Author Topic: Greetings from Greece  (Read 185 times)

Offline Guiseppe

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Greetings from Greece
« on: December 16, 2014, 08:09:30 AM »
Hi,

Just an introduction, as was suggested as a first post.
I am English but having retired I have emigrated to a small Greek island.
It's probably the move that has got me into cheese making.  I have always been a lover of cheese, the stronger the better.  In England I could always get extra mature Cheddar, Roquefort (my all-time favourite), Stilton and Brie but living in Greece everything is different.
I can purchase dozens of different cheeses here but ultimately they are all either Feta, or something approximating Gouda or Edam.
I like these but what I cannot get is a decent palate-stripping Cheddar or Stilton. 
It's one of the few things I actually miss about UK.  It was only by chance sat in a taverna having a beer with friends of friends from UK that somebody suggest that I ought to make it.  It had never occurred to me that it was even possible.  I did a bit of research and decided to give it a go.
.
My first problem is milk quality.  I live on a small island and to the best of my knowledge there are only 2 cows here.  That's the downside; the upside is that the number of goats and sheep outnumber the people by about 10 to 1.
The only cows milk I can get is pasteurised and homogenised so that's what I'm stuck with. 

I must have watched every video on YouTube concerning cheesemaking and downloaded a beginners guide, ordered the bits that I needed and jumped in.  All the advice was to start with something simple and work your way up to the more complicated blues and Camambert but I basically ignored that and jumped straight in at the deep and.  First cheese I attempted was a Stilton.  Won't bore you with all the details but as you may imagine, it did not all go according to plan.  Has anybody else watched 80% of their attempt pass effotlessly through a cheesecloth and down the sink? :-[
It didn't put me off and if anything just made me more determined to improve and get it right.
That was all a few months ago and I have now made about 15 lots of cheese, some pretty good, some less so but more importantly, some of it is awesome.  I currently have 3 Stiltons, a Cheddar, 3 farmouse cheddars, one with peppercorns, a Cotswold sat in my cheese cave.  Biggest problem at the moment is resisting the temptation to sample them too early.
I also have one entirely experimental cheese underway which looks very promising but will save that for another post. 

Looking forward to exchanging ideas and learning more, it looks like a very friendly and helpful site.

BTW, My name is not really Guiseppe, that's what my friend has decided to call me, Guiseppe the Cheesemaker.  Seems as good a name as any other.

Guiseppe

 

Offline jbrewton

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Re: Greetings from Greece
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2014, 01:47:26 PM »
Welcome Guiseppe,

I am pretty new also.  Did exactly what you did.  Watched all the YouTube stuff, even the really poor production ones.  I have 2 mozzarella runs under my belt, 1 failed.  Itching to make another run soon.

Again welcome.

Offline awakephd

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Re: Greetings from Greece
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2014, 04:10:14 PM »
Guiseppe,

First of all, welcome to the forum.

Second, can you get raw goat or sheep milk? If so, you can make Stilton and Cheddar types with it -- you don't have to use cow's milk.

And finally: having made my first trip to Greece this past May, I am totally and thoroughly envious that you are living on a Greek island!

Offline Guiseppe

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Re: Greetings from Greece
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2014, 11:12:29 AM »
awakephd,

I have to confess that I have not actually tried to get raw goat or sheep milk but I'm pretty confident that I should be able to get it locally.
I would like to be able to make something closely approximating Roquefort which is traditionally made from sheep milk so I will be trying to source some soon.

Yes, living on a Greek island is pretty good, the only problem I might have cheese making is that during July and August the daytime temperature can be up in the 40's.  Rather than 'heat the milk to 29 degrees and maintain that temperature' I may have to be trying to keep it below that temperature.  A small price to pay, I feel.

Offline OzzieCheese

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Re: Greetings from Greece
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2014, 06:17:21 PM »
Ahhh Guiseppe,  You are amidst the birth place of cheese (some might disagree !) - True not Stilton, but still one of the most consumed cheese in the world - Fetta ! I am absolutely envious...  Welcome to the forum and I hope top see some of your CHeese experiments...  Cheddar from sheeps milk - yumm.  Have you tried a Manchago ?  I use cows milk for mine but put Lamb Lipase to bring it somewhere near a Real one.  While there are a range of books I have found that not much gets past the experts here - so, if you are having issues, there probably those that have made the same mistakes right here.  Or,, you've solved them already and we would love to learn from your experiencecs.  Either way welcome !!

--Mal
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Offline OzzieCheese

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Re: Greetings from Greece
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2014, 06:18:18 PM »
Oh and bravery deserves and medal - AC4U !!
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Offline Guiseppe

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Re: Greetings from Greece
« Reply #6 on: Yesterday at 04:28:00 AM »
Thanks for the encouragement, OzzieCheese,

It's quite odd moving from one country to another, in UK Cheddar accounts for probably 85% of the cheese consumed but you really have to search for Feta.  Now I am in Greece all of the supermarkets have banks of brine vats containing perhaps 15 different Fetas.  It's quite amazing the differences between what are actually the same cheese.

I'm glad you brought up the subject of books - the only one I have at the moment is 'Keep Calm and Make Cheese' by Gavin Webber which I feel is a good starting point and I have had a fair bit of success with the recipes within but I now feel that I want to delve deeper into the subject to give me a better understanding of how it all works.  I'm looking for something more on the technical side rather than just a recipe book.  If I need recipes this site is a wonderful reference library.
Any recommendations or should I be looking elsewhere on this site?

My experimental cheese goes something like this - I have eaten Cotswold which contains onion, Komijnekaas, a Dutch cheese made with Cumin, Farmhouse Cheddar with peppercorns, Pepper Jack, a Monterey Jack containing Chilli.
The thought occurred to me (too much time on my hands) why not combine the lot and make a curry cheese just as an experiment?
So that's what i did.  I looked at my Chicken Madras recipe and used all the spices. - root ginger, chilli, garlic, cumin, coriander, turmeric, garam masala, pepper, I cut the quantities down to a quarter of what I would use for the curry and incorporated them into a 2 pound farmhouse cheddar.  I have no idea if it will work or if I have used too little or too much spice, I just had to guess.
I can't tell you what it's like because I only made it a couple of weeks ago and it's now in my cheese cave where it will have to remain for at least a couple of months, even longer if I can resist the temptation to try it sooner.
I'll submit another post when I know the answer.

Offline awakephd

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Re: Greetings from Greece
« Reply #7 on: Yesterday at 08:57:55 AM »
Book recommendation: Gianaclis Caldwell, Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking -- this will give you much more understanding of the science of what is happening to your cheese, but in a very accessible and usable format. I bought it recently based on recommendations here, and am halfway through it -- and fully concur: highly recommended!

Curry Cheddar: I can't wait to hear how that turns out. It is making my mouth water already!! The only mild concern I have about it is that my attempts at true cheddar (three so far) have all needed at least 8 months of aging to begin to taste the way they should. I'm planning to age my third cheddar out to 12 months to see how it is then.

As a quicker alternative, you might look at the recipes on this forum for Caerphilly and/or Lancashire. There are a couple of Caerphilly recipes on this forum that cheddar the cheese for 30 minutes to an hour and add salt directly to the curds before pressing; that has consistently given me a really wonderful and tasty cheese in as little as 3 weeks of aging. Mind you, I don't know that what I am getting from this recipe actually tastes anything like what Caerphilly is supposed to taste like ... but I sure do like what I am getting! I'd be tempted to try your curry-cheese recipe with one of these so that I could get some quicker feedback. :)

Offline OzzieCheese

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Re: Greetings from Greece
« Reply #8 on: Yesterday at 09:03:34 PM »
Mary Karlin's Artisan Cheese Making at home - is another recipe book with very good instructions though, some people say that the amount of culture in some recipes create acidifaction rates that are too fast and there are other errors in the recipes, they all do ... Rikki Carols cheese making book is more a recipe book, though I actually learnt more from their web site than the book.  It is a good stating point but not much else. 
101 recipes for making cheese by Cynthia Martin has a bit more theory and good range of recipes and I use this one to cross check the details of the other recipes.  "Making your Own Cheese" by Paul Peacock - interesting read but the recipes are not very good. Tim Smith "Making Artisan Cheese" - I have this in hard cover (Paper) and used it for about 12 months - the recipes are more consistent than most and yes there are obvious errors in it as well.
I would highly recommend Gianaclis Caldwell's book, not because of the recipes - they too have a few issues but, there is enough information in the chapters preceding the recipies to recognise that fact.  And with the theory understood you can make decisions on what your choises are and the the results of them. Gianaclis's book also provides a series of recipes with a range of cultures and although Ione probable cant get the cultures of the recipe, she provide a chart of comparable cultures to choose from, even this fact that you can use different cultures removes what I call 'Culture Shock' - Planning on making a cheese and the recipe states use culture X - but I can't get that - what will culture Y do instead.  All these books suffer under a the same deficiencies - Units of measure.  These are difficult and enev if you read some of my posts on this forum it's something I try really hard to be consistent.  For example: Rennet. if you are using liquid rennet, it comes in various and varing strengths.  Culture measurements - 1/4 teaspoon of culture X - is not very accurate - this is cheese and really don't call for grams to 2 decimal places but, how big is your teaspoon ??

I suppose what I am trying to say is "recipes are great guides" but, it is really experience and a solid basis of knowledge that provides you the tools to make your own cheese - Curry - now theres a brave soul !!       
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