February 6, 2015


Cheese 15b0513

I have not blogged about cheese making in a long time. This is mostly because I didn't make any hard cheeses this past summer, I focused mostly on mozzarella. The reasons for that was 1) we had all twins and triplets which meant more milk going to kids, and 2) of my 19 previous cheeses, only a couple had been okay. I was considering giving up on hard cheeses.

The other day I looked in the fridge and saw two cheeses left. I grabbed one thinking it would probably be another flop, but suitable for the pigs. I was surprised at how pretty it looked when I cut it open. I took a cautious taste. It was sharp, having aged for about a year and a half, but it was pretty good! I made myself a grilled cheese sandwich and was pleasantly surprised. This cheese was very good.

Labeled 15b0513, it was a second try at one of my repeatable cheeses - No. 15. It's a washed curd cheese using aged mozzarella whey for the culture (I don't buy cheese cultures). Washing the curd means that instead of "cooking" the curd in it's own whey, the whey is drained and the curds are "cooked" in warm water. The result is a milder cheese. Rather than give you the entire recipe in this post, click here if you're interested in that.

The thing that seems somewhat providential in this tale, is that the very next day I went to buy hay. I hadn't purchased hay from this source before, a dairy farmer about an hour's drive away. They grow and cut their own hay, this one being triticale cut in the milk stage. That means that it was cut before the grains had ripened, so that the critters get the entire plant - leaves, stems, and immature grain heads - very nutritious. Anyway, when he found out I had goats the gentleman asked me if I made cheese. I hesitantly said yes. He said he had hay available all year and if I was willing, he would love to trade cheese for hay. (!!!!)

Oh, the "15b0513"? It's just a code I made up to keep track of which cheese is which. 15 is the original cheese number, b means it's my second try, and 0513 refers to the date I made it, May 2013.

I can only add that my cheese journal, with detailed notes about all my hard cheese experiments, is invaluable. I even notated which goat's milk I used. I think that's significant because my 1st year of cheese making included Jasmine's milk. For those who don't know or may not remember, Jasmine was a Nubian of mine with a lot of health issues. Her milk tasted fine, but why should I be surprised that the cheese from it wasn't the best? If what they eat can effect the taste of the cheese, why wouldn't subclinical health problems?

Now I'm excited about making cheese with my Kinder milk. First kid(s) due in mid-March. Second kidding will be early April. There's nothing finer than new kids, fresh milk, ... and cheese!

15b0513 © February 2015 by Leigh
at http://www.5acresandadream.com/


Mama Pea said...

Leigh, that cheese looks WONDERFUL! I've never made anything but the soft cheeses but you sure are making me itchy to try some hard ones! And to be able to work out a bartering arrangement with your new hay man . . . wouldn't that be a win-win situation? (You must have really impressed him at your first meeting!)

Gill - That British Woman said...

it also looks like Swiss Cheese with those holes. Good luck with your cheese making this year.

Unknown said...

Haha! That was a strange post title. I was like...what in the world? :) Cheese making is a skill I would love to learn. Thank you for sharing.

Michelle said...

How wonderful all the way around!

Leigh said...

Mama Pea, it is a pretty one, isn't it? Not all of my cheeses turn out well because I have trouble with the curing step. Too often my house is too warm and humid to develop a good rind so after waxing they don't keep well.

I think the farmer was just excited that I had goats and made cheese! I've got my work cut out for me. :)

Gill, how nice to hear from you. All of my cheeses end up with holes like that. I'm not sure why or how. Maybe not enough pressure in the cheese press (?)

Brittany, an odd title to be sure. :) I have to say that it's been a slow skill for me to learn. This is about the 20th I've made and finally can say a true success!

Leigh said...

Michelle, we posted comments at the same time. :) Does anyone ever milk Shetlands? I know some folks make sheep milk cheese, but I don't know much about it. Does it need particular breeds of sheep?

Michelle said...

Yes, I know of people who have milked Shetlands and made cheese. Remember my old ewe Inky? She was milked by her previous owner. I don't know if any of my current ewes would tolerate it, but that matters not, since there is no room on my plate for milking OR cheesemaking....

Renee Nefe said...

looks like a yummy cheese. Wishing you a great cheese making year.

Sandy Livesay said...


Your cheese looks really good, and my mouth is drooling for a grilled cheese sandwich.

I'll bring homemade pickles and ice tea if you make the sandwiches :-)

Karen@ onthebanksofsaltcreek.com said...

I am very new at making cheese. I make a great chevre but that isn't hard.
I am going to the NWODGA conference in a couple of weeks and one of the sessions I'm going to attend is making Mozzerella. I will proceed from there.

I would love to find more things I can barter for.

Mama Mess said...

That is a beautiful cheese!! I hope to experiment more with cheese this year. I've only made cottage cheese and chevre, and only once at that! I too am anxiously awaiting baby goats! Only about 6 more weeks to go for my girls and I can't wait for that yummy milk, and those cuddly babies!

primrosesattic said...

So wonderful to make your own cheese and how great to swap for hay.

Mark said...

That looks absolutely wonderful! You are a talented lady! Cheese making is on my list of things to learn, but I'll probably have to start with easy stuff I can make with store bought milk. Very cool!

DFW said...

Wow, that cheese looks really good. I can't wait for the day that you post that you made 10 cheese rounds in one day, to start aging. Then, you'll know you have it down pat. Look out Cabot, Kraft, Land O Lakes, etc.!

Ed said...

Perhaps 15b0513 will be the next WD40 or Heinz57? I'll keep an eye out for it in a store near me!

Quinn said...

Well done on the hay barter, Leigh! Get those goats paying for their own grub :)
I used to make soft cheeses when I had dairy goats, and if my hands were able to milk, I'd have a couple of dairy goats now, too. I miss all the options you have available when there's a good supply of good milk on hand every day.

Debby Riddle said...

Leigh that is so exciting!! Looks amazing!

Frank and Fern said...

I'm with you, Leigh. I can't wait for new kids, in only 4 days!, fresh milk and making cheese again. I don't have any aged cheddar left at all. I will start out making a batch of mozzarella and a fresh pressed herb cheese. Then, while we have something yummy to munch on, I'm going to do some serious cheddar making, so it can start to age. And I want to experiment with colby. I can just taste it now.

One of the best tricks I learned o prevent mold and that bitter off flavor, is to brush on a coating of apple cider vinegar before I wax the wheel. Another mistake I made early on was not keeping the wax in boiling water the whole time I was using it. The temperature of the wax also lends to the prevention of molds, and that strong after taste that come with some bacterias. I apply my wax with a brush instead of dipping the wheel. That way I can have a smaller wax pan.

I'll be watching to see how your new cheeses do so we can compare notes. Thanks for the update.


Farmer Barb said...

Child to mom: "Who blows the bubbles into the cheese?" I had absolutely NO answer. None. I said,"It is cheese magic, like our bread!"

jewlz said...

oh dear. Now I have that Tommy tu-tone song stuck in my head (jenny 867-5309 lol). Cheese looks awesome of course, but the bartering opportunity seems even more so!

PioneerPreppy said...

Can't say I know enough about cheese making to have a comment but I do like your record keeping system. Sounds exactly like something I would do :)

Ngo Family Farm said...

Haha! Cute kiddo:)

Ngo Family Farm said...

That cheese looks incredible! I still use your mozzarella recipe all the time - it has never failed me :)

Leigh said...

Michelle, yes, I remember Inky! Not all of my goats tolerate being milked, but they eventually let me. I out persist them. :)

Renee, thanks!

Sandy, that sounds great! I love pickles on grilled cheese sandwiches. :)

Karen, I found learning cheese making a lot like learning to make bread. It takes time to develop the knack. :)

the Goodwife, thank you! I've got about 6 weeks to go too! Did you use a culture for your chevre? I need to find a recipe for which I don't have to buy a culture.

Rosezeeta, thanks!

Mark, more trial and error than talent, LOL. Just make sure you do not try making cheese with ultrapasteurized milk. The process changes the protein molecule so that it is useless for cheese.

DFW, well, that cheese was right at 1 pound and it took a gallon and a half of milk. 10 pounds would take 15 gallons and one heck of a cheese press!!!

Ed, LOL. Well, I don't know about that. I'm just happy to finally have a good one. :)

Quinn, thanks! I won't have any cheese ready until next summer so we'll see what happens then. My goal is for the goats to at least earn their own keep. Can't see actually making money on them, but I'd love to not lose money either.

Debby, thank you! I need to explore your blog for your cheese posts. Would love to make a parmesan type like you do.

Fern, thank you! The cheddaring technique has intrigued me, but I have yet to try it. Maybe this summer(?) I didn't know that about the apple cider vinegar, thanks! I do have trouble getting a good rind sometimes, when the weather is hot and sticky. I'm not sure what to do about that but know it would help tremendously. I do keep my wax pot in boiling water, but I dip. Maybe it was the brushes, but I kept getting bristles in the cheese coating when I used them. I need to explore your blog for cheese making posts too.

Barb, LOL. That is too funny! Excellent answer. :)

JW, LOL. I'm hoping the barter will pan out; that would be wonderful.

PP, I confess that I'm not as organized and methodical as I like to think I am. I did start a notebook with my first cheese, however, which is invaluable. That's the only way to know what to repeat, and not repeat!

Jaime, so glad that recipe has given you good success. I love our fresh mozzarella, even if it's frozen. :)

1st Man said...

Wow!! That looks beautiful and sounds like it tasted pretty darn good too! Cheesemaking for me has been limited to simple ones, the soft ones, but I recently purchased a cheese making book and I am thinking of trying it in earnest this year. We'll see what happens. Now I'm off to check out your mozzarella recipe. :-)

Anonymous said...

Ok, sharing some blogs that I think you might like.
http://fmicrofarm.com/2015/01/26/new-kids-on-the-block/ - Sarah just got Shetlands. :)

And Gav is a curd nerd too and would LOVE to hear about your cheese for sure. http://www.littlegreencheese.com/
Your cheese looks gorgeous.
I also make cheese but I'm not much cop at it I must say and I resent buying milk to make it. Really must get my goat a boyfriend. ;)

Leigh said...

1st Man, I probably should have started with the soft cheeses too, but I jumped right in with the hard ones. Probably would have been less discouraging if I had, but sticking with something eventually pays off. :)

Jessie, do they ultrapasteurize milk in Australia? That's a big reason for avoiding store bought milk for cheese making here. I can buy unpasteurized cow milk but definitely prefer using my own. Also, the techniques for cow versus goat milk are slightly different.

Thanks for the links! I've visited Gavin's Greening of blog but somehow missed his cheese blog. I must take some time with it. Sarah's is new to me but looks really interesting too. Before we bought this place I planned to get Shetland sheep, but that never happened. Stuck on Kinders now. :)

Caroline J. Baines said...

Thanks for sharing, Leigh. Someday I hope to have my own goats and I appreciate learning from others mistakes. I sure hope you can get the recipe down pat so you can trade for hay - that would be so awesome. Good luck!

Cassandra said...

My husband walked into the room while I was reading this post and instantly impressed with how good your cheese looks. :) I'm glad you had such great success with it! Hope the trade for hay works out well.

Harry Flashman said...

Congratulations on the success of your cheese making. Not only can you produce a very useful food but as you have already discovered people are anxious to trade for it.
I use a similar system to record loads and lot numbers on ammunition I produce.

Leigh said...

Caroline, when you have milk goats you eventually have too much milk! Cheese is just the logical thing to do. But, I think it requires expecting a few failures in the learning process. That's where having other critters help. The chickens and pigs adore my failures. :)

Cassandra, thank you! Yes, we'll see about the trade. Some of my goats eat the entire thing, others only want to eat the grain heads off and leave the rest, LOL

Harry, a numbering system certainly helps when it comes to rating results of various batches, doesn't it?

Texan said...

Cheese making ...its so on my list. I want a dairy cow so bad! I am not real big on goat cheese but oh boy do I love cow cheese, butter etc.! Your cheese is just so pretty you made! How exciting to find a hay supplier who would trade for cheese!

Unknown said...

We cleaned out our cheese fridge on the weekend because we're not milking at the moment and some of those cheeses have aged for over a year. I think about have the cheeses were good (too strong for my husband, but I thought they were good) and half were bad. The bad ones were mouldy, or bad texture or too salty. If I had a notebook I would know exactly what we did wrong, but some of them didn't even have a label left, and I never took any notes. I might try with the next milking, I think it will be worth it, it was good to see that some cheeses worked. I was like you and thinking it was hardly worth bothering! (I follow all your posts, but I don't always get around to commenting!!!)

Leigh said...

Texan, it is wonderful to have a dairy animal! I agree goat cheese is different from cow, and for awhile I feared I didn't like goat cheese either. But this one has won me over. Here's hoping for that cow for you soon!

Liz, the notebook has been so worth the time to jot down exact notes. Like you, so many of my first cheeses were mysterious flops. It wasn't until after writing this post that I finally put the clues together: I think my biggest problem has been temperature. Our summers are simply too hot, and our house is too because we use the air conditioning judiciously. I'm thinking that (since I don't have a dedicated cheese fridge) that I need to make my hard cheeses in the spring and early summer, then save the mozzarella and soft cheeses for when it's hot out. But even failed cheeses feed somebody! The chickens and pigs call them yummy, even if we can't eat them. :)

Cat Eye Cottage said...

That cheese is beautiful and the fact that is tastes good is even better. Practice makes perfect, right?

Leigh said...

Candace, it's amazing how much practice it does take, so I'm still working on perfect. :)

Anonymous said...

Gosh Leigh....your cheese looks so good and such a wonderful job you've done! :)