Author Topic: Hello from Leuven, Belgium  (Read 546 times)

Offline pirenzi

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Hello from Leuven, Belgium
« on: February 10, 2014, 02:37:01 PM »
Greetings,

After finally settling down after our move from Canada to Belgium, my wife and I are ready to get back to some cheesemaking.

We took some of our cheesemaking supplies with us in the move (we still need to put together a new press), minus our cultures and rennet since we weren't sure if we could bring them into Belgium (we probably just should have). Oh well, too bad.

Through Brouwland in Belgium, we can get hold of some new cultures (and in fact it was a bit of a surprise to see that they distribute cultures and rennet to most pharmacies), but their selection is a little limited. Evidently their product manager is planning to reassess the whole range of dairy products they sell.

One of our problems is finding a goat milk supply close to us, and since we are not speaking Dutch just yet (we start our course tomorrow), this might continue to be a problem. If anyone on the forum has some advice on farms in Belgium that have gate sales, that would be appreciated. We have our eye on a cheesemaker in Alken http://www.puurlimburg.be/info/infodocument-de-levende-aarde-schiffeleers-geitencoperatief- who has a regular stall in the markets in Leuven on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It appears that they have farm gate sales, but we would like to find some goats a bit closer to us, in the end I think that we may just have to raise our own  :)

Hopefully we can get back into it and make some nice cheeses, we can't wait!

Cheers,

Piers


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Offline KatKooks

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Re: Hello from Leuven, Belgium
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2014, 06:36:07 AM »
Welcome to the site, Piers and congratulations on the successful move to Belgium.  I look forward to seeing some of your creations!

Cheers!
Trying to make cheese...

Offline pirenzi

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Re: Hello from Leuven, Belgium
« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2014, 10:37:41 AM »
Thanks Kat,

I hope you are surviving the snow there in Canada, it sounds like it really packed in this winter.

Unfortunately it might be two weeks or so until we can start, the farmer we had lined up for our milk supply has only just starting kidding recently, and he doesn't have enough milk to spare for a few weeks. We will talk to him again at the market tomorrow.

It's a pity since all our cultures and moulds arrived this week, and we are itching to go.

Cheers,

Piers

Offline hoeklijn

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Re: Hello from Leuven, Belgium
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2014, 06:01:17 AM »
Hi Pirenzi, I happen to have a Dutch forum about cheesemaking and some people from Belgium are member.
Probably most of our members are reading and writing English, so you're welcome to join us on www.zelfkaasmaken.forum2go.nl.
Otherwise maybe you can PM me your email-address and I can bring you into contact with some Belgian cheesemakers...
About cultures: Some members are ordering from Germany, but that language will be a problem I suppose? Anyway, here are the url's:
http://shop.kaesereibedarf.eu/products/kulturen-und-lab/ and http://www.kaesereibedarf-leidinger.com/.
If necessary, I can order for you or translate for you...
It's always good to know that you're not alone out there :)

cheers,
Herman
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Offline pirenzi

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Re: Hello from Leuven, Belgium
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2014, 07:52:37 AM »
Hi Herman,

Thanks for the link to the Dutch forum. I hope it will be helpful to find some milk closer to us.

 I think that now our culture situation is mostly sorted, we ordered some Choozit MT1 and Meso II from the http://www.thecheesemaker.com this turned up in the post with no problems. For the future, I think those links in Germany will be useful, thanks! The language is a bit of a problem, but armed with google translate, I think we can work it out.

Cheers,

Piers


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Offline hoeklijn

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Re: Hello from Leuven, Belgium
« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2014, 12:34:42 AM »
Piers, as you may have noticed, until now no luck in finding adresses for goat milk. Apparently also the cheesemakers from Flaundern are struggling to find a good source. What's your distance to The Netherlands, because there are a lot of goat farmers in the Dutch province of Brabant....
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Offline pirenzi

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Re: Hello from Leuven, Belgium
« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2014, 03:03:05 PM »
Herman,

Thanks for asking around. In two weeks we should be able to get a regular supply from a farmer in Alken which is about 50km from us. We are about 100km from Eindhoven, but we do not have a car, so this complicates matters a bit.

Piers

Offline hoeklijn

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Re: Hello from Leuven, Belgium
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2014, 10:26:04 AM »
Will be hard indeed without a car. It seems that most Belgium members are located west of you....
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Offline pirenzi

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Re: Hello from Leuven, Belgium
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2014, 05:28:44 PM »
I should give an update on our progress with our milk situation. Last weekend we went to visit the goat farm of a local cheesemaker, we had some nice conversations about sustainable agriculture, and saw some cute newborn kids. This weekend, we got hold of 6L of milk to experiment with and so we made some Feta and Chevre. Here are some photos of the goats, and the Feta make.

Offline hoeklijn

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Re: Hello from Leuven, Belgium
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2014, 07:47:18 AM »
Great to read and see that! I suppose it's a reasonable distance to this farm? If you have any questions just let me know and I'll try to help...
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Offline pirenzi

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Re: Hello from Leuven, Belgium
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2014, 08:18:33 AM »
It was great to get back into it!  :) The farm is about 45km away, so unfortunately it is a bit too far to cycle to, but on the train is no problem. Also, the farmer comes to the market in our town every week, so he just brought the milk there. We hope that we will be able to keep having a regular supply from him.

The milk was also truly fantastic, the first time we have worked with raw milk. For the Feta we were pleased to get a 17 min flocculation with 1/8t rennet in 4L of milk.

In a few weeks, we hope to build a new press, and perhaps look to get a supply of cow milk , so we can start some harder cheeses also.


Offline hoeklijn

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Re: Hello from Leuven, Belgium
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2014, 02:57:58 PM »
Awsome! I've got 2,5 kilo of pressed blue goat cheese ripening at the moment. Is the first time I make blue cheese from goat milk, so I'm quite exited.
Made Feta, Valencay and Cabra al Vino several times...
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Offline pirenzi

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Re: Hello from Leuven, Belgium
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2014, 05:00:51 PM »
We are looking forward to some pressed cheeses. We had some good luck with some Cabra al Vino, it was one of the first cheeses we tried after building our first press.

I remember reading that you were doing some interesting things with Arduino's for controlling temperature for your cheese vat. Do you use something similar for your cheese cave?

One of my next projects is to sort out a good cave, we have an extra fridge in our house that is not being used, I have been interested in having a computer controlled cave for both humidity and temperature. I have read a few posts about this, it seems like an external PID controller is the way to go, could you say anything about this vs trying to roll your own controller?

Cheers,

Piers

Offline Al Lewis

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Re: Hello from Leuven, Belgium
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2014, 05:18:54 PM »
Welcome!!  I've been near your town but never in it.  Beautiful country Belgium.

Offline hoeklijn

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Re: Hello from Leuven, Belgium
« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2014, 01:42:15 AM »
I remember reading that you were doing some interesting things with Arduino's for controlling temperature for your cheese vat. Do you use something similar for your cheese cave?

One of my next projects is to sort out a good cave, we have an extra fridge in our house that is not being used, I have been interested in having a computer controlled cave for both humidity and temperature. I have read a few posts about this, it seems like an external PID controller is the way to go, could you say anything about this vs trying to roll your own controller?

Cheers,

Piers
Arduino project is on hold at the moment, due to a mix of lack of time and lazyness :). Have been thinking about switching to an Arduino controlled cave, but my thermostate for my cave is doing well and the RH is reasonable under control. If got a bowl with water with a strip of cheesemat standing in it. The strip is covered by a paper towel and next to the bowl is a computer fan. The thermostate is fro Conrad. That's a big webshop for electronics. They also have humidifiers, some of the belgian members are using it for their cave.
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