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Spring 2008 Newsletter -


What's New at

Ricki has put together some pretty terrific deals for the holidays ... First of all her Fun-tastic Mozzarella Gift idea for a lucky friend or relative, now save $16.95 on our 3 best sellers when bought together!


This summer Jim spent 3 weeks in May and another 2 weeks in September visiting traditional cheese makers in France and Italy, including a visit to the Slow Foods Cheese Festival in Bra Italy, the largest cheese festival in the world by a long shot.
Over the next several issues of our newsletter he will begin to share it all with you so stay tuned

Cheese Recipe

Cantal, From the mountains of France's Auvergne Region

This cheese has much in common with Englands great Cheddar.. Great efforts are taken to dry this cheese before entering the cave, resulting in a long aged cheese with an amazing character!

Cheese Travels

Cheese 2007

Every 2 years 'Slow Foods', headquartered in Bra Italy, holds the largest cheese event in the world.

This past September Jim managed to get to this Spectacle of Spectacles and shares it all with us
Right Here

Cheese Tips for Ewe

Sour Cheese Milk Quality Using Junket

Q Every time I make a hard cheese (per instructions in Rickis Home Cheese Making book), it sours during aging and appears to leak whey during aging. I let it sit for a week to surface dry before waxing. I use pasturized milk (but not ultrapasturized). I press according to the instructions for weights/times. Any ideas what I may be doing wrong? I make wine, beer, breads with no problem. Am I the only one that has this happen consistently? I age in winter in my 57 degree basement. Would vacuum sealing instead of wax help?



A Your primary problem here is too much acid development either early (before molding) or late (after molding)

One problem is that if you have too much whey left in the curd when molding this will form a late acid development and the whey leaking out during drying stage is pointing to this

Also this could be caused due to excess ripening before rennet added, temperature control, re-check your process and if need be use less culture to start with or less ripening time.

Q I have a friend who says that when she makes mozz in the microwave with store bought milk it comes out great. However, she also has a cow and when she tries to make it with the fresh milk on the stove and in the micro it doesn't come out right. She says that the cheese forms likeits supposed to but it's rubbery, squeaky and doesn't taste like mozzarella. Any suggestions?

A Your friend is experiencing the difference between fresh milk and store processed milk
rubbery is a sign of too much rennet .. tell her to back off a bit on the rennet for her farm fresh milk. Also she will not need to work it so hard to get rid of the whey so go easier on the kneading.

Q Hi Jim! I'd appreciate some help for this novice cheesemaker! Twice I've made the 30 min mozz. and neither time did it yield as much as the directions say. Both times it was a little over half a pound. I use raw milk and my rennet is Junket. Is there a problem with that? (I would like to use what I have if possible.) Also, it takes a lot longer to form a soft curd (hour or so) and the whey never gets clear as the pictures show. My results are a nice stretchy cheese, just not as much as hoped for. Is there any help for my situation or must I change the rennet? I saw in FAQs that someone asked if Junket can be used and you answered yes and no. Can you explain why?

A The curd setting components from cows are of 2 types chymosin (rennet) and pepsin .. the pepsin is NOT what you want to use and Chymosin is our rennet is made up of 90 % chymosin, Junket is mostly pepsin. I have contacted them for specifics but they refuse to be clear.
Junket will set milk but not as reliably and not a very good firm curd, also in aging cheese it causes too much.
This is why the sets are slow and your yield poor


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

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 either Ricki or me (Jim).

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.

Upcoming Classes

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. You will find the current listing online in our workshop section. Dates still having openings are:
Sept.14th Oct.18th, 19th Nov.8th, 9th

For those who have had some experience and would like to continue with their cheesemaking, Jim has room in his Spring classes

Cheesemaking 201

These classes are taught by Jim Wallace, our 'Tech Guy'

Your Next Big Step in Cheese Making
Oct 11-12, 2008

This class will prepare you with the basic tools to explore the wonderful world of cheese making

This class is with Jim Wallace, the 'Tech Guy' at This workshop is for those who really want to get to the next step in cheesemaking, learning to make those fabulous semisoft and hard cheeses. Whether you are a Home Cheesemaker, 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 like to really like to improve your craft, Jim will lead you there during this class

French Cheese
Nov 15-16, 2008

Bonjour! this class will offer some great insight into the cheeses of France .... a focused workshop on French style cheeses

This is a workshop for those who have already made a few cheese and would like to explore the fabulous world of French style cheese.
My intent will be to teach more about the concepts involved in cheesemaking rather than following a fixed recipe. You will be leaving with no just a great knowledge of the cheese we make, but with a solid foundation in the 'How' and 'Why' of cheesemaking in general.

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.


Stories From our Customers

Hi Ricki and Jim,

Just wanted to let you know what a pleasure it is doing business with you. My merchandise always comes quickly and I go through it like a kid at Christmas. I know, get a life! Took some classes with Jim Wallace
and recommend them to anyone who is interested in cheese. He is a super guy and teacher and his wife is as well. Both very talented people. I'm delving more into my goat cheese now and looking forward to trying out some of what I learned. I'll let you know if the results are spectacular, and if they aren't, I'll be writing for advice!

Best regards,

Happy Cheese Makers.

A Recipe for Whey Pancakes


Once in a while it s a treat to be able to just throw all the warnings to the wind and use the flavor of something as unmistakable as bacon drippings. These pancakes are light and tender with a flavor that makes them absolutely the best ever. Makes 8 4 cakes, 2 servings


1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour


1 teaspoons baking powder


1/2 teaspoon baking soda


1/4 teaspoon salt


1-1/2 tablespoons sugar


1 large egg, well beaten


1-1/2 cups whey


2 tablespoons bacon drippings, melted, plus 1/2 teaspoon for griddle




1. Heat griddle to 375°. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, and 2 tablespoons bacon drippings; whisk to combine. Batter should have small to medium lumps.



2. Heat oven to 175°. Test griddle by sprinkling a few drops of water on it. If water bounces and spatters off griddle, it is hot enough. Using a pastry brush, brush remaining 1/2 teaspoon of bacon drippings onto griddle.



3. Using ladle, , pour about 1/3 cups of pancake batter, in pools 2 inches away from one other. When pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around the edges, about 2 -1/2 minutes, flip over. Cook until golden on bottom, about 1 minute.



4. Repeat with remaining batter, keeping finished pancakes on a heatproof plate in the oven. Serve warm.




5. Any left overs can be cooled on a cookie rack and with wax paper between them, placed in a plastic freezer bag and frozen. To rewarm them put in the microwave for 15 seconds at a time until warmed through. Be careful not to over heat them. That makes them tough.


We've Been Making Cheese Like Crazy

Hi Ricki and all,
My husband Tony and I really enjoyed the cheesemaking class last month, and we've been making cheese like crazy. (Attached is a photo with Tony and our first three batches of cheddar!)

We do have a question: What is the best way to clean and reuse the cheesecloth and butter muslin? We've tried boiling it and putting it in the washing machine but still struggle with particles of cheese sticking to the cloth. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

The easiest way to keep cheese cloth clean is to soak in a good dairy detergent as soon as you finish with the cloth

Thank you!
Jen Norton

More Cheese from Jail

Aric Catron, Washington State

This isn't a question, just a comment after reading the story about the prison cheesemaker.

I used to work in a detention facility in Iraq and was amazed to see the prisoners eating what they called "yogurt " that they had made themselves. After talking with them about it, and gaining their trust, they explained the process to me.

They would create a double boiler using two water bottles. The bigger, outside one, would be filled with boiling water. The inner one would be filled with milk from a carton. They would add anything acidic they could find to the milk (orange juice, grapefruit juice (they really liked this version, it was a very tart product) even coffee or tea (one of them said the tea made for a very smooth tasting yogurt.)) and then wrap both bottles in cloth and let sit overnight.

The next day if it was not at the consistency they wanted, they would add more boiling water and repeat. Once it was ready they would strain the whey out using either homemade strainers or new socks (they said the sock method is very common with locals who make a soft goat cheese.) The sock method is useful if you want a thicker product.

What they are left with is a semi-solid, tart yogurt-like product. The flavor of the yogurt is dictated by how long it was kept hot as well as what acid was used (like I said, grapefruit was a favorite.)

It took me several weeks to drag up the courage to try what, appeared to me, to be nothing more than rotten milk.

I find that I liked it, it was a very new taste for me. It is especially useful for flavoring other meals or drinks (they use it in coffee or tea, a traditional drink in the region) or they often mix it with mix to make it more liquid and drink it like a shake.

Anyways, I hope you like the story. I have yet to make the yogurt since I have returned home but after reading your site I remembered how much I enjoyed it and might attempt it again.