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I Am the Cheese

I took a beginning cheese-making workshop this past Saturday at an adorable creamery about 1 1/2 hours north of here. Cynthia Sharpe is the proprietor of Oak Moon Creamery and she can make cheese like nobody’s business. 
We were making mozzarella, feta, and cheddar all at the same time, so I can’t tell you which cheese is hanging in this bag, but I can assure you that it tasted delicious. Turns out cheddar is both a noun and a verb-to “cheddar” is to take curds that have been drained, slice them, and sort of fold, or cobble, them back onto themselves, thus forming the tell-tale grain lines that form in cheddar cheese. Who knew? Cheese-makers/mongers, that’s who!
Here you can see what is called a “clean break” being cut. This is desirable and something you look for after you’ve added cultures and rennet to milk. It means the cheese is turning into, well, cheese-it’s firming up. 
Here’s Cynthia removing the curds into a flour sac-lined colander for draining off the whey. 
Some gorgeous feta, which worked it’s way into zucchini, basil, and feta frittatas made for the photo shoot of recipes in my “Raising Chickens” book. Scrumdiddlyumptious!!!! The day was perfect. It started with coffee and cream from one of the attendees jersey cow. I’d like to swim in that cream, thank you very much. It is the absolute stuff of dreams. Cynthia’s mom and pop showed up at lunchtime with delicious veggie soup, cornbread, and the most horde-inducing cake you can imagine-I snuck back for seconds! And got crumbs all over me as I drove away, smashing cake into my face! Yessir! My fellow cheese-patriots were a rowdy band of women from all walks of life. It was bliss. 


I’m now completely seized with cheese and dairy fever. I want a goat and I want one NOW! Imagine the possibilities-homemade cheese, fresh milk; however, if I do get a goat, and made the aforementioned dairy products, our friends would NEVER invite us over for dinner again…we’ll end up being the coveted dining/eating/feasting destination. There are worse things, though. Say Cheese! 

9 Responses to I Am the Cheese

  • Anonymous says:

    I think I need to get something to eat-I`m hungry after reading the article.

  • nicole says:

    I’d invite you to dinner, but you would be required to supply the cheese plate!

  • P. says:

    THE CHEESE STANDS ALONE!

    That looks like so much fun. The Hawk and his sister raised goats in Maine. Now he assessed every animal by its “dairy character.” For example, Roy the cat has “good dairy character.” Um, what?

    But anyway, fresh feta. That’s every Greek girl’s dream.

  • Anonymous says:

    What a wonderful adventure. I would so love to make some cheese! Wendy

  • sarahkeith says:

    I tried making mozzarella once after reading the recipe in Animal Vegetable Miracle, but I did several things wrong (read the thermometer wrong and used (chlorinated) tap water!) And the results was less than stellar. We ate it anyway though. I should really try that again…

  • Emily says:

    Know what you mean about wanting a goat and wanting it now. I LOVE goat cheese. It’s so rich and yummy.
    Funny thing is, we had goats when I was a little girl but never did anything with the milk because it was dirty and had always had hair in it no matter what we did. I’m sure the cheese lady has some great tricks for straining it and processing it into a great (and not hairy) goat cheese!

  • Maria says:

    Mmmmm, that looks so yummy! I’ve been trying to talk hubby into getting goats, but he thinks we should wait until we don’t have a newborn to attend to. Shesh!! What?? I’m up at all hours with the baby anyway… why not have some goats to milk while I’m at it?!

  • Anonymous says:

    Looks fabalous!

  • Anonymous says:

    Goodness, if the cheese look’s this good I don’t know if I could handel a picture of the cake!!! Ready when you’re ready!(to taste that is) MOM