Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Say CHEESE!

My sheep milking season is over. Yes, it was brief, all of about plus or minus three weeks, but it's done for this year. I've been working on getting the sheep dried up by feeding no grain. Now I have to get them back into shape for a fall/winter breeding. That means a little more hay and add the grain back in. Baby is still on the thin side but she doesn't seem as depressed as before, which is a good sign. She should be able to put the weight on fairly easily now.

It's a good thing I've stopped milking for another reason. My freezer was getting full of gallon milk jugs full of sheep milk. We are a non-commercial, mostly for family or for gifts only, production. So I don't have a giant walk-in freezer, and my sister, who is on the cheese making side of our operation, doesn't have a giant commercial sized cheese making facility. So we make do with what we have.
Yesterday I went to her house to deliver four more gallons. She's finished with her latest college course and she has a four day weekend coming up. That means she'll be busy making cheese. Here's what she's made in the meantime.
From the top center going clockwise: the tall cheese is a Manchego, a Spanish cheese; Romano; an unknown type home style Mexican cheese (the only one not made by my sister. It was made by the mil of her coworker.); three blue cheeses made with slightly different techniques; a beautiful, georgeous Camembert; and a Libyan cheese called Al Zahra, which is not supposed to have the blue mold but does because it was kept in the same fridge as the blue cheeses.

After the cheesey photo op we had to test the cheeses that were ready. First we tried the Manchego. The texture wasn't quite right. It was a little too firm; it squeeked in my mouth as it was being chewed. But MT knows what she did wrong on this one and it sounds like an easy fix. Otherwise the taste was fairly mild and definately edible. It left a very pleasing aftertaste.

The Al Zahra, even though it's not supposed to be "bleu" was very tasty. It also was a bit firmer than it's supposed to be, again, an easy fix. Still, it had a very good flavor, maybe like a cross between a Muenster and very mild baby Swiss.

The blue, or "bleu" cheese was divine. MT is still having a bit of a problem getting the mold to go throughout the whole cheese, but the texture is right and the taste is absolutely right.

Not pictured in the group photo was the feta. My sister has this one down pat and it's always good.

The other cheeses, the Romano, the Mexican home-style, and the Camembert were not ready to cut into yet so we'll have to wait on those. But the Camembert was so beautiful I found myself constantly oohing and aahing over it like a star struck movie extra.

I put a quarter next to it so you can get an idea of the scale. It is stunning, isn't it?

We'll have to wait a few more weeks before we can dig into those and I can hardly wait!

Meanwhile I'm glad to take care of the animal side of our operation while my sister handles the more technical and complicated production side.

You rock, MT!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful cheese photos. You could have yet another career as a food stylist!
mt

Carol said...

After looking at these pictures I had to go get a snack. They all look delicious. It makes me want to try making some.

Jenn said...

The pictures are great and I bet it was fun getting to try the ones you did!

pam said...

I love your sister. My cheese tour seems bland compared to this! I posted a new one last night, but you got to try fresh such homemade stuff! I will be posting the cheese house that first made "Baby Swiss" soon.

Anonymous said...

I love your sister, too. I love you, too. I love the milk, I love the cheese. I love the creativity you both exhibit. What a wonderful "cottage industry".

You "other" sister, (the old, senile one)
M