Sunday, December 22, 2019

Fontina Taste Test

Hi Everyone :)

We tasted the two Fontina cheeses I made in September. Oh my gosh...both wheels were delicious! Each wheel was made with a different bacterial culture because I wanted to see, smell and taste the differences. I wasn't disappointed!! I will definitely be making this cheese again!

Friday, December 20, 2019

Wrapping My Camemberts

Hi Friends :)

My cheese making season is ramping up!! Today I had to check my Camemberts to see if the bloomy white mould was forming well, and it was! I wrapped them up and they'll be ready to eat around January 10th. I can't wait to try these!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

I Know Why My Cheese Doesn't Melt

My 2018 Camembert

Hi Friends,

I've done a lot of research and for those interested, I'm about to talk about why my cheese is not melting; as well as the outrageous way that milk is manufactured here.

Thanks to Leanna for suggesting some things that got me started on my melting research! FINALLY I found information that didn't require me to go back to University:

"Cheese is mostly protein, fat, and water, you can kind of think of cheese as a sponge." explains David Montgomery (Outreach Specialist and Assistant Coordinator at the Center for Dairy Research in Madison, Wisconsin).

"The protein strands, also known as casein, form the spongey-part of the sponge, the structure that gives the cheese its shape. The gaps in between the strands—or the "holes" in this proverbial cheese sponge are filled with fat and water, the other two main ingredients in cheese. So when a cheese is heated up, the protein structure breaks down, releasing the fat and the water, and that is what causes cheese to melt." (

Another lovely fact: 

"The nutritional bottom line is that pasteurization and homogenization (in milk) destroy nutrients and proteins, make healthy fats rancid, and cause free radicals to form in the body." (

My 2017 Red Wine Infused Cheddar

The only "whole" milk available to me is pasteurized and homogenized. So basically the milk that I buy has pre-damaged fat molecules and protein structures that are destroyed during production. Using grocery store milk, my cheese will NEVER melt.

By the way, "...and cause free radicals to form in the body"??? This is for another discussion!

I watched a video the other day by Gavin Webber. He lives in Australia and is a fantastic home cheese maker. He said the following - I'm paraphrasing, he was answering a question about North American "whole" 3.25% milk:

- The milk and milk product producers have many sources of dairy milk. They receive milk from a large number of dairy farms and mix them all together.

To make what's labeled as "whole" milk, the producers will skim off enough of the milk fat to make a global 3.25% "whole" milk. In Australia, the norm for "whole" milk is anywhere from 3.6% to 4.2% milk fat. In North America, the regulators have decided (for us) that 3.25% milk fat is more than enough fat for us to consume. We are being gipped!!!

The producers then take the cream (milk fat) that they skimmed off the milk to make both butter and what's labeled "cream". Here is another gip: They thin out the milk fat with water to make it stretch more, then add a gelatin to thicken it. Nobody who buys store bought cream and butter is actually getting pure cream and butter. - 

Now...I knew that our "whole" milk wasn't as fatty as other countries, just from reading things on the Cheese Forum. But I really had no clue about the cream.

So I decided to pull out my Quebon brand supposed 35% milk fat Whipping Cream and check the ingredients. You can see that I circled some culprits with the word "cellulose". This is the definition of cellulose in food production (among others):

A thickener or emulsifier that mixes well with water and prevents the water from separating from the liquid used in products such as ice cream and cream.

Cellulose may also be found on ingredient lists under the names carboxymethylcellulose, microcrystalline cellulose, or MCC. Although cellulose can be found in most plant matter, the most economical sources of industrial cellulose are cotton and wood pulp. (the

Oh dear, that last sentence made me feel sick, makes me think of hot dogs and all that crap they put in as fillers. My grandfather used to say they used sawdust to fill hot dogs...I don't think he was very far off...

So when I buy my supposed "whole" milk, I am buying a milk which has had a great deal of the milk fat destroyed (not to mention the protein structure). When I posed the question "how can I get my cheeses to melt?" I read a suggestion on the cheese forum, "add cream to your milk". Adding grocery store "cream" to my milk might compensate for the destroyed fat by way of cellulose, but will it compensate for the destroyed protein structure? I'm guessing not.

In Quebec there seems to be two dairy cooperatives: Agropur and Parmalat. These cooperatives basically consist of most of the dairy farmers in Quebec who supply the coops with fresh milk. Non-Quebec based cooperatives seem to be supplied their fresh milk from the DFC - Dairy Farmer's of Canada.

I checked the Metro brand butter I buy (that's a grocery store here in Canada). Sure the ingredient says "cream"...but where does Metro purchase their milk products? Likely from coops like Agropur or Parmalat. So wouldn't it be logical to assume that the "cream" they list as the ingredient is the same cellulose-filled cream that is sold by such coops as Agropur or Parmalat?

I found this photo on the internet of the ingredients in the Parmalat "Lactancia" brand of supposed "premium" cream. It lists pretty much the same ingredients as the Agropur Quebon brand. I wonder what their idea of "premium" is? More cellulose???

I won't even start talking about antibiotics, pesticides and the pasteurization and homogenization process...

This really opened my eyes but kind of made me feel like an idiot at the same time - why didn't I know this sooner? I used to read labels meticulously...Anyway, if I want a cheese that melts, I have to find a source of raw milk - which is not available for sale here, it's illegal. I want to live in a world where I can consume a cream that lists ONE ingredient: Full Fat Milk. If I want to add "carob bean gum" hell, I'll do it myself!

Most people don't have the equipment, know-how and room to have a few cows at we have no choice but to buy this stuff if we want to have cow milk products to use in cooking or to drink; unless we are lucky enough to have a friend who owns a cow! 

I could go further and start a conspiracy theory about cheese companies lobbying the milk producers into making shabby products so consumers MUST buy cheese instead of making their own!!! 😊

Do we even know what REAL cow milk and cream tastes like???

I thought about the goat milk that's available here too...the highest fat content is also 3.25% so one can only assume they use the same processes as the cow milk manufacturers. 

I used to laugh at this scene in one of the Simpsons episodes - it's a spoof of the movie Pulp Fiction. The cops are confused by McDonald's calling their beverage a "shake" because they called theirs a Krusty the Clown Brand "Partially Gelatinated Non-Dairy Gum-Based Beverage". Ain't it the truth!

I'm not ready to start making cheese from almond milk either. But then look at the ingredient list on the Natura brand almond milk...not as bad as the cow creams, but still, gellan gum is also an artificially manufactured gelling agent. 

For another discussion: how are you supposed to feel good about drinking a vegan beverage when it's still filled with processed additives? And furthermore, how are normal people with modest incomes supposed to afford organic food? The regulators and governing bodies make it all so difficult and expensive on the organic producers that they have to charge more for their products. It's kind of depressing that a Big Mac is cheaper than a half pound of grass-fed organic beef. 

I'm really considering getting a few cows when I settle down. Some days I feel like packing my essentials, moving into the woods and becoming a self-sufficient hermit...

Now I need to figure out why some of my cheeses are too tangy.



Thursday, December 12, 2019

Raclette Taste Test

Hello Everyone,

Today we opened up the Raclette cheese and tried it. The taste was quite strong, but very good. But...the same issue, it didn't melt!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Farmhouse Cheddar Tasting and Making Camemberts

Hi Cheese-Lovers! :)

I opened the Farmhouse Cheddar that I made at the end of October. Farmhouse Cheddar is basically a short-aged Cheddar. It aged for just one month and it's supposed to be more moist and creamier than a regular Cheddar.

I didn't post a recipe because I wanted to see how it turned out first. There are good points and bad points.

Farmhouse Cheddar to the left - 3-month aged Cheddar to the Right

It looks right! It has the right texture! It smells awesome. We re-sealed half of the 3-month Cheddar that we opened in October - you can see how the 3-month Cheddar is very firm, no holes. This is because an aged Cheddar goes through what's called the Cheddaring process. A Farmhouse Cheddar doesn't. The Cheddaring process removes more whey from the curd to make a firmer cheese. So as you can see, both cheeses look right.

Despite good looks, once again, there is a little tang to it. And it didn't melt. I even tried a different bacterial culture this time so I'm guessing it's the milk or the acidity level during ripening.

No matter how much research I do, I CANNOT find any information about acidity of cheese during cheese making in LAYMAN's terms that talks about tang and melt. I don't have a chemistry degree!  None of the books I own on cheese making address this. Plus, I simply don't have the time or attention span right now to learn about all of the chemical/technical aspects of cheese making...but I'm going to try my darndest to figure all of this out so that I can have a nice mild Cheddar! I wrote to the owner of the cheese making store where I buy my supplies, I hope she can help me!

It's still good, don't get me wrong! We nearly finished it! :) But it's just a snacking cheese.

Another little experiment I'm doing is a new recipe for Camembert. I have a very good recipe for the authentic French gooey, runny strong flavoured Cam. The photo above is one of the Cams I made last Christmas. You can see how the cheese is firm on the outside and runny on the inside. The rind was beautifully developed as well - it was a great cheese! But this year I wanted to try one that was a little more mild and a lot more firm.

So I tried a new recipe for a firmer Cam. I made them two days ago and they are air drying. They are quite holey...and the white bloom has already started to show up in places! These will be ready to taste in mid-January so I'll let you guys now how they turn out!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Monterey Jack Taste Test!

Hi Friends :)

Today I did a taste test for my Monterey Jack cheese. Verdict? NOT a Monterey Jack! It was more like a tangy Cheddar with a Feta texture.

It's not a complete waste because it's still a good cheese, but I'm wondering what's up with the bacterial culture I'm using! More tests are needed!!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Cheesy Tidbits

Hi Everyone :)

With the success of my last Cheddar, I made some more! But this time I tried a different bacterial culture. Check out the difference in colour! Isn't that amazing? The cheeses that I made in July are still quite pale compared to the one I made last weekend! 

I used this culture: MA4002. It's a new one for me. It's a blend of mesophilic and thermophilic cultures. Simply put, a mesophilic culture is used for cheeses that don't require any cooking time above 102 F or so; the mesophilic culture ripens at its best at lower temperatures. 

Thermophilic cultures can withstand higher heat and ripen better at higher heat. A mix of the two is supposed to stabilize a softer cheese and slow down the ripening process. The ripening process gives the cheese its taste and texture. I read that the ripening process also affects acidity and the final result of the cheese's flavour - so we'll see if using this culture leads to a milder Cheddar. There is already a visual difference, I can't wait to see if there is a taste difference!

I also made a Farmhouse Cheddar cheese. It's made similarly to the aged Cheddar, but the method after draining the curds is different to give it a more moist texture. NONE of my photos turned out during the process of making this because the shutter on my phone's camera had some kind of crud on it - for lack of a better word! Lesson: wipe your phone and camera shutter before taking photos!!! This is supposed to be ready to eat after one month of aging, so if it turns out well, I'll make it again and do a photo tutorial to post with the recipe!

Saturday, October 19, 2019

3-Month Cheddar Taste Test! (Video)

Hello Friends!

Today I tasted the Cheddar cheese I made in July, it was a success! :)

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Cheese Updates: Raclette, Fontina, Colby, Jarlsberg

My babies are thriving! :) 

From the left:
Raclette - ready December 7th
Fontina #1 and Fontina #2 - both ready December 17th

I'm still washing these with brine a few times a week and they're doing very well. The colours are fantastic, the rinds are forming and they smell divine!

I made two more cheeses in the last week - a Colby and another Jarlsberg. I had so much success with my first wheel of Jarlsberg, I decided to make another one. I'm not going to post the recipe for the Colby just yet because I took the recipe from two different sources, mixed and mashed and kind of came up with my own way of doing it. IF it's a success, I'll post it!

Friday, September 27, 2019

Jarlsberg Taste Test!!

Hi Everyone :)

Last night Alex and I opened up the Jarlsberg that I made at the beginning of August. It was a success! 

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Cheese Updates

Hi Everyone :)

I took out my cheeses the other day to inspect them all. Wow...I have never had so much cheese on the go before! They are all doing quite well, except...

...the Parmesan. After I cleaned it up the other day and got rid of all of the mould, it came back. So I cleaned it again and spread olive oil all over it. The large surfaces remained mould-free, but blue mould still started to form in the little cracks on the side of the wheel.

Grudgingly, I vacuum packed it. It was really supposed to stay in the ripening box until November, but I had to seal it early to try and save it. Hopefully it'll still have a good taste when I open it in February. AND hopefully the mould will stay away now! I'll have to keep checking it often. 

My 6-month Cheddar started to develop some blue mould in the creases of the vacuum pack. I just removed it, cleaned it up, let it dry a bit then re-sealed it. It's important to check your cheeses often!

My Monterey Jack and my 9-month Cheddar both have this residue on the inside of the vacuum packs. I read that it could be one of two things: white mould forming or calcium lactate that is secreting from the cheese. Neither one is dangerous or will affect the cheese. I just have to wipe it off. If I see signs of blue mould forming though, I'll do the same as I did with my 6-month Cheddar. If it's really just lactic acid releasing from the cheese as it ages, I can leave it as is.

This is glorious! It's my Raclette cheese. I've been washing this cheese every other day for about 2 weeks now and it's already starting to develop its orange rind. This means the bacteria I used in the cheese (Brevibacterium Linens) is working! This bacterial culture will give the cheese the desired aroma and flavour - as well as a nice orange rind!

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Raclette Cheese (Recipe and Instructions)

Today I'm posting my recipe and instructions for Raclette Cheese. This is one of my favourite cheeses because it's used in a Raclette machine to melt and pour on top of all sorts of delicious goodies! Alex and I have a tradition where we have a Raclette dinner every New Year's Eve.

"Back in the days, Swiss shepherds from the Valais region needed to bring food up to the Alps that was relatively cheap and wouldn’t spoil easily in the hot summer months. So they brought cheese and potatoes. While the potatoes roasted in the fire, a big piece of cheese was put close to the fire. Once it started melting, the cheese was taken away and scraped onto the baked potatoes. This was not only filling and nourishing but also delicious. In French ‘to scrape’ translates to ‘racler’ and this is where the term Raclette comes from." (

Whatever way you slice it, it's basically melted cheese on whatever food you love. It's a fun meal to have. We found our Raclette machine at a thriftstore for $10 and we've been using it every year since. I'm so happy I can now make the Raclette cheese at home, because it's quite expensive at the store! My wheel should be ready in mid-December, so we may have Raclette for Christmas dinner this year.

Here's how you make it!

Raclette Cheese (for a printable version, click here)
(Recipe courtesy of Gavin Webber)
Yield: 1 kg wheel


10 liters whole milk
1/16 tsp Brevibacterium Linens Culture
1/8 tsp Alp D Culture
1/2 tsp Calcium Chloride
1/4 tsp double rennet
Cool filtered water


Stage 1: Mixing The Ingredients
Stage 2: Caring for the curds
Stage 3: Molding, Pressing and Brining
Stage 4: Drying and Aging

Stage 1: Mixing The Ingredients

1. In a double boiler, heat the milk to 88F or 31C.

2. Add the Brevibacterium Linens, then the AlpD Culture and let sit 5 minutes at 88F or 31C.

As you can see, the Brevi Linens are orange in colour. This particular culture develops an orange/red rind around the cheese and gives it flavour and aroma.

This is how the cheese should age, the rind should be an orange/red colour as this photo shows.

3. Stir well for 2 minutes then let ripen for 1 hour and 15 minutes, holding the temperature at 88F or 31C.

4. At about the 1 hour and 10 minute mark, prepare your Calcium Chloride by mixing it with 1/4 cup of cool filtered water. Mix your rennet with 1/4 cup of cool filtered water.

5. Add the Calcium Chloride and stir for 1 minute. Add the rennet and stir for no more than 1 minute.

6. Let sit for 50 minutes holding the temperature at 88F or 31C.

Stage 2: Caring for the curds

7. Check for a clean break. Insert your knife into the curd, if it breaks open a little and comes out clean, you have a clean break.

8. Gently cut the curds with a balloon whisk, using an up and down, side to side and scooping motion.

9. Let heal for 5 minutes

10. Gently stir for 20 minutes, still holding the temperature at 88F or 31C. Let sit for 5 minutes.

11. Meanwhile, heat 3 liters of water to 145F or 63C.

12. Using a strainer and ladle, remove 11 cups of whey.

13. Replace the whey with 11 cups of hot water to wash the curds. Washing the curds lowers the acidity to make a smoother taste. Your temperature should now be at 100F or 38C. 

As you can see, my temperature was at 102F. In order to bring it down to 100F, I removed some whey and poured in a little bit of cool water.

14. Stir for 10 minutes then let sit for 5 minutes.

Stage 3: Molding, Pressing and Brining

15. Drain the curd into a cheesecloth-lined mold. Pull the cheesecloth around the curd to make sure there are no wrinkles, then put on your follower.

16. Press at 11 pounds for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, your wheel is SO SO fragile, take care of it very gently!

17. Flip, re-dress and press at 11 pounds for 30 minutes.

18. Flip, re-dress and press at 22 pounds for 1 hour.

19. Flip, re-dress and press at 33 pounds for 12 hours.

20. Put your wheel into a brine solution in the cheese cave for 10 hours, flipping at the 5 hour mark.

Stage 4: Drying and Aging

21. Air dry for 24 hours, flipping it at the 12 hour mark.

22. Your Raclette will age in a ripening box in the cheese cave at 50F or 10C. This is my set up. I use a tupperware container large and deep enough to hold a small dish. That little piece of wet paper towel is put into the tupperware to keep the ripening box humid. I then place a bamboo mat on top of the little dish for air circulation; then my wheel of cheese on top. There is a binder clip on the side of the box to hold the lid from sealing, this also helps with air circulation.

Wash your wheel on the 3rd day, then flip and wash every other day for 1 month; then flip and wash weekly. You are washing the wheel to encourage the Brevi Linens to develop the orange rind. To see my video on how to wash your cheese, click here

The total ripening time is 12 weeks then your wheel should be ready to taste!

Note: Every time you take your cheese out to flip and/or wash, always replace everything inside (dish, bamboo mat, wet piece of paper towel) and wipe down the container and lid. Otherwise, little mould bunnies will be secretly forming and contaminating your wheel!

I have multiple amounts of mats and dishes. It's easy to get lazy and skip this step (I've done it and regretted it!) but having a failed cheese is much worse!