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Behold the Cheese

Oct
15


My cheese! I’m so proud. Cheese is such a creative adventure. I’ve been enamored with it since the first time I watched milk transform into curds. It’s like magic.

The photo above is my cheddar, made by the traditional cheddar recipe from Home Cheese Making. I made rounds and rounds of cheddar back in late spring and early summer, before I dried Beulah Petunia off pre-calf. I’m just now breaking into those cheeses and tasting the reward. Today, I’m being profiled on the blog at New England Cheesemaking. I’m so excited. How did this happen? I don’t know. I’m a New England Cheesemaking fangirl all the way. New England Cheesemaking’s Ricki Carroll wrote the classic, Home Cheese Making, which I got my hands on right away after I got goats. The first cheese I made was ricotta.

Tie her up, tie her down, tie her sideways, then milk her.

If you missed that post, go see it. Of course, it’s easier to make ricotta without all the goat tying. You can make cheese with milk from the store. You can make cheese on a regular basis, or you can make cheese for special occasions to wow your family and friends. It’s fun and crafty.

I made my first soft cheeses with a cheesemaking kit from New England Cheesemaking. I researched and asked people and pondered, and New England Cheesemaking was the best around, hands down, for supplies, and they had the most comprehensive and easy-to-understand book of recipes. I worked my way through most of the soft cheese recipes in the Home Cheese Making book and finally dived into hard cheese after I got a homemade cheese press. I made the typical first-timer hard cheese, farmhouse cheddar–with milk from the store. But I was hooked, and it wasn’t long before I had a cow.

I had a veritable cheese factory going on here in June and July. I made cheddar after cheddar after cheddar. Not farmhouse cheddar (which is a short-cut cheddar), but real traditional cheddar that ages for three to twelve months. (I managed to wait almost four months before breaking in to the first one.)

Yet somehow I never got past cheddar. Hard cheese scared me for a long time. It’s just like anything new and unfamiliar. Can I really do it? Farmhouse cheddar was one thing, but making real cheddar was another, and once I did that, I kinda got stuck on it. Cheddar, cheddar, cheddar. Not that I don’t love cheddar….. And not that it was even that difficult. I just got stuck. I perused the Home Cheese Making book until I about wore the pages out yearning for the excitement of trying more cheese recipes, but still I was stuck. Stuck….and eager to unstick. I love a good adventure. (You know, once I get going.)

Then along came New England Cheesemaking. WHAT?! Like I said, I am such a fangirl. Along with profiling me today on their blog and in their Moosletter, they have invited me to a challenge. I will be writing for them as I unstick and dare myself to make one new hard cheese every month. I AM SO EXCITED.

AND SCARED.

AND EXCITED.

Best of all, along the way, there will be some giveaways involved–FOR YOU!!!

Okay, who wants to make cheese with me? Don’t leave me hanging out here alone. (A goat or cow is not required. You can make homemade cheese with milk from the store. That’s how I did it for a long time between the first time I was milking Clover and when I got Beulah Petunia.)

P.S. If you missed it, the profile about me is on the New England Cheesemaking blog here. And you can sign up for their Moosletter here.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on October 15, 2010  

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  1. 10-15
    1:45
    am

    You couldn’t have chosen a better time for a post about cheesemaking as far as I’m concerned! I’ll be reading up on everything for sure!
    xoxo

  2. 10-15
    3:37
    am

    We use Ricki’s 30-minute mozzarella kit now, but I’m keen to get into the hard cheeses. I want to try parmesan so bad! :hungry:

  3. 10-15
    5:44
    am

    Congratulations!

    I just visited their blog where they introduce you. I signed up for the Moosletter too. I will be looking forward to this new adventure for you.

    My one attempt at a hard cheese was a complete failure and I have been afraid to try again. In fact, the whole cheesemaking thing intimidates me a little, except for cottage cheese.

    I need to build a press first;then order the book and some supplies. I just have Ricki’s little booklet on cheesemaking.

    Still trying to decide………..do I really want to do this?

    Your cheese looks absolutely professional….how did it taste?

  4. 10-15
    5:53
    am

    I am so with you on the cheese making. I have the book, and have dreamed of making all the cheeses, but so far have not progressed past mozarella. It will be a lot less intimidating with you leading the way. Thanks for being “Fearless Leader”!!!

  5. 10-15
    6:13
    am

    I finally got my rennet tablets to make mozzarella~yep, got them and stuck them in the freezer.. I also want to make hard cheese so bad but can’t get past the fear.. What am I scared of?? It is cheese we are talking about.. I will overcome this fear so I am with you all the way!! Right after I make a cheese press~

  6. 10-15
    6:49
    am

    That sounds gouda to me. I have the kit, just have not had the time.

  7. 10-15
    6:51
    am

    You didn’t mention – how does that cheddar taste??? Looks beautiful!

  8. 10-15
    7:04
    am

    I want to make cheese with you. I will follow along sounds great! :yes:

  9. 10-15
    7:44
    am

    Johanna, it’s great! It tastes like cheddar! (LOL, but it’s so amazing!!)

  10. 10-15
    8:04
    am

    :D YAY! WHOOO! No one deserves this more than you Suzanne. Like your cheese, your amazing. Not just for all you do and make bur for who you are to all of us here. Your inspiring too. I think Id be stuck on the couch watching tv if it wasnt for this blog. Thats no way to spend every day. LOL! COngratulations. You can do it! We know you can. We’ll be following along, your faithful fangirls :smilerabbit:

  11. 10-15
    8:15
    am

    I “like” New England Cheesemaking on FB and saw the article pop up last night. Enjoyed reading it as well and looking forward to following along with your hard cheese adventures. I love New England Cheesemaking as well–great customer service. I have tried the fromagina mix recently and found it makes a nice sweet cheese that could be easily fitted to use in recipes calling for cream cheese or ricotta or even cottage cheese.
    ~Jenny~

  12. 10-15
    8:23
    am

    Congrats!!!! I would love to learn how to make cheese…ANY kind of cheese! I love that you are learning more and more things! Because that means I am too…I am a daily reader and I have already started making my own laundry soap for my family. With a lot of laughs along the way I now make it on a regular basis. My friends still ask me when I am going to start just buying it again! I told them never! See I am in my 20′s and no one my age thinks that you should do that, at least around here! Sorry went off topic…I would love to learn how to make cheese!!!

  13. 10-15
    9:02
    am

    i just ordered my butter muslin and mesophilic starter to try my own cream cheese:) i’m so excited! you are such an inspiration. i hope they give you a commission for all of us you are going to get on board with this!

  14. 10-15
    9:04
    am

    mom2girls, no, no, I’m not getting any commissions! (I’m a writer, not a salesperson!)

  15. 10-15
    9:05
    am

    I made mozzarella all summer, with milk from my goat JarJar. Right before I had to dry her up so I could fatten her up a little before breeding her, my FIL suprised me with a cheese press. I got to make one or two cheeses which turned out horrible before I had no more milk to experiment with. Can’t wait for JarJar to be bred and have her babies this winter/spring so that I can have milk again! I want to try cheddar! (and swiss, and parmesan, and….)

    Your cheddar looks amazing!!

  16. 10-15
    9:06
    am

    This is so cool for you…and us! We are here seeing what is happening for you and it is all so much fun!
    Congrats on the cheddar making and tasting. Wow! It’s my favorite cheese, too. Can’t wait to see what you come up with in the coming months!

  17. 10-15
    9:16
    am

    CONGRATULATIONS, SUZANNE!!!!!! :snoopy: :woof: How exciting!!! I am so happy they noticed you!! (I signed up for the Moosletter and they did a wonderful job on profiling you!)

  18. 10-15
    9:27
    am

    What fun — nice write-up on you! I went to visit the ‘post I missed’ and the link isn’t working!! :)

  19. 10-15
    9:29
    am

    I have never made cheese in my life but you have peaked my interest and I want to come along for the ride. Just show me how. I think this will be a wonderful winter project.

  20. 10-15
    9:36
    am

    Denise, thanks for telling me that! I fixed the link.

  21. 10-15
    9:44
    am

    My friend and I both have the cheesemaking book but haven’t been brave enough to try it. Your cheddar cheese looks amazing! I really want to try my hand at cheesemaking soon!

  22. 10-15
    9:48
    am

    Congrats on the cheddar! I wonder if there might be a recipe for Swiss cheese. That’s the cheese I use most at the moment for all kinds of foods. :cowsleep:

    I just have to mention this: a BEAR had walked on our road! The paw prints were huge and I could see them very clearly thanks to the snow that had fallen last night. He should be asleep by now, but there hasn’t been enough food for bears in the forests this year. I just hope he won’t get it in his head to visit our yard!

  23. 10-15
    10:24
    am

    oh my that cheese is beautiful Suzanne. and congratulations on the profile! Right after I finish reading my CITR I’m heading over there to read your profile. you make me want to make cheese :yes:

  24. 10-15
    10:49
    am

    I would LOVE to start making cheese!!!!

  25. 10-15
    10:54
    am

    Suzanne, have you made any cheese with your goat’s milk?? I have a source for raw goat milk and I’m dying to try making cheese from it. Your courage is inspiring!

  26. 10-15
    10:58
    am

    Kim, yes, I’ve made cheese with my goat milk, too!

  27. 10-15
    11:05
    am

    Your cheedar looks amazing.
    I’ll definetly be with you with making more hard cheeses.
    :clover:

  28. 10-15
    11:08
    am

    Congratulations Suzanne! I’d love to make my own cheese but I think mine would be one of the many failures I read about. Perhaps after a few more of your posts I’ll get brave, lol.

  29. 10-15
    11:13
    am

    I wanna make cheese with you!!!!! I’ll have to do it store bought….I don’t have a cow….YET! Waiting…….. :snoopy:

  30. 10-15
    11:23
    am

    Hmmm…you have me considering it. My in-laws bought a goat for my youngest son four years ago–because he wanted to make goat cheese. Ha! They bought him a pygmy goat rather than a goat that is traditionally for milking, but people said you could milk a pygmy, you just wouldn’t get as much milk. Then we heard about what it’s like to have an intact male goat around. No thank you. I told my son we’d get her bred if he would do a little research. And that’s where the dream ended. He didn’t want to do the work to learn what he would need to do. He’s 16 now and still loves cheese, but he’s busy. I’ve thought about buying him a cheese making kit for fun. Maybe we could use the raw cow’s milk we get from a local farm. I don’t know. It sounds like fun, but will I be the only one into doing the research and the work? I guess I have to decide if it will be worth it to me to be the little red hen.
    P.S. That goat is now a downright nuisance. She has something against all females and is only nice to the guys.

  31. 10-15
    11:27
    am

    Congratulations!

  32. 10-15
    11:36
    am

    My daughter helped make cheese when she was at the Heifer Global Village this summer and she is dying to do it again! You just might inspire me to try a soft cheese.

    That picture of Clover – I thought I might die from the cuteness!

  33. 10-15
    11:37
    am

    Cheese making and all the things with milk that you’ve been doing is one of those things HIGH on my list of WANT to DO.

    Right up there with owning a goat or cow. I’m thinkin’ when I retire in a few years, I’m going to do it.

  34. 10-15
    11:46
    am

    You are so inspiring! Thank you for all that you do for us.

  35. 10-15
    11:48
    am

    OMG I swear I’m going to buy me a little farm and become you! lol
    CHEESE is a favorite in this house too.

  36. 10-15
    12:04
    pm

    My first thought – toasted cheese sandwhiches. Crunchy on the outside and soft and smushy on the inside. Oh, dear. Sign me up. I’ve done paneer and cottage cheese and am ready to move on up.

  37. 10-15
    12:12
    pm

    I know this is all about cheese, but Glory Bee looks soooo cute. By the way, you’ll do great with the challenge. Trust yourself.

  38. 10-15
    1:46
    pm

    That looks awesome. You did a great job!

  39. 10-15
    2:05
    pm

    Just saw your profile in the new Moosletter from Ricki. How cool! I’d love to make cheese with you. I’ve got some goats (am milking one) and have been learning to make cheeses with Ricki’s book (and a couple workshops from Ricki/Jim). I’m also making cheese along with the Forging Fromage group (http://forgingfromage.blogspot.com/).

    Congrats on the mention, and good luck with the challenge!

  40. 10-15
    2:19
    pm

    I can’t wait to see the adventures of a new hard cheese every month! I can’t commit to participating, but it will be fun to watch! :) You’re making me really want to try cheesemaking!

  41. 10-15
    2:31
    pm

    I would love to learn to make hard cheese.
    I started making soft cheese a couple months ago and I just loved it. I’ve been reading up on storing the cheese and recipes.
    Congratulations!!!
    Hug Cheryl

  42. 10-15
    2:33
    pm

    :chicken: I found you from the Mooseletter- what fun! When I started I got stuck on farmhouse cheddar…then feta the next year and now it is chevre. I have goats and not a cow of course. I look forward to keeping an eye on your adventures!

  43. 10-15
    2:51
    pm

    Oh, well, maybe it is finally time to quit talking about it and MAKE some cheese! Let the journey begin!! :moo:

  44. 10-15
    3:24
    pm

    Suzanne, I’d be proud of that cheese, too. All beautiful red and waxy on the outside and soft and creamy and buttery on the inside. A thing of beauty. Alas, my one foray into cheese making in my teen years, when I was first hit with the ‘back to the land’ bug, was a dismal failure. I think my cheese press was too wimpy. I became afraid of wasting the milk, especially since my parents bought it from the store and did not believe in playing with food. Children of the depression, don’t ya know.

    My husband is more about learning from experience (he’s a teacher and he loves cheese, so maybe I’ll try hard cheese again.

    Can’t wait to read about your adventures in cheese making.

  45. 10-15
    3:34
    pm

    CHEESE!! Oh my god. Next to good BBQ, cheese is right up there. I LOVE cheese. I could eat it with everything. I never thought about making it….. until now. Don’t have a cow or goats. but I am sure we can find a farm near by.
    Congrats on New England Cheese making blog.
    Maybe down the road you can try smoking some of your cheese.So, now I am going to have a cheese sandwitch for lunch.

  46. 10-15
    3:51
    pm

    Oh I am so tempted to join you! I think I might. A friend gave me her cheese press (she is a teacher) when she no longer needed it. Made cheese with the students. I have had it a number of years now and it has never left the corner of my brain, to get it out and use it. (Off to get it out of the basement and check it out……..)

  47. 10-15
    4:00
    pm

    I made 30-minute mozzarella this week and — it really is fast and it really is mozzarella! Couldn’t be easier. I admire you for stepping up to hard, aged cheeses. You have inspired me to obtain a cheese press and give it a try myself, with fresh milk that I can get frozen from the monthly farmer’s market.

  48. 10-15
    4:20
    pm

    Hi! Just added your page and blog to my favorites! (mentioned in the moosletter)

    Very exciting, your challenge! I would love someone to push me out of my cheese ruts – maybe you’ll be my inspiration!!

    Cheers!

    Janeen

  49. 10-15
    4:48
    pm

    CONGRATS!

    You’re going to have a blast! Will you go back after your cheeses age and do reviews? That would be awesome for the aged cheeses!

    I’ve really love my fresh milk and enjoy making my own cheese (have dairy goats). I have gotten more into it the last couple years. I’m looking forward to following along. I don’t have all I need yet for aged cheeses but it’s time to get too it.

    I also have a yahoo recipe group for goat/fresh milk, cheese and meat ( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/GoatMilkCheeseMeat/
    ) and a homesteading blog (http://viewtoponder.blogspot.com/ ). I’m going to let everyone know what you are now doing and provide them the link to come join. I think they’ll enjoy following along and the contests.

    Again, CONGRATS, and I’m glad I get to follow along!

  50. 10-15
    5:19
    pm

    I’m joining you!! I am stuck on Farmhouse Cheddar and need to get unstuck! What a great adventure! I was looking at Ricki’s book not an hour ago as I have extra milk and need to move it..I looked at Colby, Jalapeno Cheddar but no…I wasn’t adventurous enough to try one of those so it’s Farmhouse Cheddar! I need the challenge, when do we start??

  51. 10-15
    5:36
    pm

    That is one beautiful wheel of cheese, Suzanne…my mouth is watering just looking at it! I am simply going to have to get off my butt and build myself a cheese press :happyfeet:

  52. 10-15
    7:35
    pm

    Found your blog from the Moosletter. Beautifully written and inspiring. What a lovely account of reconnecting with the land. Good luck on your cheese adventure. I’ll be following along and making cheese throughout the year. I’ve only ever made fresh chevre and am ready to try some ripened and pressed varieties.

  53. 10-15
    8:49
    pm

    That sounds great!!! I would love to make cheese with you! I am gonna put in for the moosletter just as soon as I get done reading todays topics and looking around bit. :moo:

  54. 10-15
    8:53
    pm

    Wait a minute, that means…more quality time with my favorite..CLOVER!

    Please put more pictures of her up.

  55. 10-16
    1:22
    am

    I made my first hard cheese last week (Farmhouse Cheddar). I’m making Provolone next week (2% milk goes on sale at our local store on Sunday – I’m not spoiled like SOMEONE who has a cow). I’ll be trying “real” Cheddar in a few more weeks (when we go shopping in the “big city” again). Lead the way, Suzanne!

  56. 10-16
    2:49
    pm

    I’m with you! I’d really love to do Swiss or Asiago. Parmesan or Romano would be great too! There are so many choices, it’s hard to know where to start.

    And here’s a quote to help motivate us all to get moving. I saw it on a poster once and loved it:

    “You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

    Let’s get cheesing ladies. There’s no use crying over spilled milk, or stressing over a failed cheese attempt. Just figure out what went wrong, adjust and move forward! Onward!

    Julie

  57. 10-16
    9:18
    pm

    Question…I am currently living in the Philippines. I’ve wanted to try and make cheese for a long time. But I have one problem…we don’t get fresh milk here. We use powdered milk at home, but we can get boxed milk with a self life of about 15 years. Would either of these options even work? And if both of them would work, than which one would be better?
    Thanks!!
    ~sara~

  58. 10-16
    9:54
    pm

    Sara, I have no experience with boxed milk. I think the best thing to do would be to ask the New England Cheesemaking help people. You can email them at info@cheesemaking.com.

  59. 10-16
    10:40
    pm

    I went and bought raw milk this week and made my first EASY cheese…Paneer…check it out on my blog. have loved reading your adventure and guiding us all to do better, simply.

  60. 10-17
    5:39
    pm

    I am in!!! I already make mozarella and creme fraiche!

  61. 10-18
    12:30
    pm

    Making cheese is the very reason I found your blog! I’ve been thinking about it lately with milk prices so low at the store – I’ve got to do it! Thanks for the inspiration :)

  62. 10-18
    1:48
    pm

    I am giddy with the idea of making my own cheese. The question I have is, how can you cut the cheese wheel down into smaller sizes to wax? Once the cheese comes out of the mold and has to air dry to get the rind on it, can it be cut then? Or does it have to be cut before drying, then waxed? Also, if you cut into a larger wheel that has been aged, can you wax the unused portion for later or to let it age longer? I’m so confused :?

  63. 10-18
    1:53
    pm

    Kristen, it’s supposed to be better to wax the whole round of cheese as is first. Then when you take it out, if you don’t need that much out at once, cut off what you need then wax the rest back and put it away again.

  64. 10-18
    2:11
    pm

    Great! Thanks for clearing that up for me. I love your site! I read it religiously every day. My husband loves that I love it too ( he’s been getting fed really well these days).

  65. 10-19
    12:46
    am

    Amazingly beautiful! I’m so glad your hard work paid off handsomely!

  66. 10-19
    9:03
    am

    I have made mozzarella but haven’t yet ventured into hard cheeses. I really want to try!

  67. 10-20
    1:27
    pm

    Your own cheese??? Woman, you absolutly rock the house!!!

  68. 1-22
    10:18
    pm

    Waaaahhh I wanna make my own cheese but my hubby won’t let me :cry: .

  69. 2-15
    7:05
    pm

    I would love to win the cheese kit to give to my daughter in law, who is very interested in doing this, but has to drive 100 miles to my house because all the equipment is there. By the way, the sheep are due before the goats, so maybe sheep cheese this year? It would be absolutely great, crazy and a real rodeo to get them milked, but it might be worth it. I am an old fan of Rikki’s from WAY back to her first book, used it forever and bought the new edition last year. I have a freezer full of Fromage Blanc and Mozz. made last summer. It’s a great hobby! Thanks!

  70. 12-22
    1:11
    pm

    A VERY interesting read here as well. Please forgive if I violated any TOS of the forum by double posting this but I think I errantly posted on the other cheese thread.

    I noted the use of a stainless steel press, while on other web-sites I see people using 6″ schedule C PVC with holes cut/drilled into it. There are arguments that the PVC can impart a taste into the cheese yet I see people still using it. I’m trying to get enough experience with soft cheeses before attempting a hard cheese like cheddar, or my ultimate favorite – blue. But being on the “handyman” side, the PVC option is clearly a cheaper option.

    As far as soft cheeses go, I’ve had great results with cottage, and mozzarella which in hindsight are all too easy to make.

    David

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