|Mother Prioress & New Cheese Cooler|
At Thanksgiving of last year we announced the continuation- after a long absence- of our Jersey cheese. The update on this work is long over due. As we mentioned, Mother Prioress got a new wine cooler- this one holds 166 bottles of wine, or 64 wheels of aging cheese. The wooden racks pull out for easy handling.
For the first time, Mother Prioress has taken on a "cheese-apprentice" in the guise of our Tari, a multi-talented young woman on the Land Program. Every Thursday Mother and Tari press the wheels of cheese and in between Tari experiments, giving us yummie tastes of herbed curd and ricotta. She loves experimenting, so we await some mascarpone and other softer cheeses.
Unfortunately, the government has stepped in and said we must now use stainless cheese molds, replacing the wooden ones. (Typical intervention!!! Little do they know!!! We went through this at our Abbey in Conn. but it is hard to buck those who only read the books!)
At present Mother is researching sources as she likes the size of the present molds and can only find the stainless in smaller sizes.
|Just formed Cheese- Not Aged|
Cheese making may have originated from nomadic herdsmen who stored milk in vessels made from the sheeps' and goats' stomachs. Because their stomach linings contains a mix of lactic acid, wild bacteria as milk contaminants and rennet, the milk would ferment and coagulate.
A product reminiscent of yogurt would have been produced, which, through gentle agitation and the separation of curds from whey would have resulted in the production of cheese; the cheese being essentially a concentration of the major milk protein, casein, and milk fat. The whey proteins, other minor milk proteins, and the lactose are all removed in the cheese whey.
Cheesemakers need to be skilled in the grading of cheese to assess quality, defects and suitability the table. The grading process is one of sampling by sight, smell, taste and texture. Part of the cheesemaker's skill lies in the ability to predict when a cheese will be ready for consumption, as the characteristics of cheese change constantly during maturation. We have our Island Master, who is skilled in all aspects of this ancient art.