Jack Cheese and Hard Cider

November 11: Today was a lovely day at home.  It was foggy last night late will a full moon but the fog and clouds cleared through the night.  When I woke up at 2:30 in the morning it was bright and clear and cold; perfect for a soak in the hot tub.

I started a batch of jack cheese this afternoon:

I added a half teaspoon of calcium chloride to 2 gallons of milk and heated it to 88° before adding the mesophilic starter culture.  It sat at 90° for 30 minutes and I added the rennet (1 t liquid in 1/4 cup water).  I slowly brought the temperature to 100° and held it there for 40 minutes.  Then I drained and salted the curd before putting it into the press.  I pressed for 15 minutes at 1 lb and am scheduled to press for 12 hours at 2 lbs. but I can’t see getting up at 2 o’clock in the morning to brine my cheese so it will have to wait for a decent hour.

Caleb and the Oregon City High School Marching Band performed today at the Veterans’ Day Parade in New York City. Wednesday the performed at part of the 1500 piece Band of Pride Tribute to the First Responders of 9/11.

November 6:  I don’t know where the time flies to, but it sure seems to fly quickly.

This weekend we spent time tidying loose ends; yard work, housework, homework…. On Saturday, we picked all of the apples from the orchard, about 2 big wheelbarrows full.  We found out that it works best if we press at night to keep the yellow-jackets at bay.  We ended up with about 6 gallons of juice – I froze two quarts, used 5 gallons for hard cider, and the rest is in the refrigerator. I also put two batches into the dehydrator, Joe loves dried apples.

Hard cider:

5 gallons cider
5 pounds sugar
5 crushed campden tablets
5 teaspoons ascorbic acid
3 3/4 teaspoons  pectic enzyme

Saturday Night we mixed everything together.  Sunday Night I’ll pitch a package of Montrachet yeast before I go to bed.  It will stay in the primary fermenting bucket for a week.  Next weekend, we’ll move it to a carboy for three weeks, then into another carboy for another three weeks before adding 3 3/4 teaspoons of  Potassium Sorbate and bottling.

This afternoon I made some great kefir milk rolls using a recipe from Just Like my Nan Made – thanks NellyMary.  I also needed to make cookies for a High School band Bake-sale.  I was able to use the frozen cookie dough-balls that I made in the summer and, easy-as-pie, I had a dozen each of oatmeal raisin, peanut butter and chocolate chip.

Tonight we’re trying to get everything ready for Caleb’s trip to New York City.  They have a band concert on Monday night, a performance at school on Tuesday morning then board the bus for the airport.  We are also trying to help Noah reorganize all of his school work.  The transition to middle school has been a little overwhelming for him, but we’re working on it.

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