Everyone loves a guest post from Cheenius! Thanks, Cheenius!
With a name like Cheenius, you’d expect someone who really knows cheese. But frankly, Cheenius has been more of a cheese dabbler than anything else. Sad. So, you can imagine her excitement when she sourced some local goat milk and decided to hold her very first CHEESE DAY!
First, somewhat sleep-deprived from the anticipation that accompanies Cheese Day Eve, Cheenius got up early to pick up the goat milk. The friendly goat owner provided Cheenius with not only a gallon of fresh milk, but some chevre and extra milk for tasting. Cheenius even got to meet Lavender, the goat who provided the milk!
After Cheenius gathered her mostly-willing Dad, Aunt, and Uncle, goat milk shooters were downed and the work began.
We assembled the ingredients, and then discussed our battle plan: One Day. Two Cheeses. We wanted to attempt a simple paneer and then if we weren’t demoralized and/or cranky, move up to a slightly more advanced feta.
For the paneer we basically just heated up the goat milk, added lemon juice, let the curds and whey separate, salted, and then squished it for awhile, and voila! Very-bland-but-edible cheese!!
Paneer-fortified, and feeling pretty darn confident, we were now ready for feta. We went with Tinkling Springs whole cow’s milk for this attempt, and then hit some tedium: a lot of chemistry, heated discussions about the best way to maintain a temperature of 88 degrees, and then long periods of just waiting.
Luckily, we filled the waiting periods with games of pool or Bananagrams, so no time was actually wasted. We did realize that we should have started the feta earlier, since to stick with the recipe Cheenius had to stay up late to salt the feta at the right time. We were also a little disappointed that for all that work we only got 4 turds of feta (only 2 shown; Cheenius is not an idiot, she know how to count turds).
The next day we bounced out of bed to try the perfectly salted feta, and it tasted like . . . FETA! Evidently our 5 degree temperature swings (yeah, whoever won that argument about temp control didn’t actually “win”) weren’t enough to upset this very forgiving cheese. Cheenius plans to try freezing some to see if she can make bigger batches in the future and get more turds for the same amount of work.
The unexpected bonus to the experience was that two Cheese Day byproducts, the whey and the extra goat milk, were made into Whey Bread and yogurt. Yum!
All in all, Cheenius was ecstatic that she finally got to live up to her name, AND she got to boss around her family for a whole day. Thank you Family! Special thanks to our goat milk provider, S.S., along with Ricki Carroll’s cheesemaking kits, and Gianaclis Caldwell’s book, “Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking.”
One last thought to leave you with, as HP always says: Remember, you’ve got a friend in cheeses!
After reading that, I feel confident that I too could make a fairly edible Paneer. As for the Feta, I have realized that I could cut-out many of the issues of temperature control, long waiting periods, fossil fuel burning transportation, and late night salting, by beginning with a slightly modified ingredients list: buying Feta cheese at my very local Food Lion.
Definitely will use this visual knowledge to make my own cheese with a “cheese” friend, which everyone should have. Cheese is my most favorite and I view it as a fruit, veggie combination, which means I don’t have to eat a lot of greens.
Keep those cheese bits coming and always say cheese!!