Sunday, January 17, 2010

Another Happy Cheese Day



Today I'm working on another wheel of Colby cheese. I've got Colby, Cheddar and Monterey Jack done and ready for fresh eating. I'm thrilled because now I can make some cheesey breads and pizza!
There's the 2 home made presses I'm currently using and as you can see, the whey from cheese making is pretty rough on the wood. Each time I make cheese with it, I have to clean the board with super hot water, soap and a little bit of bleach to ensure there is no bacteria growth on or in the wood. Very important to do unless you want to make yourself sick while making cheese ;)
We're in a holding pattern on life here and everything is kind of revolving around farm chores, prayers and supper. Not much else we can be doing right now. Tuesday is what we're hearing now from several friends in the position to know. They are being very supportive and are constantly keeping us informed, which of course, helps with the feelings of despair and helplessness.
Another nice day here, party sunny and much warmer than it's been. I'm still fighting the urge to start seeds. Sunshine and warmer weather isn't helping me tho. I know there will be at least one more round of nasty weather for us and I hate to lose my seeds since I'm kind of close to being low on seeds. I should have saved more last season. I still don't have any eggs! it's been almost 2 weeks now and I'm starting to wonder if a critter might be getting them before I do. I have decided to check every hour for eggs to see if I can find them.
Oh, I almost forgot...... With the arrival of our first paycheck, I will begin giving cheese away. Anyone that speaks up in a comment will be eligible to receive some cheese. Plus, several people who have helped me thru this most unpleasant time in my life will be receiving a gift from my farm as well. My out of the USA followers, hang in there, I'm working on a way to share with you as well. I will also most likely throw in soap and some of my home grown and home made jams as well. So, keep an eye, it will be coming soon........

22 comments:

  1. Is cheese making hard? I want to try it so bad. Was it expensive to get the items you need to get started?

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  2. I have a similar cheese press to yours. I use a throw-away aluminum steam table pan that I have folded so that the whey goes down in a separate pan. You can get these at Sam's Club or ask a caterer if you can get a used one (they are usually only used once and thrown away). The pan sits on the bottom wood plank and the two pieces of pvc pipe sit inside of it. I then folded the front end down so it was lower and drains into a cake pan. The whey is then mixed back in with our grain mix for the livestock for additional protein. If you're interested, I can take a picture of mine and email it to you.

    Have a great day and God Bless!

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  3. Stay Strong girl....I know your getting antsy to stick seeds in the dirt...but you can DO it! hehe

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  4. We've not been getting hardly any eggs up here either - got 1 this week. I had been telling my father-in-law that you had been getting eggs - now we won't feel as bad LOL! I feel for you though! We've not got a good amount of eggs for a over month now, I just keep thinking - not too much longer =)

    Do you hatch your own eggs? We tried earlier this year without any success. It was fun trying though.

    I just love when you post about your cheese! It makes me so envious =) I hope I ask this right - How big (weight) are each one of those wheels? I've always wondered.

    And try to remember what my mom always says - "everything happens for a reason, you may not know that reason for a long time but eventually one day it'll come to light". You and your family are in my thoughts =)

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  5. Hey autumn, the cultures and rennet are not expensive at all. For the cost, you can make 100's of pounds of cheese. The home made press cost me less than $30 to make. Check out the cheese maker site on the sidebar for cultures and rennet. The presses are expensive tho.

    Hey Rebecka! Yes, I've used what you describe before myself. I keep my whey for the critters too! I'm using old cookie sheet/pans now since I hate throwing things way ;) Cool tip to share tho, I didn't think of telling people about that. Thank you for sharing!

    LMAO Scifi! I'm trying, really really trying!hehehehehe

    Hello Anne! Yep, I've joined the crowd, no eggs :( I used to hatch with one of those styrofoam incubators but I've found mother nature is so much better. I let a couple hens go broody as they please and I hatch anywhere from 50 to 100 chicks every spring. Sometimes the cats get them before I do tho. Banty hens are great little brooders but not big enough to protect the chicks.

    The wheels in the picture are 4lb wheels. I'm averaging 1 lb of cheese per gallon of milk.

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  6. WOW! That's a big hunk of cheese! =)

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  7. Hey Anne! Yes, it seems like it is but if you think about the packages of shredded cheese you buy from the store, they are 4 cup bags. That's 2lbs of cheese, coated with cornstartch and made with vegetable oils etc. So, I just use half that wheel of pur cheese, shred it up and cook with it and eat the other half! ;)

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  8. I've been wanting to ask...do you use regular parrafin to wax your cheese, or something else?

    Shows how ignorant I am about cheese making!

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  9. That cheese is beautiful! I have a fwother things on my list to learn before I take on cheese. No source for fresh milk right now anyway. I need your address again for the swap...I brain burped and deleted the e mail. I know what you mean about starting seeds, I ALMOST did today but figured its early yet..I have to read up on that as mine have rotted and been spindly these past 2 years. Prayin good things for you & hoping you hear by Tuesday!

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  10. Hey hermitJim, good to see you! Nope, parafin is too brittle to be a good wax for cheese. Cheese wax is much more pliable and allows the cheese to do it's thing without cracking.

    LOL Katidids, I'll drop you and email sometime Monday! Yah, we need to work on the rotted and spindly thing, I got some ideas for that......

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  11. Please continue to share tips and recipes for making cheese. Hopefully by Spring, our 3 does will be supplying me with more than enough milk to try my hand at cheese and soap maing. Two new subjects to me, but I've had an interest for years.

    Your hens will soon be laying again, as the days are lengthening. The longer hours of sunlight will help them to get back in production. Ours have been blessing us with a steady flow all winter. Hatching babies is a thrilling time and I agree letting the broody hens take care of it is a lot easier. No turning or keeping watch over temps/humidity, it's built right in.

    Remeber the sun is always shinning even on the darkest days. For some that live in Alaska their days of winter are long, but eventually the light of Spring returns. You and your husband will make it through this period of darkness and see the light soon. Keeping hanging in there and keep your eyes pealed for the first ray.

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  12. Oh, yum! So glad your cheese making is going well again! Bummer about your eggs, though. Do you put artificial light on them? I always give them a few extra hours (usually until 11:30 at night) and that seems to work for me. Hang in there and try not to get discouraged! Praying for good news on Tuesday!

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  13. Prayers are with you for that phone call to come in tomorrow. Is there any way to sell your chese, soap, eggs, etc. locally at a farmers market or something? May keep some money coming in during this tough patch.

    Stacey SWPA

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  14. Hey Deborah! We will be together on the goat milk, my first one is due very soon. I can't wait to try making kasseri. Ah yes, mother nature is the very best for hatching chicks, no doubt! No more unhatched eggs or sickly chicks. I'm looking forawrd to egg production picking up soome.

    Hey Gen! No extra light but I'd like to extend my soalr to cover it. One day I guess ;) Thanks for the prayers, we need them!

    Hello Stacey! The farmers market here isn't what you'd expect, very little local produce! Illinois has funny rules about eggs and cheese off the farm and the $25 booth fee keeps me from selling the soap that way. As soon as we have the shipping money, I'll be giving some away right here!

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  15. I am confused about the culture. What kind do you use Vegetable? Do you get Rennet from the cheesemaker or from Walmart. I am going to Lowes today to look for materials to make a press. I am also looking for a used Pelletmill to make wood pellets and feed pellets. A 5hp system is more affordable. I know Ebay sells new ones and its hard to find a used one. Just brainstorming trying to help on Electric bill. My daughters was $500.oo She has 5 kids. Its rough. I told her she might could sell the pellets for money for her bill. She has 9 acres. Your husband will get a job. Keep calling back. They take notice. (Green jobs are out there). If you have Workforce Solutions in IL sign up on the internet. They will match your skills to jobs and send you matches. Thats what they have here in Texas. God Bless. Keep Looking Up. MissK

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  16. I cant tell you how much I have enjoyed reading your blog. Gotta thank Mayberry for directing me to you. I get such a hankering to try the things you write about. I would love to have chickens, but we have a HOA and they dont allow anything other than Horses and llamas. Please keep your spirits up, things will get better.

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  17. Keeping you in my prayers! Hang on, you brave woman, days are getting brighter! May the Lord bless you all there!

    Päivi

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  18. Wow...I can't even imagine what home made cheese would taste like. It looks delicious!
    BTW....how are you feeling since you pulled your tooth and it's been a while?

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  19. I am happy you are back to making cheese. I am hoping to get goats again this spring. Hopefully I can get pregnant ones. We miss the goats and the milking.
    Postage is so expensive. It is good you are so generous. Bless you and have a great day.
    debbieo

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  20. Hello MissK! I use freeze dried culture from thecheesemaker. I buy my rennet from him too. The culture is used to replace the set time at room temperature that "sours" the milk to taste. If you didn't use cultures, the cheese would all taste the same.

    LOLs Anon, I love Maybeery! Thanks for stopping in!

    Paivi, thanks for stopping and for the prayers, we need them!

    Hey Tango! Soon as we get a paycheck, I'll send you some. The tooth is gone, the hole is healed up and I'm doing fine, thanks for asking!

    Hey DebbieO, I didn't realize how much I missed having cheese. The kids and I have already wiped out that first wheel of colby and we're working on that mont jack pretty hard too. I'm gonna use the cheddar tonite cooking. I can't wait to share it all with everyone, it's gonna be so much fun.

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  21. I need to visit your blog more often.

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  22. For those boards, have you considered some polyethylene cutting boards? You can get them for about $3 each at Ikea and they would be a LOT easier to keep clean. Just a thought.

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Comments always welcome