July 28, 2014

A soggy start to this day. Thunder woke me up and I listened to heavy rain pouring down outside my window. I went down stairs and got ready to go to the cheese house to start a batch of West West Blue with Vito. The sky is starting to lighten up now.

Today we are also experimenting with a small vat of a soft blue cheese from a recipe for Lymeswold, an English cheese. I first learned to make this from Kathy Biss, a venerable cheesemaker who operates the West Highland Creamery in Scotland. Lymeswold is supposed to have blue veining in the paste with a bloomy, white mold rind. This will be the fifth time we have made it in the past two years.

Since our cave is full of wild mold spores we have yet to produce a bloomy rind that is white; the rind is usually mottled with grey, white, and blue molds. The paste has been lovely with enough blue veining to soften the paste and produce the characteristic flavor of a blue cheese. We have had three successes out of four attempts making four, two­pound wheels per batch so today we will probably end up with 24 wheels.

The first day of making WW Blue goes farily quick if the starter culture behaves. After the curd is cut and stirred, the whey is drained, and the curd knits into a pack. After this the the packed curd is cut into pieces and gathered in cheesecloths and moved to the drain table. Tomorrow we will make a slightly larger vat and combine today's acidified curds with the sweeter, warmer curd from that batch to make the wheels. The slabs of curd have to be milled before the wheels are assembled. By the end of tomorrow we will have around 25 wheels with a yield of approximately 450 pounds of cheese ready for hand salting.

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