Thursday, May 27, 2010

Goodbye Hand Milking

Hello modern technology. Goodbye hand milking. We have been hand milking our goats since they freshened in February and March. Last fall, I found a Hoegger portable milker on craigslist, but the lady I bought it from no longer had the belly pail that went with it. So, I had to wait until I could afford the belly pail and accessories. The expenditure was pretty low on the priority list. Slowly but surely it moved up the priority list. The pail and its accoutrements were delivered by UPS today and we got it set up before our evening milking. Everything worked great. Each of the does tolerated it with little suspicion.

Memphis tolerated the new milker very well

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Valencay Update

We cut into my first Valencay last Saturday at the Lynchburg Community Market and shared it with the bread people over at Lorraine Bakery. It was very mild and creamy. The flavor was very subtle and slighty earthy. Maybe a hint of mushroom. My palate is not that distinguished yet. It was about two weeks old. I'm going to cut into another one of the same batch this week and see how it is developing. I'm stoked!

Above is what the Valencay looked like at two weeks old

Here it is at about 3 weeks. We'll cut another one this weekend. The rind is very bloomy!

I'm still making chevre at least twice a week. We are staying busy! Goat barn, hay making, and garden updates coming soon!

I made another batch last week.

Here is a cheese getting ready to be dusted with ash

Here is the same batch at 7 days old

We're still making chevre at least twice a week too. Definitely keeping busy! I'll have gardening, hay making, vineyard, and goat barn updates coming soon.

Monday, May 17, 2010


I've been venturing into the world of aged goat cheeses. More specifically, I'm trying to make good mold ripened aged goat cheeses. When it comes to goat cheese, mold makes it better! Last Wednesday, I started a batch of Valencay. I began the process with making a curd very similar to what I would make for Chevre. The only difference was that I added Penicillium Candidum and Geotrichum Candidum cultures when I added my starter culture. Thursday, I cut the curd and spooned the curds into my Valencay molds, which I had ordered from New England Cheesemaking Supply. I had more curds than molds, so I attempted to emulate a Humbolt Fog type cheese. I used a camembert mold, spooned in half the curds, added a layer of ash, and then the rest of the curds (after the first half of curds had settled).

Friday evening, I unmolded the cheeses and gave them a dusting of salt and then a good coat of ash. They are aging in my new "cheese cave." I was able to pick up a working refrigerator on the cheap a the local fire department fundraiser auction. I ordered an override thermostat from an online homebrew supply. Using the new override thermostat, the temperature in the fridge is staying around 55 degrees. Unfortunately, the relative humidity in the fridge is hanging around 40%. To provide a more humid environment, I'm aging the cheeses on a rack in a plastic box.

When I checked the cheese Sunday night, there is definitely mold growing through the ash. We'll try these in about two weeks.