Recently, we looked through the list of our "followers" (those who have registered and can therefore make comments) and randomly chose one to be the first in this series. (Our goal is to learn a bit about the people who enjoy reading our blog.)
My name is Rich McGaughey. I am a native of Denver and still live there. I have been making cheese for over 30 years. I have 6 brothers and sisters and we grew up in the country with a rich tradition of self sufficiency.
I learned the concept that cheese can be made from milk from my family, growing up. But in the early 80s I ran into a fledgling commune and they enlisted my help using up the milk from 5 cows. So, it was books that got me really making cheese.
The first was "Super Easy Step-By-Step Cheesemaking" by Yvonne Young. We made mostly soft cheeses like chevre, but made some successful farmstead cheddar. We also made butter and yogurt which was very good.
My children were young at that time and they have fond memories of making lemon cheese and whey lemonade.
The second book I found in 1983, was "Cheesemaking Made Easy" by Ricki and Robert Carroll. There is a picture on the back of the Carroll clan. Robert has an afro and moustache expressing those times. Ricki has a toddler in her arms who is a big grown up woman now.
I have been purchasing rennet and other ingredients ever since. Just to show you how things worked in the good old days, I had to write a letter, get a catalog in the mail and then send in an order, taking many days.
About 7 years ago I began to teach a cheese making class to keep myself busy in retirement. It's really been a lot of fun. I have made a commitment to make cheddar every month and have kept it for 3 years or so. I have made lots of soft cheeses, gruyere , blue , gouda and brie. My current goal is to make a consistent blue using the mold from the previous cheese.
1. Get books- the best is "Home Cheese Making" by Ricki Carroll but I also like "Making Artisan Cheese" by Tim Smith
2. Keep trying and take notes. Even if it doesn't look like the cheese you were aiming for, it might be a great invention.
3. Start with soft cheese and use whole milk. Mozzarella is not easy to make, so get some experience under your belt before trying it.
4. Use liquid rennet - it's easier to measure accurately.
5. Use a digital meat probe thermometer with an alarm.