Ok so we have tried to make cheddar cheese two times and both have failed miserably. The first two attempts took nearly 12 hours and that only included a few 15 minute breaks to get off your feet.
First attempt:
As you can see the lines of the curb did not seal up like they are supposed to. They are supposed to come together and look like a very smooth block of cheese. We would take special care and even go as far as waxing the cheese but in the end they would fail. We would still eat them but have to cut out the mold that accumulated, not the good mold. It was a very bitter experience for both of us. Once he got back from his class he decided that cheddar was the first cheese to make. We pumped ourselves up and began the process. It only took about 7 hours this time, it really helps when you know what you are doing. Joel showed me all the steps and we watched our favorite cheese-making video at the same time, she makes cheddar at home and so we followed a lot of her directions. We set it in the mold and weighed it down with about 70 lbs. of water weight then walked away. It was very hard not peeking at it for the full 24 hours but when the time came we got to see if it had worked. It was a huge success for us. We were actually dancing around due to all the excitement. Well now we have to age it for at least 3 months before trying it. What is so crazy is at Joel's class he had a teacher who forgot about a block of cheddar in his cheese fridge and found it not that long ago... it had been aging for 10 years! It goes to show you that cheese can last for a long time. Don't ever throw it out- just cut any mold off and it's fine. By the way- the students asked if they could try it and he said no way! He is keeping it for himself. Who knew cheese-making could be filled with so much drama and excitement?!


off to cheese school, be back in a week!

Joel is taking this whole cheese thing very seriously. He is taking an artisan cheese course at Utah State University. The flight is booked, the car is rented and he is on his way. He left on February 22nd and returned on the 27th. He couldn't talk much during the week because he was so incredibly busy but he kept me informed as to what they were doing. The first day of the class was dedicated to learning about cheese and it's chemistry, 8 hours of facts and chemical reactions and all things scientific. Then next day is when the fun began. He was introduced to the cheese kitchen, had to put on the hats & boots and began getting elbow deep in milk and cheesy goodness. He helped make the following cheeses:
String Cheese
Squeaky Cheese
Monterrey Jack
Old Juniper
and many more.

He had to borrow a suitcase to bring it all home, 25 lbs. to be exact.
It has been so much fun trying all these wonderful freshly made cheeses. I had to make my semi-famous whole-wheat sourdough grilled cheese sandwiches with New Zealand sharp cheddar and his fresh mozzarella. The kids loved it.
He has come home more determined than ever to make his dream a reality. We are moving fast with our business plan and hopefully getting everything lined up. He now knows what our cheese kitchen needs, how it is to be properly cleaned and how to package the cheeses. It was a by far the most valuable class he has attended to date. It has given him so much confidence in cheese-making. Hopefully things will continue to move forward and you will all soon be able to visit us at the farm. He did however decide that using a few cows in the beginning may not be a bad idea, it will help get the farm moving quicker and cheaper. We definitely want to use whatever sheep's milk we can get our hands on but we aren't so afraid of using cows milk to get the jump start we need. Once the cheese gets rolling we will be in a better position to get the sheep milk products up and running.