Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Wrapping The Cams

Hello fellow Turophiles! :)

Here is the latest update. Today I wrapped the Camemberts and they'll sit in the cheese cave until Christmas! :)


Cheese Making supplies:

Glengarry Cheesemaking (Canada)

New England Cheesemaking (U.S.)

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Camembert Update


After one week of ripening at about 90% humidity and 11C (52F), my Cams are progressing wonderfully! Look at the white bloomy mould that is growing on them already! That's the Penicillium Candidum at work. :)

I'm continuing to flip and wipe them twice daily for another week, then I'll be wrapping them until the New Year! :)

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Camembert Tutorial (Video)

Hi Everyone!

Since this past summer, I've enjoyed making videos on my main blog (Rain's Garden) so much, that I thought it might be fun to make a video tutorial of how I make my cheeses. Today I'm going to link a video on how to make Camembert. The whole process took me the entire day but I condensed the video down to under 30 minutes.

I encourage EVERYONE out there to do some cheese making! If you don't want to start big, start with making yogurt, or ricotta, or even sour cream! I'll be making videos of all of my cheese making from now on to share.

I'm also going to re-vamp this blog a little bit over the next few months to better organize it!

If you want to have a better view, when you play the video, you can click on the "YouTube" icon to watch it on You Tube, enjoy!!! :)




Links:

Glengarry Cheesemaking Company - Canadian company in Ontario for cheesemaking supplies
New England Cheesemaking Company - U.S. company for cheesemaking supplies

Saturday, October 20, 2018

It's Camembert Season!


The bloomy whites have been started! Stay tuned for a video very soon! :))

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Sour Cream Recipe (The Best One!)



Hi Friends,

I haven't posted about cheese in ages! I guess that summer is for gardening and enjoying the weather, then for preserving the harvest. Cheese making season begins after Halloween! :) 🎃

I'm happy to say that I have finally perfected my homemade sour cream and I wanted to share the recipe. I find the BIG difference here is the ingredients. I was buying my ingredients from a company in Alberta; but their products were sub-par I've learned the hard way. Every single cheese I made last year with their products failed either in texture or taste. Their customer service was nothing to write home about either, they don't even have a phone number. I let the owner know about the failures but never heard a peep. It was so disappointing that I nearly gave up completely thinking it was just me, that I just wasn't cut out for cheese making.

I was WRONG. 😃

I now buy my products from a company in Ontario called Glengarry CheeseMaking. The cheeses and creams I make with their products are not sour and much creamier. This gives me hope that maybe I can try to make some Cheddar successfully this fall and winter! I also plan to make more Camemberts too so stay tuned. :) 

Here's the recipe...it's SO EASY. It costs about $3.25 CAD (in my area) to make 2 cups. 

**************************************

Sour Cream

(makes about 2 cups)

Ingredients:

- 1 liter of whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/8 tsp Calcium Chloride mixed into 1/8 cup cool, filtered water
- HALF OF 1/8 tsp mesophilic culture
- 1 drop double strength rennet mixed into 1/8 cup cool, filtered water

Directions:

1. Heat the milk, cream and Calcium Chloride slowly in a pot to 86F, mixing gently to make sure it doesn't burn or stick to the pot.

2. Add the culture and let it sit for 3 minutes, then stir well, but slowly.

3. Add the rennet and stir well, but slowly for no more than a minute.

4. Cover the pot and let it sit overnight at room temperature (12-15 hours).

5. The next day, check your sour cream. If you see it pulling away from the sides of the pot, it's ready to be drained; if not leave it longer. I usually leave mine about 15 hours or so.

6. Line a colander with cheese cloth and ladle the sour cream into the colander. Let it sit for an hour, keeping the whey for other uses. Remember to barricade your set up from the cats!! They love the smell of this!

7. After an hour, tie the ends of the cheese cloth together and hang it up, letting the rest of the whey drip out. This needs to hang and drain another 8 hours. I hang mine from the kitchen cabinet and let it drip in a pot on the counter.

Keeps about a week or so.

Trouble Shooting: If it doesn't set, you didn't use enough rennet or your rennet is bad. If it's too sour, you used too much rennet and/or your culture is bad.

Some suggestions for sour cream, I use it A LOT!! Click on the links for the recipes!

Mexican Lasagna
Papas Fritas

Crunchwraps
Homemade Chili

Mexican Dip
Homemade Tartar Sauce

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Blog Comments

THIS IS A POST I DID ON MY MAIN BLOG: Rain's Garden with regards to a new policy on Blog Comments!


Here are a few of the 66 tomatoes that are finally turning red! :) I see salsa in my future... ;)


And my very first sugar pumpkin...do you think it'll have enough time to ripen?

Blog Comments:  My friends, I'm sorry to say this, but I have to turn off the "anonymous" comment feature for my blog. I don't know what the heck happened, but I woke up the other morning to over 800 comments (no joke!!!) from "Anonymous"...everything from graphically violent attacks, to bigotry to the likes of the Nigerian Prince scam of the 1990's. I even got comments saying that the Federal Government is suing me for tax evasion lol...

And all throughout the last few days I keep getting hundreds more on various posts on my blogs.

This doesn't worry me at all, I know they are just randomly generated, but it's just annoying, so I'm going back to only allowing comments from people with Google accounts. I know that some of my followers don't have accounts with Google, but I hope you understand. I just don't have the time to moderate comments when I'm getting so many spam ones.

This also applies to my other two blogs: Rain's Thoughts and Rainy Day Cheese Making...both of which I intend to resume after Labour Day as well! :)

If you don't want to open a Gmail account, I totally get that, but if you want to contact me, you can always use the Contact Form on my sidebar! I'm also on Instagram.

Thanks for understanding! :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

🐭 Alpine Cheese - SUCCESS!!! 🐭


Hello my cheesy friends :)

I haven't written much on this blog in a while...the Cheddar fails nearly broke my cheese making spirit...and I didn't even mention my Dry Jack cheese fail (we opened it May 1st and it was sour!)...I nearly gave up on the cheese making. In fact, I wasn't going to renew this domain name but Alex encouraged me. I'm so glad he did. The Alpine cheese I made last October was a success!!! :) (I will find time shortly to post the recipe!) Aging it for 7 months made it really flavourful.

This is a "Baby Swiss" cheese. I had so many issues with it because I couldn't seal it properly due to its size. I had to cut it and seal it and that created too many pockets for mold so half the cheese was wasted, but what was left (above) tasted like a mix between Parmesan and Jarslberg!!


I was so encouraged that a few days later I put together a nice cheese platter for dinner. EVERYTHING on this platter was homemade or homegrown! (Except the red wine!) We had dinner on the screened-in veranda...yup, the black flies have emerged! We opened up the last of my homemade Camemberts...


...with my homemade No Knead Bread, I made a Quick Mozzarella, picked some homegrown Buttercrunch lettuce and Alex cubed up the Alpine cheese.


I made some Sour Cream and added a bit of Homemade Yogurt with maple syrup and it kind of tasted SLIGHTLY like Philly cream cheese! This was motivating, so I made my Boursin style cheeses, one with homegrown chives and one with candied cranberries. I also made a Cilantro Bruschetta (with homegrown chives and cilantro) and some Apple Butter. What a feast, and I'm so proud that NOTHING was processed! :)


Later on we decided to celebrate my cheese making with some Tom Collins'. :) It's a nice refreshing drink with lemon, gin and fuzzy water. :) Oscar the cat approved. :)


Walking the dogs each morning on the mountain brings me so much joy. Life is back to normal. The next rainy day I'll be making some more Alpine cheese and Cams! :) I hope to try a new recipe this summer now that my motivation is back. :)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Homemade Sour Cream


The first "cheese" of 2018!!!  :)

I made a "cream cheese" the other day. This recipe is so easy, anyone can make it. BUT...as I mentioned in 2017, it does NOT taste like any cream cheese that my palate is used to! I.e. Philadelphia-style cream cheese. I can't recreate that cream cheese because it has questionable additives to make it sweet. But I did try to recreate it last year, without success...I won't be giving up though. So in the mean time, this "cream cheese" recipe will now be called a sour cream recipe!

Sour Cream
(makes about 500g)

Ingredients:

- 1 liter of whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream (35%)
- 1/8 tsp Calcium Chloride mixed into 1/8 cup cool, filtered water
- 1/4 tsp buttermilk culture
- 1 drop double strength rennet mixed into 1/8 cup cool, filtered water

Directions:

1. Heat the milk, cream and Calcium Chloride slowly in a large pot to 86F, mixing to make sure it doesn't burn or stick to the pot.

2. Take off the heat, add the culture and let it sit covered for 3 minutes, then stir well for one minute, but slowly.

3. Add the rennet and stir well, but slowly for no more than a minute (more than that and it stops working it's magic to make your curd).

4. Cover the pot and let it sit overnight at room temperature (12-15 hours). I checked mine at 10pm after 10 hours and it wasn't done, so I let it sit overnight, a total of about 20 hours and it was fine.

5. Check your sour cream. If you see it pulling away from the sides of the pot, it's ready to be drained. If it doesn't look like it's pulling away, gently dip your finger into the curd, if it feels like a good semi-soft tofu, it's ready.

6. Line a colander with cheese cloth and ladle the sour cream into the colander. Let it sit covered for an hour, keeping the whey for other uses or for your plants (they love it!).



7. After an hour, make a hanging set up, like the photo above. This needs to hang and drain another 8 hours.

8. After 8 hours, transfer the sour cream into a container and refrigerate, this will harden it up some. It will be good for about a week to ten days.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Two of the Three Cheddars Were a Success!


Instead of repeating my entire post here, I'll be lazy and give you a link to my other blog where I posted about Cheese Night!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Cream Cheese Recipe and "Philadelphia" Cream Cheese


When I first made my batch of cream cheese, I was very surprised at the results. It was very tangy and tasted more like a really good sour cream than anything else. I guess being brought up in a city where food comes from the grocery store had me thinking that cream cheese should taste like the Philadelphia brand cream cheese, which is sweet when you compare the two.

After my initial disappointment, I decided to look up the ingredients of the Kraft version, the first three are acceptable:
1. Milk ingredients (should I assume this means milk and cream??)
2. Bacterial culture
3. Salt
But these two had me wondering:
4. Carob Bean Gum
5. Sorbic Acid (A071D)

Carob Bean Gum, also known as Locust Bean Gum, is a gelling agent derived from the Carob tree. It's also sweet, so it acts as a sweetener in the cheese. But that word "derived" bothers me...how exactly is it derived and what is the final product?

Sorbic Acid is a food preservative, thus the long expiry dates on the products. Homemade cream cheese is good for about a week or so only.

I'm not trying to burst anyone's bubble, both Carob Bean Gum and Sorbic Acid aren't known to be toxic to the system. I just want to try to go the natural route as much as possible. Still though, that Philadelphia cream cheese is good stuff and I'll buy it until I can perfect my own!


Firstly, I decided to try to make the cream cheese again, since the first batch was used as a sour cream with our Mexican dishes. As an experiment, I did two batches, the recipe is exactly the same except I used two different bacterial cultures.

The buttermilk culture batch came out much creamier and less tangy than the mesophilic culture batch. Both still tasted more like sour cream, sigh. I still wanted to make some Philadelphia cream cheese though!

So with all of that in mind, I did a search on the internet to see what others do to make their cream cheese a little more like the Kraft brand and came up with a few ideas. This is what I did.

I took one batch of my cream cheese, added a cup of vanilla yogurt and 2 tsp of salt.

Then I drained it for an hour, wrapped it up and put it in the fridge overnight. It was sweeter, but nothing like Philadelphia brand. I still have to work on this to figure out how to perfect it...but it did make some really good flavoured cream cheeses!

Here is the recipe. In total it takes 2-3 days before you get a finished result because you have to let it sit for many hours, but the whole process is simple:

Cream Cheese (makes about 3 1/2 cups)

- 2 liters of whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 tsp Calcium Chloride mixed into 1/4 cup cool, filtered water
- 1/8 tsp mesophilic culture or 1/2 tsp buttermilk culture (the buttermilk one was creamier)
- 2 drops double strength rennet mixed into 1/4 cup cool, filtered water

Directions:

1. Heat the milk, cream and Calcium Chloride slowly in a large pot to 86F, mixing to make sure it doesn't burn or stick to the pot.

2. Add the culture and let it sit for 3 minutes, then stir well, but slowly.

3. Add the rennet and stir well, but slowly for no more than a minute.

4. Cover the pot and let it sit overnight at room temperature (12-15 hours).

5. The next day, check your cheese. If you see it pulling away from the sides of the pot, it's ready to be drained.

6. Line a colander with cheese cloth and ladle the cream cheese into the colander. Let it sit for an hour, keeping the whey for other uses or for your plants (they love it!).

7. After an hour, make a hanging set up, like the photo above. This needs to hang and drain another 8 hours.

8. After 8 hours, transfer the cheese into a container and refrigerate, this will harden it up some. Remember, this is tangy, more like a sour cream, but to each his/her own! :)

Friday, November 3, 2017

Some Lessons Learned...Wasted Cheddar! Baby Swiss Update


Need I say more????

This orange coating is HORRENDOUS. I really cannot believe that anyone actually likes this crap. When we opened our first Cheddar before Halloween, it smelled like nail polish remover. We removed the horrible orange coating, cut a third of the cheese off (the thick rind) and let it "air out" for SIX days...it still smelled and tasted like the coating. My very first Cheddar that I made on July 28th is now in the trash.

SO DISAPPOINTING.


I had to make the sad decision to throw away this beauty too. This was the second wheel of Cheddar that I made in August. It was supposed to age for 6 months and be ready for Valentine's Day. I already know what it's going to smell and taste like, so why prolong the agony right? Sigh.

DON'T EVER USE THIS COATING PEOPLE!!! Don't let the cheese making supply shops convince you otherwise unless you like plastic-chemical tasting cheese. I nearly cried when I threw this out.

That is a lesson learned and I'm SO GLAD I didn't coat any of my other cheeses with this foul thing. I'm not giving up on Cheddar, I'm just going to age it more naturally in hopes that it'll turn out without any chemical odours and flavours. On to other lessons...


My Baby Swiss has been drying in the cheese cave, uncovered, for the last month. Every day I flip it and brush off any mould that has formed. You can see some tiny little dots of mould on the cheese. Here is another lesson I learned. It will be challenging to make a pressed cheese without the proper mold and cheese press. 


It took me about half an hour this morning to poke out all the mould from my cheese, and I'm sure I didn't get it all. I'm about to diss a well-loved company so be prepared. The New England Cheese Making company offers so many free recipes on their site; with a list of ingredients to buy. I'm not the first person to claim that their recipes are badly written on the site. I'm also not the first to report that cheeses made from their recipes taste nasty (my Colby). Just check out the cheeseforum.org and it's full of disappointed cheese makers who have used those recipes. And people who are frustrated by the lack of help and response when you email them.

The company claims that you don't need fancy molds and expensive cheese presses to get great results. Hmmm...not true at all. I didn't have the right mold for the Baby Swiss and it's really too thin. I didn't have an expensive cheese press, I had to use weights and cans and it's full of cracks and holes - ripe areas for mould to just dig in - something I found out this morning. I know that the inside of these cracks are full of mould, but I can't pick apart the entire wheel of cheese, I just have to hope for the best. We shall see. Ideally this should be a smooth texture with the holes on the INSIDE. What can you do? I guess I was mislead. But I'm still learning all about cheese making and I can only go up from here.


I forced a smile to try and change my mood today. It's tough though, failed curd cheese...failed cream cheese...failed Cheddars (because of that awful coating)...now it looks like I might have a failed Baby Swiss because I didn't have the right equipment. Sigh Sigh Sigh...Alex gave me his John Muir outback hat because the band makes his head itchy. I like it, it gave me a photo op this morning to try to turn my frown upside down lol! Okay, I've done better at smiling, but this is a good start lol! :)

Monday, October 30, 2017

Cheddar #1 : Taste Update


Three months ago, I made my first Cheddar cheese...you might remember all of the trouble it caused me from having to buy so many tools, to figuring out where to age it...then finally dealing with that nuclear "cheese coating". Remember what the box said? Just Add Milk...



The coating came right off but I have to say it stunk like something unnatural...nail polish remover maybe?? Anyway, we were a bit worried about the flavour. I had read that I should let it "air out" for a few days before eating it so that any lingering taste of plastic will dissipate. We couldn't help ourselves though! We tried it and yup, it tasted like that plastic coating.


But...the cheese is DARN GOOD!!! Once that initial taste is gone, the flavour of the cheese comes out. It was nice and mild but slightly tangy! There are some small holes, but that's due to the fact that I don't have a proper cheese press, but that's just fine. :) I would say that if I hadn't used the orange coating, this would have been a total success. We decided to cut the rind off and let it sit for a few days in hopes that it won't taste too plasticky anymore. But...if it does, this will be my first lesson to never use that stuff again. In fact, I've already decided not to. My second Cheddar which is aging 6 months is also coated so I'm going to take the coating off and let it also sit for a few days, then continue to age it.


The Cheddar on the bottom shelf is the 6-month coated one that I have to fix up. The red wine-infused Cheddar will be ready any time we want to try it. We also have a Newcastle-infused Cheddar for Christmas and a Cheddar aging for a year up there on the top shelf. I'm pretty confident that they'll taste great. Ideally I would love to not even have to seal them, but I don't have a real cheese cave yet so they need that protection!

Oh, and we get to try the Camemberts in a few weeks! I'm pretty pleased with the actual Cheddar cheese itself, and I'm very motivated to make more! :) 

Sunday, September 24, 2017

My Bloomy White Camembert


This week I tried my very first bloomy white cheese, a Camembert! In the photo I added an arrow to show you that as of yesterday, that bloomy white mold is slowly and gradually forming, which makes me very happy!


I love how a pot of milk with some cultures and additives can turn into any kind of cheese imaginable! This cheese smelled SO GOOD as I was making it, likely due to all the different bacteria that was added. You want a nice creamy gooey cheese as your result so as you stir, you have to pretend that you are trying not to break bubbles...that gently! Usually I stir the cheese quite a bit to release the whey, which creates a drier cheese. But in this case, I wanted the whey to stick around for as long as possible to keep the curds nice and saturated.


These are the molds. They are called Camembert/Brie Hoops. They have no tops or bottoms and are perforated on all sides to help the whey gently release over time. I bought some "cheese mats" too. Those are the plastic mats under the hoops. They are very sturdy and act as a colander. You don't need them to start, but I have to say it's a treat to have the proper equipment!


All of the curds and whey are gently ladled into the hoops. It takes a while because you have to wait for some whey to drain to add more. This process took me about a half an hour to fill the two hoops.


After a good full 24 hours of draining and flipping at room temperature, the cheese starts to form pretty well! 


I was able to take them out of the hoops after about 30 hours total and now they are in the ripening box forming more bloomy white. I'll do some updates over the next six to eight weeks as they progress and I'm really hoping that they are nice and creamy inside when it's time to cut them open!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Curd Cheese - New Technique, Same Problem!


Here is my bowl of curd cheese! I made this for poutine night the other day. This little bit of cheese takes a full 8 hours to make! I tried the same recipe I used before but a different technique to dry it up.


It's called "Cheddaring". Basically when the curd is all cooked and drained, you flatten it out and cut it into two pieces. You then layer the pieces and top it with heat for 15 minutes.


In my case, I filled two ziptop bags with hot water and put that on top of the layers. This is to help the curd continue to release whey and dry out. You repeat this process by flipping the curd from top to bottom, draining off any expelled whey, and making sure the heat on top is around 100F - all for a total of two hours. 

But...my curd still didn't squeak! When the curd cheese squeaks, it means you have the right texture for melting. I guess it's the same idea as the Mozzarella. If the Mozza doesn't stretch, it won't melt. If the curd doesn't squeak, it won't melt.


The flavour is definitely spot on...but the curd didn't melt with the hot gravy poured on top. I have another recipe that calls for buttermilk, and it's (quote) GUARANTEED (unquote) to squeak...we shall see the next time!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Cheese Updates


Colby Cheese: As I suspected, the holes are due to the fact that it wasn't pressed enough. When I made this huge cheese, which took 10 liters of milk!!!, I didn't have a big enough cheese mold. I wrapped the cheese in cheesecloth, then put it in a round plastic colander. 

When you make a hard cheese, it needs to be pressed down by weight. Between the cheese and your weight, you have what's called a "follower". It's basically the top part that pushes the cheese flat and holds the weight on top evenly.

I didn't have this piece of equipment for a larger cheese. I have one for my Cheddars, but they can hold a maximum curd from 6 liters of milk. Since my Colby was made from 10 liters of milk, I had to improvise with a cappuccino saucer, which wasn't as flat as I would have wanted!

If it were flat, then I would have no holes because I have the right amount of weight. Now, that's all technicalities because my cheese will still have a nice flavour! Mystery solved! I've ordered a bigger cheese mold with a follower.


I gave into temptation! I opened up the aging Mozzarella! I don't regret it at all, it was so delicious and melted very well on the pizzas we made. As you can see, I did a side-by-side comparison of 2 balls of Mozza that were made in the same batch. The one on the left is the one I aged for a week after it dried. The one on the right went right into the freezer after it was made. The aging process dried out the cheese and gave it a sharper flavour, as well as made it perfect for grating. The non-aged Mozza was very good, but the taste was much milder and the texture softer. A different cheese for a different purpose!


Look at this lovely cheese! I'm so proud that I made this! :) I hope I can always recreate this Pizza Mozzarella now! I just don't want to buy anymore store-bought "cheese food" anymore!!


12-Month Cheddar: The Cheddar that will age for the next year dried nicely. I had to brush off some mould spots a few times, but otherwise, the rind is nice and hard now after a week of drying. The first two Cheddars I made were coated with an orange cheese coating. This was to help keep mould off the cheese - didn't really live up to its claim, so I decided no more coating. Natural rind then sealing is the way to go!


Newcastle Infused Cheddar: I can't wait to cut into this one! I'm aging this until Christmas or New Year's. It smells like the beer and Cheddar mix that I thought it would! It's very exciting! I now have 5 Cheddars in the cheese cave.


I love my vacuum sealer! I do know that vacuum sealing ages the cheese differently from waxing or natural coating. Waxing provides minute air flow which helps in the aging process. Vacuum sealing is what it is...it seals food from air coming in. It will still age as the bacteria develops, but not as well as it would in other conditions. The flavour may not be as rich as it would if I had a real cheese cave too. But honestly? For my needs right now, it's the best choice. Cheesy-snobs would say that only amateurs vacuum-seal (yes I've heard that one...)...and that waxing is the only way to coat a cheese; then there are other so-called home-cheese-experts who will say that natural wrapping (with lard and cheesecloth) is the only true method of aging a cheese. Why must everyone be a critic??? I don't have the luxury of space so I've made my choice and I'm happy with it! :)


One day I'll wax a cheese at the same time as I vacuum-seal one, and test the results side by side. Then I'll probably decide which way I like better. And hopefully one day I'll have a big large REAL cave in the basement that is sealed from critters so that I can naturally age all of my cheeses!