I should be sewing right now, I really should. Or, I could be constructing a hat making tutorial that I made myself promise I would write out when I finished up two previously unfinished gowns earlier this month for KA&S. Instead, I’m experimenting and writing more about my cheese adventures – some of which at least count for Lilies prep so at least I have that going for me…
Plain Ol’ Salted cheese: An Homage to Ruth Goodman, and I mean that with as much fangirl as I can summon. This cheese is based off of her discussion of the Tudor and later Stuart dairies in “Tudor Monastery Farm” and “Tales from the Green Valley” as well as basic historical cheese making practices. It’s a simple farm cheese, aged for a minimum of a week, salted and flipped each day, and can be stored for the year – as long as it stays cool, doesn’t dry out, and you keep an eye on the rind. It’s a hardy cheese. Salty and simple.
This round is destined for my personal consumption at Lilies and should be able to last me the week without refrigeration. The aging and rind reached a state I was happy with, and I wanted to play with alternative preservation techniques beyond waxing. I brushed the rind with a tablespoon of olive oil (which would have been available for my persona, although a luxury good) and have high hopes for its future aging into June.
Black Truffle Cheese, these two rounds are destined for friends and labeled as such. This time I mixed the black truffle sea salt with the cheese before pressing instead of using it as the aging salt.
I’m happy with the results, and hopefully the recipients will be as well. One round is going to HE Gwen as a thank you for a Roman cheese press prototype and the other is going to her student Uji who will be using it in a German sausage recipe that called for a crumbled rich cheese to be mixed into the ground meat mixture pre-ageing.
Beeswax was used to seal the rounds to guarantee the consistency remains appropriate until eaten. Rounds were labeled to guarantee they are only claimed by the intended recipients…
Cranberry Cheese, farm cheese mixed with dried cranberries and pressed. I’ve read tutorials stating that no organic material should be present in aged cheeses, yet I’ve eaten aged cheeses that contain organic material, and have read other cheese making tutorials about cheeses that include additional yummy things. So, I figured that I would try it out. The curd density went sideways during the process and I ended up with a pretty slimy cheese goo, and I figured that this was the perfect time to try out a few new things. Salt and dried cranberries were added, and after the first pressing today the crumbs were very very tasty. After a desired firmness is achieved, it will be washed in a brine daily (I have some red wine sea salt around here somewhere), flipped daily for seven days, and then likely waxed. If all goes well, it should make it’s debut at Lilies.
Nocino Cheese: going out on an experimental limb. This concept was developed at Kingdom Arts and Sciences between HL Eynon and I after his comment that the nocino was so acidic that it instantly curdled the cream in a commercial cream liquor. I mentioned cheese, and the next thing I knew a bottle of the brandy version had been sacrificed to science. After having a walnut flavored parmesan years ago, I thought I might attempt something similar with the nocino – developing a veining with the cordial by coating the hard curds before pressing. Unfortunately, the batch of intended cheese was half of the batch from the cranberry cheese, so I had to alter things. Instead, I went with a port wine type swirl approach. The first pressing turned out gorgeous with really nice marbling and the crumbs had an interesting smoky flavor. It has been flipped and is back in the press for another night.
I realize that there are going to be some weird things going on with the high sugar and alcohol content of nocino, but hopefully with ample salt the additional bacterial concerns should be under control. Additional research occurred today, and I’m feeling pretty confident in my next batches and getting back on track with intended results.
Speaking of additional research, I finally got a chance to extensively go through the posts from Waldetrudis von Metten at http://medievalcheese.blogspot.com/. She has a wonderful site that I recommend to anyone interested in making cheese, especially some of the more interesting regional cheeses of the medieval period. It was here that I fell down the research rabbit hole today and learned the life changing information that I can make even more cheese ( or “cheese” similar in concept to “krab”) from whey. Actually there are a slew of whey cheeses, some are described at [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whey_cheese] to get a quick synopsis.
Not only that, but apparently it is super easy to make your own yogurt at home and with the surplus make cheeses out of the yogurt! I feel like that person from the infomercials stating that a certain product has changed their life…. But seriously, the yogurt and yogurt cheeses are next on the docket. Waldetrudis described a Mediterranean yogurt cheese that was pressed, lightly dried, rolled into balls, spiced, and then stored in olive oil to age. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like the perfect spreadable cheese for flatbreads – and the possible perfect soft-ish cheese for the Ladies of the Rose Tournament table at Lilies (that I wouldn’t have to make the day before).
More cheese experiments are on the horizon and I’m super excited to get to them!