Wine, Cheese and Waterfalls inside

July 9:  I added 2 gallons of boiling water and 4 crushed campden tablets to the rhubarb wine this morning.  It will sit for another week so stay tuned……..

rhubarb wine start
peach/fig wine start

I also started a batch of experimental wine using some canned peaches that had lost their color a bit and some fig/orange preserves that over set.  I threw them all into a bucket with a gallon of boiling water and 3 crushed campden tablets.

July  8/9:  This is the second try at making Cheddar Cheese.

    •  I started with 2 gallons of whole milk with 1/2 t Calcium chloride added and heated it to 90 degrees.  At this point I sprinkled on the mesophilic culture and let it sit for 3 minutes to rehydrate before stirring.  Then I left it covered for 45 minutes.
    • The curd formed this time.

      Then I poured in 1/2 T of liquid rennet that I had diluted in 1/4C of water that had been filtered the day before (also warmed slightly) – chlorine may have been my enemy last time, it can neutralize the rennet.  I stirred for 1 minute using and up/down motion and covered it for another 45 minutes at which time I had a nice curd forming. I was able to use a metal spatula to cut the curd into 1/2″ blocks.

cooking the curds
  • The next part was tricky.  I had trouble getting the curd up to 100 degrees on my last attempt using hot water from the kettle in the sink so I decided to rig up a double boiler.  This time I got a bit too warm ~110 degrees and I kept the temperature there for 60 minutes.  While warming the curd it is important not to increase the temperature more than 2 degrees every 5 minutes.
The head waters of our “kitchen waterfall”.
  • Just a note that during this process, my kitchen ceiling started gushing water from a broken pipe.  Thank goodness my best friend and my best husband were both home to help.  We got the water shut off and plenty of towels…….

    • Back to the cheese.  We poured it into a cheese cloth (Stacy was helping now) and hung it between two chairs to drain for 60 minutes.  Then we poured  the drained curds into a bowl and broke them up into smaller (walnut sized) pieces while adding kosher salt (1/2 T twice for a total of 1T).
Not a pretty cheese press but it works.
  • We packed the cheese into the mold lined with cheesecloth and pressed it for 15 minutes at 10 lbs, then flipped it over and pressed for 12 hours at 20 lbs.  I flipped it again in the morning and pressed another 12 hours at 20 lbs.

  • This evening I took the cheese out of the press and have it sitting on a wooden board to dry and develop a rind. It should take 3-5 days so more soon.
  • Tah-Dah

I also started a batch of rhubarb wine this afternoon.  I used 10 lbs of rhubarb cut into 1 inch chunks and added 6 pounds of sugar.  This will sit overnight in a covered 5 gallon bucket.

July 6: It’s supposed to be warm today.  I got up early and watered the raised beds in the backyard.  The broccoli looks great as does one of the squash.  The garlic seems a little spindly.

July 4:  Happy Independence Day!  We didn’t get a lot done today.  Most of the time we hung around reading and making sure the cats’ third meeting went well.  So far so good.  There was quite a bit of hissing and growling but they did manage to stay in the same room without any chasing or fighting.  Other than that I made a batch of tapioca pudding, clean out the freezer and got ready for fireworks tonight.  We did do some weeding so the back yard looks much better.


July 3:  We made root beer this afternoon using a mix from Gnome Soda.  It was really easy.  Joe just sanitized the bottles, and had Noah mix together the water, sugar and yeast.  Then Joe filled the bottles while Noah and I capped them.  We made a half batch and filled 24 twelve oz bottles.  In 2 to 3 days, the boys will try it and see how it tastes ( I really don’t like root beer).

Noah capped the root beer bottles

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