Well, hello stranger! So nice to see you again! It’s been what… 6 months? I got a bit occupied… with the grueling election season, getting engaged, and recently moving, I haven’t had hardly any time to devote to cheesemaking! But, the election is over and life goes on, we’ve settled into wedding planning, and are all moved into our new place. And… I finally have a kitchen all to myself, which means… a devoted cheesemaking space!!!
The wine refrigerator (in the lower right corner) can be set to a range of temperatures to mimic the environment of a cave–perfect for aging cheese. The cheese press is in the process of being assembled and I have the certificate from the cheesemaking class I attended in Milwaukee last May in the frame.
Call me adventurous, a renegade, a weirdo, or just plain strange, but rarely do I like to follow in the path of what I’ve previously learned… which is why I’m constantly exploring new ventures. The French cheese named “Chaource”, incidentally, is not one we made in cheese class because why would I want to make something I’ve already done before or even tasted or have some familiarity with??
Indeed, I don’t even know how to say the name of the cheese. I asked my fiancé, who has studied French, how he would pronounce it and he was stumped by all of the vowels in the middle… apparently it’s pronounced like “horse” but with a little French embellishment. But it is listed in my book “Homemade Cheese”, it’s not too complicated, I have all the ingredients and tools required, so Chaource it is!
It’s been nearly a week now with my little Chaource babies in the ‘fridge and they have begun to fuzz up nicely… their little white hairs growing millimeter by millimeter until their current state: a cross between a cloud and unicorn hide. …I open the door of the wine ‘fridge every morning and squeal little tunes at them about their fuzziness, as I can imagine other women in their early 30’s sound cooing to their babies in the morning.
This “fuzziness” is brought on by the molds Penicillium Candidum and Geotrichum Candidum, both of which are often used in Brie- and Camembert-type cheeses. Geotrichum assists the spread of the Penicillium which works to inhibit undesirable mold growth on the cheeses. They also work together to bring out the flavor of the cheeses by encouraging lactic acid breakdown and neutralizing their acidity (1).
Though I have never tasted Chaource (yet!), from what I’ve seen in pictures and read, it looks to be somewhat of a cross between Camembert and Brie. It is supposed to be a little gooey around the edges (between the inside and the fuzzies) but if too gooey, it might have been aged too long.
Swaddle them in cheese paper or wax paper and leave them in their “cave” to age for another 3-4 weeks (something other mothers are probably not doing with their babies) for (hopefully) a delicious treat that will transport your tastebuds to the Champagne region of Northern France (of course, the drink pairs well with the cheese).
Think happy thoughts; the waiting game of cheesemaking continues…
(1) “Home Cheese Making” by Ricki Carroll, pg. 26
2. “Homemade Cheese” by Janet Hurst