Monday, 30 November 2015

Keep Calm and Make Cheese


Brian always turned the handle while I tipped in the milk to separate the cream from the milk in our antique cream separator. Now that I'm working only two days each week since I turned sixty in October, I'm trying to take on more of the jobs around here. So I taught myself to assemble all thirty of the pieces and now I can do the whole job myself. 
It's an empowering feeling to learn more things isn't it?
A good workout turning that handle, then to turn the little tap just right so I can block the milk running through and quickly change buckets and tip in more milk. The first couple of times would have been pretty funny to watch, but now I feel more confident and the extra effort is well worth it.
The skim milk is the by-product which gets tipped into the two yogurt buckets sitting in the sun that is fed to the pigs and chooks after it turns into yogurt.
The cream... sigh... is swooningly good to eat and after a day in the fridge it is so thick the spoon stands up in the container. 

 It's the cleaning of all the pieces in hot soapy water that takes more time than the actual separating. Then all of the pieces must be placed to dry in the sun, or on the side of the stove, before packing it away ready for next time.  
We inherited our separator from my older brother who found it when packing up his property for sale twelve years ago. We had just bought this property of ours and although cow ownership was the furthest thing in our minds back then, I'm so happy that we accepted this gift graciously.
Recently, the poor old thing has been making some disturbing noises, so I made inquiries about purchasing an electric separator and soon realised just how difficult they are to find in Australia. 
Then Brian, Mr Handyman Extraordinaire, pulled apart the machine part of it, gave it a "service and oil" and joy of joys, it goes brilliantly once more. Ready for another fifty years of service.

My neighbor Meg shares my passion for cheese making and recently, in return for some raw milk she gave me one of her cheese cultures that she bought on-line. 
So I made some blue vein cheese using the Penicillium Roqueforti culture.
My curiosity got the better of me and I cut this one open at three weeks old which is a bit early, but the flavors are deliciously mild. I will ripen the other cheese that I made on the same day for another two weeks before opening and hope that the flavors are stronger and more typically blue vein.
This is the recipe I followed  to make Blue Vein Cheese, but I have not found it necessary to buy the cheese kit because I have accumulated all of my bits of cheese making equipment over the past few years.  I find the Mad Millie recipes are really simple and easy to follow compared to lots of others and I always use the Mad Millie Rennet tablets.

Tomorrow I'll make a batch of cream cheese that I will use to whip up a cheesecake for dinner with friends later this week.

So, keep calm and carry on, or make cheese.

Thanks for your visit to my simple little blog about our days here on our farm.
Your comments are always read with much joy and I will try to answer them all.



  1. It must be a faff cleaning and re assembling the machine, but no doubt worth every bit of fiddling when you taste the gorgeous products that can be made because of the work. But I guess that's true of all the fiddly or manual labour type jobs we have to do when we chose to go down a more self sufficient path..

    I had a hissy fit yesterday because I was so tired and wet while we were chopping and stacking the logs into the log store, but come last night when the wind was blowing at a rate of knots, and the rain was still thundering down on the roof, I really was grateful for the big basket of logs from the last chopping session, warm, dry and ready to use at the side of the fire.

    I think I would really like that blue vein cheese while it was still mild, I need to have a go at cheesemaking and try some different types.

    1. I envy your cold wet weather Sue. My favorite time of year, as each of our summers becomes harder to bear. Do have a go at cheese making, but allow yourself the time because it can become addictive. :)

  2. You really can't beat the old mechanical things, they were made to last because they did the job well and there was no reason to be buying new ones.
    I found someone at the local farmers market who makes all her cheese from goats milk, blue vein, feta etc. Even a yogurt, all so unbelievably delicious, feta was best I've ever tasted.
    Have fun with your cheese making.

    1. Yes they made things to last in those days. :)

  3. So glad I've found your blog and am enjoying paging through older posts. I must say that blue cheese looks sooo delicious! And it must taste doubly so since it's homemade. Glad the separator got sorted out. What a treasure.

    1. I have to admit that this blue vein is tasting pretty good. The recipe is a keeper. :)

  4. I need to learn how to successfully separate my milk and cream, I've contemplated scooping it off the top, but I can't imagine it turning out as thick as yours
    (I have access to fresh, real milk)


    1. Hi Kelly, this reply is slow in coming, sorry! If you can get a whole bucket of fresh raw milk, you could try leaving it sit in the fridge for 24hrs, then using a large flattish spoon, scoop the cream that has settled on the top. The yeild is not as plentiful as using a separator, but I sometimes do it this way when I can't be fagged dragging out the separator.


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