- 24/03/2021 at 10:50 pm #8237harmoParticipant
First time writer, long time browser of this site. I suppose I should start with “Hi my name is Hamish, and I’m a cheese ‘o holic”. Whether or not this is a problem… the jury is still out. I lean towards “no” though.
Raised on a farm with my own cow, just up the road from a dairy when she wasn’t producing, life long cheese enthusiast, and I’ve been making my own curds for years now. Did a few courses, read a few books, gotten supplies from multiple sources, and love to tinker.
I’m currently making some triple cream Bries, trying a new culture or two in this batch, and tweaking the geotrichium candidum to penicillium candidum mix. We’ll see how that goes. Also trying to add the penicillium candidum after the fact since my delivery happened the day after the make.
As far as cheese making goes, I’m all over the map. Some days I decide to make some Chabichou/Quark/Fetta, other days I make Parmesan, Romano, Pecorino, Pepato, Machego. I mostly use cow milk, but sometimes I dabble in sheep and goat. I’ve made stretchy curd, cooked curds, cheddars, and when the better half allows (or goes away) blues, washed rinds… some potently stinky.
Like everyone, I started with the simplest of gear, did everything manually with a double boiler and manual temperature control, then aged my cheeses in an Esky/Cooler/Chilly Bin (depending on where you’re from and can relate to).
Over time, I got more “fancy” and now make cheeses with the same double boilers, but use sous vide machines to manage the temperatures. It’s hard to go back once you have this convenience.
When it comes to affinage…
I’ve done the fridge with temp/humidity controllers, I’ve even done the freezer with temp controller and a reptile heating mat for higher temp affinage (mostly used for swiss styled cheeses). I’ve built my own humidifiers, and now use a wine fridge. Most setups work, but with varying degrees of convenience.
Before you think me arrogant…
If I had to state my weaknesses, I can struggle in the cold Canberra climate to get my temperature goals on time, I’m still learning to use my newly acquired pH meter, and I haven’t had much luck with certain styles of cheeses. My tinkering has had several misadventures, and I’ve had to decontaminate my wine fridge of the penicillium roqueforti mould as that little critter is surprisingly oriented toward cheese/fridge/world domination. So much so, my previous batch of Brie went a pale blue tinge. My in-laws loved it, but frankly, I didn’t.
Always happy to chat, so feel free to drop me a line.
Harmo.11/04/2021 at 10:29 am #8254ClementineParticipant
Hi Harmo. Wow you are a serious cheese maker indeed. All those cultures have such scary names. I often wonder what our ancestors used, when commercial cultures were not available. Did they use whey, like I do?
I manage to find the right curd-cooking temperature on the edge of my wood stove. It works a treat. Lately I am working my way through Series 3 of Outlander while stirring curds for up to an hour.