Cheese Making Recipe of the Month
We never thought we'd see the day when Jim would try to make dairy-free cheese, but here it is. He was inspired by our wonderful new book, "Artisan Vegan Cheese" by Miyoko Schinner. (See Sarah's Specials below.)
Non-dairy cheese is not just for vegans and the lactose intolerant - it's a great addition to any diet because it's fermented, which means it has lots of beneficial bacteria.
The most important ingredient (taste-wise) is the starter culture. Jim explains the chemistry involved in the simple process of making Rejuvelac (the starter) and from there, Cashew Cheese.
In Schinner's book, this then becomes the base for Cashew Chevre, Boursin, Sun Dried Tomato and Basil Cheese and Brie. Other cheeses start with plain, unsweetened non-dairy yogurt.
It's remarkably easy to make your own starter by sprouting grains and fermenting them. As Jim points out in his tutorial, this is a great new skill to add to your repertoire.
Meet a Fellow Cheese Maker
Booker Dechert of Earlton, New York is 13 Years Old!
Booker has his own herd of Nubians - two milkers, two young wethers, and a doeling. He takes care of them completely on his own, and milks them once a day.
He also makes cheese and, so far, he has made Ricotta, Mozzarella, Chèvre, Ricotta Salata, Manchego, and Gouda.
He started making his hard cheeses a few months ago and he is planning to try some moldy cheeses this winter.
Booker - we think you are truly amazing!
News From Fellow Cheese Makers
I went out in the garden, picked a variety of greens and a few corn husks, put them in a steel box with a hold in the top and put it all on my gas grill.
Result - the box was full of vegetable ash! After cooling, I just pounded it til it was a fine powder.
Bill Wilkinson, Sheridan, Montana
If you can't make your own, like Bill, we do sell vegetable ash
Goat Cheddar in Cheddar, UK
A pic of our first goat cheddar that we made from Ricki's book Home Cheese Making. We thought it would not be much good, as I overheated the curds, so we cut it after 3.5 weeks! Imagine our surprise when we tasted it - lovely, tangy and a bit salty.
Went and bought an artisan cheese from shop to compare and..... Ours was almost identical and theirs had won prizes! So, making another tonight.
Lynn Chamberlain, Cheddar (Yes, that's correct!), United Kingdom
Mushroom Infused Camembert
I can't tell you how much fun and what an unbelievable thrill it is to taste my own cheese!
I had friends over for dinner so I offered a cheese tray with my own creations - they did not believe me. I had to show the powders and molds and they could not get over it! I want to thank you for inspiring me!
I am originally from Austria; exactly from Kitzbühel in the Tyrolean mountains and you know how much we love our cheese there!
I came to Miami, Florida in 1977 to work as Assistant Purser on a cruise ship, out of the Port of Miami.
In 2001, I moved to Naples (Florida) and started selling condos for a local builder. Now I am a freelance Rental Agent/ Property Manager and have some time on my hands for hobbies.
I am a member of Food.com where I made and reviewed a recipe for German Quark. The result was wonderful and that got me interested in cheese making. I began looking for cheese making books and supplies and that got me to you!
So far, I am making mostly the bloomy rind cheeses since I am not equipped with presses and other tools.
Here is how I made my Mushroom Infused Camembert:
For one gallon of cow's milk, I use 1 oz of dried, sliced shitake mushrooms. I buy them in the Asia store for beautiful, blemish - free slices.
I then put them in the food processor and zap it a couple of times, I want very small pieces of mushroom. Then, I take half of them out and pulverize the rest to fine powder.
I then warm the milk to 90F, add the mushroom pieces and powder and let it infuse for up to 5 hours. If there are big pieces, I fish them out before I continue, I want just small specks.
At that point, I continue with the regular recipe for Camembert. The final cheese has a delicate, earthy flavor that complements the white mold in Camembert and Brie.
Elfie Back, Naples, Florida
A Better Whey
It is lovely to see the golden colored cream sitting of top of the milk just like it was when the milk man delivered milk. I can't recommend them enough.
I made my first few cheeses and I have to admit that I found that controlling the temperature of the water bath and milk to be arduous and a bit daunting. Worrying for 2½ hours about the temperature and trying to regulate it took the fun out of the process.
Well, I decided to solve this problem and I think that I have found an answer that works for me. I did some research and found that a Sous Vide water bath temperature controller will maintain a preset temperature anywhere between ambient room and 195F for days.
The unit I am using runs at plus or minus ½ degree F and I think that with experience I can get it closer. It allows me to use a 22 quart polycarbonate container to hold the water with a stainless steel pot inside of it to hold the milk.
I am not saying that you can just walk away from the process, because watching the cheese form is part of the enjoyment, but it does relieve the worry- a least as far as temperature is concerned. I just wanted to pass that on since I found it so useful.
Brian F Stroupe, Garland, Texas
Brian's Colby is shown above, just before waxing. He is happy to answer questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please send your cheese making news & photos to: email@example.com