Tuesday, July 15, 2008
The production of fresh chevre goes like this: a standard load of 118 gallons of fresh goat milk is loaded into the pasteurizer. The pasteurization cycle is the gentler 145 degrees for 30 minutes (LTLT). The milk is cooled to 80 degrees, culture and rennet, added and left in the pasteurizer overnight to ripen . This overnight process relies on the production of lactic acid to bring the milk into its curdled state. It develops a gel-like consistency, has separation of whey and developes cracks. The cracks are more pronounced here as the pumping of the curd as begun.
At 4 AM Carrie's husband Bobby arrives at the dairy to 'dip' (pump) the set curd into drain bags. This is job Steve did for 12 years in addition to full day shifts. But as he says, "I was beginning to get a bit tired" so he hired Bobby to take on the task this year. I haven't gotten up early enough to see Bobby at work but just by chance last week we had a particularly late set that allowed Steve to do the dipping at the start of our regular 7 AM shift. Here he is loading up the drain bags using our handy pumping machine that is part of nearly everything we do in the cheese room.
Once in the drain bags, the curd settles as the whey drips out. At the end of the day we put the bags with the curd onto a drain table, place large cutting boards on top and then buckets with water. The curd presses overnight. The next morning it is loaded into buckets and placed in the walk-in for strorage until ready for production. We sell 10 flavors of fresh spreadable cheese, logs which can be plain, herbed, peppercorn, or marinated, or molded and then smoked. This time of year the chocolate truffles don't survive the heat and aren't made. All these are the quickly producted and quickly sold that are essential to support the more time consuming and less profitable aged cheese business.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
One thing led to another and I thought why not make our own frozen yoghurt? We make about 30 gallons every 2 weeks and our customers really like it. WE really like it. It took just a few minutes and sure enough a very simple recipe turned up. Here is is though check out the link for more interesting details...
Vanilla Frozen Yogurt Recipe
Heidi notes: First off, remember it is important to use good-quality whole-milk yogurt. The version in David's book is Vanilla Frozen Yogurt. This time around I skipped out on the vanilla, opting for straight, bright white yogurt with the sweetness playing off the tang of the yogurt. I also used slightly less sugar than called for here, more like 2/3 cup - but you can go either way depending on what you like.
3 cups (720g) strained yogurt (see below) or Greek-style yogurt
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Mix together the yogurt, sugar, and vanilla (if using). Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Refrigerate 1 hour.
Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
To make 1 cup (240g) of strained yogurt, line a mesh strainer with a few layers of cheese cloth. then scrape 16 ounces or 2 cups (480g) of plain whole-milk yogurt into the cheesecloth. Gather the ends and fold them over the yogurt, then refrigerate for at least 6 hours. So, for the above recipe start with and strain 6 cups of yogurt.
Makes about 1 quart.
I made 2 gallons of mix in Friday night, cleaned the ice cream makers and chilled them overnight. I arrived at the dairy at 5 AM yesterday morning as I usually do but in addition to packing coolers with Steve for market, debagging curd, turning cheese and loading the van, I made frozen yoghurt as well. Once churned, I scooped it into 2 gallon plastic containers, covered and packed in a cooler filled with ice. We decided to start scooping at 10AM in order to give the frozen yoghurt time to freese and set up. I mixed it every 20 minutes and sure enough it became thicker and colder and not too icy.
Here is Nathan selling the first cup - we sold out in just over an hour to rave reviews.
And what would a yoghurt launch be like without a photo of a very cute future yoghurt eater?
Thursday, July 10, 2008
I bandaged the cheddar this evening, first taking some used cheese cloth (real cheese cloth has much higher thread count than what you find in the grocery store), cut it to size, sanitized it, moistened it, and applied a generous coat of the lard I rendered earlier in the week. Once the bandage soaks up the lard it sticks to the cheese beautifully.
I'll continue to turn the cheese regularly and check the rind. It may need occasional patting, brushing or additional applications of the lard.
Monday, July 7, 2008
Friday day was a big first for me. Steve has encouraged me to start making my own raw milk cheese so we pulled some books together, hit the web and found a cheddar recipe that met our needs. (Just as an aside, Steve submitted our own Providence for consideration, a cheese I now help make, to be included in the American Raw Milk Cheese Presidium held on June 29th.) I used 1/3 milk from the goats in the back yard and the other 2/3 from Sammy's milk fresh from his delivery. The recipe came from The Cheesemaker’s Manual by Margaret Morris for 25 gallons of milk. Neither Steve nor I had previously made cheddar although he saw demonstrations and I observed a cheddar make while attending the Cal Poly Artisan Cheesemaker's Short Course last September in San Lois Obispo. We sat down, planned the make and I went to work with my MS Word Tables and made a nice work sheet.
Once the milk was in the vat I checked the pH and slowly heated it to 88F. The culture was a nice farmstead blend called MA4001 which Samantha happened to have a supply of. I'm just getting into the details of all the different cultures starting with balancing the use of mesophilic and thermophilic but that is an entirely different discussion. Once the culture was added, the milk ripened for 1 hour and the pH checked again. I had a good indication the culture was working (the pH decreases by at least 0.1) so I added the calcium chloride and the rennet. After 45 minutes I checked the curb for firmness and cut it after 1 hour. The curd rested for 5 minutes and then I gently stirred it for 45 minutes while raising the temperature to 102F. The curds were then held at 102F for 30 minutes after which the whey drained away.
The cheddaring begins when the curd is piled up in the back of the vat. I cut the curd mass into 4 blocks and then piled them up where the work to press each other and continue to acidify. This turning and flipping is done for an hour, all while in the vat to keep the curd warm and moist. The final step of cheddaring involved cutting the curd by hand (since we don't have the mill that does it for you) into long strips that are salted and placed into the Kadova moulds Steve had in the basement from his Gouda days. Once in the moulds the cheese is pressed. The pressing was a bit rigged since we no longer have routine need for a cheese press. But a few buckets filled with water and carefully balanced will do the trick. The cheese was pressed overnight and taken out of the moulds on Saturday.
We will let the cheese dry a few days. I will then apply a bandage using the pork fat from our whey fed pigs. The result - a true farmhouse bandaged cheddar. In 3-4 months we'll know if my first cheddar making experience is good enough to sell.
This afternoon we used a trier to take a core plug of the wheel. We wanted to take a look because if you look closely you might see a mottled appearance where the curds are white against the cream color of the wheel. We were concerned that the moulding and pressing might not have fully melted the curd together. The core looked fine and better yet, tasted fine.
And just for kicks, this morning we made our usual Camembert and Julian, adjusting the culture for the decreasing protein in the milk that occurs during the summer. Our pH's were right on, the draining curd looked good. A very good Monday!