Sunday, 2 March 2014

Cheese Fridge Video and Update

Rejoice fellow curd nerds!  I have just completed my latest video, this time about my cheese fridge set up, which complements my recent post titled My New Cheese Cave.

So without further ado, here is the video.

Oh, and don't worry about my dog Holly and her glowing eyes.  She is not that scary in real life!

If you liked this video, give it a thumbs up on YouTube or use the share button to tell all you cheese loving friends about how easy it is to make cheese at home and mature it in something simple like this.

Also, I would just like to apologise for the lack of Little Green Cheese podcast episodes lately.

About a week ago, I lost my voice and have been suffering from a chest infection.  It has knocked the stuffing out of me, so understandably, I have been taking it easy.

I am recovering well and will start to produce a few episodes this week.  So to that end, I need your help to make each episode a roaring success.  I need voice-mail or email questions to use in the show to keep it interesting. Please use the Speakpipe tool below, to leave me a message or question.

Looking forward to your questions!

Monday, 17 February 2014

My New Cheese Cave

The cheese drought has broken, and I am back in business!

I mentioned this in my last podcast or two, but finally I saved up enough money to replace my ailing cheese fridge with a brand new small bar fridge with external thermostat.

To recap, this is the old cheese fridge.

It was just a wine fridge that worked using a thermoelectric system, which performs best in homes that are not kept much warmer than 24°C (75°F).  Unfortunately, my home get well about that, that the temperature of this unit would drift at least 10°C above what I had it set at.  This was not satisfactory for cheese making, and some cheeses even started to weep oil.  

So I had to place the two cheeses I made in early December into the normal kitchen fridge, until I saved up for a replacement.

Thankfully, that day was today.  Last week I purchased a small bar fridge for a couple of hundred dollars, and found a suitable external thermostat on eBay for A$20.  

The fridge has three racks inside and room for about 30 wheels of cheese.  More than enough, I think.

The thermostat is very basic.  Plug it into a power socket, then plug in the fridge.  Set it to cool by holding in the centre button for 4 seconds, then set your desired temperature with the SET button.  Pretty simple, although I have noticed that it sits about 1°C below its setting.

This shot shows the probe, which is the grey cable with a white probe on the end to the left.  I placed my normal hygrometer next to it to check if it was reading true.  This the display was still cooling down at the time.  I have just dangled the sensor probe through the fridge seal and tied gently to the middle rack.  Nothing too technical like drilling holes through the side of the fridge.  I wanted to keep it simple.  

This method does not seem to be affecting the temperature, as it is sitting at a comfortable 13°C now, and has been for the last hour with the fridge turned off.

Once the temperature had stabilised, I placed the two cheeses, a Romano Pepato and a Cotswold, that I had stored in the kitchen fridge.

Speaking of temperature, the weather cooled down sufficiently (24°C) on Sunday for me to make two wheels of cheese.  

It was glorious.  I felt so, so, so refreshed.  It had been over six weeks since I made cheese, and it was starting to get withdrawal symptoms. ;-)

More about the cheese I made in the next post, but suffice it to say, it was great fun running my fingers through curds and whey once again!

Have any of you recently set up a new cheese fridge/cave?  What did you use to control the temperature?

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

LGC Podcast Episode 21 - Making and Maintaining Brine

Apologies for the hiatus.  I know it has been two weeks since that last episode, but it has been so hot here in Australia with daytime temperatures of 35° - 45°C.  It is certainly not the weather to be making cheese.  Even my cheese cave has called it quits, and I have had to buy a new one!

Anyway, this weeks episode focuses on making and maintaining your brine, which is an essential step in making some hard cheeses.  I have even seen brine used to salt Camembert.

The good news is that you do not have to throw away your brine each time you make cheese.  You can simply clean it and rebuild the brine before you use it again.

Here is the table that I mentioned during the episode.

Just note that the table above is at standard conditions of 15.6°C/60°F and only goes up to 26% as then fully saturated.  Any additional salt will not dissolve.

Listener questions this week were about; 
  • How to taste a Stilton without a cheese trier,
  • Can you use an aluminium pot to make cheese, and
  • A testimonial about my Parmesan recipe.

[Direct MP3 download this episode (right click and save) ]

Keep sending in those questions via voicemail and email as I really enjoy answering them on the show.

Also, if you think you have a cheese making story to tell, drop me an email I would love to have you on the show as my next guest.

If you wish to receive the show on your portable apple device each time I release an episode, you can subscribe via iTunes using the big blue button below. You can also subscribe via Stitcher, just search with that app.

So, until next time curd nerds, remember to Keep Calm and Make Cheese!