|Louise and her husband, Chris at her aunt's house for a "Night of 7 Fishes" celebration, January, 2013|
Louise Dutton of Fort Lauderdale, Florida is a master home cheese maker. I have gotten to know her through the years, partly because she has contributed many ideas and recipes and partly because she's a fun person to correspond with. I have posted two previous articles about her; in 2011, she shared her recipe for soy cheese with us and in 2012, she showed us her Camembert pictures.
A few weeks ago, Louise won first place in a pairing contest run by Culture (magazine). She combined Vermont Creamery's Bonne Bouche with her own Red Onion Marmalade.* We mentioned that in our April Moosletter and then, by popular demand, we posted her marmalade recipe on our Facebook page.
Louise has a gluten-free baking business called Weezies Gluten-Free Kitchen with a Facebook page. She has also just begun a new Facebook page called The Cheese Cave. She's planning to start a cheese club in the Broward County area, so if you're interested in joining, contact her at Louisemdutton@att.net.
|Louise's winning entry in Culture Magazine|
|Prizes she won with her winning entry|
During this past year, since I last wrote an article about her, she has sent me many pictures of her experiences (and experiments) with new cheeses. I have been compiling them in a folder, hoping that you might be interested in seeing a pictorial record of her progress during that time:
Louise was able to get goat's milk, so she made Chevre. She just happened to have a Hello Kitty mold, so...
This month, she went into a frenzy, making Camembert, Muenster and her latest experiment- aged Chevre.
|From top to bottom: Camembert, Muenster, and aged Chèvre. The Muenster is about to get it's 12 hour soak in brine.|
Louise decided to make Brie in a Chinese double bamboo steamer basket with sheets of plastic mat cut to size:
|This one seemed a little under aged.|
|So, she let this one ripen a little longer and it was perfect.|
The results of last month's aged Chevre experiment were determined. Louise told me she and Chris had tested it after one week of aging and it was "ok." It didn't knock their socks off. They tried it again the following week and the flavor had changed completely. They decided this is the only way to go, that 2-3 weeks of aging makes all the difference. The texture remains a nice firm but soft pâté. They do it this way all the time now- with at least 2 weeks of aging.
Remember the Muensters she made in March? Here they are, aging nicely.
Louise found a source for sheep's milk, so she made Feta.
|Feta in brine|
|Not as salty as she would have liked, so longer in the brine next time...|
The Muenster was finally ready at 6 weeks-
That month's experiment went awry. It was a mix of Camembert, goat cheese and cognac that didn't make the cut.
|Unsuccessful experiment dubbed "Fort Fromage."|
Louise and her husband restore motorcycles, so as an aside, I'm including this picture of Louise's favorite on the day she purchased it - a 1965 Honda CB450 Black Bomber named Bart.
They also garden, so that month they built a trellis system over their raised beds to help shield their plants from the intense summer sun. They put a plastic fence around it to keep the iguanas out Louise caught one laying across the top of it, munching on her squash plants. (That sounds kind of cute to me, but they went ahead and made a higher fence.)
The caption for this shot of her pantry read "It's Weezie Cheesey time!"
A shipment of cultures came in, so the caption for this one was "The Mad Scientist."
During that month, Louise made a Brie, 2 Camemberts and 2 blue cheeses at the same time. Unfortunately, during the draining process, she used the same mats for all the cheeses and the blue got into her Camemberts. (Big lesson learned.)
But, the worst news came in an e-mail from her real milk source:
Dear Farm Fresh Club Members,
As many of you know our farm-fresh delivery on Monday did not come in. The truck driver was stopped by a random produce check in Florida. He was put in jail for the night until bail was posted for him. All the farm food coming to the three big clubs in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties was seized and thrown out at a garbage dump. This loss is estimated to be over $40,000. This is very disturbing for all of us, but we must remember to stay calm, level-headed with clear thinking. Please don't send this information to the media. At this moment we do not want to attract media attention. We also had visits from the government agencies and are figuring out how to move forward. We all are in a really bad place when food sovereignty is taken away from us. Precious nutrient-dense food is thrown away and "garbage food" is sold and given freely to people by government programs. We will be updating you on the situation, as we get more information and find a solution to the problem. Please support us and our farmers, since this was a major loss for all of us. We welcome you to come in to the store, juice bar and restaurant and vote with your dollars. We have a new chef in the kitchen who is doing a great job and we are adding new items to the menu, including nutrient-dense vegetarian and vegan dishes.
We will have fresh milk and cream on Thursday. Please come by and support us and our farmers!
Another sad chapter in the ongoing struggle to take back our right to eat healthy food. But, Louise was undeterred and she found another source for real milk.
Louise discovered the value of adding ash to her cheeses. Of course, she had to experiment, so she began with Camembert.
2 Camemberts the same size, one with ash and one without-
|The Camembert with ash ripening nicely.|
By now, the last blue cheese she had made was ready and it definitely made the cut! Louise wrote:
Wow! I can't believe how great this latest batch of blue cheese came out. Super creamy and the flavor is out of this world! I cut it open to take a photo for the web site but I waited till Chris got home and had him sample it. He can't stop moaning, so I figured I better try it. And it is REALLY good! Almost like a creamy Gorgonzola.
That same month, they got bees.
The Camembert with ash was ready -
She made butter -
The Queen Bee died and they had to get another.
There were 14 inches of rain!
Chris asked Louise to make a Camembert with mushrooms. This experiment didn't work out too well because the Porcini salt dried out the cheese. She put a tablespoon of it in the milk while it was coming up to temp and before adding the bacteriums.
|When first made|
|A few minutes later, the color ran!|
Louise made Gorgonzola.
After 7 days, it was ready to have holes poked -
Then, her first yogurt -
Look at these lovelies! Half gallon fresh raw milk yielded 5 jars of yogurt. I made it last night and then put them in my oven with the light on for the perfect yogurt making temperature.
She made goat milk Feta that same week and it was perfect. (No picture, sorry.)
She served Christmas supper for 10 -
Including balsamic pearls of caviar-
and gluten free pecan pie with her own homemade bourbon eggnog ice cream!
Finally, on December 31st, an "End of the World" meal with her latest Camembert -
Gorgonzola not ready yet -
A totally new cheese, Provolone -
Check back in 3 weeks-
Chevre rolled in Herbs de Provence2-
The Provolone was fabulous -
As was the Gorgonzola-
Then, a new level of experimentation and creativity-
I was so amazed at the flavor, texture and sight of Vermont Creameries Bonne Bouche, that I have decided to try to make my own version. I'm going to call it "Baaa-Bouche!" I'm using half cow and half goat milks, both raw. I'm using as my "base" recipe the recipe on your site for the "Saint Maure de Touraine." as it looks the closest to what I'm looking for. I'll finish it off with a small amount of vegetable ash, and hopefully get the results I'm looking for.
Also today, I am making Gorgonzola Dolce, again, from your recipes pages.
I made another batch of the provolone last night. I can tell this ones going to be even better than the last one!
Ran out of molds-
Louise didn't dare try to get salt or ash on the sides because they were so moist and fragile. She decided to let them dry for a day or two before putting them in the cave.
Exactly what she wanted!
A few were made without the ash.
And, now, this is a collection of her current creations. It looks pretty darned good to me. I'll give you another update next year!
* Louise Dutton's Red Onion Marmalade
1 large red onion, sliced ¼ inch thick
1 Tbls. minced garlic
2 Tbls. butter
¾ cup chicken stock
Salt and pepper to taste
6 oz raspberry preserves
In a large sauté pan, melt the butter and add the garlic and red onions.
Saute on medium heat for approximately 15 minutes, occasionally stirring. Do not let it get brown.
Add water and chicken stock.
Cook until water evaporates, still stirring occasionally. Add the raspberry preserves and cook for another 5 minutes with the occasional stir. Let cool in pan before placing in a container.
Serve on crostini with herbed goat cheese.