Now that we finally have Holly, our cow—and gallon after gallon of her creamy, pure-tasting Jersey milk to do with as we please—we're making lots of cheese. Ricotta from Holly's milk is super-lush and wonderful.
Holly's ricotta.We've also made gouda with her milk, and man! What a surprise. When we've used store-bought milk to make gouda, the coagulation (curd-set) takes about an hour, and produces a smooth gel. Our first time around with Holly's milk, the curds formed in 30 seconds and instantly separated out into a cottage-cheesey mass. The resulting gouda had a distinctly bouncy quality.
Possibly this reaction could have something to do with the relatively high proportion of protein and fat in Jersey milk compared to Holstein milk, the grocery-store standard. Taking the advice of cheesemaker Maureen Cunnie, at Cowgirl Creamery—our Team Cheese consultant—we reduced the amount of rennet, the coagulant, by 40% for Holly's milk. (The gouda recipe is in our forthcoming book, The One-Block Feast, to be published in March 2011).
Gouda is always coated with wax, typically paraffin-based. But we had our own honey-fragrant wax from our beehives, which we'd melted in a solar oven and strained. So we decided to try that instead.
Beeswax from the Sunset hives.
We melted the wax in a deep pot and dipped a fresh wheel of gouda in it, coating the cheese on all sides. Now we're letting the wheel age for a while to get good and flavorful. And we wonder whether it taste at all like honey.
Our beeswax-dipped gouda.