Online Artisan Cheese Making Video

It is finally here! My new online cheese making course for Craftsy.com
Here’s the link from my site: http://www.artisancheesemakingathome.com/video.html
Here’s a way to join me in a class even when I can’t be there in person! Check it out and tell your friends. Mary

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New Cheese Making Project

As this year winds down, I want to share some news regarding a fun cheese making project for the New Year. I will be partnering with a savvy web-based business focused on DIY themes to create online cheese making workshop(s) and cheese making course(s) as part of their Artisan Foods program.
Building on the foundational work of Artisan Cheese Making at Home, information on http://www.artisancheesemakingathome.com, and my in-person cheese making classes, I am excited to be offering these new tools in lesson form to all cheese making enthusiasts; presenting technique-focused instructional material accompanied by more visual aids of in-process photos and videos. Dialogues will take place online as well.

This program is being created to enhance your cheese making experiences. The information presented is being designed to address your questions, experiences, and suggestions regarding home cheese making. In order to accomplish these goals, I’d appreciate hearing from you re: home-based cheese making processes that you feel (or have experienced) would benefit from these presentations.
From your perspective, what could be made clearer through these lessons? What hasn’t been covered in the book that could be presented here? Any helpful information you are willing to share is welcome and will be considered for incorporation into the curriculum.

I’d appreciate receiving input from by Jan 4 for the initial planning; any additional information can come at any time after that. Please send to me at: mary@elementsoftaste.com
Thank you in advance for your support.
Happy New Year and Warm regards, Mary

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Invitation to join E-List

Greetings and Happy Holidays-
To all cheese making enthusiasts visiting my blog, I am extending an invitation to join my email list so you can receive news of special classes or events before they go live. You are welcome to invite interested friends to join as well. As the list grows from a specific regional area, I will be encouraged to schedule cheese making classes there in that part of the country. I’m happy to teach wherever your interest takes me.
If you wish to be on this e-list, simply go to http://artisancheesemakingathome.com/ and on the Home page click on the Join the Email List link to enter your contact information. Thank you.
Regards, Mary
More blog posts soon.

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Making Cheese in Seattle

The Pacific Northwest is a pretty cheese-savvy area. With a broad selection of delicious locally made cheeses available, I was thrilled by the response to my cheese making classes being offered there. There are loads of enthusiastic cheese lovers; many of whom want to learn to make their own cheese. Like many I meet across the country, folks want to have a hand in making what they eat. They want to know where their food comes from and know that it is healthy. Thankfully, I was able to cross paths with some of these cheese-heads (I use this term lovingly) at recent classes at the Seattle Art Institute, and a cheese making demonstration at The Book Larder, a relatively new, wonderful book store with a cooking demo kitchen. The extraordinary local (often organic) milks used in the classes made the results sensational! Thank you local farmers!
I am elated when students feel so gratified by what they’ve accomplished. That’s why I teach.
Often in the beginning students have no idea that making cheese can be very easy. That’s how I start everyone off. Begin at the beginning…with simple fresh cheeses. This way you will be successful in your efforts and want to make more. Grow into the more complex cheeses as your skills develop. If questions arise, I am available to answer. I’ m always there as a guide.
I look forward to my next trip to the Seattle area in May or June. Thank you to all who attended a class for a wonderful, inspirational experience. More cheeses to make when I see you next! For now, I’m off to make a few festive cheeses for a holiday cheese platter: Brin d’Amour, Lemon-vodka Leaf-wrapped Chevre, and Double-milled Port Goat Cheddar. Yum! You’d better get started!

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Fresh Ricotta Curds

For those of you who have made or are attempting to make simple, fresh cheeses such as ricotta or mascarpone, here are a few tips for obtaining curds that have the texture and moistness you desire.

As in my classes, my general advice to you for determining how moist or how dry you want the curds is to ask you to decide how you are going to use the finished cheese. If you are using it as a soft spread filled with dried herbs, you would want the curds to be somewhat moist. If you are going to use the cheese as an ingredient in a dish such as cheesecake or lasagna, you probably will want the curds to be less moist.

As an example, if using the Whole Milk Ricotta recipe published in Artisan Cheese Making at Home, as written it will result in less moist curds, perfect for using as an ingredient. This is partially due to adding the citric acid in the beginning of the process. I have presented this process so you can see the changes in the curds as the temperature increases. However, if you desire more moist curds, you have the option to adjust the recipe to get that result. For basic direct-acidification fresh cheeses, the point at which the acid is added as well as the timelines for draining the curds are merely guidelines, as in any cooking recipe. You can adjust both based on the results you want. The amount of draining (therefore the moisture content of the curds) is subjective, based on the style you like and the end use. In addition, if you want very fluffy curds, add the acid after heating the milks to 180-185 degrees, continuing to raise to the specified temperature. Drain the curds immediately, and add the salt only at curd draining stage. If you like an even richer and creamier ricotta, try making it with heavy cream exclusively or add cream once the curds have drained.

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Teaching On the Road

I’ve just returned from teaching in Pennsylavania at The Kitchen Shoppe in Carlisle. What a wonderful cooking school and enthusiastic students! Four cheese-centric classes; three on cheese making. It was so exciting to make cheeses with local, farm-fresh milks! The results were fantastic! There are obviously ‘happy cows’ outside of California! It is so gratifying to have newbies to cheese making inspired by having taken a class. There’s nothing like a hands-on experience for getting the whole scoop. My book has more meaning once we’ve worked one-on-one. I look forward to returning in early June for more cheese making.
Tomorrow, I’m off to Seattle for two cheese making classes at the Art Institute plus book signings. I hope to see you in your part of the world. Advise of opportunities to do so.
Let me know how your cheese making goes.

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I’m lactose intolerant. Can I make cheeses I can eat?

In classes or interviews I’m often asked by a person who is lactose intolerant (or has such in their life) if there are cheeses they can make which will be more digestible given their condition. Yes, there are many. Of course the level of lactose differs from one milk to another, and from one cheese to another, but here some general points to consider. Plus, each lactose-intolerant person has his/her own level of intolerance. Goat’s milk has a slightly lower level of lactose than cow’s milk which means goat cheese may be easier to digest than cow’s milk cheese. In cheese making, we are converting (via fermentation) the lactose in the milk into lactic acid. Lactose is fuel for this process. Only a small amount of the lactose in the milk will be present in the finished cheese. Most of the lactose will be lost to the whey or during the fermentation process.  Lactose has beneficial purposes in the making of the cheese, factors we can chat about later. Fresh cheeses, by nature of the residual whey in them (and therefore more lactose) along with less fermentation (less lactose lost) may be more problematic than aged cheeses which are drier (more lactose lost to whey which has been greatly reduced or totally lost in the aging process) and have been influenced by extended fermentation (again more lactose removed). The more aged the cheese, the easier to digest. Make sense? So, I encourage any L-I cheese lover to go forth and try your hand at making some tasty aged cheeses and enjoy eating them. Please share your dairy cheese-related successes in dealing with lactose intolerance.

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