Tag Archives: cheese

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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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]

The End of Summer

19 Aug

I’ve said it before:  the end of summer–from the first of August until the true start of fall– is my least favorite time of year.  It’s when the grass is getting eaten down and the risk of worms in the goats increase.

Margarita

There’s still green everywhere, and I still have to try to keep the yard mowed, and it’s also the busiest time for trying to put up the produce.

plums

This past week, I canned my first batch of roasted tomato sauce.  I still have several batches of sauce to do and some cold packed tomatoes also.

I’ve begun milking in earnest now, and I’m getting about six quarts of milk each day, so I’m working hard to make sure it all gets processed into yummy foods.

draining feta cheese

I’m also working on getting enough frozen for next year’s kids.

Anubus

It’s very easily the busiest time of year for me on the farm (with the exception of the crazy week of spring break babies), and I enjoy so many of the things going on (except the worms).  Then, in the middle of it all, I have to go back to teaching.

I’m not ready.  I’m never ready to leave everyone and go back to a full-time off-farm job, but after twenty-five years of teaching, it gets harder and harder.  As the herd grows older, it seems like I’m constantly evaluating who I can’t leave home all day, and do I need to have someone euthanized because of their risk of falling and getting stuck down.  I don’t have anyone at that point this year (thankful for that).

Vixen

I’m trying to figure out how I will get everyone their supplemental feeding when I’m going to be gone all day because I’m still building Aurora up and giving extra care to some of the goats struggling with the lack of copper.

Aurora

There’s so much to be done, and it’s hard enough to get it accomplished when I’m here all day.

And my dog and I are going to have a hard time being separated from each other for the whole day.  He’s been glued to my side (or sitting by the gate) the entire summer.

Sky

If my posts become shorter, you’ll know it’s because I’m frantically trying to get everything done and I’m back to work too, wishing I were home.