Cheesemaking- First Time!


IMG_20141109_194531576I keep a list of things we make ourselves now rather than buying; cheesemaking has been on my radar for a while. I love cheese and the idea of making it fresh, saving money and having it whenever we want or need it in something seems like a dream.

But like many things, uncertainty looms over and sometimes causes me not to try immediately.  Daughter Rachael knew that and bought me a Cheesemaking Kit for my birthday. It makes goat, mozzarella and ricotta cheeses and bunches of each. And although you don’t need much to make cheese, having a kit with a little thermometer, cheesecloth, rennet tablets, citric acid and cheese salt already in it, along with a really cute little cartoony type instruction booklet made it seem so simple!

This past weekend, while daughter Laura and family visited I thought that would be the perfect time to try it out. Hubby makes a killer pizza crust and I had canned pizza sauce from the garden in the pantry. Cheese and a few veggies were all that would be needed for a great grilled pizza, so out came the kit and off Laura and I went into our cheesemaking endevour!

Milk is important! Buying raw would have been fantastic, but I could not get my hands on it. I bought organic milk but not one that was high temperature pasteurized. I will say the end result was great, so the milk we selected worked.

First you pour the entire gallon into a pot, add your thermometer and wait. Cheeses are different, but we needed to wait until 90 degrees was hit before proceeding. It took several minutes for our icy cold milk to reach that temp.

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Once it did, we could begin adding our other items like the citric acid and rennet. Our directions told us what temp to hit and at what point. It was easy to follow and surprisingly simple to proceed. We watched the thermometer, stirred and like a miracle little curds started to appear and rather rapidly at that!


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At the appointed time (which was pretty short), we could scoop out our curds.

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We drained the water off, divided it in two pieces and shaped each into a ball and dropped it back in the whey for just a bit. When the cheese “ball” it 135 degrees we removed it and began kneading it. In the end we shaped ours into balls. It was AMAZING! We had made cheese!

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One ball was saved for the next day and we used it in a quiche for breakfast. BUT the other was enjoyed immediately on our pizza.

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It was so yummy. I don’t know that I can ever go back again. After my supplies from my kit are gone, I will buy what I need and continue on. Like so many things, once you cross the hurdle and try, you are so glad that you did. This was no exception. Yeah for another rite of farmgirl passage and into the cheesemaking world!

Happy Unleashing!

FGU

Rite of Passage-Pole Barn COMPLETE!

DSCN3449 Yes, the pole barn is complete; by that I mean no more construction crews out here.  Our work is now beginning.  Cleaning up the basement, garage, porch, deck, etc now is on us!

The fascination that I experienced in seeing this thing go up is beyond words.  The crew was excellent!  Our building inspector said “they could teach us all how to build right!”.  We loved them so much we have engaged them for another project here.

Here are some pictures of the  construction of the walls, setting of windows and doors and getting it to the place where concrete could come in.

Then came the concrete.  The precision with which they poured and spread was amazing!  BUT more amazing was that they did not get it all over themselves. I get dirty just looking at stuff! I know that I could not work with concrete—I would end up a statue no doubt! One of the women had white shorts on and she was a clean going as she was coming.  I just don’t get that!

My favorite part was adding the cupola.  Since one of my many dreams is having chickens, we selected (I selected, ok) a rooster for the weather vane.  He is my inspiration and my first chicken.  His name is Gus. 🙂

Then it was our turn.  The project was done at 7pm Friday night.  We took a candle and a bottle of bubbly (and the dog of course) and celebrated the official Rite of Passage completion!

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The weekend brought excitement as we began moving in.  Our garage thanks us; our basement thanks us; our porch thanks us!

A couple new hummingbird feeders have found a home on the lean to and Jasmine is happy to have yet another place to lay around on.

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Can I get a YIPEE! from anyone?  I am so excited, I love it so much.  For a girl who didn’t even know what a pole barn was a year ago, this has really helped in unleashing my inner farmgirl!

Thanks for reading and following this journey.