Showing posts with label Artisanal cheese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Artisanal cheese. Show all posts

Cheddar cheese takes cake to a new level

The Cheese Cake Challenge

I love a challenge and I love cheese so when friends suggested a cheese "cake" for their wedding, it seemed only natural to step up to the plate.

Although I am confident in my ability to crank out a wheel of cheese that's edible, this project caused me to re-think some of the basics and plan carefully.  For example, I wasn't sure where the cheese would be consumed and the temperature of the room.  A small, warm room might cause the "cake" to permeate everything and everyone with the aroma of cheese.  I'm used to the smell of cheese - it hits me every time I open the refrigerator - but maybe not what others want to remember from a summer wedding.  

The Cheese Cake Challenge - Some Serious Considerations

Once cheese warms up sometimes there is a change in texture as it softens up.  Because of this I knew the bottom layer would have to be sturdy or I'd risk a cave-in.  For this reason I settled on a basic cheddar which would be sturdy enough despite any potential change in temperature and hardy enough to withstand an evening of...standing.    

The project started with multiple trips to the store - over a period of weeks - for supplies at which point the checker started to ask if I drank a lot of milk!  Once home with my precious 1% (and a lot of cream) the layers were crafted over a period of weeks.  The final product, below, is the outcome and pretty close to my original vision.  The fruit and ribbon - courtesy of friends - added the final, festive touch.

The bottom layer will be aged until the end of the year.  A perfect treat for the holidays!

The original inspiration from the California Cheese Festival in Petaluma.  

The Cheesecake Challenge - and Conclusion

Although not the vision for every bride and groom, this cake was the perfect gift for two friends who embrace and embody the idea of fun and unusual.  Perhaps there is a subtle metaphor here; something about the cake being something sturdy that will become better over time.  In any case, congrats to Tilla and Chris. I wish you the best life has to offer!

The blues..Stilton, that is!

A mild Stilton - perfect for snacking
I love cheese of all shapes and sizes.  And since taking up cheese-making I've been chasing the blues...Stilton, creamy blue, chunky blue...you get the picture. 

My first attempt was rather dismal.  A small wheel that dried up and then eventually went into the compost bucket.  The second was not really fit for human consumption with a mushy exterior that went hand-in-hand with the overly aggressive flavor inside.  You know it's bad when someone asks "why is the color brown and not white with flecks?"  (Gee, I don't know....)

So when our cheese group (the SF Cheese League) agreed to make - and taste - Stilton in a group setting I was nervous about the results.  And while the Stilton I churned out wasn't entirely marbled with veins on the inside the blue flavor came through in a subtle but still distinct manner.  Finally, semi-success!

Although not entirely blue on the inside, the exterior is a beautiful color

One recipe:  many variations.  But what a fun way to taste Stilton!