Last February I was reading book upon book about cheese making. If there is one craft that has held my attention for an extended period of time (4 years and counting now), it's making cheese.
But 12 months ago, I was getting rather fed up with all the books I had. They all called for cow milk. And I had goats. What's more, I don't really like goat cheese (unless it's a fresh chevre that doesn't taste "goaty"). I like cow cheese. So I was in a pickle: I had the wrong species for what I wanted.
Then Mattie, my Jersey cow, came along in July of 2012. The lightbulb came on at her arrival. "I can make cheese now!!" Or so I had hoped... Alas, Mattie wasn't giving enough milk for me to do any serious cheesemaking, so I stuck to quick "vinegar cheeses" that were fed to the chickens. But I knew the day would come... I eventually HAD to hit the point where I could make cheese, right? I was tired of making soft cheeses; I wanted the real thing. Gouda's, colbys, cheddars, jacks, and all those other really good ones.
My cow is due to calve in 13 days. When she freshens, she will start giving 8 gallons of milk every single day. Every. Single. Day. That's 56 gallons every week. There will be milk. It is time to make cheese. It's time to pull out the red cheese wax from the cabinet, hunt down the starters that are hibernating in the freezer, and see about investing in a fridge that can be my very own cheese cave. It's time to do this. Four years is a long time to wait for something. I'm done waiting.
Mary Katlin's book, 'Artisan Cheese Making At Home' is probably my favorite cheese making book; and I've read a lot of them. She makes even the fanciest cheese sound doable. And uh, being the photography snob I've become, I also adore the high quality pictures she has in the book. Okay, so maybe I do sometimes judge a book by its cover... Shame on me. ;)
I'm not sure what my first cheese will be yet; maybe a Gouda... Or perhaps even a Cheddar. But I want it to be something that has to age long and quietly... So that 6-9 months from now I can slice it open and smile, knowing that I'm seeing the fruits from early spring. Inside each wheel is proof that good things come to those who wait.
Four years is a long time to wait for something, Dear Heart. I'm done waiting.