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Cheese News 2011 -December

December, 2011     New England Cheesemaking Supply Co.

Singing It Out!

As you know, Ricki and Jamie sing in the Greenfield (MA) Greenfield Harmony chorus, an offshoot of Village Harmony

Twice a year the group performs at the local Unitarian Church to raise money for worthy projects around the world. 

In their most recent show (December 11th), Ricki sang her first solo. 

She was very nervous (to say the least) before the moment came.  However, she summoned up all the courage of a queen and she belted out her part in a triumph over the power of fear!  You can see from her smile after the show how good it felt.

Her message to you in this holiday season- "Sing!"

Country Bumpkins in the Big City

Ricki, Jamie and Ricki's younger sister, Marcy took the train to New York City recently.  While they were there, they visited Murrays Cheese on Bleeker St. in Greenwich Village.

The oldest cheese shop in New York, Murray's motto is "We Know Cheese."  Ricki kinda knows a little bit about cheese herself, so she checks it out whenever she's in town.  It's an amazing store and they offer cheese making classes for anyone lucky enough to live nearby.

The wind is howling and it's 10F, but they're making cheese in Alaska!

Adam and PJ Bauer in Homer, Alaska first started making cheese when two of their young foster children (they have had over 20 through the years!) came to them with lactose intolerance.  (Many Native Alaskans are lactase deficient.)

The children later moved on to permanent homes, but the Bauer's kept making their own cheese.  Now, they're masters of the art and the results get better and better... 

To see our blog article about the Bauers - click here


Hanging around in those wonderful Italian markets!

Jim goes to the big cheese festival in Bra, Italy whenever he can and it always inspires him.  This year, he spent time studying the hanging cheeses from southern Italy. 

(There's a great picture in Jim's recipe of his wife, Robin wondering what she's supposed to do with a gigantic Caciocavallo.)

Caciocavallo means "cheese on horseback" which describes the way two cheeses are tied with a rope and hung so that they straddle a bar or a branch.  Most weigh in at 3 pounds, but many are much larger. 

When you see them hanging in the windows of Italian markets it's easy to imagine how cool they will look hanging in your "cave!"

To see Jim's recipe - click here

He REALLY wants to learn about cheese!

(Although it looks to us like he knows a lot already...)

Matt Spiegler is a web designer with a passion for cheese.  He says he lives in "a cramped Brooklyn apartment near the banks of the bucolic Gowanus Canal..." 

He contacted us about his wonderful new blog where he describes his quest to learn more about cheese:

"If you are a cheese-maker, -monger or -mover who would be willing to exchange free labor (I have a good back, don’t mind heavy lifting or wielding a mop and will wake up at any time of day or night) in exchange for allowing me to take part in your cheese day, I would love to hear from you!"

Matt has already taken quite a few classes and he is making some righteous cheese (like the ash coated bloomy rind chevre below).  So, if you're in the biz and you need some help, contact:

Smoked Caerphilly!

I have used several of Suzanne McMinn's ideas on making cheese.  The best one was Caerphilly and I took it one step further. I smoked it for about 8 hours (photo at right).  It was soooo good!
The Caerphilly was very stable (did not melt at low temp), no need to wrap in cheese cloth.  Just placed on 1/4" plastic grid in smoker.  Used hickory chips and turned over once during smoking.  Also did not let age, right from press to smoker.

Thanks to both the Cheese Queen and Suzanne!
Joel A. Honse, Virginia

Ya Gotta Love Those Cheese Festivals!

As always, I really enjoy the newsletter.  

The attached pictures are from the Third Annual Wisconsin Original Cheese Festival in Madison, WI. 

We met over 60 cheesemakers at the Meet the Cheesemaker Gala, enjoyed an awesome cheesemaker dinner and attended two educational and tasting seminars. 

What a weekend!  This was our second year and are looking forward to next year, November 9-12, 2012.
Ned Miller, Iowa

Dexters are the Perfect Size for This Family

About three years ago I decided that I wanted some cows!  I had a barn, hay field and pasture that were all crying out for a cow.  Having been raised on a farm for part of my life I realized that a large Holstein or similar cow would give me way more milk that I needed or wanted to have to deal with. 

As I searched and thought about what to get, I came across the Dexter breed.   The more I saw, the more I realized that this was the perfect cow for me!  I would be able to handle it's small size and I would not have so much milk that I would not know what to do with it all.

I am now getting about two gallons of milk a day.  It's the perfect amount  for what I want to do. The milk is very rich, similar to Jersey milk in butterfat content. 
My 17 year old son and 11 year old daughter are both able to milk now!  Last week I had a slumber party with 10 of my daughter's friends.  When milking time came around I asked who would like to help with the milking.  All 10 kids stampeded towards the door ready to help. 

In the barn they formed a line and each had a turn milking Bridget.  I wasn't sure how she would handle 10 inexperienced enthusiastic milkers attempting to milk but the little Dexter pulled through!  She mildly looked around in surprise when one of the little girls literally interpreted my "pinch the teat" but did not lift a foot to kick!  Milking was the highlight of the party!  
Cindy Schneider, Ontario, Canada

The Kefir Grains Response was Overwhelming!

Thank you for all your recommendations.  There was so much information, we did a series of 3 kefir articles in the blog - Ordering Kefir Grains, Growing Kefir Grains and Using Kefir Grains and Shipping Them to Friends

It has been "Kefir Grain MANIA" around here and now we're growing them at the office!  Thanks again to all of you.




Send your news & responses to Jeri at

(Note: Questions about making cheese go to

Have you been trying to find our products locally?

Our store locator map may be able to help you out.

Sarah came up with this handy tool for finding your way to our products.  Let's say, for example, you're having unexpected guests tonight and you want to make Fromage Blanc, but you don't have any cultures.  You go to our map and you find out that if you drive 2 miles to a certain little store, you can pick them up.  Simple as that!


Cheesemaking 101

Workshops with Ricki Carroll

A full day of hands-on cheese making with Ricki in her beautiful house in the foothills of the Berkshires. You will learn to make Farmhouse Cheddar, Queso Blanco, Whole Milk and Whey Ricotta,  30 Minute Mozzarella, Fromage Blanc, Creme Fraiche and Mascarpone.

For more info - click here

Cheesemaking 201

Advanced Workshops with Jim Wallace

Jim Wallace has been our technical resource for a number of years now, teaching and answering our technical questions. He is an expert photographer, a great teacher and he has a wealth of knowledge. You will be delighted with his classes. They are more technical in scope than Ricki's introductory class, but are fine for the cheese maker who wants to learn more details of the process.

For more info - click here

Sustainable Food & Farm Conference

Grass Valley, California

January 21-22, 2012

9th Annual Sonoma Valley Cheese Conference

Sonoma, California

February 25 - 29, 2012

World Championship Cheese Contest

Madison, Wisconsin

March 6 - 8, 2012

Great Canadian Cheese Festival

Picton, Ontario, Canada

June 1 - 3, 2012

Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival

Little Chute, Wisconsin

June 1-3, 2012

American Cheese Society Annual Conference

Raleigh, North Carolina

August 1-4, 2012

Third Annual Wisconsin Original Cheese Festival

Madison, Wisconsin

November, 9-10, 2012