Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Making Cheese again...

My newest cheese!

After a long 2-3 weeks with bronchial pneumonia and feeling like crap, I'm beginning to think I may live and I'm starting doing a few non-arduous tasks, like making cheese.

I had visitors from Maryland today, very old friends I have not seen in many years. The visit was too short, of course. I didn't feed them as I had planned (due to no energy), but I did drag out 3 of my new homemade cheeses from the cheese cave... they absolutely raved about the Thyme Caerphilly (top photo above), and liked the Lancashire (shown just above) a little better than just okay (but it really needs to age another month to be decent) and the lemongrass Caerphilly didn't get warmed to room temp to taste, so it went home with them (as did the others).

They also raved about the Humboldt Fog (goat cheese, shown on the right in the photo above), which came from California. I bought a slice to try when I went to Roanoke last month, to taste before deciding if I wanted to make it, and I have to agree it's one of the very best store-bought cheeses I've ever tasted. (so far!)

To date, everyone who has tasted my thyme cheese has raved, so I needed to make another wheel. I thought it was pretty good myself, but I just figured I'm prejudiced since I made it. Faye thought I ought to be selling it... pretty good accolades from someone who lives just outside DC and has every kind of food imaginable at hand, plus a fairly sophisticated palate to boot!

Here's the newest Caerphilly thyme wheel I started yesterday after my company left. It's just out of the overnight press, on Easter morning as I'm writing this. Now it goes in a salt brine for 6 hours, then air dries before going in the cave. Currently it weighs 2.5 pounds, so it should cure/age out around 2 pounds.

I also started yet another batch of feta several days ago. My first 2 batches tasted fine but didn't hold up to storing in brine in the refrigerator. They should keep well for months in a refrigerated brine, but mine turned to mush. I've talked with several cheesemakers who had the very same initial problem, and I'm following their remedies with this newest batch.

As my health and spring weather both continue to improve, I'll get my garden off to its late start and squeeze in cheesemaking when I can.

I plan my first 'Stilton' soon, a repayment for the friend who gave me the mini wine cooler to use as an aging cave for blue cheeses. I will likely post in detail about making it, as it will be my first blue cheese!

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