I shouldn't be making cheese this week because I have a list a mile long of things I need to get done. But sometimes, when fresh milk arrives by the gallon, you just gotta make cheese. A friend of mine has property about an hour from here and has a few cows in his herd. A while back I casually mentioned that I'd love to try some fresh, raw milk if he ever had extra milk. Last Monday, two gallons arrived. Then we had two birthdays. This Monday, two more gallons arrived. Louise's birthday dress still isn't finished, the squirrels are digging out my plants in the garden and I have about five loads of laundry to fold, but I had to make cheese because we were running out of space in the fridge.
The photo is a batch of provolone, dressed in a cheese cloth, simmering in its own whey at 200 degrees. It looks so happy. Right now it is waiting patiently to be placed into a salt brine for an hour to give it the tell-tale saltiness of a good provolone. I also have a queso fresco chilling in the fridge. Since these are both fresh cheeses, I had to pasturize the milk. Did you know that you can bring it to 145 degrees for 30 minutes and get rid of all the potentially harmful pathogens, while still maintaining the good stuff that cheese makers want? The tricky part is keeping it at a steady 145. I'll keep you posted on how they taste.