Saturday, October 8, 2011

Cheesy post

Hello all you cheese eaters!

So it happened again, no post for over a month. Well this can only mean things around here are going at break neck speed, well sort of, some of it anyway.

To begin we have some of the work that has been going on. As you may know we are in a drought and hay is at a premium. Most places will not sell you more than 20 bales at one time, but we found a place that would give us 60 so we grabbed it. Once back and had the truck parked the goats took advantage of the situation as illustrated by the following picture:

Next up is some of the milk handling activities. This is our second season of milk and we have been working on not wasting any milk. One of the tactics is to make it into cheeses. Emiloo has become very adept at many fresh type cheeses this year. This season I have been practicing at hard cheeses (as I may have said before.) Finally the first successful wheel of Gouda has come of age. By the time we broke into it the wheel was almost 3 months old, which by Gouda standards is very young, but I couldn't wait to try it. Here it is:

You will notice it has a black wax on it. As it turns out waxing cheeses is mainly for exporting them and many Dutch cheeses are not waxed at all leaving a natural rind. Since the cheese wax is a tad expensive learning that waxing was not a requirement for taste or moisture content was great news. Since wheel #4 I have not waxed any of the other 16 I have aging so we'll see if there is any difference in taste after all.

And as promised I have made several Cabra Al Vino wheels. Making this cheese is a little different than making Gouda in a couple of ways even though they both are 'washed curd' cheeses. First, there are the temperature differences, albeit slight and having little to do with the actual difference in the cheese. Second there is a separate step where all of the whey is drained off of the curds and allowed to form a slab. This slab is then cut into 1/4" cubes and salted whereas Gouda has no step like this and is not salted. Third, the Cabra wheels are pressed longer and left at room temperature longer than the Goudas. And finally the Cabra wheels are dunked in Wine as opposed to a brine solution as is a Gouda. So there it is, slight differences account for huge differences in taste, texture and look of different cheeses. Here is a pic of one of the Cabra wheels:

I have made 3 of these so far and as opposed to Gouda does not require or even needs to be aged. Cabra is supposed to be more moist and will (hopefully) be stark white on the inside. So far we have soaked them in Stavia, which is an Italian wine. The second was soaked in a Merlot (which hopefully tastes better on the cheese than it did in the glass.) And the last was soaked in a Cabernet. I totally want to break into the first one soooon. And as I promised if you are around at Thanksgiving, which is when we BOTH show up at family gatherings in Dallas, I will have one on me.

Other than that I have been pasteurizing milk and freezing it with the intent of making soap with it over the winter. And as a good note all of the soap samples I have handed out have come back with ringing endorsements. So hurray for that. And again as promised I will have some this holiday season to pass out.

And to prepare for the holiday season we are already 'drying off' our goats and are coming to an end of the second milking season. Very successful in my opinion. We have learned many new things, wasted very little milk, and have poised ourselves for a successful soap business.

Well that's it for now. Be safe out there and we'll see some of you very soon.


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