Sunday, July 25, 2010

Cheese Making Party 7-24-10

Saturday, July, 24th the Cheesy Geek had a very enjoyable day with some family and friends demonstrating cheese making. My oldest sister, Carol, came for the “30 minute mozzarella” demo and had to leave. My other sister, Jae, and bother-in-law, Dennis, and friends Ron and Jean from our church arrived around 11 am and stayed until almost 4 pm.

The Preparation:

I made ½ gal of sweet yogurt (Culture Y5) and made half of it into yogurt cheese. I used one cup of the yogurt cheese and made a dip.
Yogurt cheese veggie dip. I took 2 cups of yogurt made with Y5 culture and drained it in butter muslin until it was reduced by half. added 1Tbs Olive Oil, 1/2tsp each dried parsley and Italian Seasoning, 1/4tsp each garlic powder and onion salt, 1/8 tsp of black pepper. Mix well and let sit over night in fridge. It is ...similar to ranch dressing for veggies. For a cracker spread, reduce the yogurt to the consistency of cream cheese then use this recipe.
Friday night I made half batch of mascarpone and put it in the fridge overnight to drain. Using my newly arrived sour cream cultures, I started a batch from half and half and set it on the kitchen table overnight. I was a bit concerned in the morning as it failed to thicken after 12 hours. By 12:30, it had thickened but was very mild tasting. I started another batch and set it out at 7:30am and on Sunday morning it had set up and tasted like sour cream.

The day:
We set out a carrot, celery and cracker tray with the veggie dip out as the guests arrived. I had started heating 2 gals of milk and added the culture to make Farmhouse Cheddar just before 11. After setting the timer for 45 minutes for the cheddar, we made the Mozzarella. (Cutting the curds in picture above) As we did the necessary waiting, I brought out the yogurt and yogurt cheese and explained the process and let everyone have a taste. (We went through 30 plastic spoons over the course of the afternoon) The results of the mozzarella making were mixed. After heating the curds the first time and kneading them, I heated them a second time and split it into two balls and let Dennis and Jean do the stretching. Dennis did very well and he soon had a nice ball of mozzarella. Jean waited a bit too long and when I tried to reheat her curds I overheated it in the microwave. It never did come together. But as Jean said; “It gives me confidence to see how it doesn’t always work. I won’t get discouraged when it doesn’t work for me.”At this point Carol had to leave. )-:
I put some chicken wings in the oven (soy sauce, brown sugar and garlic powder coating) and proceeded to making mascarpone. And through the magic of advanced planning, we enjoyed chicken wings and Jean’s authentic homemade English scones with strawberry jam and freshly made mascarpone. Thank you again, Jean, for the delicious addition to our party. The farm house cheddar was ready to have its curds cut and put in the sink of hot water to “cook” for half an hour. Meanwhile, we looked at the sour cream which was actually more like Crème fraiche. Everyone found it interesting and it was a “teachable moment” with the opportunity to explain how temperature and time will affect the tanginess of the product whether it is sour cream, or yogurt.
Meanwhile, back at the farmhouse, the curds were put into the cheese cloth and set to drain for an hour. This gave us a chance to use the whey to make some ricotta. And do a little clean up. I had a couple of oops with containers with whey and had some spills. Thank you Dennis and Jean for jumping right in and cleaning up my messes. (-: After the first two 10 minute pressings in the mold and getting the curds ready for the 12 hour press, we did a little more clean up getting ready to call it a day.

The results:
In the end, I believe there are a few more home cheese makers in Florida today. They left here with enough rennet and citric acid to make at least 4 batches of mozzarella in each household represented.
A special thanks has to go to my loving wife for not only tolerating my hobby but for baby sitting two rambunctious boys for 5 hours while her kitchen was being thoroughly invaded by the cheesy geek and cheesy geeks to be.
note this last picture shows the whey from the farmhouse cheddar, the plate with what is left of the scones, the container next to it is butter, then the mascarpone and in the center of the veggies is the yogurt veggie dip.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Catching up

I haven't posted in a while so I guess I'd better catch up with what cheesy activities have been going on here. After coming back from vacation to Ireland, I got some fresh goat milk June 19th and made of Parmesan cheese using 1 gal of 1% skimmed milk from Walmart and 1 gal of the fresh goat milk. It made 1lb 8oz of curds before brining. It came out of the brine at 1lb 6oz and is now in the cheese cave to age for 10 months. My cave has been maintaining 48-50F and humidity at 65-70%. I covered the parm with a 4 cup plastic container to increase the humidity around the cheese.
On the 4th of July weekend, I attempted 5 different cheese products. Sour Cream, Cream Cheese, whole milk Ricotta, Mascarpone, and Mozzarella. The sour cream was the only failure. I used some store bought sour cream that was in the fridge as the starter. It was only after it failed to curdle did i notice the use by date was over a month ago. live and learn. Joan used the ricotta and mozz to make lasagna Sunday evening and it was Delicious. She used the cream cheese to make a NY style cheese cake. Delectable. I made some Key Lime Mascarpone on shortbread cookies as a treat.
I also made some goat milk yogurt the week before that. Although it was thinner than cow milk yogurt using the same culture and setting the same length of time, it was a noticeably smoother texture. I drained the yogurt until it was thickened nicely and it was enjoyed by those lucky enough to get a taste.
I purchased some additional cultures including a yogurt culture, Y5. It is described as a sweeter yogurt than the Bulgarian Y1. and indeed it is much milder than the Greek style that I have been making. I made a half gal from 2% skimmed milk and used half to make yogurt cheese. The cheese product seems to concentrate the flavor and the end product is much tangier than the yogurt.
I made a nice cheese spread from it by taking 1/2 cup of the cheese, 1Tbs of Olive oil, 1/4tsp each of parsley flakes and Italian seasoning, 1/8tsp each of garlic powder, onion salt, black pepper, and dill, mixing it all together and letting it sit overnight in the fridge. It is great on crackers and as a veggie dip. (add more olive oil if you want a thinner dip). You could also add some red wine vinegar for a real bite but just add and mix a little at a time to get the right taste for you.

I'm having a get together next Saturday July 24 with a few friends and family to show them how to make mozzarella and mascarpone and maybe yogurt. Pictures to follow afterwards I hope.