Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Well, it's been a busy few days, so I apologise for not updating before now!

Where did I get too? Oh right, I remember  =)

The School was due to play host to a gathering of Real Bread Campaign members, & Wayne had created a bread based surprise to greet them on their arrival.  I do recall promising to show you the completed item in all it's glory, so here it is!

We also provided a basket of our loveliest looking dinner rolls, just to show off  =)

I believe the day went well; sadly we students didn't get chance to participate, we were busy in our Minor classes, but a couple of us did get our Andrew Whitley books signed & meet the man himself, so that was nice  =)

There's a brief round-up of the day in pictures here if you're interested  =)

As for me, I spent the day learning about, & making, lactic cheeses.  Lee-Anna had started the milk culture off the night before, as it can take 16 hours for the milk to separate into curds & whey, so we had some milk to work with on the day.

We did get the opportunity to start our own batches of milk off though, so we'd have hands on experience of the process.  When it came to ladling out the curds, we choose two different approaches; one batch of cheeses would be made with chunky curds, the other with slim layers of curd.  The difference in ladling will produce cheeses with different textures, & it may also affect the flavours slightly  =)

We used a variety of different moulds, just to have some fun!  Once the moulds were filled, the cheeses needed to be left to drain, then turned, salted & rinsed, so it would be a few days before they were ready to bring home.

Luckily, there was plenty of cheese to eat that day, because we had an epic cheese tasting!  =D

All the cheeses on the board were of the lactic variety, with 6 goats milk cheeses, & two cows milk cheeses.  The two cows milk cheeses were actually the same variety, just at different ages.

Needless to say, we were very enthusiastic!

The purpose of the exercise wasn't just to eat cheese of course; the idea was to help us extend our sensory vocabulary, by really considering the cheeses, not just eating them!  We looked at appearance, aroma, texture, flavours & our overall impressions.  It's actually trickier than it seems; trying to find the words to explain how something as complex as a cheese really tastes, to break down all the elements involved, is something I think I'll need to practise.... Oh well!  =D

Of course, the best part of the day was the half hour we spent with Lee-Anna's goats!  One of the goats had given birth 2 days before, & Lee-Anna was really keen for us to meet them  =D

The goats were amazing!  Some of them were really friendly, or at least really keen on trying to eat various parts of our clothing.  One in particular, Blondie, seemed quite intent on eating my waterproof!  (She didn't succeed!)

The baby goats were so sweet, two tiny boys, just days old!  We had the chance to hold them, so of course I had to, & it was love at first sight!

They were so soft & warm, it was hard to let them go!  But eventually we had to; wellies aren't the best at keeping out the cold, & if we'd have stayed any longer, I'm quite convinced I'd have lost my waterproof to a hungry goat!

Today, we were able to collect our cheeses!  We were so pleased with them; they looked great, & it's such a relief to have made a cheese successfully  =)

It's a lovely soft creamy cheese, with that slight lemony acidity you'd expect from a lactic cheese.   I think it'll go great with some of the breads we've been baking this week.

Speaking of this week, we've been looking at sourdough breads, but I don't think it would be fair to tack a little something about that onto the end of this post, so what I'll do is talk about this week tomorrow  =)

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