Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Holiday Cheer

Things seem to be overly moldy... again. The smell is not so great either.
Perhaps the basement isn't the best place for the cheese.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Moving Day Part 2

So it is long overdue, but the cheese has now been moved to the basement. Hopefully he will continue to ripen successfully.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Moving Day

So, I have been under the weather as of late and the cheeseman has been stinking to high heaven... so the idea came to pass that perhaps it was time for one of us to relocate. Me having more things, it was time for the cheese to go... downstairs that is.

He is now resting outside on the porch. I am hoping that more frequent airing outs will be more successful with controlling the mold situation.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Field Trip

It was such a lovely day, cheeseman decided it was time to go outside and play.

(Warning: Extreme wrinkle close up!)

And then it was time for a bath. A saltwater scrub and some dry-time on the table.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Leaning to the side

I am back home and Cheese is more lopsided and definitely in need of a brushing.

The wrinkles seem to be getting a little deeper, but the mold seems to be under decent control and not penetrating the cheese.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Canadian Cheese

I got to taste cheeses from British Columbia... in British Columbia!!

Most interesting was a tomme-style washed with blackberry port. It made me slightly homesick and very exited because it was just around 6 months old and still gave to pressure (just like cheesie!).

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Not ready - yet

Originally today was going to be the official "cut the cheese" day, but cheeseman is still a little soft and I really want to see what another month or two can do. It is a bit of a risk because flavors (both good and bad) will intensify, but since it wasn't too salty when I cored it, I think its worth the gamble.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

6 months old!!

Things are looking pretty good...

Cheese is 6 months old today!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Cheesemaking, Part II

Last night I made curds, today I made mozzarella!

I loosely used this recipe: Fankhauser's Mozzarella Recipe

It came out a little bit rubbery, but the flavor was awesome!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


The day has finally come... Tasting Day.

I cored the cheese (a bit unscientifically, with paring knife) and tasted it. The knife was short, so I didn't get all the way into the center, but I still could get a good view of what is going on.

Soft, creamy, a little damp and no veining or mold on the inside!

Then I plugged up the hole with lard.

The texture: soft, creamy a bit velvety.
The taste: a little spicy/peppery, like the aftertaste of arugula.
(I was worried it would be too salty, because of the over salting at the beginning, but it was not salty at all. In fact, I could not taste salt at all.)

Since the consistency is so soft, I am going to let the cheese age for a bit longer. The tentative Cut The Cheese day is now going to be in late June, early July.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Hanker for a Hunka

In lieu of slicing into cheeseman and inspired by last weeks findings, I opted for a piece of Appleby's Cheshire.

It is surprisingly creamy, yet crumbly and nutty right next to the rind. A substantial part of this delicious dinner:

(Appleby's Cheshire, baguette, Couronne Lochoise and pea tendril salad.)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

No More Kid Gloves

Tonight, someone asked to take a look at the cheese, I kindly obliged. When I went to put him back I realized that I wasn't moving him gingerly, oh no, I picked him up and flipped him over without worrying about the structural integrity. The rind is truly formed!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

A new reason to pump iron

The waiting game is becoming tedious. Each day I contemplate coring cheesie, just for a little taste. It is becoming harder and harder to restrain. To pass the time I have been brushing up on my cheesemaking knowledge. Visiting: Neal's Yard Dairy I finally discovered why I had so much trouble having the muslin stick to the outside of the cheese.

The cheesemakers of Appleby's Cheshire demonstrate their technique:

That's right, an IRON! They run an iron over the top of the wheel, to heat the cheese so the cloth sticks. This tid-bit of knowledge makes me want to make more cheese ASAP.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Ugly Underbelly

The straw mat was taking longer to dry than anticipated, so I put the cheese back in the fridge on a plate, with part of the cheese resting on the lip of the plate so air could still circulate.

Big mistake...

There definitely was not enough air circulating, and the mold went crazy. I brushed off as much as possible and returned him to his comfy, dry straw mat in the fridge.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Mold, lots of mold

I went to flip le cheese and the entire straw mat was covered in mold. Unbeknownst to me, condensation was forming on the back wall of the fridge, then dripping down and puddling onto the straw mat.

I brushed the cheese and scrubbed the mat with boiling water and vigor. I feel like a very bad cheese parent, neglecting bedding and whatnot.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

New Fan

I bought a new battery-operated, oscillating fan for $2.99.

With two new AA batteries, it lasted for less than 8 hours.

I am going back to the drawing board.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Spores Galore

The mold is spreading. A small patch is now growing on a corner of the straw mat.

Everything is smelling a lot more vegetal, almost like dirt/compost.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Buzz in Need of Rescue

Buzz Lightyear died two hours after I put him in the fridge.

After a new set of batteries, he was up and running again. I checked in on the situation, a few hours later, and the fridge smelled like burning plastic. Apparently Mr. Lightyear is really a child's play-thing and not up to the task of long-term air circulation.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Buzz Lightyear to the Rescue

The cheese has been lacking air circulation. At first I didn't think this would be a problem, but the rind is still not as firm as it should be. Trying to purchase a fan in the middle of a New England winter is as about as successful as herding cats. So I was quite grateful to find the Buzz Lightyear fan, at the deceptively named Dollar Store, for $2.

After several failed attempts at trying to keep the "on" button held down while keeping the fan upright to do its fanning, I rigged up this.

Using the neon green cord, I tied the fan upside down to one of the door bars, and using a plastic zip tie, held down the "on" switch.
The first few attempts ended with straw getting caught around the foam blades, but after some height adjustments, it seems to be working.

At the suggestion of a cheese friend, I also swapped out the dish towels for a bowl of salt water.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Cotton Candy Mold

Here is the white mold. Close up, it looks a bit like wisps of cotton.

The good new:
The rind is drying out and the cheese is firming up!
The even better news:
It appears that the orange mold has stopped spreading. (You can see it above, on the top edge in the foreground, getting covered over with the fluffy, white mold.)

I did end up removing most of it tonight. The mold became less cute and fluffy, and slightly grey and dingy looking. Most of it came off with a gentle brushing.
(There is a dark grey/black mold that grows off the sides of cheese, called 'poile de chat' - cat's hair. It is usually found on goats' milk cheese, so I am pretty confident the mold on cheesie is a type of penicillium... but I am not 100%)

Saturday, March 3, 2007

The Fuzz

There is a white fuzz enrobing most of the cheese. I am not sure what it is, perhaps penicilium?

Against my better judgement, I am going to let it grow for a few days.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Wrinkles are beautiful

The cheese has finally started to firm up! The lard is drying out a lot faster, and with the exception of a few wrinkles, the rind is looking a lot better.

Still a decent amount of mold, but currently none of it seems to be spreading.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Half Way There

Happy Half-way Birthday Cheese!!

To celebrate the cheese's 90 glorious days of existence, I broke out the last of the homemade pumpkin ravioli. (The ravioli that are filled with the ricotta from the cheese's leftover whey.)
Brown butter, shallots, 4 types of mushrooms, fresh sage and a hint of nutmeg... mmmmm!

Here are the birthday pictures. (Note the cheese was too cool to wear a party hat.)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

And He Shall Be My Squishy

It is almost the cheese's half-way birthday, he will be 3 months old this Monday, and my goal was to core and taste the man. Sadly, while the edges are firming up, the sides and the middle are still squishy - like a ripe banana.

The good news is that it smells more and more like cheese. Less and less like sweet salt marsh, gaining a stronger rotting/funky smell. The closest real-cheese-smell I can relate it to is generic blue cheese smell, but I wonder if that is just because of the mold.

Note the gray colored spots are really blue-green, and the spot in the middle above the white one is dark brown. (Owning a camera phone does not a photographer make.)

I brushed off all the mold, with the exception of the orange spot from the underside that refuses to budge, I think things are looking a-ok.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Fridge Woes 2

7:23 am
65 degrees
humidity over 80%

Apparently the timer didn't tell the fridge to turn on last night. The mold that had just started growing last night, has flourished.

After 20 minutes, 2 extension cords, a surge protector and a new outlet, I got the fridge back up and running. (With enough time to spare to grab free coffee and doughnuts before work!)

I have yet to hear from the "dairy consultant," so I am just going to brush off as much mold as I can and try to keep temp around 50.

Monday, February 5, 2007


The mold fiasco from yesterday left me nervous, so I called in the big guns... a dairy consultant.

Removing the extra muslin apparently unleashed a furry. The sweet apple smell is gone. Cheeseman smells like a footlocker and mushrooms.

Sunday, February 4, 2007


I began brushing off the excess mold forming on the outside of the cheese. This was pretty easy, since much of the lard was still soft, except for the edges. Then I used a chopstick and moist paper towel to collect the mold, working my way around the cheese.

I decided to lift up one of the "bandages" to see how the surface was doing.

Low and behold, a lot more mold; mold in colors that was not on the chart of cheese molds.

As I peeled back the layers, more mold.

Mold Of Unusual Size!

At this point, each time I scraped the mold, my nose started to run (spores flying all about and my allergies when haywire).

With cuticle cutters, I stripped back all the extra muslin.

I was ok until this...

Orange mold usually only forms on washed rind cheese. What is it doing here?!

I scraped off as much as I could.
Most of the molds do not like salt, and the mold chart recommended washing the rind with a brine solution (after scraping off extra mold) to keep the surface clear.

(Glistening from the bath)

Back in the cheese hut, with the handy-dandy new timer set to turn on and off every 6 hours, and the hydrometer reading in the 70s.

Saturday, February 3, 2007


A cheese friend lent me Farmstead & Artisan Affinage Training Manual by Peter Dixon. It contains a bunch of articles about cheese and affinage (the art of aging cheese). Sadly, there were no pictures, but there is a chart that lists types of molds by color.

So far, I think the cheese has at least three types, maybe four.

BLUE - Penicillium

WHITE - Scopulariopsus, Penicilium or Geotrichum

PURPLE - Aspergillus

While a few of these can produce good flavor, most of the advice says to brush/wash off most of the molds. This will be tomorrow's project.

Friday, February 2, 2007


The cheese smells like sour apple candy today.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Raw Milk

The raw milk lecture tonight was amazing! Not only did I get to sit next to a super famous anthropologist, I learned a ton of new facts about milk.

Such as:
Most of the B-vitamins in cow's milk are in the milk fat; most commercial skim milk contains additional powdered milk to make it look whiter; & pasteurization kills many enzymes in milk, including the one that helps humans digest lactose.

(The Culinary Historians of Boston had an impressive spread of cheeses and snacks to go along with the chat!)


Upon the fantastic suggestion of PickledBeets, I bought these at lunch:

Heavy Duty Timer - $14.99 + tax
Hydrometer/Thermometer - $8.99 + tax

(Hydrometer was suggested months ago by Michael of Twig Farm.)

Cheese expenses to date: $101.48

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Heat = Stink

I forgot to turn the cheese fridge back on this morning. (I have been shutting it off at night, to keep the back from freezing and to keep the electric bill reasonable.)
I did not realize this horrible oversight until 10:36 a.m., well into the work day. Asking your boss to "go home to check on the cheese" apparently is not a valid excuse for leaving work.

I just arrived home and the boy stinks... a lot.
Musty, damp, flooded basement funk added to the rotting fruit cocktail and old man sock smell.

At first I felt like a delinquent cheese owner, but they didn't have refrigeration in the 1700s, so maybe this will just help speed the aging process.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Cheese dip

I swear I have not been taking my cheese-flipping duties lightly, but the top of the cheese was definitely had a concave shape this morning. It is not too drastic, there do not appear to be any cracks, but I am not sure these "cheese experts" are correct about only flipping it twice a week. I am going to ramp it back up to every other day to be on the safe side.

Lucky 13

There are now 13 spots on the cheese - ranging from the size of a tic-tac to a full quarter.
Most of them are bright yellow, three have hints of green, one of those has a dark green/blue hue in its center. One spot is dark brown.

A cheese friend has offered to lend me his book on mold. (Apparently it is similar to a bird watching book, only with pictures of cheese mold and but does not come with a whistle.)
Hopefully I can correctly identify each and then brush/rub/scrape any bad mold off.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Current Height - 4"
Current Diameter - 6 1/2" or 6 3/4" (still lop-sided from the hernia)
Smell - old man socks (worn approx. 4 days without washing) filled with rotting fruit cocktail

5 gallons raw milk - $35.00
5 gallon bucket - $7.50
cheese cloth - $2.29
cheese press & mold - borrowed in exchange for a sample of final product
2 yards muslin - $2.75
1 cup lard - $1.00
kosher salt - n/a
rennet - $6.50 2.0 oz + $5.75 s&h
annatto - $1.23
refrigerator - borrowed for a cheese friend
straw - borrowed from a cheese shop
electricity (dec.) - $14.28
Total to date - $76.30

Monday, January 22, 2007

Cheesey Events

You can be a Friend of Cheese and also see upcoming cheese/food related events!
(The first one is about cheesie's ancestor, raw milk.)

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Cheeseman is running the electric bill sky-high. We are not talking 1.21 giagwatts, but since he has lived in his fridge, there has been a 22% wattage increase!

In addition to taking him out of the fridge every night for a little air, I am shutting of his watt-guzzling hut for a few hours each night. (I would send him to the basement for the duration of his aging, but it smells really weird down there and I am afraid he would get funky, in all the wrong ways.)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Nightly circum perambulation

I think I have solved the ice-on-the-back-wall-of-the-fridge problem. A nightly stroll.

I turned off the refrigerator for a few hours, left the door open, took the cheese out, and flipped it, then returned it to its bed of straw.

Hopefully this will speed the mold growth (I am officially calling the spots mold, although I have yet to see any fuzz, drying or spores) and keep the fridge from becoming a freezer and killing the cheese.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Momentary Spotlight Thief

Only a select few have ever seen le cheese, (most notably, ANFRFBP - Awesome Neighbor Friend Responsible For Birth Pictures). That all changed last night.

A great group of friends gathered my apartment for a birthday party. Cheese stole the spotlight from the festivities when inquiring minds wanted to know what he looked like. There was a bit of apprehension when I warned that he, indeed, has started to reek. But to everyone's surprise (mine included!) it didn't smell like much when I opened the fridge door.

"Wow, that's kinda fruity," and "It doesn't smell bad at all," were the most commonly uttered phrases.

Cheese gracefully went back to the fridge when the cake arrived.

And a FFoF (Fellow Friend of Fermentation) brought homemade beer to the party!

All in all, a fantastic evening.

Friday, January 12, 2007

See spot... sit!

The picture is a little over-exposed, but you can actually see one of the yellow spots, its now turned a hint of green in the middle.

There are three spots near the top and one on the underbelly, but tonight is flip-over night, so reverse that. All signs are pointing towards mold!

Cheeseman is sitting out on the counter because the straw mat he was resting on froze to the back of the refrigerator. Apparently the morning waterings have just condensed on the back of the fridge and frozen in one giant mass. The fridge is on the warmest setting, but obviously it’s still too cold. If it didn't stink so much (yes, its back to smelling like rotting fruit, pungent as ever) I would consider leaving it out on the straw mat in the open, but honestly I am not sure I can tollerate all of my clothes smelling like rotting fruit.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Cheese Pox?!

There are 3 spots on the top of the cheese, ranging from a pea to almost the size of a penny.

I am not sure, but it looks like it could be the start of mold!

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Fruit and Flowers?

Cheese is smelling fruity, again. The really stinky, rotting smell seems to be lessening, and fruit, almost floral smell is taking over.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Time for a girdle

Everything is getting a little droopy. The cheese cloth is bending at the seams. I don't know whether its better to un- and re-wrap, or just leave it be. The whole point of the muslin and lard was to form a protective seal, but if it's starting to pull away... I am wondering if it is doing any good.