Do you know what I mean? It sometimes takes just a nudge to get things started and to put plans into action.
I had spoken about my future plans to a couple of friends, one of whom owns a house cow on her farm. She really wanted to get started on learning to make some simple cheeses, so I said, "OK, if you get another two people who want to learn cheese making we will have enough to make a work-shop worthwhile."
So she organized another couple of friends and we had our first work-shop last week.
One of them had to drop out at the last minute, so there were just the three of us, which was still lots of fun.
We had coffee and cheese-cake made from cream cheese that I had prepared earlier in the week. There was also a savoury dip made from cream cheese and home made Jembella Farm Apricot chutney.
This cream cheese is so versatile and so easy to make.
The mould tasted exactly of blue vein cheese, and then I saw that the mould had permeated into the centre of the cheddar. Have I invented a Blue Vein Cheddar?
Well, this is all very well if all of the household loves Blue Vein cheese, but Brian does not!
The offending Blue Vein cheese that has been eaten and is no longer in the fridge, but its spores remain. Oh well, worse things could happen. ;)
We made a 4 litre feta cheese that was ready for its first "turn" just before the end of the work-shop.
At the end of the morning the girls took with them a bag of goodies including;
-a piece of Feta cheese that I had made earlier in the week,
-a container of mild cream cheese,
-a jar of Cream cheese starter with which they can inoculate and continue making their own starters
-a jar of Type A Mesophilic starter for making Feta, Cheddar, Haloumi, Camembert, Mozzarella
-printed recipe sheets and instructions
During the workshop we talked about;
-inoculating our own starters and making new ones from what we have,
-making simple cheeses from start to finish,
-how to store and age our cheeses,
-how to adapt and make our own equipment from containers we already have or can purchase for little cost from second hand stores, cheap stores or op-shops,
-different types of cheese making supplies ie rennet, starters, cloths, molds, cheese press etc
-hygiene for us and our equipment
One of the main points that was appreciated by the girls was that cheese making is not so daunting after all. They had previously thought that it could only be done in perfect conditions with special (expensive) equipment. That myth has now been debunked after spending a morning in my kitchen and turning out a couple of great tasting cheeses.
I think many people have this view that making cheese is a mystery and it will be expensive to buy all of the equipment needed.
Well, let me tell you a little secret. I have never been to a cheese making work-shop or purchased any special equipment, apart from the rennet and starters.
I had been keen to learn how to make cheese for many years, and that's the main reason why we bought our first cow. I read everything about cheese making that I could lay my hands on, borrowed every library book, photo-copied pages of recipes. I spoke to cheese makers, sat up into the wee hours searching the internet for more information. But most importantly, I just got on with it, and after a fair share of failures, there were more successes than failures.
I could not afford to buy all of those special baskets and equipment, so I learned how to adapt containers and other bits of everyday items to fit with my requirements.
Brian has been a great help in drilling holes, cutting bottoms out of jugs, and even made me a cheese press for making cheddars. It may not be perfect, but it works!
So, if the expense is putting you off, don't let it, just do it!
Cheese making workshops at Jembella Farm are priced to be within the reach of everyone. Once the basics are learned, participants will very soon recover that cost by the savings made in future non- necessary purchases.
It is not necessary to own your own cow as cheeses can be made in small batches using store bought milk if you don't have a friend with a cow who will give (or trade) you some milk. It is illegal to sell raw milk in Australia. Another stupid law, but don't start me on that one.
The work-shops are limited to three people and are hands-on so that you will get to feel the texture and temperature of the curds at different stages.
Work-shops will begin again in April (after Daisy's calf has been born and we have milk to spare)
They will begin at 9am and finish at 1pm ... includes morning tea/coffee and delicious cheesy treats.
Also includes a take home bag of starters, cheeses, and recipe sheets.
Cost $60 per person
Numbers limited to three people per work-shop
Do you make some of your own cheeses? Are you keen on making some simple cheeses? Did you know that some cheeses are just that, simple? And when you make them yourself you can save money as well as experience the satisfaction of making another item from scratch.