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Spring 2007 Newsletter

Mooos Letter Spring 2007

What's New at

Barbara Kingsolvers new book... "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life" .. is out in print now and she has included a large section on Ricki and and how we are changing what people make and eat.

"When I went to see Ricky, it was equal parts admiration and curiosity. If my family is into reconnecting with the processes that bring us our foods, if we've taken it upon ourselves to be a teeny bit evangelical about this, we have a lot to learn from Ricki Carroll. We're just small-time country preachers. This woman has inspired artisans from the Loire to Las Vegas. She's the Billy Graham of Cheese" Barbara Kingsolver

Jim has just returned from a 3 week session .. visiting cheesemakers and affineurs in eastern France and Northern Italy... In the upcoming Newsletters watch for his stories and photos to unfold.
Both Ricki and Jim will be attending the American Cheese Society Conference coming up in August. A great chance for us to network with others in the cheesemaking industry and to catch up with what is new.

Cheese Recipe

Munster Style Cheese

Munster is a semisoft cows milk cheese with an orange colored rind. Its flavor ranges from mild when young, to quite strong for well aged cheeses.

This is one of my favorite cheeses when done well. Ripening consists of natural yeast that settle in after molding, Geotrichum, and B.linens

How do we do it?

Developing Natural Rinds

In this session we look at what is involved after the cheese leaves the press in order to get it to the aging area in the best condition to ensure a successful ripening

How do we get the cheese from the fresh stage we see shown at the left .. to the condition you see pictured on the right ready for the aging process
Click HERE .. to see more on this


Cheese Tips for Ewe

3 Culture Questions

Q ... I make a one quart batch of Chevre 3-4 times a week and am having problems with my culture and am wondering if you can help me see possible solutions. I use grocery store buttermilk and it is fine for the first few days and then it ceases to adequately culture the milk and the cheese comes out poorly.

A friend told me about your Chevre powder that has the culture and rennet together. Can I divide up the packet to make multiple small batches? I see it cultures up to a gallon of milk, but I never have that much at one time.

My other question is about the mesophilic culture. How is it made and does it stay viable for longer than store bought buttermilk?

A.. First off you should understand about cultures
.. when they are asked to work too hard or are not given continuous nutrient and just sitting in an aging batch , they do a very poor job.. hence the buttermilk might work the first time but will get weaker w/ each batch
... our culture is a very specific one that has been especially designed to be kept frozen until use ... when given a few minutes ripening time they are ready to go to work in optimum condition. You will find that your reliability factor is almost perfect w/ these
... we have designed these packs for 1 gallons of milk but you might try your hand at dividing a pack between 2 batches keeping things as sanitary as possible.

The mesophilic culture is made in much the same way I have described above
... these are very specific cultured bacteria in their prime .. dried and frozen to hold them there and mixed in with a nutritional substrate that helps them become active in fresh milk
... after a brief ripening time (the lag phase) .. they begin producing the acid (growth phase) from the milks lactose and your cheese is under way

Q... I still cannot figure out why my curds were still very loose after the “resting” period Following the addition of rennet ( I let it rest about 15 minutes for my second batch, my first batch rested about 7-8). I cannot help but continue to ask myself if it was something I did wrong or maybe the milk needed to rest longer. Any suggestions you can give me would be greatly appreciated.

A..This is most probably due to the nature of the milk you are getting ... curd strength is related to the amount of protein/calcium in the milk ... fresh farm milk has the best balance and hence the strongest curds .. store bought milk will vary in protein/calcium due to processing temps and aging .. the more heat they apply and the longer it is cold stored the weaker this Protein/Calcium balance becomes, hence the weaker the curd
.. In all of our photos and workshops we use store bought milk but choose LOCAL production and look for it FRESH .. the results are what you see on the website
...The following arrived in our mail a few days later:
Jim .. Patience does pay! My second batch resulted in THE MOST AWESOME MOZZARELLA I have ever seen!!!

Q... I was looking at other recipes recently. Each one talks about greatly varying amounts of mesophilic starters. One asks for 4 oz. of meso starter culture, another for one cup. I buy mine in packs from your site. What are the equivalents?

A..The 4 0z and 1 cup are for a mother culture which has already been made up ... usually the amount should be between 1-2% of the milk vol so for 2 Gal (256oz) the amount should be 2.5-5 oz. of starter ... but this will depend on your milk .... our starter culture packs are designed to work for 2 gal but will work for up to 3-4 gal of milk .. this would be equivalent to the 1-2% of mother/bulk culture


Raw Milk Resource Update

We are keeping a running list of Who has Raw Milk and Where you can find it in your region. .. Please click HERE If you would like to see more information or add yours to it

Upcoming Classes

Cheesemaking 101

Ricki's Fun for all ages introductory class.. A full day of Hands-On Beginners Cheesemaking. Farmhouse Cheddar, Fromage Blanc, Creme Fraiche, Queso Blanco, Mascarpone, Whole Milk & Whey Ricottas and a Quick Mozzarella.
You will learn the basic principles of cheese making and the use and care of equipment all while making new friends who share similar interests.

Sept. 15, Sept. 16
Oct. 20, Oct. 21

Cheesemaking 201

Italian Cheese .. 'Bella Italia'
June 9-10

This class will offer some great insight into the cheeses of Italy .... This will be a focused workshop on Italian style cheeses covering several of your favorites.

Jim will be teaching this extended 2 day class, and it will provide an opportunity to work with those cheeses that require that extended 'TLC'!

'Your Next Big Step in Cheese Making'
June 23-24

This class is with Jim Wallace, the 'Tech Guy'

This workshop is for those who really want to get to the next step in cheese making, learning to make those fabulous semisoft and hard cheeses. Whether you are a Home Cheese maker, Small Farmstead, a Chef, or just really love cheese and want to know a lot more about it, this is the startup class for you.
If you have taken Ricki's basic class or have made a few cheeses at home and would really like to improve your craft, Jim will lead you there during this class.
This is the class to get you up and running
with semisoft and hard cheese making
This class will give you the background to move ahead in making many wonderful cheeses.

... If you would like to see more of what to expect in Jim's workshop
Click Here for a great site set up by Jamie Forrest, one of his recent workshop attendees. Also click on This follow up to that workshop posted by Jim.


Some News and Pics From our Customers

How A Business Is Born ...

Maria Trumpler Needed Raw Milk
Vermont Family Needed A Side Business

Bouncing from one teaching job to another left Maria Trumpler tired and discouraged. She perked up one night over a plate of gourmet cheese.

"I couldn't believe that in Massachusetts they made cheeses that delicious," she remembered.

With that, Trumpler would embark on a sideline career as artisan cheese
maker, joined by a struggling farm in Vermont looking to diversify its

Sharon Bice
Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery
Sebastopol, CA

I have attached recent pictures from OUR cheese room as I've taken a few in the past weeks. Use any or as many as you'd like in future newsletters. The photo with Jennifer is making our Raw Goat Milk Feta. The image of me and Margaret Morris of Canada is the first batch of our new "Tomme de Chevre".


Paula Harris

I thought you would enjoy this article. I recently taught a mozzarella class and the local paper covered it. Plus the dairy farm that inspired me to come to your class attended with a few others from the farm. What fun!

From Mary

I was at the cheese making 101 class last weekend. While there, I let Ricki know that I write a blog about food as a hobby and asked if I could put up pictures and a story of the class. I finally got around to
doing it.

I had a fantastic time at the class.
This week I made yogurt (which I do every week, part of what got me started with this) and ricotta. I'm going to tackle making mozzarella this afternoon. I'm moving in about 5 weeks to a different state, so I'm putting off the cheddar until I get settled in my new digs, but I will definitely do it sooner rather than later. When I do, I'll be writing about you again. I'll also probably be ordering a cheese press.

Thanks for everything.

Lin Finke
Associate Professor of Biology
Xavier University
Cincinnati, OH 45207

Just wanted to thank you all for the prompt delivery this morning of the overnight package of butter muslin. It arrived at my home and my happily retired husband just delivered it to my office.
We should have an enjoyable pair of Bacteriology Labs today on fermentation and cheese making. Already
students are expressing surprise that cheesecloth really has something to do with cheese, and that cheeses differ in how they're made and in what microbes are involved (or not).


Send us Your Photos

We are very excited about this new online Newsletter and really would like to get some input from our readers. Like everything else in the world today, things are only as good as what goes into them.

So, if you are really excited about your cheese making and would like to share a part of it with us, please send your text along with any pictures you might have to Ricki .

If you can think of anything you would like to see in future editions,
please feel free to let us know. We are always looking for old time ethnic recipes to share with others online.