Monday, October 16, 2006

We have a cheese!

Yippee! We have success! The faux Ticklemore Goat, is out of the cave. Jim and I broke into it last night. Jim was taking the recycling downstairs when I was about to cut into it. "Wait!" he shouted. "I want to be here for this!" OK. I waited. I grabbed my handy IKEA cheese hatchet for the big event. While I was waiting for Jim, I examined the small disk of cheese. The wheel feels harder than I had anticipated. There is very little give. It definitely looks edible. It smells edible, too. Slightly earthy, like a button mushroom. Jim arrives back in the kitchen and I take the knife and cut the cheese. It cuts through the disk easily enough but I can tell it is a hard cheese, beyond firm. I make another incision and pull out a wedge of cheese from the wheel. It looks like a small, white slice of pie. Jim and I look at it. It has perfect rind formation. There is a nice layer of p. candidum dusting the rind. There are a few tiny eyes in the body of the cheese. I break a piece off of the wedge. It snaps apart. Ah. Way too hard. I smell. It is slightly goaty and clean smelling, still with a hint of white mushroom. Good. We taste it.

It is good! The texture is too hard, but the flavor is there. Mild and mushroomy, but has slight citrus overtones. I really like it. I'd make it again, with some alterations. I'd cut the curds a bit larger. I'd stir it more gently, perhaps with my hand. Now I get to tinker with the recipe. This is why it is critical to keep notes on your make procedure. What did I do last time? What should I change this time? Yay!

Last week I made another cheese. I really like caerphilly, a cow's milk cheese from Wales. I have recipe for it in one of my many cheese books so I thought I'd give it a whirl. I procured two gallons of non-homoginized milk from Other Avenues and Trader Joes. Other Avenues carries Straus Family Creamery milk. TJ's has their own "cream top" organic milk from Northern California. I thought I'd give them a taste test. Straus milk is in glass. TJ's milk is in plastic. Straus tasted better hands down. I think it is the fact that plastic adds a flavor to milk. Glass adds no off taste. Straus, however is now bottling their milk in plastic, too. I'll have to try this comparison again with each milk in plastic bottles. Taste test over, I made some cheese.

I had to leave it to dry on the counter for several days. Now it is in the fridge, aging for three to six weeks. I'll see how long I can wait.

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