Preparing for the great famine…..

7 10 2013

In a recent comment, gbell wrote “Man, I’ve gotta stop reading DTM right before bed….   These concerns are exactly why we live where we do and do what we do, though I worry I’m not spending enough time preparing.”

I worry too.  Especially with the moving to Tassie scheme.  Half of me says keep going as if we’re staying in case we end up ‘stuck here’ unable to sell because of economic problems, the other half says do everything in your power to make the move.  And then we have days like yesterday, 35°C again, and it’s still not Summer.  Today’s forecast is for 38°.  And I’m trying to airdry my first hard cheese of the season.  I gotta go………. before the weather kills this heat intolerant cheesemaker.

Last time I was in Tassie, looking for land on Bruny Island with Geoff (who doesn’t even eat cheese…), I also visited Grandvewe Cheeses which is just across the water from Bruny…. and there I ran into the owner Diane Rae who told me as soon as I mentioned I was from Queensland and I liked making cheese that it an awful place to do this, and that if I moved ‘down here’, I’d never miss it!

We don’t drink milk much.  Though interestingly enough, when worldwide consumption of milk is taken into account, it is not cow’s milk that is most popular but goat’s milk.  65% of the milk consumption worldwide is in fact from goat’s milk, and this popularity hasn’t come about due to high profile marketing campaigns or big-budget advertisements.  “All milk is not created equal.”  The differences between cow’s milk and goat’s milk may not seem apparent upon first examination…..

Here are 5 reasons goat milk is better than cow milk.

1. Goat’s milk is less allergenic.

2. Goat’s milk is naturally homogenized.

3. Goat’s milk is easier to digest.

4. Goat’s milk rarely causes lactose intolerance.

5. Goat’s milk matches up to the human body better than cow’s milk.

Jezebelle is currently making 1¾ litres of milk of beautiful raw organic milk for us, and putting some of it in tea or coffee simply doesn’t make the supply in the fridge disappear!  So far, I’ve been making one Camembert a day from this (though strictly speaking, it can’t be Camembert, which is made from cow’s milk).  Yesterday I had ten litres in the fridge.  That’s enough to make a 900g lump of hard cheese, so I got stuck in. If you ever wondered why cheese is so expensive….  make your own!

Hard cheese has to be pressed.  Last time I tried this, I used barbell weights, which continually fell over, distorting theA simple, practical cheese press, for the home cheesemaker shape of the top of the cheese.  I thought, there has to be a better way, and there is, because the people I buy my cheese gear from now sell a cheese press…. but $60?

I thought I could actually make a better one than that, with four bolts and some pine lying around left over from a 30 year old desk that was falling apart..!

My cheese press

My cheese press

So I rushed off to the hardware store while my milk was warming up to put this show on the road, and after spending just ten bucks got stuck into cutting and drilling my wood to come up with this superbly simple press worth its weight in gold…. because it took half the time to get a result as it did using weights…  It even caused a curds blowout..!  I’ll pretty it up with the belt sander before the next lot.

I also discovered that my new digital cheese thermometer fits perfectly in the holes built into the glass lids of the saucepans I use for processing the milk; which I now do by filling the sink(s) in the kitchen with warm water giving me about twenty litres of liquid to use for thermal inertia to keep the temperature constant for ages.  Works a treat and needs neither gas, nor thankfully the AGA running in this heat wave.

Cheese ready for air drying

Cheese ready for air drying

I’ve now just turned the cheese out of its basket, and left it in the new pantry which is the coolest room in the

New digital thermometer

New digital thermometer

house.  it’s supposed to take three to five days depending on the humidity (but no mentions of heat waves in the book, obviously written pre climate change!), after which time I’ll wax it with the red stuff Green Living sold me last year and which I never got around to using……

Will keep you posted.

Re the egg incubator, I took the useless dimmer back to Bunnings who replaced it for a dearer one that works a treat, but now I’ve spent $37 on a dimmer, I’m kicking myself for not buying another controller like those I use on my fridges.  One of those would keep the temperature in the incubator accurately to within 0.1°C without me ever having to worry about making adjustments.  I might still go that way if the dimmer presents itself to be too hard… I wish I’d thought about this before I started looking on youtube.

Such is life…

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