Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cheese Milk

Each time we make cheese at home we manage to do some things a bit better. The things we don't improve we vow we will work on the next time. In this January's cheesemaking, we are for the first time using very good milk for cheeses. When we began a few years ago, we used standard grocery store whole milk. Later we tried organic milk. Learning that non-homogenized milk is essential if one wants to make really good cheese, we sought it out. When we couldn't find it, we followed the advice of a cheesemaker we know. He had been making his own non-homogenized milk by mixing grocery store-bought skim milk with heavy cream. We aren't sure we noticed any differences in our results with different milks, but wanting to remove all possible obstacles to success, we kept looking.

This year we made major progress when we discovered that the Wainwright Dairy of nearby Live Oak, Florida provides pasteurized, non-homogenized milk at our local Ward's Supermarket. So we bought two gallons and used it in making a farmhouse cheddar. The cheesemaking seemed to go very well, but we won't be able to tell you about the final product for a month or more.

Before beginning to make cheese, we poured some of our milk into a clear glass container so we could see the layer of cream at the top. We include a photo here, although the cream line shows up poorly. Also, we should have used a vessel shaped like one of those old-fashioned milk bottles with tapered necks to better show off the cream.

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