Wednesday, April 11, 2007

In Fromage we trust; or pass the keys, I'm driving

Today it felt like the first time Dad handed me the keys to his car and said, "OK, kiddo, YOU drive." Gulp. This is it, the big moment. I got to make cheese from pasteurizing to curd set. Everyone had something to do this afternoon, so Steve asked me to make the cheese today. Feeling confident yet nervous I agreed. It is just like making cheese in my kitchen, only on a much larger scale and for much greater risk.

The morning was hectic. We made a big batch of chocolate goat cheese truffles. We also had to salt all of the Camembert, Crottins, and Sandy Creeks that were made yesterday. The order had to be prepared for Cornucopia, our wholesaler. We had 100 logs to wrap for restaurant deliveries. We were cranking out the cheese.

Meanwhile in the kitchen, Chris, our chef for the Dinners at the Dairy, arrived with Sam and his boss. Jessie and her boyfriend, Scott were also in the kitchen preparing a Thai soup for lunch. Little Carrie was supposed to make lunch today, but that fell by the wayside. Suddenly, there were lots of people eating, and the cheese room staff was not included in lunch, and all of the leftover pizza was being devoured before my eyes. It was a bit chaotic and unpleasant. Not something I like to deal with when I'm hungry.

I was sanitizing the pasteurizer when Sammy appeared around 12:15 with his goat milk. Together we took the milk and loaded it into the bulk tank. From the tank, we poured the cool milk into the pasteurizer and I began the heating process. While this was going on, Danielle Kilby arrived with her goat milk. Sammy helped her unload her milk and get it into the bulk tank.

After I managed to wrestle some salad away from the hordes of people in the kitchen, I went back into the peaceful surroundings of the cheese room. The pasteurizer was noisily heating up the milk, working as it should. The fans were blowing and the satellite radio was blaring from the ceiling. Ahhh. I am happiest in these surroundings. I spent the next few hours watching the machine, making the necessary adjustments when appropriate. The milk pasteurization was flawless. I cooled the milk back down to the proper temperature, then added the culture, rennet, and calcium chloride. Now we must wait until morning to see how my batch turns out.

Hey! Look at what I can do!

1 comment:

Momily said...

That is VERY exciting... I can't wait to hear how the batch turns out. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.

I've really been enjoying your blog. Can't wait to have you back home in S.F. and sample your cheese-craftiness!

Much love, Emily