So much to learn about…Cheese!
One of my favorite things about the Fair is wandering around without a plan and discovering little gems.
About an hour ago, I thought I was on my way to the 4-H Poultry Conformation Judging. I never got there because I happened upon a shady spot under some trees where a woman name Mary was judging goat cheese entries.
I don’t know much about goat cheese other than it is made from goat’s milk (yeah, I know, duh). And that feta is a popular goat cheese. Well, I now have a page of scribbled notes and a whole new appreciation for the stuff in the deli counters at local produce stands and grocery stores.
I learned all sorts of cheesy fun facts. Like a balance of salt and acid is key for feta, as is texture and having an active culture at the right time. If you are making an aged cheese, something called the “bitter peptide stage” is bad and a sign of trying to eat your cheese too soon. Patience, grasshopper, patience. If a gouda or edam cheese is your goal, having little divots in it called “eyes” is just fine as long as the eyes are caused by bacteria producing carbon dioxide. I was about to say “ewww” but, well, I like blue cheese and that’s moldy so I really have no room to be all judgemental.
I guess the main thing I learned is that there is a lot of chemistry and patience when it comes to cheese making. And that there are all sorts of cheeses that can be made from goat’s milk, including stuff I have never heard of (like something called “carefully” and one called “lankenshire.”)
I also learned that the judge –Mary Rosenblum – knows her stuff. If I were looking to learn how to make cheese, I would find out if and where Mary teaches and sign up for every class she offers. A wealth of knowledge, experience, and detailed commentary to help folks produce their best cheese possible.