This week I was making Thump! a variation on Bang! I part skimmed the milk and produced some cultured butter, using Marybelle yogurt to start the process and shaking my top of the milk cream in a Fen Farm glass bottle to produce my little butter pearls. The end result I salted and it was delicious. While I’m at it, the big news from Fen Farm is that their first production of Baron Bigod, their cheese in the Brie de Meaux style is now on sale in their cowshed, if you haven’t been before now is the perfect time to test out their milk dispenser, pick up some eggs and some cheese and if you are there about 4.00pm watch the cows as they make their way back from milking.
My approach with Thump! is that it should be a partly skimmed milk cheese, I’m still trying to find my way to the Nirvana of the perfect Suffolk Cheese, hard and dry to travel well, not so hard as to be unmanageable but packed with flavour. I used some of the Marybelle yogurt as a starter and the same technique I used for Bang! a few weeks ago, but with less vicious pressing. I did have a severe limiting factor though, my digital thermometer had broken (now replaced for free thank you Lakeland), so my log reads ‘wrist temperature’ and ‘comfortably warm’……. (or is that comfortably numb (any excuse)…)
The end result is a pair of little cheeses, that at the moment smell good, I hope will dry off nicely and I have some secret squirrel ideas about rind treatments; of which more in due course.
In the meantime an update on my family of cheeses, for those of you following the plot closely, take a look back at my original mind map and you’ll get an idea of where I am in the plan. Last week I made my first Little Smilers, a gouda style, yellow waxed, child friendly cheese. Still trying to perfect a technique for adding the smile, cheese wax does not run through my batik tools well enough and sharpies don’t work so moving on to a plan C. Gouda is quite labour intensive as cheeses go, lots of stirring rather than leaving, so no stories were written. Little Smilers are the toddlers in the family, make you smile, exhausting while they’re awake, but once wrapped up and asleep no trouble.
The Angelots (tall, washed rind in Aspall Imperial Vintage Cyder) though are like beautiful young women, soft, nubile and fragile. They need their baths, but wash them too much and they break down and bleed, have to be mopped up and gently brought back to perfection. Given a moment of negligence they weep seductively, or haemorrhage leaving pools of tears behind them. I broke into one earlier, it let out a little tear, I ate some, the taste was good and I’m still alive. I have three unbroken to mature on in the fridge.
The Navy Surplus are like the acne encrusted teenage boys, variously smelling of cheesy feet and farts, they are not good company and I am rather pleased to have chilled them down and sealed them up. I have pierced one and am leaving the other un-pierced to see the difference. They have not been behaving well – my dining room ‘cave’ is too warm and they have been a bit soft under the surface rather than forming a hard rind – typical teenagers. I was pleasantly surprised on piercing though that the internal structure seems firm and dry – so I’ll wait and see.
The first Bang! is looking miserable at the back of the family portrait, like the hardened granddad, tough as nails and seen it all, it is HARD, goodness knows how I’ll break into it, but going to try the parmesan cracking technique when the time comes.
So there you have it – my family and other cheeses….