This is a rarity for me, a post with no pictures, only words!
But, I wanted to address some of the comments about home cheesemaking, and the cheese I posted about yesterday, give everyone a little more information.
Questions and Answers:
1) From Pam, You MADE cheese? Yup :). See cheese? I made it! Elizabeth also asked this question, hee!
2) From Jo, How on earth did you find the time/inclination/recipe to do that?!!? Well, cheese is my favorite food, I love making food, and I've been interested in cheesemaking since high school. In fact, I dragged my mom to a cheese workshop in high school once, took my aunt, mom, and Nate on a farmstead cheese tour of Vermont back in 1998-99, and pushed the limits in Paris dragging Nate and his mom all over the city looking for a cheese shop that had moved addresses when we had yet to see the Eiffel Tower. Among other cheese stories.
Then, Oh, January of 2006 I took a local workshop on cheesemaking. Then Nate bought me a book. Then we moved/got a farm/etc and I forgot about it. Then a coworker found a good source of local, organic, raw milk and I remembered!
Recipes: http://www.cheesemaking.com/ I use her book, "Home Cheesemaking", and have ordered basic supplies/kits from that site. Very user friendly!
3) From Angela, So what time is dinner? Hmm. Well, tonight I'm not sure, I've got to finish work, go home, pick tomatoes, finish making the lamb rellenos and sauce, bake them...em, late?
4) From Peri, How cool is it that you made cheese? I'll default to Peri's answer, Mega! hee.
5) From Bezzie, Was it difficult to do? Well aside from the waiting? Not really, it really is more of a sciency-project than cooking. The main thing is you do need some basic stuff: large pot, two pretty accurate thermometers, real cheesecloth, a mold, milk, rennet, and starter culture.
Then, you need time. Start to finish it took about 5 hrs for this cheese, but you put something in, wait 45 min at a certain temp, repeat. Active time is about an hour or so.
You do need to be patient, and enjoy sciency type things. Kids of a certain vein definitely might enjoy this.
The hardest part actually is getting real milk. If you're like me, the hormones and crap in "conventional" milk scare you. So, at the grocery store, you shell out more for Organic milk without that crap. But, you can't use Ultra-pasturized milk for cheesemaking (because the proteins are completely denatured, and all the good enzymes are gone) and unfortunately in big grocery stores all the organic milk is UHT/Ultra pasturized.
Ideally, you want raw milk for cheesemaking. Unfortunately, this is hard to find unless you know dairy people, or have a good natural food store that sells it (but man, it can be $$$ in the natural food stores).
I have 2 local sources for raw cows milk, and I pay $3 a gallon. For hard cheeses, 1 gallon of cow or goat milk = approx. 1 lb of cheese. Which, is a dang good price I think considering if you're a cheese lover like me, you have paid, much, much, much more than that for raw, farmstead artisan cheeses in the past.
I also have a raw goat milk source, but haven't tried this yet, but plan on it soon! 1 gallon of goat milk = approx. 2 lbs of fresh goat cheese like Chevre!
Ooh, and the sheeps milk. One day. One day. (I'm seriously thinking of getting an Icelandic ewe next Spring and the following year doing the sheep milking thing with her...you know sheep milk has the highest protein/fat/solids content of any milk? From 1 gallon of sheep milk, you can get almost 2 lbs of hard cheese, almost double the yield of cow/goat!)...
Ok, promise, tomorrow will be back to pics and spinning and knitting and garden :).