And then there was cheese.

Our first cheese was a so called: acid set curd. Easy and fast this was a good way to start. Heating milk until it is hot but is not scalding and stirring in a cup or 2 of vinegar. This immediately creates a fine curd. The milk, is stirred for a few minutes, to firm it up, then strained through a clean cloth, after adding a little salt it is hung up & thoroughly drained. The cheese then takes the the shape of the suspended cloth. This is forgiving and versatile product- you can mix herbs in and stir it up as an instant spread, or let it dry out to a texture that can be crumbled or sliced. Our favorite became a ball coated with black pepper while moist, then aged long enough for an exterior rind to form, and a slight bloom of our native mold to grow a white dusting. At this stage the inside is still soft but the curd granules have melded into a solid mass.

This cheese was experimental every time, and a good introduction to the malleability of milk fats. Every change in volume, temperature, or timing made a difference. I began taking notes, but I never looked at them, preferring instead an intuitive understanding of the process involved, and a sense of experimental adventure. There were some failures, what we would call:

dog or chicken cheeses’. There was at least a few sculpture grade rocks of cheese, but over all the process became easier as it integrated into our chore load. the second cheese type was a soft cream style; ‘CHÈVRE’, which needed a little bit more care to produce consistent results. the major difference of this cheese was the introduction of a living bacterial culture.  and an enzyme in the form of ‘RENNET The first culture we used was from some purchased buttermilk. Rennet is traditionally derived from the stomach lining of suckling calfs, it is the substance that curdles milk in their stomach to begin the digestion process. We choose to use a ‘vegetable based rennet’ which is actually isolated commercially from a cultured fungus. Making Chèvre requires treating the milk and the soft curds gently. Temperature control becomes more critical, so thermometers need to be used.

More next month.

A GUEST WORKER: Our first buck,’Me-devil’ stayed with the girls for a couple of months. His son PHAROH, father of 36 kids pictured at the top of the page, became our only buck until his demise.

It is not hard to understand why the MOON is described as “made of cheese”


UNA, our first milker, mother of PHARAOH,

is really just yawning.

© 2012 Joshua Golden/Partners in time

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