Sunday, August 31, 2008

Making feta and unpacking

The feta curds draining into a bowl - in the laundry room sink.

The salted feta in a pan - this aged overnight under that towel.

Today it was time to use up some of that goats milk. I started my first cheese making project - Feta! I followed two from Granny Miller (who's blog is in my side bar) and one from Fias Co Farm (also in the side bar). Basically, I brought the milk up to the right temp, added the culture, waited an hour, added the rennet, waited some more, cut the curds, waited some more while occasionally stirring the curds, drained the cheese, cut the cheese (he he!), salted it, aged it, and then submerged it in brine. Right now, it's further aging in the fridge. I'm not 100% sure I'll like this version, since I left out the lipase powder at the beginning since I didn't think I had any (I was in the freezer). This shouldn't matter - it'll just be a milder feta. I hope to try it next week for the first time, so I'll be sure to post how it tastes.

Feta pieces in brine for aging and storage.

I only made a fairly small amount because I couldn't comfortably fit more than 1.5 gallons of milk in my big stainless pot. After I was done, I remembered that I had a larger pot and as it turns out, that pot fits nicely in my waterbath canner pot to be used as a double boiler. Next time, I'll be able to double the size of my batch! H ordered plans to build a cheese press and he's ordered some of the right culture. I think he's going to try mozzarella first - then cheddar or some other hard cheese. Should be fun!!

While I was making the cheese, H did a lot of work outside. He managed to clear out the gutters and trim the big pine in the front of our house. He also discovered that the french drain installed by the previous owners (to keep the basement from flooding) is clogged somewhere under our front lawn. That'll be a fun project to dig up come this fall, not. He also managed to finish roofing the goat shed and we discussed further improvements (building a stall for kidding and adding doors).

Lastly, we got some things organized in the house. I managed to get the laundry room unpacked and reasonably organized for now. It still needs painting, so once we do that, we'll set that room up as part dog room (so that they don't drag mud into the house once the rains start) and part storage/laundry. We also got the basement room predominantly done. Thanks to H, the baseboards are finally up and we were able to move in the rug. Then we put the big chair and ottoman, my desk and the small TV cabinet in there. It'll be my office and a nice cool reading room as well. Most of the stuff in there is basically just placed where it will go - I still need to do a lot of unpacking and organizing. I do have to get the shelving installed in the former closet (we are making 'built ins' there) before I can do most of it though. This is predominantly a winter project. It was nice to be able to move that furniture out of the main part of the basement. It freed up a lot of room and H managed to do a lot of unpacking down there because of it. This is important because we will need to move the big TV cabinet from the apartment down here sometime this weekend. We attempted to get it yesterday, but we could not get it down the stairs from the second floor of the apartment building - I wasn't strong enough to carry it at those angles. I suggested that we get a screwdriver and remove all three doors and the three drawers - and maybe that'll make it light enough for me. The plan is to give that a shot at a later date (but before Sept 9th when we are done with our lease).

And when we were returning from our unsuccessful little jaunt to the apartment - we come home to find this in the field across the street!

I can't even imagine what we would have done had this guy landed in our goat pasture or something!

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