Friday, May 31, 2013

Curd Cheese from Cultured Milk

Ryys in Stockholm

Made by a Norwejian who was inspired by a Pole ...

Dr. Rhys Evans lives in Norway and he loves good food.  So, he cooks a lot from healthy ingredients and he has begun his own food blog called Eating Well is the Best Revenge.  (Revenge from the everyday insults of life!)

A asked him how he got started making cheese:  

I got into making cheese obliquely because I am into making food from scratch, using wholesome ingredients, myself.  I find it rewarding, therapeutic and just downright satisfying.  I make sausages, smoke my own fish, make my sauces, pickles, etc.

One of the great things about being here in Europe is that there is a strong legacy amongst the older generations of making their own food, from garden to plate, often with preserving in between.  As an academic, in fact, I am hoping to start a Europe-wide research project which finds these national treasures, honors them and makes what they can teach us available to the wider population.

More directly, as it says in the blog, a Polish friend of mine was reminiscing about how his mom use to make curd cheese.  Which reminded me of how, back in the early seventies, I used to share a cow with some neighbors in the Slocan Valley in BC.  We used to make curd cheese by simply leaving some milk on the warming shelf of the wood stove until it curdled and then hanging the results over the sink overnight.  I loved that curd cheese on toast in the morning!  So, I was inspired! 

Now, here in Norway, I work with farmers and rural development and have bought my first cheese making starter kit from you guys.  Today curd cheese, tomorrow the world!

Convenor of the Equine Research Network (EqRN)

Home Made Curd Cheese
By Dr. Rhys Evans at Eating Well is the Best Revenge

I named this page "Hjeme brukt" (I guess I could have also named it "Hjeme laget") in honor of the wonderful norsk dairy product, "Kultur Mjolk" -- 'cultured milk.'   Kulturmjolk is slightly soured milk which is something like what you would get if you left raw milk in the fridge for three or four days, or out of the fridge overnight.  The 'culture' is reminiscent of Kifir, or even Greek Yoghurt, but it pours and drinks just a little thicker than milk.  And as it says on the carton, "Eit Reint Naturprodukt drukke av Stolt Nordmenn i generasjonar" -- or, A real natural product drunk by proud Norwegians for generations.  I haven't seen anything quite like it in the anglo world at all.  Sour cream is much thicker.  And buttermilk is very artificial and has butter added to it.  On a recent visit to California I looked for alternatives, but couldn't find any.

What is great about using it for making curd cheese is that it is already cultured, so you can go straight from the carton to the cheesecloth!

So here’s to KulturmjĂžlk!

Now most of my friends can't get kulturmjolk, so what is to be done?  My best guess is that you can culture milk yourself with a bit of Greek Yoghurt, or Kifir mixed with ordinary milk.  It won't take much.  Just mix together and leave overnight.  The result should be a little thicker, and have that slightly 'sour' taste -- not 'bad', but definitely not 'sweet.'

And if you can't make it work, there is always the New England Cheese Company who have a world of wonderful cultures, cheesemaking kits and even a blog and Facebook page!  They have even inspired me to start making other cheeses -- watch this space!   You can find them here.

The recipe comes, btw, from my good friend Rafal Ziolkowski.  His momma used to make this in Poland when he was a kid.  If I remember right, he had already tried it and just said, "here's what you do, its easy!"  And it is!!

And now I make it every week.  I get much more curd cheese out of two litres (quarts) of kulturmjolk than I would in a small pack of cream cheese, for the same price.  Plus this is better!   I use it on sandwiches with last night's cooked salmon (even the teriyaki salmon!), I stuff peppers with it, and I make an excellent Russian pancake called Sirniki with it (I'll put that recipe up soon!).

Making the cheese

Ok, so all I do is fill a large sauce pan with hot water and get it boiling.  I put the two litre packages of kulturmjolk in it and turn the element off.  I then leave it on the element until cool.

That's all.  I don't open them (I've never had one burst) or anything.  Plop them in and turn the electric element off.  I suppose if I was using gas, I would let them boil for five minutes, and then turn it off.

Then I remove them from the pan and prepare a colander with some cheese cloth draped in it.  You have to be careful to get the cloth to overhang the edges all the way round and put it in so that when you pour the milk in, the clothe doesn't fall down and you lose your curds.

Using a serrated knife, I simply cut the tops off....

And pour the contents into the cheese cloth.

There is just enough room in my colander to fit the contents of both boxes.

Although these aren't the best of pix, you can clearly see the curds, and the whey (liquid) above.  So the whole purpose of the next 12 hours or so is to get them separated.  I let the colander sit in the sink for an hour or so, by which time it drains down to look like this, below.

At this point I take it out of the sink and tie the corners of the cheese cloth over a long wooden spoon.  This I hang over the sink overnight.  And usually I twist the resulting bag to squeeze out excess whey. How much you do this comes with experience.  In fact, every batch is slightly different -- some wetter, some drier.  You just have to make a judgement call and see how it goes.

Here, below is the result the next morning.  It is a bit damp, but ok.  You can see the curdy texture which marks it as curd cheese, or quark, or 'farm cheese.'  Basically there are a lot of names for the same thing because this is something peasant farmers who had cows or goats (or sheep) did all over the world.

And there is only one final step to go!   I put the curds in a bowl and add some salt (usually about a half a teaspoon).  Then I take a paddle and work it for about a minute to smooth it out a little whilst mixing in the salt.  If it is a little dry, I add a dollop of cream (not too much), or if I like the texture, I leave it as it is.

And that is it!   It is ready to enjoy!  So easy and simple.

Now, talking to my buddy Raf, again, he said that his mother put it through a meat grinder sometimes to make it smoother, more like cream cheese.  And on the next linked page, you can see what I did to try that out.  But generally, this is as far as I take it.  I just pop it in the fridge and it usually lasts about a week, covered.

More on Curd Cheese

My buddy Raf mentioned that his mother used to process the curd cheese she made in a meat grinder to make it smoother.  So I thought I would have a try. 

I took my trusty Kenwood Kitchen Machine and used the meat grinding/sausage making attachment.  (Btw, watch these pages for my adventures with sausage making.....)

The process was fairly simple.  I used the finest of the three grinding meshes and ran the curd cheese through it twice.

Because the batch of cheese was not so large, an issue arises about all the cheese left in the worm screw inside the sausage attachment.  To deal with this on the second run, I took some stale bread and sliced it into chunks.  When done with the cheese I stuffed the croutons into the attachment and ran them through, watching carefully for when the bread actually made it out of the mincer.  At that point I stopped, so as not to contaminate the processed cheese.

And the result was pretty good!  Definitely not Philadelphia Cream Cheese, but much smoother and nice to spread.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Asiago with Stephanie Eddy

Clockwork Lemon is a great name for a delightful website created by Stephanie Eddy in Okotoks, Canada.  There are hundreds of recipes, tips and culinary adventures.  Every single recipe is basically a tutorial with clear, detailed directions and the right amount of pictures.

Stephanie began making cheese last year when she joined Cheesepalooza which is hosted by three Canadian Bloggers. Each month they post a new cheese challenge and they are all working out of the same book - Artisan Cheese Making at Home by Mary Karlin.

Every time Stephanie makes a new cheese, she takes pictures and writes a post about it.  So, at her website, you will currently find all the inspiration you need to make Creamy Chevre, Homemade Feta, Homemade Gruyere, Homemade Farmhouse Cheddar- Part 1 & Part 2, Whole Milk Ricotta, 60 Minute Mozzarella and Homemade Butter.  (Her Asiago posts are shown below.)

Stephanie told us, "My mom and I are doing the challenges together which makes it a lot more fun. Sometimes you end up standing around waiting for the milk to come up to temperature, so it's nice to have someone to talk with!"

Homemade Asiago {Cheesepalooza}
By Stephanie Eddy at Clockwork Lemon

For me, Asiago is the cheese that accidentally makes it's way into my shopping cart when I was supposed  to buy Parmesan. The two cheeses look so similar and are often right on top of each other in the displays that sometimes it's not until I'm tossing the wrapper from the finished cheese that I notice it was Asiago all along.

Sneaky, sneaky Asiago.

Regardless of the possibly sinister nature of this cheese, I was excited that it was chosen for this month's Cheesepalooza challenge. The recipe makes two little wheels of cheese; one to eat after a few weeks when the cheese is young and another to age to that crumbly, parmesan-ish texture. I've found that I'm pretty impatient with the whole "aging for months on end" process so the prospect of trying the cheese early appealed to me.

Homemade Asiago {Cheesepalooza}-1As the cheese making challenges progress, the recipes get a little bit more time consuming. With our farmhouse cheddar we had issues with the instruction to bring the temperature of the cheese curds up only a few degrees over the course of 40 minutes. Although we got through it just fine (after putting out a mayday help help plea on twitter) this time we employed some advice from a fellow cheesemaker and used a hot water bath in our sink to slowly and evenly increase the milk's temperature.

Look at our sweet set up: digital thermometers (to purchase) for monitoring both the milk and water temperatures. You could actually see the heat transfer from the water to the milk when the temperature of the water would drop by a degree at the exact same time that the milk temperature rose one degree. The most interesting science is the kind that gives you cheese when all the learning is done.

Once we had safely and successfully brought the milk up to temperature we took a peek at the curds and were happy to see that they appeared to have survived our waterbath experiment. We'll be using this method again for sure. Sweet (cheesy) success!

Next the curds were stirred and stirred and stirred to encourage them to expel whey and shrink down.

Once they reached the fluffy-popcorn-stage (not actually called that, but it should be) they were ready to pack into cheese molds for pressing.

We had ordered little basket cheese molds (to purchase) a little late so they did not arrive in time for the asiago. So we improvised and used the plastic baskets that cherry tomatoes come in. First we lined them with damp cheese cloth, filled them up with curds...

Then packed the curds down with our hands until the molds were half way full.

Next we sprinkled a few peppercorns on each cheese and then covered them with more curds which were packed down again.

AND THEN.. we realized we really couldn't stand there and manually press on the molds for the next 8 hours with our hands. After some debate we decided to move the little cheeses to our bigger cheese mold that has a lid for pressing (to purchase). So much for the little tomato baskets.. sigh.  We were worried that the cheeses would suffer the same fate as our cheddar and be pressed a little bit thinner than we liked due to the mold's large size. It's a small detail but it does affect the aging process.

I was happy to see that after the cheese was finished being pressed it was a little thicker than our cheddar had been. Not as thick as we wanted, but not as thin as we had feared. We moved them into a brine for the next 8 hours...

.. and then dried it on a rack before placing it in our cheese cave (aka a small wine refrigerator) for aging. I'm looking forward to revealing how the young cheese turns out in Part II of this post...

Keep an eye out for part II of the farmhouse cheddar! It was sliced, tasted, melted, photographed, and tasted again. The best part of cheese making is definitely the part where you get to eat it.

My mom and I are on a year long cheese making adventure along with the other Cheesepalooza participants. We are working out of Artisan Cheese Making At Home by Mary Karlin and will not be posting the recipes for the cheese online. You can join Cheesepalooza at any time!

Homemade Asiago Part 2 {Cheesepalooza}

A few month back my mom and I heated, stirred, rested, and babied a mixture of milk and bacteria in the hopes that it would transform into a slab of delicious Asiago over time.

The cheese was placed in our cheese cave (aka a small wine refrigerator) and left to age.  I should have been checking the humidity, monitoring the temperature, and just generally keeping an eye on our Asiago-to-be. The key word here is 'should' .. should have, but did not. Sadly, work and life got busy and our little cheese was forgotten for weeks at a time punctuated by realizations of "oh my god! The cheese! I haven't checked the temperature!"

Luckily, when it came time to taste the young Asiago nothing too bad had happened. The tougher rind gave way to a creamy-but-firm interior speckled with a peppercorn or two. The flavor was mild and salty but still identifiably Asiago.

Could it be? Did our cheese thrive despite the neglect? Was it really as simple as placing young cheese in a improvised cheese cave and forgetting about it?

Um.. no. But I didn't learn that immediately.

I had never tasted a young Asiago before, most of the cheeses available in the stores have been fully aged for years and are much sharper and more savory. So our cheese was a tentative success and we grated up the slab to sprinkle on pasta and chicken and eggs.

I thought to myself that maybe cheese didn't need as much babying.. maybe it could just do it's own thing and everything would still be ok...

Homemade Asiago-23.. and that is the attitude that I had when we rubbed olive oil over the remaining slab and put it back into the cheese cave to age for several more months.

Fast forward a month and I am now the proud owner of an olive oil rubbed inedible slab of dried-out milk. Curses! It seems that the margin of error and forgetfulness only lasts a little while before the cheese starts to suffer. I don't have any photos of the older, dried out asiago (it wasn't as photogenic as the younger tastier slab).

It was such a waste and I suddenly remembered all of the house plants that I've killed over the years in a similar fashion (oh my god! I haven't watered the plants in weeks!) and I wondered if making aged cheeses was something that I would be able to do successfully.

We're not ready to give up that easily though, and now that we are aging our Gruyere my mom and I are watching it with eagle eyes. It's cheese schedule has been penciled into my daytimer and my mom has been texting me about the cheese cave temperature while I've been away. We're giving the aging process a good solid effort this time around.

Tasting Notes for Young Asiago:

    Appearance: Hard rind, lighter interior. Yellowish white
    Nose (aroma): Slightly cheesy.. almost like Parmesan
    Overall Taste: Mildly asiago-ish
    Sweet to Salty: Salty
    Mild (mellow) to Robust to Pungent (stinky): Mild
    Mouth Feel: (gritty, sandy, chewy, greasy, gummy, etc.): Dried rind, soft and almost chewy center, grated easily.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


kashk = qurut = quroot = yazdie = caramelized yogurt = cream of whey

Recently, we received a note from one of our customers in the mid-east, requesting a recipe for kashk. She described it as "a thick yellowish-grey paste with "cheesy" scent." She said the closest taste would be a blue cheese sauce or a roguefort dip. She had made a delicious eggplant casserole with it - Kashke Bademjan.* 

Her note reminded me that we had posted a request for kashk recipes in the October 2011 Moosletter and had received no replies.  So, I decided to open the discussion again here in hopes that we will receive some comments and recipe suggestions about this elusive delicacy.

According to Wikipedia:

Kashk (Persian), keshk, kishk, or kishik is a large family of foods found in Iranian, Kurdish, and Arab cuisine.

In modern Iran, kashk is a thick whitish liquid similar to whey (a dairy product) similar to sour cream, used in traditional Persian/Iranian cooking. It is available as a liquid or in a dried form, which needs to be soaked and softened before it can be used in cooking. Kashk was traditionally produced from the leftovers of cheese-making (more specifically, the milk used to make it).

Traditional dishes containing kashk include “Kashk-e Bademjan” (a dish of grilled aubergines (eggplant) mixed with kashk) , “aash-e reshteh” (a noodle broth with various pulses), “halim bademjan” *(similar to kashk-e bademjan, but with minced meat) and “aash-e kashk” (a broth). (Wikipedia)

A few days after she sent us her note, our customer (who wishes to remain anonymous) found a recipe for kashk in a Persian cookbook - Food of Life and sent me a copy of it.  I also found a couple of recipes online - Persian Cuisine From Javane's Kitchen and Daei Mansoor.

Summarizing the 3 recipes, I came up with the one below.  (I have not tested it.)  However, I would welcome any comments you may have about different ways to make kashk.  If you have your own recipe, send it to so we can share it in a future issue.


You will need:
8 cups plain (whole fat) yogurt
1 tablespoon sea salt
Cheesecloth or butter muslin

Make sour yogurt by storing it for 1 or 2 days at room temperature (or until it tastes sour).

Place it in a blender with 1/2 cup water and 1 tablespoon salt.  Mix until smooth.

Pour into a pot, bring to a boil and simmer the yogurt (with the top off the pot) until thick, (this may take up to 4 hours).

Drain through 2 layers of cheesecloth or 1 layer of butter muslin until all the liquid has come out (at least 1/2 hour).  (You may hang it, press it under some weight or use our new Greek yogurt maker.)

Roll it into walnut-sized balls and place them on a cookie sheet to drain for a couple of hours.

When dry, store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or freeze the little balls of kashk in separate baggies to use when needed.

*Kashke Bademjan
From Persian Recipes

Ingredients (2-4 people):
1-2 large eggplants
approximately 1 cup kashk
1 medium onion
1 - 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons dried mint

Peel the eggplants and cut them up into circles (with a thickness of approximately 1/4" each). Rinse the cut pieces and add some salt to the eggplants. Heat oil on the stove (medium-high heat) in a frying pan and fry the eggplants until golden (both sides need to be fried). If you can’t fry all the pieces in the frying pan at once (which may be the case) just set the fried eggplants aside on a plate until they are all done.

Mix the tomato paste with 1/2 cup hot water. Add pepper and salt (as desired) to the tomato paste and water. In the same frying pan, or in a different one, add all the eggplants and pour the liquid mixture over all the eggplants and cover the pan. Allow the eggplants to cook for 10-15 minutes on medium heat.

Peel the onion and finely chop the onion up into pieces. Fry the onion in oil until golden then set aside. Then, fry the dried mint in oil, as well. After you place the eggplants in a serving dish pour the Kaskh over the eggplants and sprinkle the onions and dried mint over them. Its ready to be served.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Maggie Parkinson in Renton, Washington

This is not an ad!  Maggie's book is currently out of print.
The art of cheese making is only one many creative endeavors for Maggie Parkinson (stage name- Carylton Cooper).  She has been an actress, a play write, a cookbook author, and a knitter of her own designs (Maggie's Originals).

She worked at Boeing (in Seattle) for over 20 years while she accomplished all this.  And, she isn't done yet.  She's in the process of building a bed & breakfast on Bainbridge Island, 30 minutes by ferry from Seattle.  Does anyone doubt that the food will be amazing there?!

Maggie made this Halloween costume for her husband.

Maggie designed and made these fabulous knitted tops

That's Maggie at left in "The Day After the Fair" from a story by Thomas Hardy.
She was on stage for 2 1/2 hours!

As evidence of her creativity, I proudly present her answer to my question - how did you get started making cheese?

Cheese making on a budget.
By Maggie Parkinson 

I used to shop almost exclusively for my cheese at Trader Joe's as I thought they had good prices. And then we went through that "almost five dollars a gallon" gasoline period and everything went jumping up in price-especially cheese.

Almost everyone loves cheese - cheese is like potatoes-hard to dislike unless your poor tummy just can't take dairy, in which case, my heart goes out to you (this does include young sister who passes out from lack of breath in the street with a violent allergy to all things dairy). Thanks to some universal power, I seem to be able to digest most things except wine quite comfortably.

ANYWAY, high gas prices, doubled cheese prices and I went - YIKES - this is really going to hammer the grocery bill - being a Stilton and aged cheddar addict!

So I says to self - "Hmmm, I wish I could make this at home" and on to UTUBE I went. I was so surprised to see some cool video on how to do that.

So, then I go to hubby and say "I think I want to make cheese."  He didn't blink and said - ok!  (I used to make knitwear professionally and have done a lot of weird things including spending three years writing two cookbooks-so he's used to my creative crazes.

So, first I did a "proof of concept" to see if I could pull it off and that was a simple cheddar made out of a gallon of milk, some buttermilk and a rennet tablet. (Dear Mr. Fankhauser, thank you for your encouragement and wisdom right in the rennet packet!)

Then, I got really cocky and went for it; however I wanted to "go for it" with a sense of frugality; I've been buying a piece of land and I'm TRYING to get a house built to start up a new B&B and so CHEAP is the operative term around here all the time.  See YIKES above!

All the books say, don't start with Brie. It's hard.  I think it's like falling off a log personally but then I've never had a failure yet!

So I bought a bunch of cultures (which of course bit me in the pocket but I gritted my teeth and did it anyway). You can't really economize on those if you want to make something a bit more sophisticated than ricotta right?

Then I thought to myself, equipment!  I began to badger said hubby for a press and "followers." We built one clunker of a press which didn't work, learned from it and then built a more simple one.  It consists of two wooden trays, metal rods and nuts and bolts.  The bottom tray has grooves to siphon off whey but I usually stand a small cookie tray underneath my cheese which I feel is a bit more sterile!

Photo #1

I bought food grade poly containers, had my long suffering buddy cut off the bottoms in some cases and drill holes in them.  Hubby got into "cheese mold" mode and spotted IKEA stainless steel cutlery holders which are about seven dollars and which make great brie molds.  (Photo #2 of this after first flip!)   I found REAL cheesecloth in an old-world style fabric store-they even had butter-muslin too!

Photo #2

We cut followers from one of those big white 1/4 " thick nylon cutting boards to match the molds. (shown in Photo #1)  Then, to facilitate pressing hubby cut several chunks of 2 x 4, cleaned them up and wrapped them up in plastic wrap. These serve to support the upper tray which holds the weights. (Also photo #1)

In the meantime, I hovered over Craigslist and found:
1) a small wine cooler, (Photo #3), showing many of my already aged cheeses, some of them extra mature thanks to vacuum sealing, dry milk which I use in cheese-making sometimes and my bucket o' brine.)

Photo #3

2) dumbbell weights, (Photo #1) from some dude who wished to downsize; total of $75 and I was in business. I bought about 8 weights, some 5 lbs and some 10 lbs so I can press anywhere from 5 to about 50 pounds which serves all my needs.

I even made one big cheese into two plastic waste baskets! (Shown in Photo #1) Although one must be careful about food grade, as my cheese curds are always wrapped in cloth, they work quite well!

I had so much success with so many cheeses that I wanted to make bigger ones-(remember I'm a cheesaholic) so I finally stumped out close to 100 bucks for a really really BIG stainless pot. (In photo #1) You need one this big to make a four gallon, about 4 pound, cheese.  (I want to get maximum mouse-bait for my effort as I'm always very busy.)  BY THE WAY, if you buy a "16 quart" pot, it isn't going to hold 16 quarts - I don't know why that is but it's true!

And that's my cheesy story.   I've had some taxing and dramatic hobbies, (yes, including hoofing around in dramatic societies, designing and making knitwear for $$, two cookbooks, writing a play,  and a musical); but I'm never happier than when I'm messing up my kitchen with a big bucket o' curd!

Now, if I were just skinny enough to be able to eat this stuff!

Best wishes, Maggie Parkinson, AKA Carylton Cooper

After I received her wonderful answer, I asked her to take a few pictures the next time she made Stilton.  She responded with this wonderful presentation:

Stilton Making Day!

Well, although my house is actually up for sale I have decided that I must have a day where I make Stilton-there's a dearth of good blue cheese around here and-Stilton being my favorite, I am a former Brit after all, that's a disaster!

There's nothing especially magical about my environment; just a standard domestic kitchen although maybe a bit bigger than most? I begin by sterilizing everything that I think I'm going to use. I do that in two different ways depending on my mood.  Sometimes I use a sterilizing agent that I bought in my local brewery store, (a useful friend for lots of reasons including the malted barley I use for British Granary bread, yum).  However, on this occasion I got out my big pot and boiled everything for a few minutes.  The sterilizing solution may be poured back into containers and stored for future use. I simply don't have room for it in my "nobody currently lives here" house!

My method for getting milk up to temperature, (whatever I happen to be making), is the same. I use a small free-standing electric cooking thingy. Although my big pot absolutely dwarfs the heater itself, I can control the degrees very well with it.  Once I am up to "speed," as it were, I turn it off and the latent warmth and a big blankey maintains the temp very well, a small boost now and then does the rest!

I always lay my "additives" on the counter in the order I need to add them and use little jelly jars which I hoard, (I'm not really TV material but I confess to being a packrat,) and then place calcium chloride, cultures and rennet in small amounts of water.  That GREEN STUFF costs a gazillion dollars, but in the long term, as it seems to have the shelf life of Twinkies, it is all worth it!  Hmm, can you even get Twinkies any more? I've lived in the US for 28 years and never eaten one!

Kinda sorta looks like a creature from Sleepy Hollow or something?

My curd forms but is softer than I like it to be: I know the reason why - well I THINK I do!

This recipe contains cream and I can only buy the ULTRA basteurized (sic) stuff which to my mind has an effect on the curd. I once attempted a recipe with a LOT of cream in it and it wouldn't set at ALL!  I was ticked that day but it all got used up in other things.

I like to make simple cheeses, and for me, Brie and Stilton go into that bracket. Not a lot of "business" once you have curd.  Cut it up, hang it up and bob's your uncle!

After a brief "no trial" hanging, we press the curds for a couple of hours with boards bought in the local thrift store and one of my 10 pound dumbbells. The bags I bought make that process really simple instead of struggling with cheesecloth and string or whatever! No, I do NOT use that for washing my delicates later!

Along came dinner hour and I think I left it a wee bit long.  We now cut it into 1" chunks and get it into a mold with cheesecloth where it sits for four days with me hovering over it and playing Bunny Mother.

The curd did not meld well together when I smooshed it into the mold, each lump had developed a sturdy little life of its own, owing to it's prolonged sit under the weight.

I think…... what the heck, I told you that I am rank amateur with luck! It weighs at least three and maybe four pounds which is really great yield from three gallons of homo milk!

I molded it in a painter's bucket; Sweety the Pirate removed the bottom and drilled holes around the sides.

Today it got put to bed in a simple plastic box with bits of bamboo mat and embroidery canvas, (naked) under it to keep its feet up out of the damp. It already shows a green tinge and it's only four days old.  Fortunately I have a DYN-O-MITE sense of smell and I can differentiate between good green smell and "oh poop this is the brush it off" kind!

(Having a perfumier's nose is great when it comes to seasoning foods and not so great when I'm around er- well nasty smelling things! If my dish towel is "off" I can smell it from my front door!)

Stilton after 6 days

Here's my favorite recipe for cooking with Stilton.

Steak in Stilton Sauce
By Maggie Parkinson

Beef Steak for 4 cut into 1 inch cubes: (you are the best judge of what kind of meat and how much to serve these days... I think 6 oz is plenty per person for this dish. )

A little oil, a little butter... (the original says 3 oz of butter, now I use 1 T oil, 1 T butter)
1 medium onion thinly sliced, or half a large one.
1/2 pound mushrooms, (small buttons are ok for this as the flavors are too big for the expensive kind.) Slice thickly or quarter.
¼ to 1/3 cup whipping cream

Melt the butter in a skillet, (or the butter and oil) and add the onion; cook slowly until it is browned a little and translucent. Add the cubes of beef first, cook a for a minute and then add the mushrooms.   Keep turning the contents of the pan until the meat is cooked the way you want it.
(The original recipe uses beef tenderloin as may you if you are feeling expansive; however I never do.) 
Add the whipping cream and then add about 3 oz of good blue cheese like Stilton or Roquefort.  I do not recommend the domestic blue cheeses which are too pungent. Stir until the cheese has melted and is incorporated into the cream.   Taste the sauce and season.  Add more cheese if you'd like it stronger!
 Good with noodles, rice and a green vegetable. Or a salad.
 If they stood me up in front of a firing squad, this would be my last wish!
PS:  You know those brie's in Ikea cutlery molds I told you about?
They are now furry hockey pucks soon to be smelly goaty brie!  A HA!

I am gutsy in the kitchen I must admit. It took me a while but I finally succeeded at Ciao fun noodles too. Hmmm, now how can I blend those with cheese?
Just kidding!

We like funny coffee cup thingies here:  One of them has dirt and garlic cloves in it-why wait for spring chives or buy them-take your "I'm sprouting" garlic cloves and stick their feet in dirt just about anywhere. One week later-lovely GARLICKY chives! 
I am amused by the fact that one of them has grown its own parasol or is it perhaps a white flag of surrender that says "please don't eat me!"

The beginning

One week later

Ciao happy cheesemakers!  Thanks for reading…      J