For traditional cloth-bound cheddars lard is applied to
the outside of the cloth. The cloth and lard allow the cheese
to breathe and protect it from damage and excessive
weight loss due to evaporation (drying) during aging,
as a natural rind forms on the cheese under the cloth.
During the course of maturation the lard itself is eaten
away by molds, leaving a dry, canvas-like surface in its wake.
Great tips to continue for the new year from Dairy Farmers of Washington, by: Chelsi Riordan.
If you’ve already Googled New Year’s Resolution Ideas, this is what you probably saw: eat less, sit less, spend less, read more, play more, meditate more, pick up a new hobby. For so many, New Year’s Resolutions conjure up the overwhelming idea of a complete lifestyle overhaul. Truth be told, it’s likely that many of your current habits can simply be reinforced to get you to a healthier you.
Our New Year’s Resolution Idea? Milk, Cheese, and Yogurt.
Give the gift of cheese this Christmas! Stop by our on-farm retail store or check out our online cheese shop!
10 Reasons to Shop Local This Christmas
1. Shopping Local supports our local economy. For every $100 spent in a locally owned store, $45 stays within the local economy and circulates through other local businesses creating jobs and positive economic development.
2. Small local businesses have access to unique local products that make great gifts for that special someone in your life. Supporting local businesses helps diversify our local economy by encouraging more entrepreneurs and more unique businesses.
3. Shopping local supports local charities. Local businesses support local organizations and charities that you depend on through their donations. Without your support, local businesses can’t help all the local philanthropic agencies that come calling. With your support, local businesses give back and help local causes.
4. Shopping local creates jobs. Small businesses are the nation’s largest employer, and according to the US Census Bureau, they create over 90% of all net new jobs. By supporting local small businesses, you create and retain jobs in our local area.
5. Supporting local business establishes our community leaders. What do most of our local elected officials have in common? They are small business owners or work as management within entrepreneurial style businesses.
6. Supporting local businesses creates the community that we want to see. When you spend money at a local business, you increase building occupancy rates, help establish new businesses and create vibrant local retail, service, restaurant and entertainment options. Local businesses reinvest the money you spend with them to help create a better local economy.
7. Local businesses support other local businesses. When you spend your money with a local retailer, they spend money with a local advertiser, their local accountant, a local bank, the local office supply store, local product suppliers and much more.
8. Shopping local is green. Less money spent on fuel and packaging means a lower carbon footprint. Less time in the car means more time with family, friends and enjoying life.
9. Shopping local supports local schools, infrastructure and services. The property and sales taxes generated through local businesses pay our local teachers, fire fighters, police and support local roads and other infrastructure. When you shop local, you are literally helping to build our community.
10. Shop local because we have many great local businesses that want to help you have a wonderful Christmas season. There is nothing quite like running into your friends and family as you shop your home town, and buying things from people that know and care about you. This holiday season, do more than just shop local. Invite your out of town friends and family to shop our community, and let’s have a wonderful Christmas season here in our rural community!
Bacteria Acidify Milk
Acidifying (souring) milk helps to separate the curds and whey and control the growth of undesirable bacteria in cheese. Usually special ‘starter’ bacteria are added to milk to start the cheesemaking process. These bacteria convert the lactose (milk sugar) to lactic acid and lower the milk’s pH.
There are two types of bacteria used for this process:
Enzymes Speed Up Coagulation
Some cheeses are curdled only by acidity. For example, paneer cheese is made using lemon juice to curdle the milk and cottage cheese is made using mesophilic bacteria. However, for most cheeses, rennet is also added to the milk after a starter bacteria. Rennet is a mixture containing the active enzyme chymosin. Rennet speeds up the coagulation of casein and produces a stronger curd. It also allows curdling at a lower acidity, which is important for some types of cheese.
Casein Proteins Coagulate
Milk is about 86% water but also contains fat, carbohydrate (mainly lactose), proteins (casein and whey), minerals and vitamins. Milk is an emulsion of fat globules and a suspension of casein micelles. These are suspended in the liquid phase of milk that contains dissolved lactose, whey proteins and some minerals.
The chymosin in rennet breaks down the kappa casein on the surface of the micelles changing them from being hydrophilic to hydrophobic. This causes them to aggregate together, trapping fat and water molecules in the developing curd. Further processing of the curd helps remove more water and compress the curd to form a solid cheese
Releasing the Whey
After separating curds and whey, further processing of the curds helps release more of the whey trapped in the network of micelles before it is drained away. The exact processing steps vary depending on the type of cheese. However, generally, the curds are captured, pressed and moulded to form blocks of cheese.
Historically, whey was considered a waste product of cheesemaking. However, growing concern over the environmental impact of its disposal encouraged research to better understand the properties and potential uses of whey. Increasing scientific understanding and technological advances have led to a wide range of uses for whey and established it as a valuable coproduct of the cheese industry.
Ripening the Cheese
Cheese is left to ripen, or age, in a temperature and humidity-controlled environment for varying lengths of time depending on the cheese type. As cheese ripens, bacteria break down the proteins, altering the flavour and texture of the final cheese. The proteins first break into medium-sized pieces (peptides) and then into smaller pieces (amino acids). In turn, these can be broken down into various, highly flavoured molecules called amines. At each stage, more complex flavours are produced.
During ripening, some cheeses are inoculated with a fungus such as Penicillium. Inoculation can be either on the surface (for example, with Camembert and Brie) or internally (for example, with blue vein cheeses). During ripening, the fungi produce digestive enzymes, which break down large protein molecules in the cheese. This makes the cheese softer, runny and even blue.
And there you have it, the complicated science behind cheesemaking!
Ozark Mountain Blue is a natural rind blue cheese made from grassfed cow's milk. It is cave aged for 3-4 months, resulting in a mold covered rind and an interior speckled with blue. The aging of the blue gives the cheese a sweet buttery, cream-like texture, with hints of nuttiness and a savory composition.
Blue Vein cheeses also called Blue cheese is a generic term used to describe cheese produced with cow's milk, sheep's milk, or goat's milk and ripened with cultures of the mold Penicillium. The final product is characterized by green, grey, blue or black veins or spots of mold throughout the body. These veins are created during the production stage when cheese is 'pierced' with stainless steel rods to let oxygen circulate and encourage the growth of the mold. This process also softens the texture and develops the distinctive blue flavor.
Natural rinds on cheeses form with the least amount of intervention. In the temperature and humidity controlled rooms where cheeses are aged, air naturally dries out the outside of cheese. Over time, this forms a thin crust on the outside of the cheese which becomes its rind. Cheesemakers monitor this process and periodically rub the rind with oil, salt and/or a damp cloth soaked in brine.
The origin of blue cheese has an interesting story. It is thought to have been invented by accident when a drunken cheese maker left behind a half-eaten loaf of bread in moist cheese caves. When he returned back, he discovered that the mold covering the bread had transformed it into a blue cheese.
Blue cheese is also identified by a peculiar smell that comes from the cultivated bacteria. The flavor of the cheese depends on the type of blue cheese, shape, size, climate of the curing and the length of ageing. But it generally tends to be sharp and salty. Some of the famous blue cheeses around the world are Roquefort from France, Gorgonzola from Italy and Stilton from England.
Blue cheese tastes best when served with crackers, pears, raisins, fruit breads and walnuts. Crumble the cheese and melt it onto burgers, into sour cream, plain yogurt or mayonnaise as a dressing.