|The Daniels Family-Charles, Sandra and their very happy son, Joseph|
It is amazing how many responses we had to Janie Zencak’s question in our Moosletter about drying cheesecloth in high humidity!
As a result of that question, we ended up getting to know folks from all around the world- like Sandra Daniels from Maralal, Kenya who wrote this:
My suggestion is to try ironing the cheesecloth. In parts of Kenya, where I live, everything is ironed to kill small nasties like mango fly larvae. These get on clothes when they are drying on the line.
I’m sure you would have to experiment, but this could be a way to kill the yeast. I suspect it would need to be under a pressing cloth so it doesn’t burn.
Love your newsletters and am enjoying my cheese making adventures! I make yogurt, quark, mozzarella and queso fresco, and ricotta. Have done a little with goat cheese, but my goat is a little stingy!
How did you end up living in Kenya?
We came as missionaries. We moved here in 2002. Actually, we arrived on December 31, 2001. We first came on a volunteer trip in 1996, stayed for 3 weeks and fell in love with the people and the place. It’s been an amazing life change. (Read more about their work at – http://www.samburuofkenya.org/blog/)
We live in a rural area about 8 hours outside the capital city of Nairobi. We work with a tribal people called Samburu. It is a beautiful place.
We are working to help facilitate the start of indigenous Baptist churches. My husband travels into the remote villages, at their invitation. He works closely with Samburu men who want to help take the Gospel to their people. As they go together, they do evangelism and discipleship using stories from the Bible. Where they are asked, they help the local village start a new church by providing more Bible teaching and training.
We have also provided food relief during times of drought, healthcare kits for terminally ill home-bound patients, trained preschool teachers and provided other human needs such as seeds, goats, veterinary assistance and medical care for people.
|Charlie handing out seeds|
|Waiting for relief|
|Each bag contains enough beans and corn for one month.|
|Opening their bag of seeds.|
Where do you live?
We live a few miles outside of this rural town where you can buy the basics, like beans, flour, sugar, tea, paper products, etc. Lots of things are available here, but we do bulk shopping in the capital city. It is an 8 hour drive over very bad roads so we only go every couple of months or so. Medical care is practically non-existent in our town. There is no “eating out” and no going anywhere after dark. I home school our son, age 7.
|Joseph is ready for the rain!|
|Their current home. Sandra leaves her Christmas lights up all year because they remind her of the States.|
We actually have 2 cows, who calved on the same day last January! And one goat who had twins in March. And a few hens. We don’t have a small farm, just a big plot with an empty one next door, so plenty of room for a few animals.
We have a small garden with a few raised beds so we can grow some fresh vegetables like lettuce, tomatoes, green beans. This is the first time we’ve done the raised beds, sort of a modified square foot garden and it seems to be working really well.
Do you teach cheese making?
I make cheese for my own family because the Samburu people don’t make or eat cheese. I’ve actually given them some to taste and they don’t like it! So the cheese making really has nothing to do with our being here. It’s something I took up once we got a goat, then a cow.
How did you get started making cheese?
I had been making yogurt for some years. So, when we had a goat given to us, I wanted to learn to make goat cheese. After searching on the internet, I found New England Cheesemaking. I ordered a few supplies and started making soft cheeses. Then, once we got the cows, I knew I should try making hard cheese.
|The Daniel’s 2 cows calved on the same day in January and these are the calves.|
|Sandra was drinking her coffee one morning recently when she heard her “goofy” calves banging around on her porch.|
|One of the calves kept licking that table which is made from an elephant’s leg (another story!).|
During a trip to the States in January, I bought all the supplies I would need and downloaded a digital copy of Home Cheese Making. By this time, I was following Suzanne McMinn’s cheesemaking adventures online, also. Her website (Chickens in the Road) provided lots of information and encouragement for me to get started.
|Making “Velveeta.” First, she makes lactic cheese, using our buttermilk culture. Then, she follows Suzanne McMinn’s recipe for homemade Velveeta.|
The first new cheese we tried was 30 minute mozzarella, using store bought milk. It failed, so we tried it again using a different brand of milk that we knew was produced more locally. It worked like magic! From that point, I was hooked. I began to realize there was no more mystery involved in making cheese, than in making bread and I’d been doing that for decades!
Making cheese is creative, thrifty and fulfilling. Our favorite cheese so far is queso fresco. It is ready to eat quickly, has a mild flavor and we use it on everything from nachos to pizza. I LOVE not having to buy cheese! The nearest cheese seller is 6 hours away, so it’s a real pleasure to be able to make it myself.
|Sandra working with hot wax in a hot climate.|
|Sandra with a recent Caerphilly. It’s a little lopsided because she’s using a makeshift press.|
I order my rennet and cultures from NEC, but I have them sent to my mother-in-law in Texas and she mails them here to me in Kenya. Most companies won’t ship to Africa (we do) as it is just too far/weird and many times the things don’t arrive. It’s a risk that businesses don’t want to take, usually. But our family has been mailing us things for 10 years so they/we have figured out how to do it most effectively. It’s a funny thing.
|Sandra’s Mozzarella made the traditional way with thermophilic culture (p. 136, Home Cheese Making)|
|The Great Rift Valley|
|School at IKeep Supaki|
|Neighbor children in Samburu outside their home|
|Cooking in the village of Lorok|