Sunday, July 13, 2008


Here's a batch of "Stella cheese" underway. I start with a gallon of milk, and heat it to 90F. Then I add whichever culture I'm using, usually mesophilic or fresh starter from New England Cheesemaking Supply Company. After I add the culture, I put the lid on and put the pot in a blanket-lined cardboard box, to retain the heat longer.
The proto-cheese sits for a couple of hours to let the bacteria do their thing, then I add 1/2 tsp of rennet, and put it back in the box for another hour to let the curd set up. I use a giant butter-knife-looking tool called a card knife to slice the gelled milk into roughly 1/2" lumps, which then sit for 10 minutes. I gently stir the curds for another 20 minutes to help get the whey out and to "toughen" the curds a little so they don't dissolve back in to a soggy mess.

I pour the curds & whey into a cheesecloth and hang it up to drain overnight. Most of the time the chickens get the whey. The extra protein & calcium makes for much better eggs production. This week I'm using the whey for an experimental batch of blaand, a very ancient Scottish "wine" made from fermented whey. Needless to say, detailed recipes are scarce, so I'm improvising.
The final stage of the Stella-cheese process is to take the big lump of cheese out of the cloth the next morning, cut it into cubes, sprinkle them with coarse salt (we use Kosher) and let it sit til the end of the day. The the cubes go into a bowl and into the fridge for snacking. It tastes like a cross between feta and cottage cheese.

Here is a pot of our first Reddale potatoes of the season, soon to be boiled and eaten with butter, salt & pepper. Yum! This variety of spud has done really well here, and we plan to keep growing it.
And here's Magnus, finally feeling better about losing his sister, relaxing in a sunbeam....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you should have let Magnus see her body so he would know that she was dead. not knowing is worse, always wondering if they will come back.

we don't know in what ways they think like us and in what ways they don't.