Sue Cummings of Kalispell, Montana teaches cheese making at Flathead Valley Community College (click here). The story she told us about how she learned to make cheese is a real testament to her persistence. The lesson is that “where there’s a will, there’s a whey!”
“When I first began to make cheese, I bought Ricki Carroll’s book (Home Cheese Making) and made as many recipes as I could. I had lots of questions that weren’t answered in the book so I bought a couple more books for home cheese makers. They also didn’t answer my questions. I have a science background so I got a book called “Fundamentals of Cheese Science.”
I got about 1/3 of the way through it. I did take biochemistry but this book was beyond me. I couldn’t go to the classes that were held at colleges and universities around the country in evenings and on weekends once a week because we live in Montana, thousands of miles away from places that teach them.
I ended up at the University of Vermont’s Institute of Artisanal Cheesemaking. They held a 2 week intensive certification program for cheese making so we could go there, take the classes and go home all in one time block. (It has since been discontinued for reasons totally unrelated to the quality of the classes.)
The classes covered cheese science, milk science, starter microbiology, flavor chemistry – all the answers I was looking for. I brought that knowledge back to Kalispell, Montana. Apparently, no one else here has had an opportunity to find these answers, either. My classes are always full with waiting lists.
The recipe below is for a quick Florentine style cheese that I developed to fit into a 3 hour cheese making class. I always hand out a “make sheet” like a professional cheese maker would use and encourage folks to make copies and keep records of each batch. This makes a nice, chewy, creamy flavored cheese that slices well.
The basis for this recipe is “Guido’s Cheese” from Home Cheesemaking by Ricki Carroll (p. 146).