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Hold the Press!

22 Sep

Breaking news!  I have a new toy!  With more milk in my future, I decided I wanted to branch out and try some new cheeses again.  But I’m kind of at the point I would need a cheese press.  As luck would have it, my dear blogging friend Patty from Broken Teepee (great book reviews and recipes) had a cheese press she was no longer using.  She sent it to me!

I decided I’d work into the pressed cheeses a bit and try making a queso blanco (or queso fresco).  That way I could use the press but it’s still a fresh cheese, so I don’t have to wait to try it out!  I started by rigging a double  boiler from a big pot and a bigger pot.

That worked well, so I added my vinegar.  It started curdling like it’s supposed to, but it didn’t get any whey separating.

I don’t know why.  After I did this, I remembered I failed at using vinegar as a coagulant when I first started making cheese.  I kept trying though, and it eventually ended up like cream of rice.

There’s no way anything this soupy is going into a cheese press, so I gave up.  We’ll see if I get brave and try again.  I did find a different recipe for queso blanco that calls for rennet.  That might work better.  I’ll let you know if the second time is a charm.

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Milk Room Invasion

19 Sep

My milk room has been invaded, and we are at war.  All of the rain we’ve had has caused bazillions and bazillions of mosquitoes to hatch.  Where Haley and Zinnia are standing is bare dirt.  Then the dew comes off the roof of the garage and keeps it muddy.

Zinnia and Haley

They stand outside waiting for their turn, and the mosquitoes just swarm the poor girls.  (Warning:  If you do not like bugs and blood, you  might want not want to continue.)

That means every time I open the door for a goat, half a bazillion mosquitoes come in with them.

I think I’m going to have to repaint my walls after it freezes because they are looking a bit spotted with black bodies and blood splotches.

It’s hard to milk when you are flipping your hair and constantly waving mosquitoes off the goats.

I really hate when I end up with one getting shot down into my milk.  I am ready for these little buggers to be gone.

I’m thinking about asking the spider to move into the milk room instead of being outside the door on the other side of the fence.

Micro Dairy

12 Sep

This year I’ve gotten more milk from my girls than I have had for quite some time.  As I continue to start milking girls with more dairy blood in them and their copper levels improve, I’m hoping their milk production continues to improve too (yeah, copper really does mess with everything like this).  Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep milking longer into the winter as well.

Ava

Every time I post on Facebook about making cheese or people just learn I make cheese, they always ask if I’m selling it.  As I’ve gotten more consistent in my cheesmaking results, it’s started me thinking.  Maybe I should.

feta frozen for winter use

I contacted the Dept. of Agriculture and had them send me guidelines for being able to sell my cheese.  It took about two minutes of reading to realize I will never be licensed to sell my dairy products.

peach yogurt

To start, it costs $800 for a two-year license.  If you figure a generous average of $10 income (not profit) for each gallon of milk processed into cheese, that would be eighty batches of cheese just to pay for the license without subtracting for inputs to make the cheese.

1 gallon milk = 2 cups Mozzarella

Then there are phrases like “approved pasteurization system.”  It’s not further defined, but the cheapest one-gallon home pasteurizing machine I could find was just over $500.  The commercial ones start at $1100 and go into the tens of thousands.  Right now this is my pasteurizing system.  It works.

They also assume you will be building a brand new building for processing.  That adds probably another $50,000 (conservatively) to the cost.  Things like automatically closing doors are not cheap.

Dolly

The thing is, their idea of small is still so large you would have to make so much cheese that you’d not be able to have one person doing it.  It would have to be full time and with hired help.  That means more cost on top of the ridiclous amount spent on the new building and not being able to have an off-farm job.  It would require more goats to be milked.

Astra and Xerxes

If you want to take the product to a farmer’s market, there’s the requirements and licensing of the vehicle used for hauling dairy products too.  There is no feasible way to be able to sell your extra product without working full time forever to simply break even.  That means my family is probably going to be gifted with lots of cheese.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favor of regulations.  I know there are things that I would have to change about my current system for me to even be comfortable with it.  Pasteurizing in of utmost importance, and I’d have to have my goats tested for communicable disease.

The nothing or full industry regulations just seems to be overkill.  The odd thing is that anyone can sell eggs direct to consumer with no regulations whatsoever.  Same with veggies or fruits they’ve grown.  These foods are more likely to give someone food poisoning than my safe pasteurized dairy products. [1]