Swiss Cheese

20151120_093451Today we will be melting cheese wax for the gouda we made last week, and making Swiss Cheese.

How is this cheese made:

This is a cow’s milk cheese made with a mixture of bacteria. You will need a mesophyllic and propionic bacteria.The cheese is made with whole milk, and I do not pasteurize so it will need to be aged at least 90 days.

You will need?

2 gallons of whole raw milk

1/8 tsp of mesophyllic starter culture

1/16tsp of propionic shermanii culture

1.5 ml of rennet

Let’s begin:

Heat the milk to 86F, temps and amounts matter in this cheese. I put the milk in my STERILE ss pot, always use sterile equipment when making raw cheese. I place over my water reservoir and use a thermometer. We want to raise the temp slowly.  Stir while heating.

Add your culture now. As always, sprinkle the culture on the milk and wait two minutes before stirring. Then let ripen 45 minutes to an hour. After this time, add your rennet and let set for 45 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on the temperature and keep it around 85F.

heat 2 gallons of water to 130F. This will be used to replace the whey.

I use my balloon wisk to cut the curd mass into 3/8 inch pieces as evenly as possible over 5-10 minutes. Allow the curds to rest for 5 minutes and then stir gently for another 5 minutes. Allow the curds to settle to the bottom of the vat for another 5 minutes. Next, you will carefully remove 1/3 of the whey . Slowly add back water at 130F to reach 95F in 5 min.

Stir for 5 min. Add as much of the remaining water to reach a curd temp of 102F in the next 5-10 minutes.

Next, stir for 30-40 minutes slowly to keep curds moving. This will achieve the final dryness. Make sure to check the curds for proper dryness. The final curds should be cooked well through and should be examined to make sure that enough moisture has been removed. A broken curd should be firm throughout and the curds should have a moderate resistance when pressed between the fingers. When this point is reached, let curds settle and consolidate mass to one side of pan. Next, drain whey to 1” above cheese surface and add plate large enough to cover the curd mass for moderate pressing under the whey.

Remove remaining whey and transfer curd mass into cloth and then immediately to forms for draining. Here I simply roll my consolidated curd mass into the press cloth and gather it as a single cheese, then transfer this to the mold. Press lightly for an hour. Remove, rewrap and press again for another hour.

Now you will salt the cheese

You should have a brine solution prepared for salting this cheese
A simple brine formula is: a gal of water, 2.25lbs of salt, 1 T calcium chloride and 1 tsp white vinegar.  Set the cheese in the brine for 2 to 3 hours. The cheese will float above the brine surface, so sprinkle another teaspoon or 2 of salt on the top surface of the cheese.
Flip the cheese and re-salt the surface about half way through the brine period.

The cheese should not be over salted because this will also impede the development of the gas producing propionic bacteria

Following brining, dry off cheese and move to the cool aging space at 50-55F for 2-4 weeks. Turn and control mold with a brine damp cloth daily.
Do not wax the cheese until full hole development occurs.

Move to an aging space of 65-70F and 80% moisture for 3-4 weeks of hole development or 2-3 weeks for smaller holes (this will be somewhat determined by the condition of your initial cool aging). Make sure you turn the cheese daily to help even out the moisture, because this will affect the hole sizes and distribution.
The time in this room will determine the amount of gas produced, the size of the holes, and the amount of swelling in the cheese. The cheese may be waxed at this point or simply dry brushed periodically for a natural rind.

  1. Move to cold room 45-50F and 85% moisture for a month or more for flavor development.




Pork Breakfast Sausage

I never have fresh ground pork made into sausage. A good sausage is easy to make and far superior in flavor. Here is a new sausage recipe. I have our fresh pork just ground and packaged, then frozen. I take it out two to four days ahead of seasoning. When you add seasonings be sure to use the fresh sausage in a day.
You Will Need:
•3 pounds of ground pork
•1 small onion, minced very finely
•1 Tablespoon sea salt
•2 teaspoons dry, ground sage
•1 teaspoon dry, ground mustard
•3/4 t. black pepper
•1/4 cup real maple syrup

Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl. I just use my hands– it’s messy but effective.
Place it in the fridge for a couple hours to help the flavors develop, or, you can use it right away.

Homemade Ranch Dressing from Nourishing Traditions

1 cup mayonnaise, preferably homemade
1/2 cup milk kefir (I use a homemade yogurt)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
2 teaspoons dried chives
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried dill
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

1.Spoon the mayonnaise into a mixing bowl, and then whisk in the kefir and olive oil. When the oil and filmjolk are completely integrated into the mayonnaise, whisk in the onion and garlic powders, salt, herbs and dried parsley. Taste it, and adjust seasoning as necessary to suit your preferences.

Pig Project

The Pig Project is headed by Luke and Danielle Sanders.

Now we all love bacon, and fresh pork chops are the best. Bob and I have been raising pigs on the farm for years and we knew this would be one of the best ways to utilize the excess milk, eggs and veggies. We made a make shift pen and raised a couple of hogs in 2014 as a test. They were very delish by the way…

So Luke and Danielle thought they would like to head up the 2015 “Pig Project”. You have to admire Luke’s enthusiasm, he found some old metal forms and brought them out and with a few boards lying around the ranch, he and Bob took a couple of days and built the


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With their new home in and cozy with straw the girls laid, I headed up north to buy 6 little piggies who went wee wee wee all the way home.

Sept 29th 2015

I finally convinced Danielle that it was HER pig that kept getting out (LOL) so after milking this morning she, Yatang and I worked on the fence and built a new dining table for the hogs who were constantly up ending their dinner.

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We think we may have solved the overturned water trough problem as well. Pounding 4 t- posts all around the water trough, they still can climb into it!

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After stringing electric fence around the bottom of the fence panels, we turned it on and turned the piggies back into their boudoir, and they have settled in nicely.


The pipe runs the clean water into the trough.

And oh, did I mention it was three GIRLS that built all this luxury for your pigs?

Yogurt Cheese

I make a lot of yogurt, it is great but at the end of the week if I have yogurt left over I like to make it into cheese. Yogurt cheese is more flavorful than cream cheese, it has a bit of a tang to it. Excellent with fruit for a desert, or into cakes and dips. Alone I prefer hard cheeses.

I have never understood why people try to make cheesemaking so mysterious. Simply stated, you take your yogurt and run it through a cheesecloth overnight. That is it. It will drain without any weight and make a nice soft cheese. I put it in a clean jar and then in fridge.

Doesn’t get much simpler than that!

Oct 1 2015 to Dec 31 2015 Session

Our new session begins in just a few weeks. Please remember to pay your herdshare fees if you are getting milk. If you are interested in delivery, we do have a member who is willing to deliver to your house for a small fee. Contact me and I will get you in contact with her. Weed delivery to Kathy’s house will switch to Thursdays after Oct 1, and a donation box for Kathy’s electricity use should be handled by a member? Elizabeth will have a jar for delivery fees to be placed in.

Jars: you will need 6 jars for every gallon of milk you want to receive. Two will be for your recent milk, two will be left at Kathy’s and two will be taken weekly to the milk room when the delivery is made Thurs (most likely evenings). I am sorry about all the confusion however this seems like it will resolve the jar shortage problems. Solano’s building supply in Weed has half gallon canning jars for sale at $12.99 a case. Please put your name on lids and jars with permanent ink or fingernail polish.