MSU-Artisan Cheesemaking with Peter Dixon: Day 2

Day 2 “Sillies” settle in…

Run away cheese cube on a cart, breaking equipment (oops),  nuns in the creamery, accidental drenching of peer with hose, mention of “my armpits are dry now”, an overheard and misheard comment turned into “did you say dead chickens”.. (had to be there), and general 2nd day goofiness.

Today we ladled our Fromage Blanc and Chevre into our clothes and hung them to drain. Everyone is looking forward to flavoring them tomorrow!!

On to making a goat Gouda and a cow Asiago. Ready set… GO! It was like being on a game show to see which “team” was cheesing it the best. (I was on the Gouda team, so I’m partial). It was interesting to see Peter at work. Half “winging it”, half actually measuring… he was honing is inner Obi-Wan and like a Jedi using the Force, we have cheese!

I especially enjoyed stirring the curd by hand. It needs to be patented as a specialty manicure. My hands have never been so smooth. When talks of taking our shoes of and getting all “Lucy” in the curds and whey, I think we had inhaled a little too much milk steam…. and then naming it Stinky Feet Cheese.. well, again 2nd day sillies.

We molded our cheeses.. and in the middle of all of the cheesemaking craziness started our ricotta. I saw the second batch being started and I was amazed at how simple it really did seem. There was a smoked pan liner that we used to set the ricotta pans in, so it would pick up some smokiness. Campfire Ricotta, how about that?

And let’s talk about the nuns for a sec. Peter told us a story during morning lecture about the Cheese Nun (Sister Noella Marcellino) and her doctorate in microbiology, taking samples from caves all around France. Fascinating story really. So when two nuns arrived during our ricotta making, I think it was  a sign from above! Everyone in this class will have fromage success. Yes!

After class we gathered for a cheese tasting. Peter brought Consider Bardwell’s Manchester, Dorset and Pawlet. I was excited about the Pawlet since that’s one I haven’t tasted yet. MSU show-cased their cheeses, Dagano was my favorite. We tasted the cheeses that the previous classes made, not bad. And the aspiring cheesemakers in the class brought their own home-made fromages and accoutrements. It was a yummy evening.

Looking forward to a good night’s sleep.

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