brother and told him to keep it in his basement till Christmas. Boy did that p$&* him off. HE loves cheese and will have a really hard time not touching that 2 pound wheel of cheddar until Christmas. Ah, it will be it a great present though, if he can wait.

I also made a Spanish Cheese this week called a Cabral al Vino which is a washed curd cheese, semi-soft, soaked in red wine. It looks beautiful and rustic and will be fun to eat in about two months - which seems like instant gratification in the cheese world.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Goat's Milk

This is where it all began. I started making cheese over 3 years ago with raw goats milk that I bought from a neighbor down the road. I eventually just bought the goats and milked them myself. I shared them with my friend Elizabeth and we split the work and the milk. I started by making fresh cheese or chevre with the milk and some store bought buttermilk. I started researching cheesemaking on the web and found very little information. I purchased a very basic book and continued to do research. I learned most of what I know by making cheese. I have a 20+ year culinary background so the concepts were familiar and the learning came naturally.

I am writing this blog to share what I have learned about cheesemaking. It is such a magical, fun craft, but it is not out of reach for ANYBODY!!! Anyone can make cheese. It is not as mysterious as it seems. I taught pre-schoolers how to make cheese and kinders how to make yogurt. There are not any special tools required and any special ingredients you may need you can find on the web.

My goal is for all everyone to know how to make cheese.