Farmers Cheese

I have a Cheese Book. Maybe you do too. Mine is in its fourth year.  In my Cheese Book I write the process for every wheel of cheese I make.  The year. The date. The weather.  What the cow is eating. The funny things that happen along the way that will influence the cheese.  Who is living in the house. The state of the milk, the cut, the turns.  And things like that. So when I eat a cheese I can look back to the day I made it.

I took this dawn shot a few moments ago.  Almost time to start work. 

This is the entry in the Cheese Book yesterday.  Although technically the Cheese Book is for the documenting the hard cheeses.  But I thought I would try a fresh  cheese that we could eat straight away and note how I made it, in case it was good.

Farmers Cheese.  Number 1. 

June 20, 2012. Wednesday.  Hot, bloody windy, interminable wind. When will the wind stop. One teenager. John working.  89F in the kitchen. 

Daisy Milk.  The first Daisy cheese. All morning work done, cleaned up. White cheese pinny. 

10 am Heated 2 gallons of fresh warm milk to 95F. It was already at 80.  Added 1 cup home made smarty tarty yoghurt.  Plus 1/2 rennet tablet dissolved in 1/4 cup of cool water. Lots of stirring. 

10.50 Left covered for 30 minutes. Good clean break.

Cut the curd and left for about 30 minutes to drop. Should have been 15 minutes but lady wanted to look at Charlotte. She will ask around. 

Slowly Heat up to 120.  Stirring and chopping. Used the thermometer until it was 113 then got distracted by Minty getting lost. Again. That sheep will not flock. Cooked for 35 minutes. 

Drained, hung to drip for an hour. Added 1/2 tsp salt. Mushed it in. 92F in the kitchen. 

Wrapped in cheese cloth and into bowl as mold and weighed down with old iron on top of plate, set in fridge. Now I have  to get the peacocks out of the garage.  I forgot to close the doors and they are using it as a bell to amplify their raucousness. 

And after that I lost my camera and found it again after dusk.

Last Entry. Chilled by evening.  Sliced. Tasteless and squeaky.  It can keep for a week, might be better after a few days.  May not have cooked it hot enough or long enough.   

Good morning. Our John liked the cheese as a snack with pickled radishes and thinly sliced fresh red onion.  He eats a lot of cheese when he snacks after work.  So I would like to get this right.  First I shall consult with the Master of Cheese over at The Bartolini Kitchens as to why this one is squeaky. Then today I shall take a look at his cream cheese recipe. Maybe that is the answer to a fresh snack cheese.

Have a lovely day.  We will.  If it stays dry we are going to cut the Haymaker Paddock today.   There is a 30% chance of rain in the forecast today but you know what that means. (sad face laughter!). So we will wait until all the stringless rain clouds have blown past then cut. Daisy is still giving so much milk I have to empty the bucket half way through  then start again. Wish the delivery man would come up my drive with the new bigger bucket!



86 Comments on “Farmers Cheese

  1. That is very cool. My cheese book includes what I was wearing, the temperature, the route I drove to the grocery store, and what aisle the cheese was in. Your results may vary.

    • Morning Bill. There is that. I am sure your cheese is more consistent in its texture using your method. Mine is anything but consistent, in fact not even nice sometimes!! Ah well! c

  2. I’ve never heard of a cheese book before, the things you learn coming to the farmy! Would this cheese be better grilled as opposed to eating it fresh so to speak? We’ve just started snacking on radishes too – they go with everything especially a cold beer!

  3. I have only made soft fresh cheeses (quark, cream, ricotta) so far and look forward to trying the hards…especially Parm. Need to reasearch more…will check out the site you suggest. I have not used rennet when making farmers cheese so I am afaid I am of no help. What is in my mind as a farmers cheese is very soft, not something to be sliced. (different geographical regions using the same name for different items?) Will be intersted in that your Master of Cheeses has to report. Have a lovely day.

    • The recipe I used may not be a good one. I need to find a better one then. I will make a parmesan for you soon! It is one of the easiest cheeses to make I think. c

    • Felicity’s perfect cheesecake
      Serves 10-12
      60g digestive biscuits (4 biscuits)
      60g ginger nuts (6 biscuits)
      50g butter
      A pinch of salt
      600g full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
      200g sour cream
      4 tbsp cornflour
      150g caster sugar
      Zest of ½ a lemon, finely grated
      1 tsp vanilla extract
      4 large free-range eggs, at room temperature, plus 1 egg white
      1. Preheat the oven to 180C and put a baking sheet on the middle shelf. Crush the biscuits by putting them into a freezer bag and hitting them with a rolling pin – you want to leave some larger chunks in there, so this is better than using a food processor, although you can pulse them in there instead if you prefer. Melt the butter in a small pan, then add the crumbs and a pinch of salt and mix well.
      2. Spread the crumbs over the base of a tall 20cm cake tin (springform if you have one) and press down firmly with a glass until you have a well compacted, flat base. Put the tin into the hot oven for 20 minutes while you make the topping.
      3. Put the cheese into a large bowl and stir with a whisk to soften it and get rid of any lumps. Mix in the soured cream, cornflour, sugar, lemon zest and vanilla extract. Beat the whole eggs together, and then add them to the mixture, little by little, then beat just until the mixture is smooth.
      4. Take the tin out of the oven and brush the surface of the base lightly with egg white. Turn the oven down to 110C and keep the door open for a couple of minutes to help it to cool down.
      5. Leave the base for a few minutes while the oven cools, then pour the mixture into the tin, and shake gently to level it. You can run your finger gently over the top to get rid of any air bubbles. Put on the hot baking sheet and bake for about 1½ hours, until set, but still slightly wobbly in the middle. Run a thin spatula around the edge to separate the cake from the tin, then turn the oven off and allow the cheesecake to cool completely inside before taking it out, removing from the tin and refrigerating.

      • I also like making an ordinary cake mix for the base, rather than a biscuit base – don’t cook in between – just cake mx layered with cheesecake mix and then cooked all together. Nice with rum soaked raisins in the cheesecake mix 🙂

      • You would not believe how well timed this is. Johns son has been trying to get me to make a cheese cake for days now.. this is a perfect recipe. i shall get to work and make all the ingredients today then probably make it tomorrow.. what a stunning idea and it uses so many of my home grown ingredients! Thank you thank you sarah. c

  4. Have you ever made your own cottage cheese? This is one of our favourite quick snacks for a light meal.I allow a jug of whole milk to stand on my kitchen counter until it turns properly into curds and whey. I don’t add anything at this stage. I line a colander with a muslin cloth and pour the ‘set’ curds into the cloth which I tie closed with string. I hang the dripping bundles in a cool place – even from a shady tree outside for a few hours where it can ‘catch the breeze’ until it drips dry. I then use herbs and spices to flavour – sometimes I chop in gherkins, or whatever else takes my fancy – yummy served with snack breads, cold meats or salad.

    • No I have never made this. Though this is how I start the buttermilk. Can you describe the curds and whey stage to me? What does it look like when it is ready to be drained, and how long would this take in my warm house to get to that stage. Sounds great! and simple.. c

  5. If the other entries in the Cheese Book read like that one, you should use each one as a preface to a chapter in your Book. 🙂
    Is that project put away until Winter? If you tell me you’re still working and progressing on it in the middle of all this *activity*, I’ll REALLY feel like a disorganized slob…

    • Ah yes, the Book is just mulling about in my brain now, though i still make the notes as the ideas pop up. So The Book is still out but falling into note form. Ready to be whipped back into shape later in the year. Though i try to work on it for at least 30 minutes every day after my non existent lunch break.. c

  6. Are you allowed to sell your extra milk? I used to get fresh milk in Missouri from a woman who took “donations”.
    I wish I could get some of that milk and cream! But I think I gained ten pounds during the months I got her milk and made my own butter.

    • I am legally allowed to sell raw milk in Illinois as long as i do not advertise and the people come to the farm to collect it in their own containers. There are no regulations (surprisingly) as long as you are only running a few cows at home and not selling commercially in any way.. c

  7. I made mozzarella cheese with our goat milk the other day, and what an experience! A very messy, confused, ‘what am I doing’ kind of experience. But it turned out really good! And I’m pretty sure it will be easier the next time around!

    • Excellent .. are you going to make feta too!? Follow the link on this page. John has all those recipes! c

      • My John made feta and it was wonderful!!! Will definitely check out the Master of Cheeses site for my yummy recipes! Thank you for the tip! xo

  8. I am ever and forever in marvel of your accomplishments. I made gingerbread slabs last night, (Mr Misk is travelling, and I thought I was on the verge of miraculous … but gosh, by comparison … yikes!

  9. All I know about squeaky cheese is this: If you bite into a cheese curd and it squeaks this is a sign of its freshness. You want it to squeak. No help to you of course. Good luck with the cheese-making. I admire your determination.

  10. I feel so left out this morning. Why have I never made cheese? Have I deprived my family of the good home-made stuff all these years? Is that why all our children moved out of state? Will my grandchildren ever measure up to all the children whose mothers made them home made cheese?

    Oh, the self doubts; the agony of self-realization…

    • Never too late ronnie, i have found that you can actually post cheese to kids! as long as you have a good box! imagine their surprise!! c

  11. i’ve eaten squeeky cheese before. aren’t some supposed to be squeeky? 30% chance of rain? HA!!! i have heard that every single day this entire spring and it just is not happening. we need rain so bad. it seems all i do is water. if it makes you feel any better, i have A/C and my kitchen is in the upper 90’s too. once i turn the cooktop and ovens on, nothing helps!

    • I am listening to my pump going on and off as i work, watering the front vege garden then i will weed it later. Can someone tell the weeds that there is a drought on?! morning honey.. c

  12. You are one inventive person. I love the idea of squeaky cheese! Why not use snippets from the cheese book as Chapter headings?

    • The cheese book is so funny, esp when i go back a year later after tasting a cheese and write FAILED on the page.. but usually they are eaten anyway! morning Viv.. c

  13. John is such a talent when it comes to cheeses. Before I read his blog I had no idea how to make my own cheese (still don’t make it but if I did attempt the task I would head straight to his blog!) Those peacocks sound like they like to make mischief xx

    • They have been trying to roost in the garage for days, if the door is even open a tiny bit they try and jam themselves under there to get in.. c

  14. Blessed are the cheese-makers – as Monty Python pointed out,
    I am eating wonderful European mozzarella as I type. I love the milkiness of it. It is simple and delicious. If I had a cheese book it would be for cheeses I have eaten. Good luck with the next batch. If your first batch is edible then you are well on the way to gourmet cheese I would think.

    • Lots to work on with the fresh cheeses but i really need to get the hard cheeses underway and in the cave to cure! c

  15. A cheese book: a wonderful thing. It makes me a little sad to see how far most of us have come from the way of life that makes regular cheese making a possibility. It is very tempting indeed to try it.

  16. It´s a cheesy day for me as I caught up with John´s mozzarella post this morning and now yours (fantastic). A lovely local goatherd bought me round 2 litres of milk this morning but I don´t have rennet, so may just have to make a curd cheese. Great idea to keep records!

    • Goats milk .. how exciting! Maybe get some rennet tabs and pop them in your freezer for next time. it will last for years in there.. c

      • Wow – didn´t know that! Big Man has just gone out for water and I asked him to pop into the chemist to see if they have any (that´s usually where they sell it here). Great tip, thanks!

  17. How exciting! I would imagine that this would all take some experimenting – but a fun process! We’re making some ricotta tomorrow, but that’s arguably the easiest to make 🙂

  18. What an interesting post! I love how the activity at a farm is so interwoven. So many things happening at once. You manage it all splendidly.

  19. But the cheese looks so good! Making cheese in an already hot kitchen sounds like so much work, I want the reward of a good ending to there for you! I love to read a post where another favorite person is mentioned, and John is indeed a cheese wizard! Between the two of you I do a lot of admiring! 🙂 Debra

  20. I would love to learn how to make cheese! I think it seems challenging, but well worth the reward when they turn out yummy! Your kitchen was crazy hot, plus having an oven going! I was complaining last night when it was 86 in here lol.

    • Actually there is an element of that. there is so much work in cheese and so much waiting that i hate to have it all eaten up.. quite mad! c

    • that is such a good idea. I usually just pour whatever flours are at hand until it looks right. i don’t even measure the fluids. So when it is really good,, i have no idea why!! c

  21. Cheese book? That is really cool! My family has an old homemade paneer recipe which is for Indian cheese 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  22. I’m the same as your John and must have cheese around to snack on. However, we’ve moved to the official no good cheese in the area capital of the world in Wyoming. Looks like I’m going to have to follow the Master of Cheese and your lead to start making my own. 🙂

    • That is exactly why I got a cow.. there is no good cheese here, all the cheese is orange!~! so unless you want to jump on the train and go up to the big city you have to make your own!

  23. I love to fry cheese to save it when getting old, a bit yellow and smelly.
    with garlic, marjolaine and pinch of salt and pepper, yummie

  24. “Master of Cheese”? Thanks for the shout-out, Celi, but you’re too kind.
    I don’t know what you mean by squeaky cheese — and I admit that, knowing it very well might cost me my new title. The lack of flavor caught my attention. Your yogurt should have given it a good taste. Was it really fresh and alive? If the milk was heated much higher than 95˚, that may have killed the bacteria. It could be, like you said, that it will get more flavor as it ages a bit. The yogurt bacteria will have had a chance to work its magic. I hope so. It sure does look good, though.
    I never even considered maintaining a cheese book but, then again, who wants to read a tear-stained tome, anyway. You see, in the beginning, I wasn’t the care-free cheese maker that you know today. Quite the contrary and, believe me, I threw away an awful lot of ruined dairy.
    I’ve gotta run. Had a busy day and now I’ve got a full day’s worth of posts & comments to address. Hope you’re having a great day & can enjoy this cooler evening!

  25. I love cheese hidden in dishes as a surprise…like a quinoa casserole with a layer of sharper cheese in the middle along with lengths of banana. Then honey dripped over the top layer of quinoa generously sprinkled with cinnamon. An Indonesian doctor made up this recipe to encourage his children to eat quinoa.

    And how is it you have 30 hours in your day?

    • I am useless at maths! You know i have never eaten quinoa.. maybe he should have been my dad, it sounds awesome!

      • I love quinoa because it is a grain full of protein. Some people eat it as a breakfast cereal, but I like it with various entrees – especially a stir fry.

  26. i kept thinking about squeeky cheese today and i finally realized, the farmer cheese i get here is squeeky. so maybe it is just something with farmer cheese? are you about to cool down? we are supposed to but i will believe it when it happens. still no rain at all in the forecast!

    • we cooled down for ten minutes and got a 5 minute shower then it heated right up again but I will take whatever i can get! c

  27. You’re getting the same intense pink sunrises as Sydney has the last 2 days. Great cheese book, great cheese from what I see anyway. I went over to the Bartolini kitchens – lovely food & great roses. I’m looking forward to admiring him also 🙂

  28. Our squeaky cheese is a gallon heated to between 170-190F (depends on how distracted I get with 5 kids!) and add about 1/3 cup of vinegar or lemon juice. Let sit for about 10 minutes and pour into a cloth to drain for a bit. It depends on how dry you want it. Some salt and pepper and the kids eat it warm. Doesn’t last long around here. Pretty neutral tasting and is great in stuff like taco meat to make it stretch. We’ve been without milk for about 4 weeks and have 2-3 to go. Can’t wait for that cow to freshen! She looks like she’s going to pop! I need to buy rennet and try some other cheeses. What breed is your cow? I’ve been meaning to ask.

    • she is an Ayrshire, about 1500 pounds and tall.. a big girl.. her milk is lovely..any tips about milk and milking are most welcome.. i have to go to NZ in december and am not sure what i am going to do about Daisy as far as the milking goes.. c

  29. Reminds me of cheese curds in Wisconsin. We always called them squeaky cheese. I’m always so impressed by homemade cheese. So cool!

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