Alright, back in the saddle. I made some Colby cheese at last. As usual, it was not without complications. I left the sink for just a minute to run upstairs but in that time the pot floated up and when I came back the faucet was pouring directly into the milk! I was worried this meant it wouldn’t set up right, but ultimately it did. Colby is much like cheddar although the curds are washed, so I figured the faucet was just a bit of a presoak.

The other trouble came when I went to pull the followed out of the mold after pressing. I can’t remember if I blogged about this messy process?

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I made that perfectly shaped follower out of cheese wax then shaved it down so it slips and slides easily through the mold. Except not so easily this time- it got stuck! I will shave it down a little more next time. I failed to account for the width of the cheese close but otherwise it works so much better than the lid of a jar that I had been using. This recipe made a lot of cheese, nearly two molds full.

I had hoped once we started the cow lease the grocery budget would go down but the same amount and for the first few weeks it did but the last two cycles….not so much. I was upset until I realized we haven’t actually started EATING any of the hard cheeses I have put up yet. Checking up on the progress made me feel better:

The camenbert has had a miraculous recovery or so it seems. The white mold has taken over and the whole thing is feeling squishy like it should. There is clearly a problem in that it is over moist. Mold ripened cheeses need to be sequestered from others in order to prevent all cheeses in your “cave” from being overtaken by the wrong molds. So, I have to put it in a tupperware on a draining dish. this tupperware is round and I didn’t have any round draining grates so it has had a little too much exposure to water- easily fixed next time. Now it is time to wrap it in the paper all your baby bries always come in?  That is a special breathable plastic that prevents the mold from overtaking, and keeps the humidity proper. Although I was too cheap to buy that so probably my moisture problem will persist I am using some aluminum foil loosely wrapped.

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I also jumped the gun and went ahead and oiled the parmesan. Cheeses that are not waxed need to be oiled after aging for about two months to prevent from drying out too much. I went ahead and did it early since I had such a small amount. Since the aging time on parmesan is so long I am looking forward to putting up some more in the next few weeks so I have one I can let age a little longer and one to try as soon as it is ready.

The first of the hard cheeses will be ready February 10th. It will be traditional cheddar. Any ideas how would be best to use it?

I made the Fitnessita’s kale salad which is amazing just like she says.

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I also saw this pin for how to use juicer pulp. I haven’t tried any of the ways yet, mostly because I feel a perverse sense of joy putting it in the compost but I am excited to try the savory pancakes. It made me think about all of the whey we waste. Whey is actually super good for you and has practically no casein so I feel bad wasting it. If you are making hard cheese you can use pure whey to make ricotta if it is within three hours. However, I have not had great results with this. It only yields a few tablespoons unless you supplement with cream and then I am just adding cream to the whey and using the whey as a medium to turn cream into ricotta. Allegedly you can also make minty high protein whey-monaide but I just am not sure I can bring myself to do that. The only real was it gets used up is when John makes the bread. Whey makes baked goods 100 times better. The first time he used it in place of the water he made the most amazing like soft sandwich bread that tasted just like the store. I attributed it to whey until he told me he had replaced all of the flour with that “Special gluten flour” aka gluten. Moral of the story: whey makes your bread taste great but not as great as pure gluten.

I also perfected my yogurt technique. After culling the internet and making big watery messes in my crock pot I figured it out. Put milk in a mason jar. Add two tablespoons of yogurt (or yogurt prefrozen if you are worried you might run out of starter). Put it in the oven and turn the light on. 24 hours later you will have yogurt. No thermometer required. Just don’t turn the oven on (been there, done that).

I finally got all registered for the beekeeping class which starts in March. And just in time?

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Yay! Now how can I paint it that would make you (as the potential victim of a tort) say to yourself “While I am quite certain that is not a beehive, I am going to stay far away from it!”?

P.S. I am slowly re-uploading the photos that were deleted. Sorry for any inconvenience!

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