Chicago Boyz

                 
 
 
 
What Are Chicago Boyz Readers Reading?
 

Recommended Photo Store
 
Buy Through Our Amazon Link or Banner to Support This Blog
 
 
 
  •   Enter your email to be notified of new posts:
  •   Problem? Question?
  •   Contact Authors:

  • CB Twitter Feed
  • Lex's Tweets
  • Jonathan's Tweets
  • Blog Posts (RSS 2.0)
  • Blog Posts (Atom 0.3)
  • Incoming Links
  • Recent Comments

    • Loading...
  • Authors

  • Notable Discussions

  • Recent Posts

  • Blogroll

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Cheesy Goodness

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on February 29th, 2012 (All posts by )

    After following all the directions given for making cheeses last fall, to include covering the various wheels with wax – we stashed the results on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to age. This is a very necessary step, or so we are assured: one or two of our ventures into D-I-Y cheesery had to age for up to a year to achieve perfection – the smoked gouda and the parmesan, for example – although most needed only about three months or so. The largest mold that we have does a two-pound wheel very nicely: that is, the curds which result from applying judicious amounts of heat, starter, rennet, and cheese salt to four gallons of whole milk fill it up to the top. This, when weighted and pressed to extract the remaining whey and compact the cheese curds, results in a cheese wheel about twelve inches around, and from two to almost five inches thick. It must sit and dry for a couple of days at room temperature, once taken out of the mold, before being waxed, labeled with the date (and how many months it must age!) before being stuck in the refrigerator to age.

    This week, we cut into the first wheel of cheddar; and was it good! It wasn’t very much like commercial cheddar from the supermarket, which usually has a smooth and kind of gelatinous texture, as well as a pronounced orange tint. Ours came out rather more like very, very expensive artisan Cheddar, with a slightly crumbly grain to it – somewhat like feta, but much firmer – and a lovely, creamy taste to it. It was mild, rather than sharp, it melts beautifully, and when I decided to make macaroni and cheese with it last night … I am telling you – food of the gods. The only disadvantage is that we will probably eat this up faster than we can make and age more. We rather like making things ourselves – bar the one or two flops. While it is cheaper to buy ready-made ordinary items like cheese … it is absolutely less expensive to make the good stuff yourself. And you know exactly what goes into it.

    Now, my daughter is looking speculatively at the canning supplies that are on display in our local HEB and wondering just how hard home-canning could be. It isn’t, although there are some things, like green beans, which if badly done, can give you botulism. I’d rather stick to fool-proof things; jams, jellies and pickles. And just last night, I went and looked up some recipes for making whole-grain mustard.

     

    10 Responses to “Cheesy Goodness”

    1. Robert Schwartz Says:

      If Hussein is re-elected, you will need that skill set.

    2. Sgt. Mom Says:

      Yep. We figure in the case of this, or the zombie apocalypse that our mad brewing skilz will come in handy, too.

      Curiously, the local home-brewing and cheese-making supply store is doing booming business. They opened about four years ago, and business for them has gotten better every year. In afternoons and on weekends, the place is never empty.

    3. Bill Brandt Says:

      So when’s the party?

      I’ll bring the crackers.

      Wonder how many kinds of cheeses there are – 1000s?

      My neighbor likes this Greek cheese – Casaba? (oh wait that’s a melon but it sounds similar)

    4. Sgt. Mom Says:

      This year, we made mini-cheeses and loaves of home-made bread for our neighbors, Bill.
      Greek cheese, sounds like casaba … maybe you mean kasseri?

    5. Bill Brandt Says:

      That’s the one Sgt! And that cheese is priced almost like gold. $7 for just a few ounces.

      A nice white wine – Pinot Noir? – sounds like a good complement to your delectable cheese!

    6. Dan from Madison Says:

      After the big die, you are welcome to Wisconsin, where I will have beef and eggs to trade you for booze and cheese. Ah hell who am I kidding, you have the booze, I will make the trip down there.

    7. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      Sgt. Mom,

      What are you using for your raw material? Are you buying milk or raising critters to furnish it?

      Subotai Bahadur

    8. Sgt. Mom Says:

      SB – we’re just using commercial whole milk: Sam’s Club has the best deals. I’d love to get a local source for goat milk, so we can do those cheeses, but the only kind on the store shelves is the super-pasturized stuff, which doesn’t work in cheese-making.

    9. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      If you had the room and resources to raise your own livestock, I was going to recommend that you take a look at the Dexter breed of cattle.

      http://www.motherearthnews.com/Sustainable-Farming/2001-12-01/Ideal-Small-Farm-Cows-Dexter-Cattle.aspx

      They strike me as appropriate things to have when things get “interesting”.

      As far as goats milk; I believe you are in Texas near San Antonio, if I am correct. If the local health food stores cannot line up a source for goats milk, check with the any local carniceria that sells cabrito. They will know who is raising goats in the area, and some of them will also be selling goats milk.

      Subotai Bahadur

    10. Sgt. Mom Says:

      Thanks, SB – I think the guys who run the home-brew and cheese-making supply store also have a line on local goat-milk, too. And at the Lockhart Evening with the Authors event last October, I swapped business cards with some local farmers who have goats.
      Speaking of the home-brew/cheese-making supply store, they are doing a heck of a business these days. We stopped in this mid-morning for starter, and there were half a dozen people there! On weekends, the place is jammed. Something tells me that a heck of a lot of people are preparing for the zombie apocalypse by brushing up on their food and drink prepping skilz.

      Oh, and I forgot to add one of the other useful things about home-cheesemaking: save the whey, when you pour it off the milk solids. We keep a jug in the fridge to use for making bread and pizza dough, instead of milk or water. Makes darned good bread, too.

      Back the old days, people who were raising a pig or two on the farm and making their own cheese would feed the whey to the pigs. Apparently it is very, very very good for the pigs.

      Hmmm … maybe we should spare some for the dogs, too.

    Leave a Reply

    Comments Policy:  By commenting here you acknowledge that you have read the Chicago Boyz blog Comments Policy, which is posted under the comment entry box below, and agree to its terms.

    A real-time preview of your comment will appear under the comment entry box below.

    Comments Policy

    Chicago Boyz values reader contributions and invites you to comment as long as you accept a few stipulations:

    1) Chicago Boyz authors tend to share a broad outlook on issues but there is no party or company line. Each of us decides what to write and how to respond to comments on his own posts. Occasionally one or another of us will delete a comment as off-topic, excessively rude or otherwise unproductive. You may think that we deleted your comment unjustly, and you may be right, but it is usually best if you can accept it and move on.

    2) If you post a comment and it doesn't show up it was probably blocked by our spam filter. We batch-delete spam comments, typically in the morning. If you email us promptly at we may be able to retrieve and publish your comment.

    3) You may use common HTML tags (italic, bold, etc.). Please use the "href" tag to post long URLs. The spam filter tends to block comments that contain multiple URLs. If you want to post multiple URLs you should either spread them across multiple comments or email us so that we can make sure that your comment gets posted.

    4) This blog is private property. The First Amendment does not apply. We have no obligation to publish your comments, follow your instructions or indulge your arguments. If you are unwilling to operate within these loose constraints you should probably start your own blog and leave us alone.

    5) Comments made on the Chicago Boyz blog are solely the responsibility of the commenter. No comment on any post on Chicago Boyz is to be taken as a statement from or by any contributor to Chicago Boyz, the Chicago Boyz blog, its administrators or owners. Chicago Boyz and its contributors, administrators and owners, by permitting comments, do not thereby endorse any claim or opinion or statement made by any commenter, nor do they represent that any claim or statement made in any comment is true. Further, Chicago Boyz and its contributors, administrators and owners expressly reject and disclaim any association with any comment which suggests any threat of bodily harm to any person, including without limitation any elected official.

    6) Commenters may not post content that infringes intellectual property rights. Comments that violate this rule are subject to deletion or editing to remove the infringing content. Commenters who repeatedly violate this rule may be banned from further commenting on Chicago Boyz. See our DMCA policy for more information.