Author Topic: Who makes the cheese, us? or them??  (Read 972 times)

Offline meyerandray

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Who makes the cheese, us? or them??
« on: June 04, 2013, 06:14:26 AM »
I have just found a new distributor who sells a very wide variety of choozit cultures, as I was perusing the catolog, I started to wonder, who is really making the cheese here?  How much of the actual flavor is thanks to us, and how much is thanks to them (them being our dear bacterial friends)? 

Leaving the milk out of it, because obviously the milk has its more than significant contribution to both flavor and texture, how much of what we do actually affects the resulting flavor? 
I have found myself wanting to buy pretty much every culture in the catalog, thinking they are fundamental for any particular cheese type, but if that is the case, how much of our process is actually homemade?  I have started feeling reliant on a distributor, like making tacos from a spice mix package.  Maybe your tacos are delicious, but who really made them?
What do you all think?
Celine


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Offline Boofer

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Re: Who makes the cheese, us? or them??
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2013, 08:29:43 AM »
Oh boy, I'm sure you'll get a few responses to this thread.

Much the same as in cooking or baking, there are the ingredients and the process. In our case, the ingredients include everything we get from somewhere and someone else to craft a particular cheese style. The process...that's all in the talent, skill, imagination, diligence, and care of the cheesemaker. That process begins with the selection of milk, cultures, rennet, salt, etc. Making a poor choice in any of these before the cheesemaking is actually begun can bring poor results.

The attention to detail in making the cheese is crucial to crafting a cheese that delights the senses. If the cheesemaker isn't devoted to the task at hand or is distracted by outside influences, the temperature could climb out of control, the cultures could over-acidify, the family pet could enhance the effort with some "contribution", not checking/turning/washing a cheese on schedule could permit an out-of-control infection, or any number of other factors that reduce the possibility of an exceptional cheese product.

There are many other considerations for why the cheesemaker makes the cheese and not the provider of the milk, cultures, etc. IMHO, it's all in the hands of the cheese artisan.

In answer to your perceived need to acquire all of the cultures known to Man, you can stock a few cultures which will permit you to craft a wide variety of cheese styles: TA61, MM100, Flora Danica or Aroma B, PR, PLA or ARN, etc. Search on minimal culture collections or similar. It has been discussed previously.

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Offline jwalker

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Re: Who makes the cheese, us? or them??
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2013, 08:08:44 AM »
It's all about the cheese artisan , although it is nice to have the selections of starters and ingredients for those who feel the need to make a lot of different styles.

In the days before refrigeration/refrigerated shipping , cheese makers made their cheeses with the products available and the cultures that were present in the area , it seems that's how cheeses were differentiated , by the name of the town or area where they were made.

The milk , the type of cow/goat/sheep , the feed , the area temperature , the present starter cultures , etc. , are all the things that made the cheese distinct from others.

I myself don't feel the need to have a huge collection of ingredients , just the best quality of the ones I have available , and like the old time cheese makers , I prefer to make only a few cheese styles that I like , and do them very well.

But for those who feel the need to try many styles , it's great to have the ingredients available , but it still comes down to the artisan , especially considering ageing , salting , turning regularly , rubbing/oiling/brushing , once a cheese is cooked/molded/waxed/oiled , it is still under the care of the cheese artisan until it is deemed ready for savoring , and with many cheeses , that may take years of care.

We are the cheese!

Cheers , Jim.
No..........I'm not a professional CheeseMaker , but I play one on TV.

Offline dthelmers

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Re: Who makes the cheese, us? or them??
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2013, 03:45:28 PM »
Taking a look at "200 Easy Home Made Cheese Recipes", there are a lot of different cheeses made from the same cultures and  very similar processes. It's really about the make, I think. I use MM100 for a bunch of different cheeses and they all are quite distinct from each other.
Dave in CT
Dave in CT

Offline MrsKK

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Re: Who makes the cheese, us? or them??
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2013, 09:54:16 AM »
I use yogurt for thermophilic culture and buttermilk or raw milk clabber for mesophilic culture, yet I make many different styles of cheeses that all have different flavor and texture to them.  I also use "200 Easy Home Made Cheese Recipes" by Debra Amrein-Boyes and one of the things that attracted me to her book is that she doe use very similar processes and cultures for most of the cheese recipes. 

I know I could maybe be a more "sophisticated" cheese maker if I branched out to use other cultures - MAYBE - but I prefer to use what I can get or make right here at home.


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Offline cheeseslovesu

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Re: Who makes the cheese, us? or them??
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2013, 05:47:40 AM »
When I was apart of an micro artisan cheese factory, the milk was sourced from one dairy and used within 24 hours of milking and this was the point of difference to the cheese outcome. We only had a few basic cultures and made cheese that tasted great and sold well. We were initially concerned about purchasing the same cultures as other cheese factories in our region thinking all the cheese would taste the same but it didn't happen at all. 
Now I am a home cheese maker / teacher and I am experimenting with different recipes on a weekly basis. I have a wider supply of cultures than I have used in the factory and I am really enjoying the challenges of smaller quantities and adding cultures directly to the milk rather than a mother culture made the day before. The only cheese I have made consistently is Romano and Colby. My white mould cheeses are hit and miss, the recipe is the same. The biggest challenge is the mini ripening containers in a wine fridge/cave. If I am not checking each batch of soft or washed rind cheese every few days I could ruin a whole days work and valuable milk. I am purchasing milk that could be a week or even 2 weeks old, some is non homogenised milk from a distributor. Therefore now the cultures are not a huge factor anymore to my end result.

Offline steffb503

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Re: Who makes the cheese, us? or them??
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2013, 05:32:49 AM »
Well I am the raw milk producer and cheese maker.
Since my girls are outside with access to all sorts of forage a large part of the taste differences comes from them.
Different things growing make interesting and subtle differences in the taste of the same recipe over the course of the year.

Offline Digitalsmgital

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Re: Who makes the cheese, us? or them??
« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2013, 09:48:57 PM »
This is precisely what has brought me unto the fold here at Cheeseforum.com

I DO love store-bought cheese. My thoughts flutter to it hourly like a butterfly to a flower, my arteries clog with it like an LA freeway before a Gay Pride parade, my breath reeks of it like...oh, never mind...but in the hands of a bored, unsatisfied, stressed-out professional, milk, bacteria, and coagulants cannot and will not be coaxed to their maximum potential, nor will his/her investors abide the occasional train wreck of mishaps that are the precursor to invention. Nor can the average Joe afford more than a half pound per week.

Cheese doesn't need a slogan. Or a marketing strategy. Or a PR team. Cheese needs time and love. And a cracker. I've been called worse.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2013, 09:59:32 PM by Digitalsmgital »
Regards, Dave

Offline Tiarella

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Re: Who makes the cheese, us? or them??
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2013, 09:54:48 AM »
This is precisely what has brought me unto the fold here at Cheeseforum.com

I DO love store-bought cheese. My thoughts flutter to it hourly like a butterfly to a flower, my arteries clog with it like an LA freeway before a Gay Pride parade, my breath reeks of it like...oh, never mind...but in the hands of a bored, unsatisfied, stressed-out professional, milk, bacteria, and coagulants cannot and will not be coaxed to their maximum potential, nor will his/her investors abide the occasional train wreck of mishaps that are the precursor to invention. Nor can the average Joe afford more than a half pound per week.

Cheese doesn't need a slogan. Or a marketing strategy. Or a PR team. Cheese needs time and love. And a cracker. I've been called worse.

Here, here!!!  Well said!! ^-^. I LOVE having the milk to experiment with and I never know what I'll find when I cut open a cheese.  To be pro I'd have to be able to reproduce the same thing but I'm not there yet which only bothers me when I make something truly spectacular and am pretty sure that even with my notes it's unlikely I can remake it perfectly.   :(

Offline Boofer

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Re: Who makes the cheese, us? or them??
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2013, 06:33:31 PM »
I'd have to be able to reproduce the same thing but I'm not there yet which only bothers me when I make something truly spectacular and am pretty sure that even with my notes it's unlikely I can remake it perfectly.   :(
Ditto what she said.... :P

Some are close, but I never wanted to be a professional affineur or the like. :)  I like my casual kitchen approach.

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