Archive for the ‘Guild’ Category
Below are the licensed cheese makers in Maine as published by the Department of Agriculture
There are 71 Processed Dairy Facilities as of June 2013
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Following is a Cheddar Cheese recipe that will end at the curd stage. It is adapted from Kathy Biss’s book Practical Cheesemaking published by Crowood Press in 2002 by way of Cannington College in cheddar’s heartland: Somerset County, England.
Please be prepared to bring at least TWO batches of cheese curds to the Holiday Party: one flavored, and one plain. If you would like to bring additional flavors, please go right ahead.
Cheese curds are quite perishable in nature — they lose their “squeak” in just a few days time. Ideally this will be a Friday or Saturday batch before the Sunday party, but you will have to fit it into your schedule, obviously.
A portion of the curds will be used to prepare POUTINE for the party as well — after a tasting has been held and winners in the CLASSIC CURDS (plain) and the CRAZY CURDS (flavored) have been announced, so be prepared for things to get messy.
Curds that will be meant to be sold should be made from heat-treated or pasteurized milk. We will welcome, however, raw milk curds. Please label the milks (and treatment) so that we can compare the flavors of each!
Inoculate your raw or heat-treated milk at a temperature of 85degF with an MA culture (a mix of ssp. lactis and ssp. cremoris) at a rate of 5 DCU per 100 lbs. of milk.
Ripen for 1 hour (freeze dried culture) or 45 minutes (bulk wet culture).
Rennet with 9ml SINGLE STRENGTH per 100 gallons milk mixed in 5 to 6 times the water.
When the curd “splits cleanly” cut immediately into “wheat grain to small pea size” pieces.
Scald the curd by gently increasing the temp 2degF every 6 minutes reaching 102 – 104degF after 60 minutes.
Stir with the heat OFF after scalding another 45 to 60 minutes, allowing the temp to slowly drop. When the curds feel “shotty” — they bounce of the hand in the vat, and spring back when squeezed — let them settle for 10 minutes then carefully draw off the whey.
Cheddar by forming the curds into cakes, allow them to drain for 15 minutes, then cut the cakes and pile them to “press themselves” to release more whey while keeping warm. Repeat this cut and pile every 15 minutes in the vat (removing the drained whey if it doesn’t naturally leave the vat) until the HOT IRON TEST results in a 1.5 inch stretch.
To perform the Hot Iron Test, take a steel bar (steel skewer? clean fireplace poker?), heat it close to red in a flame, allow it to cool to black, then apply it to the back of a sample curd. When the curd has “cooked on” to the bar, pull it back to see how far the cheese strands will stretch. If they reach 1.5 inches or more, the curd is sufficiently acid to mill and salt.
(If you don’t have the Hot Iron technology, you may instead measure whey acidity to .75TA or pH 5.3 before milling.)
Mill curd cakes into rectangles *roughly* 1cm X 2cm X 4cm.
Salt at a rate of 2% (by weight of curds).
Allow the salt to be absorbed before flavoring your curds.
Our next meeting will be our Holiday Party held on a new day — SUNDAY — December 15th from Noon to 4pm at 3 Level Farm in South China (directions to come). Please consider attending for a merry potluck, including (hopefully!) a vast spread of Christmas Curds to taste…including some of yours!
DIRECTIONS to 3 Level Farm:
From the south, Portland way, take 95 or 295 north (295 blends with 95 just south of Augusta) to the third Augusta exit, Exit 113, and head toward Belfast. About 10 miles east Rt 32 heads north (a left turn). 7/10 miles up Rt 32, as you reach the crest of the climb from Rt 3, 3 Level Farm will be on your right. We have plenty of off street parking.
From the east, Belfast way, take Rt 3 west until Rt 32 north takes off on your right. 7/10 mile up the grade and you are there.
From the north, Bangor way, you will probably take 95 south. Get off at the second Waterville exit, Rt 137, and follow it east through town until at a traffic light it takes a sharp right and shortly there after crosses the Kennebec River. Take it to the second traffic light after crossing the river which is Rt 32. Turn right and follow Rt. 32 south just about 10 miles. The farm will be on your left.
If you need to call for any reason, 445-FARM (3276).
I look forward to heralding and toasting good tidings with you all as we begin a journey into a new year…
President, Maine Cheese Guild
Last year Eric represented us at the Taste of Maine reception in DC. The Maine Chamber is replicating that model at the annual Maine Chamber Annual Dinner meeting on November 15th. Eric mentioned this in his post from last month’s meeting.
Here are the highlights of the event:
Don’t Miss the Chamber’s Annual Dinner with featured Guest U.S. Senator Angus S. King, Jr.
Join us on November 15th for the Maine State Chamber of Commerce’s 2013 Annual Awards Dinner – “Mr. King Goes
to Washington: An Independent’s Perspective on his First Year.”
They will be showcasing Maine foods at the reception and have invited us to participate. I will be there with my cheese and will represent the Guild. If anyone wants to donate cheese to the table and/or join me at the event, please let me know. The ideal time to bring cheese to include for the event is the annual meeitng on Monday, the 11th.
Hope to see everyone on Monday!!
State of Maine Cheese
On November 11th we held our Annual Meeting at the State of Maine Cheese Co. facility on Route 1 in Rockport.
Caitlin Hunter (Appleton Creamery) and Heather Donahue (Balfour Farm) were both re-elected to a seat on the Guild Board. Caitlin stepped down from her duties of Secretary of the organization, and Heather was nominated and then voted to replace Caitlin as Secretary.
We reviewed the State of the Guild, including its finances, and we made plans for the upcoming year in many areas: new workshops planned for the Spring (advanced workshops, as well as others focused on beginners and those interested in getting licensed to sell cheese), web site improvements, changes to the delivery of our newsletter, possible legislative action, the formation of an Events Committee, fundraising ideas, and many other things. We ALSO got to taste a lot of cheeses that were brought in for feedback!
It was a long meeting, but VERY productive. Thanks to everyone who attended.
The Maine Cheese Guild presents
Open Creamery Day 2013
on Sunday, October 13th from 11am to 3pm (unless ***otherwise noted*** below).
As the hardwood foliage bursts in a blaze of colors on Columbus Day weekend, take in the spectacular sights and taste some award-winning cheese during the Maine Cheese Guild’s annual Open Creamery Day. Visit many of Maine’s cheese makers in their creameries, meet the animals, and learn the stories behind Maine’s more than 150 artisan cheeses. Along the way you can also visit a farmers’ market, stop at an orchard, explore one of Maine’s premier breweries or wineries, pick fruit at Maine’s legendary orchards, and drop-in on one of the many artisan bread makers our state has to offer. You’ll love the views, and the taste of Maine cheese, straight from the source, will be the best memory of all!
View Maine Open Creamery Day MAP in a larger form
2013 Participating Cheesemakers
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Our Meeting at Turner Farm was a wash-out in more ways than one. As the small group that gathered in the Rockland Ferry Terminal waiting room chatted merrily as we waited to board the ferry to North Haven, the ferry left without us.
It was pouring buckets of rain that morning, and Steph at Turner Farm was a good sport about it when I let her know we had *missed the boat* but it was still a shame to realize that we had struck out.
The group in the waiting room was so small I decided that I would send off my agenda items to the group electronically to get your feedback. The one topic I need to hear back about is an immediate workshop proposal:
Michael Kalish is an Affineur who has studied in Europe and worked at the Herve Mons caves. I will email around the links he sent from earlier classes he has put on for other groups, and he has said he can be available to teach a class here in Maine in late March 2014.
Are Guild members interested in scheduling an Affinage Workshop? For one day? Two days? More? Please respond by posting comments on the Guild web site article for the October 7th meeting.
Additional Items on my Agenda:
- More ideas for 2014 Workshops? Any follow-up info from earlier ideas?
- Most people should know this: Sarah from Winter Hill Farm is organizing Open Creamery Day — contact her if you would like to be added to the listings for this event, or want to print out a poster to advertise the event.
- The Maine Chamber of Commerce has announced that they want to organize another Taste of Maine event on November 15th at the Augusta Civic Center. For more information please contact Maine State Chamber Program Manager Amy Downing at (207) 623-4568 ext. 104, or firstname.lastname@example.org. If someone in the Guild would like to organize a Guild table as we did for the Washington, DC event in April, please let me know.
- The Guild has lost its Logo banner — it’s about two feet wide by three feet tall with the Guild log printed on it. Does anyone know where it might be stored (it is NOT with the trade show display)? If not, does the Guild want to replace it? I would argue that it’s very helpful, especially in events that do not favor the use of the trade show display. Please comment on the article about this if you have some ideas.
Our next meeting will be our Annual Meeting which we always hold at State of Maine Cheese Co. in Rockport. I hope to see you there.
President, Maine Cheese Guild
Our meeting on Monday, August 12th at Winter Hill Farm in Freeport took place on a glorious summer day that many Guild members were making more productive use of elsewhere. We focused the information sharing portion of our meeting on Pest Control, but there were lots of other items on the agenda such as an ACS wrap-up with Eric and Jean, upcoming events hoping to feature that Maine cheese that is suddenly in the news, and upcoming workshop ideas.
Possible Workshop Ideas for this fall/winter:
- Inside Competition Judging with John Greeley
- Setting Up a Small Dairy Business or a similar talk by Gianaclis Caldwell
- A talk by Heather Paxon, author of “The Life of Cheese“
- Green Dairy Practices by the Keller brothers of Jasper Hill Creamery
Please comment here to add your ideas, or second any of these. We will have a discussion on ideas to move forward with at our October meeting.
Early in the Festival, before the public was allowed to join the conference attendees, the Monona Terrace ballroom is filling up.
York Hill Farm’s award winning Capriano in the Farmstead Cheese category.
PIneland Farm Creamery’s Smoked Cheddar…
…and their first place Cheddar Spread
Silvery Moon Creamery’s Provalone in the Italian Style category
And from the Breakfast of Champions earlier in the day: Crooked Face Creamery’s Ricotta
Saturday dawned clear and beautiful and it somehow seemed appropriate to get an early start and walk on up to the Capitol square where the Dane County Farmers Market, the self-proclaimed “The Largest Producer-Only Farmers’ Market in the U.S.” It is set-up ringing the Capitol. COMPLETELY ringing the Capitol building, facing in on the sidewalk. Even at 7am there were enough people that you couldn’t start and stop walking without being mindful of bumping into folks. Lots and lots of veggie stands, naturally, but a few (not as many as I would have thought) cheese vendors, a bunch of meat vendors, a bunch of bakers, and then some specialty stands of flowers, popcorn, and — YES — The Gourd Guy.
Striving for a Successful FDA Inspection
This is becoming a necessary skill these days, even for producers who do not ship out of state. ACS presented a good presentation today consisting of two ACS members who have “survived” FDA Inspections who told their stories of what to expect, followed by a food safety consultant who explained what you MUST do and what you can decline to do during an inspection.
Peg Smith of Cow Girl Creamery spoke first. CGC has been in business for at least 20 years, and they now have two cheese making facilities, plus a distribution center, and all three have been inspected at least once. The Kenny Mattingly of Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese in Kentucky spoke from the point of view of a newly started cheese business (within the last five years) who was inspected during a transition between outgrowing an old (first) cheese plant and moving into a newly constructed plant next door. Then Alan Sayler from the Center for Food Safety and Regulatory Solutions talked about the nitty gritty of what the FDA *can do* by law during an inspection, and what rights a cheese plant has during an inspection, plus helpful tips on how to understand what’s going on, and how to “get the most out of” the inspection.
There’s SO MUCH I could write here, most of which would be boring step-by-step items, and some of which I’ll go over in a presentation to the Guild in person at a later meeting. Instead I’ll provide a couple interesting and pity points that jump out from the pages of notes I took:
- Remember, your dealing with people (the inspectors) whose job it is to make sure that each plant they visit can and does make safe food for their customers. Ultimately you’re both on the same team, and even if the process seems adversarial, its important not to let emotion enter into it, and to be respectful during the process.
- “We are a better company because of the inspection.” — Kenny Mattingly, who did NOT have a smooth initial inspection experience.
- Answer EVERY question, and be as honest as possible, but do NOT answer more than the question. It’s up to the inspector to follow-up for more info, it’s not your role to volunteer info.
- Check all badges that they match a photo id of the inspector. Your first question should always be “Who is your district compliance officer?” This information is critical for you to get any information about the inspection after the inspector leaves — the inspector will NOT respond to later requests — that’s the job of the district compliance officer.
- Having good records of EVERYTHING that happens in the cheese plant is the most important ingredient in a successful FDA inspection.
The Art and Science of Smear-Ripened/Washed Rind Cheeses
Talk about drinking water from a fire hose, this session was chock FULL of information…a little too chock…but our presenter warned us going into the session that he was condensing a short course that they teach at the Center for Dairy Research at the University of Wisconsin that is normally taught over three or five days, and that he wanted to make sure he left some time for the tasting, and for questions…and away we GO!
At lunch we were offered pre-wrapped sandwiches to take along with us while we visited the Dane County Farmers Market just up the street if we hadn’t already done that.
Understanding Cheese Defects
Rules number one in attempting to fix a “flaw” in your finished cheese is to DOCUMENT everything during the make and aging process. [One person's flaw can sometimes be another person's unique flavor/texture that customers are willing to pay for...] If you don’t know what you did, or what happened at the beginning, you don’t know what you can change.
Item one for cheese makers and mongers alike: Retail abuse is a major source of abuse. You can make the best cheese in the world, but if it sits on a hot loading dock in the sun for an hour, no one will recognize the result, and if that’t abused cheese is still put in the front of the public the reputation of the maker AND monger are affected (fair or not). Part of a cheese makers responsibility is to understand the custody chain of their cheese to make sure the consumer purchases the cheese they thought they sent to them through whatever distribution method.
Following these general thoughts, Nana Farkye (CA Poly State) and Mark Johnson, (UWisc DRC) walked us through a FIREHOSE of information about common defects and the possible fixes. A rather subjective sample follows:
Summer milk often is produced by a heat stressed animal, which lowers the protien and fat content, but not in the same proportion so your ratio can change wildly, often with much lower protien. This can result in lower yields and/or a HIGH moisture cheese and all the problems associated with that unless the cheese maker stays right on top of their milk quality.
Sometimes a high moisture cheese can result in a high acid curd, which can produce brittle body, grainy mouth-feel, weepy cheese once it’s packaged, and a soft pasty body. This can be fixed by using less culture, reducing the ripening time by adding the rennet earlier, and rinsing/washing the curd.
Bitternes factors can be attributed to:
- low salt
- fast cultures (increasing the enzymes in the finshed cheese)
- excessive mold in the make plant (contributing their own unwanted enzymes)
- coagulant type — some rennets, particularly mucor mehei derived — are linked to bitter flavors in long aged cheeses
- psychrotrophs in the raw milk due to excessive cold storage before making into cheese; always use milk within 48 hours of milking to prevent psychrotroph build-up
Other flavor defects were catagorized into Microbrial, feed, mechanical (agitation, pumping), and brining issues. Texture defects could also be microbial related, or make related (how the curd is treated in the vat before forming into wheels). Visual/packaging defects can also be microbial, but often involve temperature and/or light abuse.
It also shouldn’t be a surprised that many defects — specifically the microbial based — were a result of poor or uninformed sanitation routines.
Overall the instructors assured the cheese makers in the audience that EVERY defect has been seen before, and once the source of the defect has been determined, it CAN be fixed. The hardest part is finding the source of the problem, especially when it may be out of the cheese maker’s control, hence the DOCUMENTATION and CUSTODY CHAIN points at the beginning, but it all boils down to knowing as much as possible about your cheese, from the raw ingredients through the retailer treatment. Good luck!