|October, 2014 New England Cheesemaking Supply Co. cheesemaking.com|
Shortly after we posted a blog article about Sister Gertrude, the intrepid cheese-making nun in Colorado (click here), we received a lovely comment from Susan Olson. It was such a nice note that we asked Susan if we could interview her.
She agreed and, before we knew it, she had actually taken the time to write out her story (with pictures).
We posted it at our blog (click here), but we also want you to read her comment at the end of our article about Sister Gertrude (just because it's so nice!):
Sister Gertrude, I am not sure what led me to your essay this Sunday morning, months after it was published, but it has already made my day more fulfilling. You've provided inspiration in your hard work and love for animals and laughter, too. You have clearly learned to follow directions in cheese making at a much younger age than me! I will take that lesson under advisement. I'm thinking of some of the weird smelly messes I've ended up with because I thought I could get away with not following all the rules! We named one "stinky dishrag cheddar." Maybe being in the right place at the right time and learning to follow the rules a little bit more closely is a good idea after all!
I'd love your goat cheddar recipe, as I'm going to attempt that next. And I'll be showing the photo of your cheese cave to my husband. I love the cellar in the hillside idea.
May your days be filled with inspiration and small gifts from God along the way.
Sister Gertrude replied:
Thanks for a good laugh! Never thought anyone would ask me for my goat cheddar recipe!!
I'll have to look again at what you're referring to. I'd be most happy to share it, but I think you must have meant my soft goat cheese recipe (I think I called it my "converter" cheese in the article). I do make goat cheddar, but it's nothing special--I use Jim's Beer Cheddar recipe.
Anyway, as far as the soft cheese is concerned, I make a basic chevre (actually I do this with NECS fromage blanc packets, diluted in a cup of water - cheaper that way, can use the packet whether I have goat's milk or cow's milk!). Once the chevre is prepared, I mix in - for a two gallon batch - 1 tsp. salt, a liberal amount of granulated garlic powder, about a handful of parsley flakes, and as much basil and oregano as...well, as looks right! Mix it together, and voila! Garlic and Herb Goat Cheese Spread.
Thank you, Sister Gertude.
For more info about Susan Olson and pictures - click here
News From Madi
In our April Moosletter, we spotlighted Madi Shaw (12) from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Her life was so exciting that we thought she should have her own blog and we helped her start one. If you would like to see pictures and stories from the life of an amazing 12 year old, click here!
Madi wrote to us recently because her family has a new fiber mill and they are moving their yarn store - Knitter's Dream to it. She wanted everyone to know that they will be having their Grand Opening on October 4th at 605 Lesentier Lane in Harrisburg.
12 years ago, they offered only knitting and crocheting, but they have grown and now they have spinning and weaving classes and supplies. They sell their own line of angora wool, roving, and all kinds of yarn (KD Kandy hand-dyed yarns) and goat's milk soaps and lotions.
Madi is a fourth generation knitter. She recently wrote her own knitting pattern using fiber from rabbits she raised herself! Next month, we will do a full update with Madi, so stay tuned...
A Cheesy Biology Project!
Melody Cramer (17) of Midvale, Utah wrote the first essay we received in our ongoing Junior Essay Challenge (click here).
She mentioned to us in one of her e-mails that she had written a paper about lactobacilli for one of her biology classes. We asked her to share it with us and to tell us more about herself:
I actually graduated early (I homes chooled) so I'm not going to school right now. I'm just working and volunteering at a local urban farm.
I play the cello, like to read, and want to study agriculture when I go to school next year (hopefully that will be in Australia, starting in March, 2015).
I wrote the paper as a final research paper for my biology class (I took some classes at our local community college). We were able to choose anything biology-related, so I figured that I would go with something that I find interesting.
Growing up, we always made things like ricotta and yogurt, but I have to say that what really inspired me to make hard cheese was Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House in the Big Woods. In it there is a wonderful description of how her mother prepared cheese, and that really inspired me to try cheese-making out on my own. :)
I have made mozzarella, creme fraiche, almond cheese, paneer, cottage cheese, and ricotta. So, nothing too difficult yet. :) I get my milk at a store called Real Foods Market. They sell raw milk, which I prefer.
To read Melody's biology paper - click here
Our Junior Essay Challenge
In August, we invited young cheese makers (18 years and younger) to tell us their ideas for ways to serve their communities using their cheese making skills (click here). We offered $25 gift certificates to the first 10 responders. We have received two wonderful essays so far (click here) and our offer continues. Send us your ideas and we will share your essay (and picture) here for everyone to enjoy.
This is a new section we have added as part of our mission to encourage young people to learn the art of cheese making. If you are 18 or less, we would love to hear from you about your experiences and your goals for the future. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org
Is it Coliforms?
Last week, we received a note from a customer in California who wished to remain anonymous. It's an important topic for discussion, so we decided to print her note along with a few words about coliform bacteria. (If you have had any "interesting" experiences with this particular bacteria, let us know so we can continue with this subject in future Moosletters):
I've had something on my mind for a few weeks and I've thought of mentioning it to you (in strict confidence, because I know that the person I'm referring to reads your newsletter). I have a friend who sometimes gives me some of his excess milk and cheese. I've often found the things he gives me to be clearly contaminated with coliform bacteria. The scary part is, he himself doesn't seem to realize what's going on; he'll say, "Oh, this cheese has these little holes in it because it was hot that day," or "Something made this one turn out funny, but it tastes fine," etc.
The other scary part is that he sells his products - without (naturally) a license to do so. I worry a lot about someone getting sick from something he sells, but I can't very well tell him that his milk is contaminated. I thought I'd offer as a suggestion for some future article that you publish something on signs and causes of contamination. The experience that I've just described has really made me appreciate how important it is to be cautious!
Anonymous in Los Angeles
There are many reasons for cheese to have little holes in it, so we can't be certain that coliforms are causing the problem here. Yeast, for example, can have the same effect.
There are also many kinds of coliforms which do not pose a threat of any kind. However, if there are large numbers of coliforms in one's cheese, there is a greater chance of E. coli being in it, and that can be a serious problem.
Our technical advisor, Jim Wallace comments:
Coliforms can come in through the mechanics of milking, transport, or even in the vat prep. The key is to keep things well cleaned and sanitized (especially the teats pre-milking) and make sure the milk does not stand uncovered. Test by getting a control sample early in the milking loop and ferment it at 86F for a day or so until it coagulates (no culture/rennet). Check the curd for gas and wheying off. If it looks good, the issue is downstream in the milk loop. Make sure all containers, lines and tools are well cleaned and sanitized.
Thermization is a quick heat to 145F and hold for just a few seconds, then crash cool. This is common in Europe but not legal pasteurization. It should knock out about 80-85% of the coliforms but it will leave some of the natural bacteria behind.
Gianaclis Caldwell has written several books with information about coliforms. In one of her latest, The Small Scale Dairy she explains how to use coliform plates to test your numbers regularly, especially if you are selling your milk or cheese.
A few questions and answers, chosen by Ricki, the cheese queen from the many we receive each month.
Place Your Free Ads Here!
Send your copy to email@example.com, and your ad will be promptly placed in the classified section of our website. It will also appear in the next month's Moosletter (like the ads below).
To see the full classifieds - click here
Check out our fabulous blog with 441 posts (so far). Includes recipes, tutorials, interviews and all kinds of useful cheese making information - cheesemakinghelp.blogspot.com
Overhead Traversing Agitator - Dairy - $5000. Good for stirring curd and milk. Custom made unit traverses above the length of the vat. Adjusts to fit certain depths and sizes. Used 2 times, works perfectly. Contact for photos and dimensions. firstname.lastname@example.org
Ice Cream Machine, Emory Thompson 350, 2 years old. Used very little to make ice cream for farmer's market last year. Asking $8,000. 540-460-4161 email@example.com
We have two Nubian doelings for sale - DOB 6/1/2014. One doeling is a palomino color and the other is brown with lots of color. Friendly weaned bottle babies. Both parents are large with lots of milk history. Fed a GMO free organic diet. Clean, closed herd. $250.00 ea. North West Montana 406-837-2338 - Pam
Young dairy ewes - a cheese maker's delight! Sheep's milk is richer and more forgiving than goat's milk. Great for cheese, yogurt, even ice cream. Ewes may be bred upon request. $200 each. Please e-mail for more info: firstname.lastname@example.org. NW Washington State.
Workshops & Classes
Cheesemaking Fundamentals Classes at Curds and Wine in San Diego. Learn the fundamental processes behind fresh cheese making as well as the techniques for making pressed cheeses and aged cheeses such as cheddar, gouda, and camembert. Classes limited to 18. More information and tickets online at curdsandwine.com
Atlanta Cheese Festival
Pennsylvania Apple & Cheese Festival
October 4 & 5
Connecticut Cheese Festival
Watonga Cheese and Wine Festival
Riverbank Cheese and Wine Expo
Cheese Festival Lucerne
The World of Milk
Cheese and Chocolate Weekend