Cheese making is a constant opportunity for learning and improving.
With every cheese you make, there are a variety of changes that can occur naturally, be made purposefully or happen accidentally that will alter your end product subtly, or completely. The variables are many which means there are plenty of learning curves to experience when you get into cheese making.
No cheese is ever exactly the same, regardless of how hard you try to make it exactly the same way each time. Anything from the source of milk, time of the year the milk is used, organic, store brought, culture amounts, curd size, you name it, any of these factors can affect changes in your cheese.
Some of the changes you will want to forget but don’t throw them away and pretend they never happened. Mistakes should be a learning opportunity, so you know what to do differently next time. Especially in cheese making. Otherwise you’ll just waste a lot of milk.
Likewise, some mistakes actually turn out really well and you might want to try and replicate them next time. But what was the one thing you did differently this time that produced that fantastic cheese? Chances are you won’t remember, unless you took notes.
Which is exactly what you should do.
Every cheese I make is recorded in cheese journal like the one linked at the bottom of this article. I take notes on the products, the make and the aging so I know exactly what I did right, or wrong.
I can track every cheese I make and eat and if it is bad, unusual or (hopefully) excellent, see what might have contributed to results by the details in the log.
I am linking my Curd Nerd Cheese Log here so that if you find it useful, you can use it for tracking your own cheese making. If it doesn’t suit you, put together something that is similar, but with the details you care about, so you can track your cheese making and learn from all the little nuances that occur along the way.
I go a little further and attach a page of photos of the cheese with each log but then perhaps I’m a little OCD about this hobby ; )
Do you have any questions or comments about how to use a Cheese Log? Join the discussion over at the Curd Nerd Forum. We would love to hear from you!