Cheesepalooza Project 2012-2013

What is Cheesepalooza you might ask?  Here is something from Ian Treuer (I’ll give his blog address below) that explains the process.  Also if you click on the badge at the right side of my site you will go to Valerie’s site where she outlines the whole project.  That is where you sign up to take part.  You don’t have to be a food blogger to take part.  Just write about your project, take some pictures and send them to Valerie http://www.acanadianfoodie.com/

CHEESEPALOOZA PRE-ANNOUNCEMENT

Now it is time for a pre-announcement: Watch for Cheesepalooza coming to your neighbourhood, soon.

Valarie from www.acanadianfoodie.com has spoken to Mary Karlin of Artisan Cheese Making at Home and though she is not sure, at present, how much time she can devote to our project, she will contribute her mentorship to it in a yet to be determined capacity. Project?

Valarie, AddieDeb and I are initiating a Cheesepalooza Project: a 9 to 10 month Artisan Cheesemaking adventure where we use Mary’s book as our guide and all make the same cheeses to a specific schedule.

I hope many of our readers will participate. There will be monthly postings. Right now we are working on the plan.   We hope to gather some sponsors and possibly prizes, etc (similar to charcutapalooza by Mrs Wheelbarrow).  If you are interested in participating, let us know in the comments section below, and I will e-mail you with the details as soon as we have them!

Please also tell us what you are interested in learning and doing, cheese-wise!  If you have any cheese making expertise, please also let us know!

Cheers,

Ian

 Needless to say for a hopelessly addicted to real food eating amateur cheese maker, this project is very exciting!  It doesn’t take much to excite me I know but how much more fun than to make cheese and try new things over a year with other people of like mind. Oh how I love the internet!!!!!

As I wait rather impatiently for August 1st and the beginning of this Cheesepalooza Project, I decided to start my first post on this with a bit of my own cheese making history.  I have been making my own butter, sour cream, yogurt, soft cheeses for about 3 years now.  A little over a year ago a friend of mine taught me to make gouda cheese.  That was the beginning of  a hobby that makes my heart sing with joy!!!!  Making aged cheese is a little like a science experiment, a little like an art, a little like a mediation and a little like an obsession………..  Depending on what time of year it is, what the cows are eating, what the weather is like, how rushed or relaxed I am, the same milk from the same cows with the same culture and recipe can taste very different made into cheese.  It’s quite fascinating to see how a minor difference in a technique or any of the above listed items can create such different tasting cheese.  Then there is the aging process which I have come to know is just as important as how the cheese was made.

Cheese is a living, breathing food.  I prefer to work with raw milk in cheese making so that this food has the best possible enzymes and is a truly living food.  The Cheesepalooza Project is based on pasteurized milk because raw milk is illegal in Canada.  Interesting that I can drive across the boarder into the US, buy raw milk and bring it home with no problem but our farmers are persecuted for selling it to us.   To help us change that please see www.rawmilkconsumer.ca.  For those of you not familiar with the laws about cheese, raw milk cheese can be sold in Canada if it has been aged 60 days or more.  The culturing bacteria in cheese neutralizes any pathogens that are present.  It is always advisable to start with the freshest and cleanest milk possible whether using raw or pasteurized milk.  Raw milk cheese used to be legal to sell at the farm gate in Ontario but that was changed a year or two ago.  Interesting that just as Quebec passed a law saying that raw milk cheese could be sold without the customary 60 day aging, Ontario is going the opposite way.  Very frustrating!  Since I have limited time and my family LOVES cheese, I wouldn’t sell it even if I could but other artisans who want to need to have a government inspected kitchen (huge $) to do so.  Still we have some awesome cheese artisans in Ontario and I search out their cheeses!  Alas I digress and will get back to talking about my cheese making experience.

A person I met from France told me that they do not ever wrap raw milk cheese in plastic wrap in France because it suffocates the cheese.  They use only cheese paper or keep the cheese under a glass dome.  I admit I have vacuum sealed some of my cheese in an attempt to keep it from drying out once the wheel is cut and to keep an aging wheel from molding when I am going to be away for an extended time.  Every time I do this I have a feeling the cheese is crying out for life.  It’s a struggle to balance freshness and convenience with staying true to real food.  I just learned about vacuum sealing from a new cheese making online friend of mine who also told me about Cheesepalooza.  Check our Ian Treuer at this link http://muchtodoaboutcheese.wordpress.com/  I came across Ian’s blog in an online cheese search one day and have followed him ever since.  Ian is one of the people responsible for starting the Cheesepalooza challenge and he has some very valuable information on his site.  Ian has been more adventurous than I have with making what he calls his Special Project Cheeses.  Awesome information!  He calls himself an amateur but I would call him an artisan.

I started with gouda cheese which I usually age for 6 to 8 weeks.  When I felt I had mastered that I went to farmers cheddar.   The first one was cut at 3 months and it was awesome!  I have two aging now which I vacuum sealed before I went on holidays.  It will be interesting to see how they turn out.  One I’m aging 6 months and the other I’ll leave a year both in the vacuum seal.  I know, I’m suffocating them, but it’s an experiment.  I want to see how the flavour develops with this process.

I recently found a goat farmer near Arthur, Ontario who has a government inspected pasteurizing plant on his farm and does mild pasteurization (lower heat and gentle stirring).  His goats are on pasture which is a point important to me.  Not my first choice, would rather have raw but I live in suburbia and a backyard goat is not likely to go over too well here.  I will write about that experience when I do it.

The most recent cheese I attempted is a dill havarti which is an interesting science experiment that deserves a posting of it’s own so I will do that shortly.

My next blog post will be on the cheese making equipment that I use.  Can’t wait for Cheexepalooza to be in full swing to read about other people’s projects!

One comment

  1. What a great read! I discovered the cheese wrapping paper in Sanoma a couple of years ago – extremely expensive and available on line, but essential if you want to keep your cheeses for any length of time in the fridge, me thinks.
    You have lots of food for thought here! I cannot wait, either!
    Valerie

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