Thursday, 7 January 2016

Getting familiar with mould

Mould. It gets on to a lot of things if they get damp.
It is growing on the cheese in the cheese fridge, but not this one...
it is a Colby cheese...

.. ...which has just been wrapped up in muslin bandages glued together with lard from our pigs.

But I think that I shall have to rethink this method of aging cheese,
because the cheese fridge is starting to fill up,
and soon I shall have to stack the cheese one on top of the other.
Lard is sticky. The wheels of cheese are going to get stuck together if stacked.
So I shall have to revisit using cheese wax.
Yuk. I get into even more of a mess when I use that because it is very runny,
far more liquid that using our lard, but at least I can stack the wheels together.
My first cheese was a Monterey Jack, a semi hard American cheese.
I made it early December.
It looks pristine here in the photo.
After nearly four weeks in the cheese fridge it did not,
it was covered in blobs of green and black and white mould, not all over, just in patches.
Could not do anything, like wash it in vinegar or salt, because of the lard wrapping.
Had to wait.
That's the thing with making cheese, the patience needed to wait for weeks, if not months, before they can be opened to see if they are eatable.
But not this cheese....
this is a Caerphilly, not bandaged or waxed, and ready to eat in three weeks, although will taste richer if left for longer.
It, too, was starting to grow mould, so in a moment of worry I showed Lester.
He said "Let's try it", so we did.
Oh, wow, how yummy that cheese was, even the rind tasted good.
Notice I use the past tense because it is now all gone, mostly used up in supper time toasted cheese sarnies (toasted to perfection on the top of the Rayburn. Love you Ray, just not your oven)
another wheel of cheese was languishing on top of the work counter,
waiting to be wrapped,
but Christmas came along, together with a humdinger of a cold (or it might have been an allergy to the chemicals in the box of choccies which had to be eaten because it was Christmas),
which put me to bed for a couple of days, during which that cheese started growing mould, but not the same as the Monterey Jack or the Caerphilly, no, this mould was half inch tall and looked green and furry. Oh dear. Thinking the cheese spoilt I cut a chunk off the wheel to feed to the dogs.
Lester was passing by. He was horrified. Took control of that wheel.
It is now history.
That, too, went into toasted cheese sarnies and nibbles, with the rind being cut off as treats for the dogs.
And then it came to the time of having no cheese to eat.
so Lester went on a raid in the cheese fridge at the same time as I was examining the Monterey Jack to see if more mould had grown.
All I did was say "I'm not sure if this mould is supposed to be there",
and without me hardly knowing how it happened,
Lester took charge,
" is supposed to mature for another couple of months", I said.
'Twas no good, he was a man on a mission.
Off came the wrappings...
and there, there it was..... pure virginal creamy cheese, with not a spot of mould on it.
It is being eaten.
And a local farmer who also has Jersey cows (we bought ours from him) stopped by yesterday,
and Lester gave him a sample of the Monterey to eat.
He said it needed more salt. He said it was creamy. He said it was good.
I think he was surprised.
He makes cheese semi professionally.
I don't think he expected me to make an eatable cheese, bless him.
Can't blame him, I do tend to give off an air of ineptitude when I am not sure about how to do things.
So with increased energy to get more cheese made while our two cows are still giving us milk,
.... on the left is a Farmhouse cheddar, in the middle another Monterey Jack, and on the right is another Caerphilly. The Farmhouse and Monterey have now been larded (need to order the cheese wax so still bandaging and larding), and the Caerphilly is to be salt washed.
We are on the roll with making cheese now, mould and all.
The Rayburn Oven Project is being ignored for the moment.
Off to get dressed,
a drop of most welcome sunshine has just grazed over my shoulder,
which makes a change to the several days of hard rain we have had.
Not complaining, though, it was our turn to have inclement weather.
Now watching the river rising.....
Bye for now,


Dawn McHugh said...

Dont know anything about cheese as I dont eat it, I do find your cheese posts interesting, perhaps one day I will try and make some for Martin, your cheese look good to non cheese eater.

Vera said...

DAWN, I started off with goat's cheese, so perhaps you can have a go at making cheese when your goats come into milk. Lester is actually eating more cheese than I do at the moment because I tend to want to keep it stored for future use! But apart from eating it as a snack, I shall be cooking with it so lots of quiches and cheese breads in the future!

Sol said...

glad you feel better. I also give off an air of ineptitude. I put it down to being short and puny! lol But when I am working as a project managers assistant and the builders or other trades give me trouble for not coming in on budget I can curse like a sailor, real loud. they back off then! lol try that with the cow man next time! lol

Coco said...

Congratulations! We eat a lot of cheese, it would be great to be able to make some.

Happy New Year!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

i think you are doing a great job! i kind of liked using the cheese wax. i found it to be really effective - and fun. but i made sure to get red or black wax. the yellow/white didn't contrast enough so i couldnt tell if the cheese was sealed or not. and of course... i was able to buy the wax from amazon. i also had a specific pot for it (after using i just left it in the pot) so that made it easy. i once had a blue mold get loose in my cheese fridge. it infected some other cheeses but they turned out terrific! Lester has the right idea. sometimes you just 'invent' a new cheese if it doesnt turn out exactly right. good for you!

Marty Damon said...

Your cheese adventures are absolutely fascinating. I'd love to know what it is you do to create one kind of cheese rather than another.

Vera said...

SOL, I, too, can sound off when tested to the limit, but not with too much swearing because I only know one word really, and I only ever let rip to the children and partners (whoever they happened to be at the time), never to anyone else. And then I arrived at 65 years of age, and a screw became loose in my head, so that now, if really pushed, I will say something, and out loud. I use ineptitude to cover shyness! And the cow man? Oh he usually laughs when I am sounding off!

COCO, cheese is quite easy to make, even with milk from the supermarket, although is always best made from farm fresh raw milk. We eat a lot of cheese too, although I am limiting how much we eat because I do want to keep some of our cheese for when our cows stop giving us milk!

OHIOFARMGIRL, thanks for the info about cheese colouring. I did have a look on Amazon UK, and was on the brink of ordering yellow or clear wax so will change the order to red. I remember you making cheese, which was about the same time as our cow first came into milk a couple of years ago!

MARTY, cheese has three ingredients....milk, starter, rennet. Some cheese types require two different starters rather than one. It is in the timing of the various stages of making the cheese that give each type of cheese its unique taste, and how long it has been aged for as well. I also find cheese fascinating!

arters of different types.

Cro Magnon said...

How about a salt wash made with white wine?

Vera said...

CRO MAGNON, now that is a good idea! However, after I researched this on the internet I could find no helpful advice as to how the cheese might turn out, although I did come across some rather interesting recipes for cheese made with beer and stout! So....when I am feeling more confident with my cheese making I shall have a go, and thanks for making the suggestion.