Smoky Valley Goat Cheese

Last Cheese Making of 2013, The YEGmental – Part 1

A little over a year ago, Rick from Explorations With Sailor Rick, and I ventured out to Smoky Valley Artisan/Goat Cheese to make cheese with Leslie and Alex.  We were making a batch of Emmental, with hopes that it would be ready for market that spring.  It would be called the Duffer and though it did not develop eyes it still was a great cheese.  So with 2013 drawing to a close and I had time to make one last cheese.  As I mentioned in my review of Debra Amrein-Boyes’ “200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes – 2nd Edition”, I was going to be making her Emmental recipe or, given Emmental is a protected name, a YEGmental.  It just so happens I had 26 litres of milk kicking around, it was almost like I planned it

26 Litres of Milk and nothing to do....Lets Make Cheese.

26 Litres of Milk and nothing to do….Lets Make Cheese.



First Official Weekend as a Cheese Maker at Smoky Valley Artisan Cheese!

This past weekend I took my first steps on my journey as a “Professional” Cheese Maker, and spent two days making cheese an hour outside of Edmonton at Smoky Valley Artisan Cheese.  Saturday was a semi-firm cheese day and Sunday was a Brie day (thankfully I was not the lead on that make).  All my pictures are from the make on Saturday and a few from Sunday, unfortunately I did not get any pictures from the Brie make as I was the student and I was more focused on learning the Smoky Valley way of making the Brie.  Here is how my weekend went: (more…)

Tweaking the Website – Suggestions Welcome!

I am constantly trying to improve my website, as you can probably tell by the new menu items on the left side of the page.  I have hopefully fixed the Calendar page for events and things happening with Much To Do About Cheese, Cheesepalooza Tastings and Smoky Valley Artisan Cheese Classes, Market Days and Cheese Making Days.  You can reach the Calendar page here.

I have also added a page where you can ask information on our Cheese Making Classes at Smoky Valley Artisan Cheese.  All you have to do is fill out the form and check whether you want to register for a class or that you want information about future classes.  You can reach the Cheese Making Classes page here.

Is there something you think I should include?  Do you have a suggestion for the site?  Please let me know and I will see if it is possible

Go and make some cheese.

No Cheese Olympics for me – Technically No Longer an Amateur Cheese Maker

It is official, I have started a new chapter of my life, I am now a real boy…sorry, I am now a “real” Cheese Maker.  After helping out at Smoky Valley Artisan Cheese, for the past 6 months, I have accepted a place with them in Production and Marketing.  I know those are fancy titles, but what does it mean?  I means that I will be making cheese for Smoky Valley, and I will be selling cheese at a Farmers Market in Edmonton (more details will follow on the markets).

I work two jobs and help out at Smoky Valley making cheese, in order to do this I am leaving one of the jobs that I have been with for 20 years.  Am I nervous? Yes I don’t want to screw this up.  Am I happy? Over the moon.

I want to thank Leslie and Alex from Smoky Valley Artisan Cheese for giving me this opportunity and especially my family for supporting me through this transition, I officially have the best wife and kids in the world.

Go make some cheese and see you this summer at the logo adjusted v2.0

Getting Ready for Market with Smoky Valley Artisan Cheese.

Is there that special Artisan Cheese Producer that you love, and you can only buy their cheese a local Farmer’s Market?  Have you ever wondered how much work goes into getting ready for the market?  Addie from The Big Cheese Project and I went out to help get Smoky Valley Artisan Cheese ready for the Saturday Market.  We started  by helping out moving some equipment and tidying the cheese room and then we got to the business washing the rinds of the cheeses.  Please check out the slide show below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Unfortunately we were only able to stay until 3 pm, we were only able to get 1/4 of the cheese wrapped and ready for market.  This gave Leslie and Alex a head start and with their new vacuum sealer it would not take long to get the rest done.  It was an eye opener as to pricing and prepping.  Determining fair prices, which cheeses to be used for samples, which cheeses to bring; it is more involved than you think.  So next time you got to that Artisan Cheese Maker you like’s stand please consider the effort in making the cheese and the efforts they put into getting ready.  It is worth the price they put on the package for their quality cheese.

As always I will have more pictures up on the Facebook Page for Much To Do About Cheese

Go and make some cheese, or go buy some cheese from an Artisan Cheese Maker.

Cheese Making Class at Smoky Valley Artisan Cheese

Are you looking for something cheese related in Alberta to do on the Family Day long weekend? Smoky Valley Artisan Cheese is having another Cheese Making Session in conjunction with the Cheesepalooza project (YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE PART OF CHEESEPALOOZA TO GO) on Sunday February 17, 2013 at their Creamery in Smoky Lake, AB. Cost is $129 per person and includes lunch.

They are doing a Raclette Lunch and making Alloette their new Raclette Style Cheese that day which you get to take home with you.  Space is limited and there are now only 4 spots Left. This is an excellent experience and worth the trip and supports local artisan producers. If you are interested email smokyvalleyartisancheese AT (@) and they will get back to you about registration.

Tomme(y) comes marching home Hurrah!

Last weekend Addie and I made the trek out to Smoky Valley Goat/Artisan Cheese to help out with a Cheese Making Session. Leslie and Alex run sessions where you get to learn how to make cheese and help with the day’s make.  There is a fee go to contact me and send me a message if you are interested in going to one and I will get you the information.

We were going to help out with a few projects and help tweak the Redwater to make it better and more unique when compared to it’s fraternal cheese twin, Callingwood.  We were lucky to be joined by Tino and his daughter Amanda, the session was a birthday gift to her father, and l think we hooked them on cheese making.  A few weeks before Alex and Leslie made a Monatasio style cheese and we helped to rub the rinds with various herbs and even honey. (more…)

Cheesepalooza Challenge #5 or These are the Caerphilly of our lives

We have all reached the point in Cheesepalooza where we have entered the land of making Aged Cheeses. Some of them will take several months to age before you will get a decent cheese, but others will be ready in a matter of weeks.  One of those cheeses that I like to make that is ready sooner than later is the Caerphilly.

“Caerphilly is a hard, white cheese that originates in the area around the town of Caerphilly in Wales, although it is now also made in England, particularly in the South West and on the English border with Wales. It was not originally made in Caerphilly, but was sold at the market there, hence taking the town’s name.

Caerphilly is a light-coloured (almost white), crumbly cheese made from cow’s milk, and generally has a fat content of around 48%. It has a mild taste, with its most noticeable feature being a not unpleasant slightly sour tang.”      – Source:

Now I have made several Caerphilly over the past 3 years, I was integral in the development of a new cheese coming from Smoky Valley Artisan Cheese called Callingwood that is a Caerphilly style cheese that I help to create with Leslie and Alex this past Thanksgiving, it was done with raw milk so it should be ready in December 2012 for sale.  They are doing another version of the cheese called Redwater that they are using ARN (Surface ripening blend that includes B. Linens)wash on the rind and it should be ready in December as well.

There are several ways to make Caerphilly, ones that include cheddaring (stacking the curd in slabs) others that don’t.  I have tried several of them and I have written about them too.  So in a similar stage of Valerie’s Round-ups for the cheeses here is my round up for my Caerphilly makes, well the ones I wrote about any way.

Caerphilly #1  – This was the first Caerphilly I had made; I was using the recipe from Gavin Webber of Little Green Cheese, it was done with 3.25% Homogenized milk and was my first time Cheddaring.  I described the make briefly in Teacher’s Convention Project.  This is a cheese that can be eaten at 3 weeks so I did open it up at 3 weeks to see how things went, they were glorious and delicious.  The results were done in Caerphilly of my Dreams.

My First Caerphilly, I made this one with my Son


Smoky Valley Thanksgiving Cheese Adventure

Our Smoky Valley Cheese Making Group with Alex

Well better late than never should be the title of this post or Ian gets to play cheese maker part II, but in reality it is Addie, Diana and my Excellent Cheese Adventure or bringing Callingwood into existence.  It was a cool morning when the three of us met to head out to Smoky Valley to help Leslie and Alex with a day of cheese making and for Diana it was her first time coming out with us so we were excited for her too.  Smoky Valley Artisan Cheese/Goat Cheese is about an hour and 15 minutes from Edmonton and it is a nice drive with some great farm/agriculture scenery along the way. (more…)

Cheesepalooza Feta (Ian cops out on a challenge), Crescenza, Caerphilly, Chèvre Honey Ice Cream, Oh My!

What a month, a trip out to Smoky Valley Goat Cheese to make Feta, making another Crescenza, a secret squirrel cheese (that is a post for later), and a Caerphilly lesson for Valerie and Addie.  Also there has been various cheese making opportunities that been brought up to me as well, again those are something for a later post.

Marinated Feta