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!