David Cerates doesn’t like to blow his own horn. But, he blew us away when he sent us two pictures of his cheese. All he said was, “Here are a couple of wheels I made, white longhorn and yellow cheddar.”
They looked fabulous, so we wanted to know more about him:
Have you always been creative?
I have always been a DIYer. I remodeled my kitchen, bottled the wine and made the cutting board in the photos (above), from a kitchen demo.
In years past, I tried making cheese from a recipe in a cookbook but I didn’t have much luck. Last Christmas, I received a cheese making kit and bought some milk. I made a two pound batch of farmhouse Cheddar. The following week, I made two pounds of Monterey Jack and the next week made two pounds of Swiss. I got to thinking bigger is better so I ordered a large hard cheese mold and made a four pound wheel of Colby (earlier described as Longhorn) and the next week, four pounds of yellow Cheddar.
Right now I am making a cheese cave from a small refrigerator. It is just large enough to age all the cheese I’ve made.
I finished the cheese cave I mentioned then built an off-the-wall cheese press, started another batch of wine, kegged a batch of lager and made some Asiago. I did use your plans (for the press) but the boss said: “No holes in the new backsplash.” (That’s his wife of 35 years.) So I had to come up with a removable wall mount that I can wedge under the cabinet.
While we were e-mailing back and forth, David discovered that he had a problem:
All of the cheese that was not waxed and even some that was, is now blue cheese. I was able to save the Swiss.
I think the cheese became contaminated with common bread mold while air drying in my kitchen. The Asiago I made too large and cut it in half, brined the cut sides and tried to dry it out, but that started turning green right away. The mold has spread to the bamboo racks and mats in the cheese cave.
The Colby was waxed but perhaps the wax was not hot enough to kill the mold, so that was ruined by black, pink and green molds. I hope to make some salad dressing with the blue stuff. If not then compost!
David wrote to Jim Wallace, our technical advisor, about his problem. Jim replied:
You would be amazed by how much natural mold is around. The only solution is to wax or to grow a competitive mold surface (such as Penicillium candidum, Penicillium camemberti on Brie or Camembert). For the hard cheese, attack it with a brush.
I checked out the moldy Asiago last night and found the mold was only skin-deep. I trimmed it well and still had a good piece.
I mentioned previously that I saved the Swiss. That was because I scrubbed it with a brush under running water at least once a week.
(Later) The mold that effected my cheese and cave was an unidentified strain of penicillin but fortunately turned out pretty good after all. The blue part of the Colby made some wonderful dressing and the part that wasn’t blue was pleasantly sharp.
So, what are you going to make next?
I will get back into cheese making soon as I don’t have enough cheese on hand to last another sixty to ninety days while the new stuff ages. I want to get some p. Roqeforti and make some real blue cheese. I am going to make more Monterey Jack and see If I can get a softer texture next time. And of course Mozzarella for pizza and stuff.
As the weather warms, there is much to do out of doors. I will let my Cheddar age while I tend my fish ponds and gardens.