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.