To Seal or Not To Seal – A Question Answered

At the end of January I made my second Grana/Parmesan style cheese.  The make went to plan, I hit every target temperature and time markers, it seemed perfect.  This was the first time I used my new press, and I did not want to take up counter space in the kitchen with it, so I pressed in the basement.  My basement is between 12 and 16 degrees Celsius during the winter, that proved too cool for pressing.  The rind did not knit together well, even with the high pressure I was able to get with the press.  There were cracks and pock marks in the surface, that for the last 3 weeks I have cleaned out almost daily.  It was time to make a decision – To vacuum seal or not.  Given how long this cheese is going to age, I felt it best to vacuum seal it.  That way I am not spending 10 to 15 minutes each day cleaning out the cracks and crevices.

Vacuum sealing will help protect the cheese, but I had hoped I would not need to.

Vacuum sealed and it will help protect the cheese, but I had hoped I would not need to.

There are lessons learned every time I make cheese, this time the lesson was about where I should press cheese.  The Cheddar I made, was pressed in the kitchen and did not have any cracks or pock marks.  The rind was sealed.

Again lesson learned.


Two for Taleggio Part I: The First Cheese Making of 2014

I admit it, I was spoiled at Christmas this year, a Cheese Trier, new moulds spruce bark straps the list could go on….but really it doesn’t.  I have a great family that puts up with my cheese making, so much so that when I hinted that I would like a Taleggio mould for Christmas, the kids got me one and they even sprung for the little extras like the divider, two draining plates.  They spoiled me.  So when I spoke to my friend Rick about making cheese, it turned out that he had received a Taleggio mould as well, it was set we now had Two for Taleggio.

I have the best kids in the world, well in my house at least.

I have the best kids in the world, well in my house at least.

So on January 3, armed with our Taleggio Moulds, the same recipe, cultures and our “HomeMaid” whole milk; we met at the newly expanded Cheese Lab at Much To Do About Cheese World Headquarters, also know as my Kitchen/Dining Room to make one of our first cheeses of 2014 (more…)

Fall Cheese Bloom – A Fine Coat of White Covers All.

Last week I was in a struggle to save a semi-lactic cheese that I was attempting to make.  I did manage to save two “logs” out of an eight litre batch.  I am excited that the white bloom has started.  This time I used both Geo 17 and PC ABL for the mold cultures.  Here are some of the pictures that show the bloom.  I just flipped the cheeses so the “bottoms” don’t have much of a bloom on them but that will happen in due time.

Things are in full bloom

Things are starting to bloom


Cheesecombers – Salvaging Cheese Like Nick Adonidas Salvages Logs.

Growing up in Canada in the 70’s and 80’s one of the mainstays on the CBC TV (Canadian Broadcast Television owned by the Canadian Broadcast Corporation) or just the CBC, was “The Beachcombers” and one of my favourite shows.  It was about Log Salvagers on the West Coast of Canada, and the main character was Nick Adonidas (played by the great Bruno Gerussi) who battled another log salvager named Relic.  It was part of my childhood and young adulthood as well.  What does this have to do with cheese?  Well this past weekend I had to salvage a cheese I was making or at least trying to make.  Humbling yes, deterred no!  Oh and here is some classic Canadiana to get you started, after all this is how I started my Sunday nights for almost 20 years.


A Caerphilly Before Its Time

It has been a little over a month since I made my latest Caerphilly, it was for my Mother’s visit this weekend and the time was upon us to open it up to see the results.  I did make some changes from the last one that I had made, type of milk being the main thing.  I use cream line milk, rather than homogenized milk and I measured the pH this time too.   So I took it out of the vacuum bag and opened it up for a tasting.

It was firm, yet springy when I cut it in half.

It was firm, yet springy when I cut it in half.


Do You Make Your Own Labels For Your Cheese?

I believe that I mentioned, many times, that I often gift some of the cheese that I make.  I have from time to time come up with labels for them which also allowed me the opportunity to name the cheese too.  I was wondering if other home cheese makers make up labels for their cheese too.  Here are some labels I made for cheese that was given to some family members.  Note: My son used to help me make the cheese and any pictures used were royalty free stock photos.Lable-Collage_Fotor_Fotor

If you have and you want to share them please feel free to share them on Much To Do About Cheese Facebook page where I posted the same question, it is here

Looks Like Another Mozzarella Failu…..Wait…..Success!

Anyone who knows me knows that there are two cheeses that I have difficulty with, Camembert and the Demon Cheese; Mozzarella!  It was time to tackle the infamous 30 Minute Mozzarella again, it was time for a few reasons:

  1. The Demon Cheese should NEVER know you are afraid of it!
  2. I have been asked to teach an “Introduction to Cheese Making” class for Metro Continuing Education, here in Edmonton, with the class to take place in the new year. One of the cheeses that they wanted me to cover is Mozzarella. More information will come when people can register for the class.

So it was time to gather my supplies and on a dreary Sunday morning to slay the Demon Cheese once and for all!

Armed with Citric Acid, Dairyland 2% Milk, Kosher Salt and Rennet Tablets, I sprang into action

Armed with Citric Acid, Dairyland 2% Milk, Kosher Salt and Rennet Tablets, I sprang into action

So sit back and enjoy this harrowing tale of cheese woe, well just me fighting with this cheese again and that damned Mozzarella Monkey (more…)

Getting Back To My Cheese Making Roots with Caerphilly #6

I have made several types of cheese that have been out of my “wheel house” so to speak, I felt that it was time to get back to my cheese making roots so to speak.  It was time to make Caerphilly again.  It did not hurt that I had a request from my mother to make one and have it ready for October, it was the push I needed to make it.  It was time to dust off the my recipe that I created, which I haven’t used since I left Smoky Valley Goat/Artisan Cheese, and get 16 litres of good quality milk and begin.

Time to get things started.

Time to get things started.


It Will All Come Out In The Wash – Josef Part II (Washing the Rind)

In my earlier post I started to document my attempt to make an Appenzeller style cheese.   One of the things that makes this cheese unique is the rind, it is washed with a wine/herb mix that helps to give Appenzeller its flavour and its aroma.  This mix is a trade secret that is known only to a select few, so my chance of asking the company and getting an answer was slim to none.  I then went to the internet for research about what herbs may or may not be in the mix.  I found some information that may have helped me out.  Then it was time to pick a wine, this too is a trade secret so I asked on Twitter and a wine was suggested.  But before I started the wash I needed to age and salt the cheese for a week.  But before that I had to weigh it.

1.7 kgs of possible awesomeness.

1.7 kg of possible awesomeness.