Monday, January 31, 2011

Angelique Haschalk in Virginia

Tips for using mozzarella, her own dog food recipe with whey and making farmhouse cheddar!

Angelique Haschalk first wrote to us with a tip for using our 30 minute mozzarella:

In your instructions you mention to be careful using fresh mozzarella because with the high moisture content it can make your crust soggy.  Well, I have a tip to prevent that (I think I discovered this by accident a couple of years ago).  First, I always bake my crust for about 20 minutes before adding any sauce and other toppings to make sure that the crust comes out really crunchy.

Grated mozzarella on her pizza before baking

Then, before I grate the fresh mozzarella, I put it in the freezer for 15 minutes to firm it up a little.  This makes it much easier to grate since it is such a soft cheese.  The tip is that I grate my cheese and put it in the fridge on a plate uncovered for about 30 minutes prior to putting it on the pizza.  This seems to dry it out just enough so it's not too wet when you sprinkle it on top of the pizza. 

I asked her how she began making cheese:

My Mom got me both your Basic Cheese Making Kit and your Mozzarella & Ricotta Kit for Christmas.  Dad said that he wasn't sure if she made a hit or a miss on this one this year.  I love to cook and so Mom always gets me things related to cooking for Christmas.  Fresh mozzarella is one of my all time favorite cheeses so I had to try and make that first. 

Since I live in an area of Virginia where there aren't any local farms, I was worried that I would have to substitute by making the powdered milk and cream version.  However, when I was in the dairy department of our local Food Lion today I discovered some good news.  Some of the national brands like Pet were clearly listed as "ultra-pasteurized" but the Food Lion brand was only listed as "pasteurized".  The lady that worked in the department said that she had never had the question asked to her about if their milk was just pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized but that their dairy farms are in North Carolina so that's not too far to travel up here to Virginia.  I said that I was going to give it a try and she asked me to let her know if it worked because she was really interested and was laughing.

Ready to eat!
Well, I got home and poured the whole milk into a glass pyrex pot; I added my citric acid solution and stirred away.  The milk probably is cooked at a little higher temp above what the "normal" temp (if there is one) for pasteurized is suppose to be because it took about 14 minutes for it to get pretty good curd.  It still wasn't as solid and separate from the one in your book but once I strained it from the whey, microwaved it and pulled it out, it came out PERFECT!!!

Thanks so much for getting me into becoming a cheesemaker and I'm really looking forward to making many more of your cheeses as my wonderful Mom also got me your cheese making cookbook! (Home Cheese Making)

Angelique has a cute little rescue Pomeranian (Coco) who doesn't have any teeth, so Angelique makes her a special soft dog food, using some of her leftover whey.  (Recipe below.)  She makes the chicken stock herself (with no salt).

Angelique's Own Recipe for Homemade Doggie Food

1/2 cup dry long grain brown rice
1 cup chicken stock or broth
1 cup whey left over from mozzarella
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
2 eggs
1 Tbsp milk or half & half
1 Tbsp cream cheese
1/4 Granny Smith or Red Delicious apple

For chicken version add the following:
2 chicken quarters (legs and thighs)
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp lemon herb seasoning (no salt)
1/2 tsp garlic and herb dried seasoning (no salt)

In a medium sauce pan add the rice, chicken stalk, whey and cream cheese.  Cook over high heat until it boils and then reduce to simmer and partially cover. 
Defrost veggies in a microwave safe bowl in 2 tbsp of water, grind up in food processor and add to rice mixture.
With the skin on, cut up apple into small, bite sized pieces and add to rice mixture.  One of my two pups is a rescue so she has no teeth, therefore I cut up her food into tiny pieces.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and milk or half & half together and mix into the rice mixture.  Cook for about an hour stirring periodically until rice is tender.  You may need to add a little additional chicken stock or whey until the rice is fully cooked.
For the chicken:
Season both sides of chicken with the herbs.  Spray a sheet tray lined with foil with butter cooking spray.  Place the chicken on the tray and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes until juices run clear.  Let chicken rest on a wooden cutting board for 10 minutes.  Cut up chicken into small pieces and add to the rice mixture.
Your pups will enjoy much better than their old processed food and you'll be happy knowing that you're feeding food that is much healthier for them!

Angelique tried her first "hard" cheese recently, and she took pictures of the process:

Angelique's First Farmhouse Cheddar
Heating the milk.
Curds beginning to form.
Draining the curds in a cheesecloth-lined colander.
To drain, I tied the curds in the cheesecloth to my kitchen faucet above the sink and put a bowl below it so I could save the yummy and healthy whey to use in my homemade food for my two pups.  Speaking of how healthy whey is, there are many ads running on TV now for powdered whey protein supplements to purchase because of the great nutrition they offer.  As a result, my two pups are probably healthier than lots of people!
Yes, I used two of my husband's ten pound free weights to weigh down my drained curds and it worked perfectly!  I left the curds that were in the cheesecloth in the colander and folded the cheesecloth over.  I set the colander into the bottom of the sink and put a sturdy paper plate on top of the drained curds and then a piece of plastic wrap.  Then, I added two of my husband's ten pound free weights which fit perfectly on top and let that sit for 12 hours.
Just out of the mold.  (Note:  Ideally Angelique's cheese would be quite a bit smoother.  It's likely that the weight situation did not work properly and the cheese wasn't pressed enough- a very common occurrence on the first attempt.)
View from the side.
My cheese is dried and ready for waxing.  I waited until day 5 to wax my cheese because it still had some moisture on the outside.  I turned it over and wiped the moisture off of my cheese about four times a day and dried it on a bamboo mat on a wooden cutting board.
Here's the bottom of my cheese, ready for the wax!
Melting the wax in a double boiler:
I have a really nice double boiler that I use to melt chocolate for my husband's cakes so I couldn't use that one.  I actually just went to a local thrift store and bought two stainless steel pans for $5.00.  One fits inside of the other quite nicely and now these are my dedicated wax melting pots.
First application of cheese wax.
It's really important to put your cheese in the fridge (uncovered) for about three hours before waxing it so the wax will harden on it very quickly.  Also, make sure not to leave any area uncovered because mold can easily form.  I "painted" the cheese with my right hand and held the cheese with my plastic gloved left hand and painted away.  I also laid out a couple sheets of wax paper on the stove for any wax drips and that worked out great.
Three coats of wax are on the cheese with no bubbles or non-covered spots or crevices.  I only needed to melt half of the one pound block of wax and there was still more left over in the pot.
The only thing left to do is to label my cheese.
And we're all done!!!
I want to let it age for the full six months but my mom and dad will be passing through from Florida on their way back up to their farmhouse in Maine in May.  We may have to eat it then!  This was so much fun to make and watch what it it evolved into. 
I made a nice cheese analogy today that my mom thought I should pass on:  For people that don't understand how something as simple as milk can be made into so many different cheeses, I like to think of it like looking at flour.  By just adding a few simple ingredients, even by just adding water in some cases, flour can become many different types of bread, pasta, pie crust, pizza, pastries and other things.

Note:  Angelique has just started a blog and she would welcome any comments along the lines of how to do it.  Her address is:

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