Sunday, November 17, 2013

Been away from cheese making for a while.  We had some family health issues and I cut back on my hobbies simply because there wasn't any time.  Making cheese requires that you babysit the little guys, especially early in the aging process when you have to turn the cheeses daily.  I just could not guarantee that I would be around for extended periods to tend to them properly.  Another reason I stopped making cheese was that last fall, my supplier of pasteurized sheep's milk ran into the no-man's-land between state and federal regulations and could not sell his product for human consumption until the issue was resolved.  He had been following the more restrictive federal guidelines, but our state had not caught up and refused to recertify him because he was not following state guidelines.  Talk about red tape!

Things at home settled down after a year, and I was just considering restarting my cheese making hobby.  I had not heard a word from my sheep farmer in over a year, and was content to make cheeses that used cow's milk.  Then out of the blue, the farmer emailed and said he is now back in business and wanted to know if I'd like some pasteurized sheep's milk!  Talk about timing!

Well, of course, my cultures had been sitting in the freezer for 18 months.  Had to toss those, and get fresh cultures.  I dusted off my equipment, got milk (pun intended), turned on my aging refrigerator, then began.  In October I made Camembert and Caciotta, which I just put up for storage after a month of aging.  Last week, I made Roquefort.  It is now beginning to show a hint of blue mold, and shortly I'll have to skewer them to allow air into the cheese to develop nice veining.

No pics this time around :-(  I figured you've seen these cheeses before on my blog. And yes, I started with cheeses I've successfully made before for a reason:  Start with what you're good at (and like), before you venture out into new territory.  I'll have to look through my cheese making recipe book to find one I'd like to make which I have not made before.  Will keep you posted.

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