Thursday, August 30, 2012

New Batch of Feta in the jars

     My Feta is in the jars with Italian Seasoning infused Olive oil. The smaller jars are half pints and contain 4oz of feta and the larger one is a pint and contains 8oz of Feta. Not bad, 20oz of finished feta out of one gallon of fresh goats milk. 

The olive oil (1 1/2 pints) was heated to 140F then, 2TBS of Italian seasoning was added. The oil cooled in a cover pan until it was at room temperature. Due to the distribution of this batch, I put 8oz of the cheese in the one pint and filled it with the olive oil. In the half pint jars I added 4oz of Feta then filled the jar with olive oil.

These will age 2-3 weeks at room temperate before being given to the lucky recipients. As they age whey continues to escape the confines of their curds and collects at the bottom of the jars. No problem for the cheese. It all tastes good in the mouth.

Btw these make great holiday gifts if you don't mind making a batch around Thanksgiving. (-:

the Cheesy Geek

Monday, July 30, 2012

Two New Cheese Makers. (-:

On July 28th 2012,  two new cheese makers were added to the list, Tracy on the left, and Candi on the right, (the Cheesy Geek in the middle). In a three hour session, we made Queso Blanco, Mascarpone, yogurt cheese (from yogurt made the night before), and the ever popular 30-minute mozzarella (which took closer to 45 due to slow curd formation).

Here, we were draining the yogurt to thicken it to the consistency of Greek yogurt. The ladies both took home a couple cups of fresh yogurt to enjoy.

The Queso Blanco being tied in cheese cloth to hang and drain. After making the Mozzerella, we divided both the Queso and Mozz for the ladies to take home to share with their families.

Tracy's favorite taste of the day was the key lime mascarpone made right in front of her.

 Candi's quote of the day. "You kept telling me it was so easy, but I really didn't believe it until today."

Until next time "Keep making the Cheese"

the Cheesy Geek

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Cheese Making Party July 28th

On Saturday July 28th, I'm having a cheese making party at the house. We will make some Queso Blanco, Mozzarella, yogurt and mascarpone. I already have two confirmed and two maybes. I'm looking forward to having a great day making cheese and enjoying the company of some new cheese makers.

the Cheesy Geek

Friday, June 1, 2012

How I heat my milk without scorching?

Are you afraid of scorching your expensive fresh milk over direct heat? Do you put the burner so low that it takes forever to heat the milk to the proper temperature? Do you hate using a water bath in the sink because you have to drain some water out before you can add more hot water to achieve or mantain the proper temperature. Do you get distracted and can't always spend 5 minutes constantly stirring the milk? 
I answer yes to all of the above so I offer my solution to all of the above. I use a pot within a pot to heat and hold the milk at the right temperature. For two gallon recipes I use a 12 quart pot for the milk and put it in a 16 quart pot with enough water to cover most of the 12 qt pot. Tap water at 125-130F will raise the temperature of the milk from 45 F to 85F in about 8-10 minutes when put on a burner medium high. For a one gallon batch of Feta or Mozzarela I don't even need to turn the burner on to reach 86F. I turn the heat off when the temperature of the milk is 4-5 degrees below my target temperature. Leave it in the water bath to maintain the temperature if needed. I can turn the heat on if the temperature gets too low or when it is time to raise the temperature to the next level.
I hope this helps relieve your stress level when you are getting started making cheese.
The Cheesy Geek

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Cheesy Geek is now on FaceBook

I have decided to try using Facebook for  sharing my cheese making adventures and recipes. I have already moved the seven part "So, You want to be a Cheese Maker" series to the Notes section of the FB page. The Notes feature isn't very photo friendly and I'll have to edit the posts to reflect the absence of pictures as there are references to the pictures. So I'll still be posting here as well as on FB.

On the positive side, I'll be open to having you ask questions and I'll do my best to answer them or point you in the right direction to find the answer. The FaceBook format is a much more user friendly place for  such Q&A exchanges. Your comments and questions may inspire me to write an article to post here on this blog as well as on FB. I hope this will be an engaging, interactive community of cheese makers of all skill levels, sharing experiences, tips and tricks to making wonderful cheese products.

Thank you
the Cheesy Geek

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Very Berry Yogurt

                              photo from

Here in Florida we are past the strawberry season and into the blueberry season. It seems that no matter the season, fresh berries are always available but not always as inexpensive as when they are fresh and local. (At the end of strawberry season roadside vendors sell a flat of fresh strawberries as low as $5.00). Blueberry farms have U-Pick times and you can get a look of berries for not a lot of money. The same holds true for blackberries, raspberries, gooseberries, huckleberries, mulberries or cranberries. To take advantage of this abundance, buy in bulk and freeze or can as much as you can.

Now, what does this have to do with Yogurt, you ask? Berries are the number one fan favorite compliment for yogurt.  Take a look at the yogurt section of your grocery store and you will notice there are over 80 different flavors on the shelves. Cost of these yogurts can be as high as .50cents per 4 oz. Making your own yogurt can cut that cost in half and not have any of the additives commercial products have.I also think the home made tastes much better.

Since I prefer the thicker Greek style yogurt, when I make a quart of yogurt I end up with 3 cups of the thicker yogurt after draining the whey. I broke down my recipe to a one cup quantity so it is easy to modify for any amount of yogurt.

Berry Yogurt Recipe

1 cup Greek style yogurt
1 Tbs of Honey. (I usually use a local wildflower honey)
2 Tbs of chopped berries.

Mix all ingredients well and refrigerate over night to allow the flavors to combine.
 For Blueberries I prefer to put them through the blender to chop up the skins better than by hand.
You may want to add some fresh fruit on top for texture and color.
Typically Strawberries don't need as much sweetening. Cranberries need more unless you like the tartness.

That's it. Berry Yogurt made easy.

As always: Your taste may be different and you can always change the amounts of honey and/or berries.

The Cheesy Geek

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tahini Cheese

Here is a non dairy cheese substitute you might like to try.
It has a flavor a bit like cheddar.
Tahini Cheese
3 C Water
3 1/2 TB Agar powder
1 1/2 C Tahini
5 TB Lemon juice
1/2 c Nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp Garlic powder
2 1/2 Tsp Salt

1. Mix water and agar powder in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to med-lo and simmer until the mixture looks somewhat clear (about 5 minutes).

2. Blend rest of the ingredients in a blender.

3. Add the cooked agar mixture to the blender and process for a couple minutes until smooth.

4. Pour into mold and refrigerate until the cheese is stiff.