Weekend with Horehound

This might be a weird question (still going to ask it…)   Have you ever planted an herb just because you like saying it’s name?   Horehound… horehound… horehound…mmm… and while I believe it to be one of nature’s top ten ugly herbs,  I never get tired of saying horehound.   This weekend I have harvested my horehound and am going … Continue reading Weekend with Horehound

Weekend with Romano

This weekend I will be sharing the recipe and process for making romano cheese.  This is one of my wife’s “non french” favorite cheeses and is based upon an Italian cheese “Pecorino Romano”.   This cheese dates back over 2000 years and was a staple for legionaries of ancient Rome. (I like to think I could be compared to these ancient roman solders…  well kind of… I eat romano cheese)

romano 1
Here is my cheese journal opened to the Romano recipe and the cheese label from my first Romano attempt.  I rated it with 4 stars… which means good… (my star rating system might be a bit arbitrary)

“Pecorino Romano” is made from sheep’s milk but I will be making this with fresh cow’s milk and my recipe and cultures come from cheesemaking.com. (if you want to be like me… and who wouldn’t…  cheesemaking.com would be a great place to get started. )

This is only the second time I share a recipe for cheese, but I make cheese almost two or three times a month.   If you are curious about the first recipe I shared, it can be found here Raclette Cheese .  I am often asked if I really make cheese… then why do I make it… and than finally do I sell it.  I imagine I get asked this because cheese making has become “unusual” and “uncommon” and often people see cheese as something that is manufactured… not made at home.   I find that to be incredibly sad.  We are becoming so disconnected from our food and its preparation.  When I make cheese I know the farmer that owns the cows.  I know the fields that the cows grazed in.   I know exactly what was added into the milk and the conditions (cleanliness and quality) of the process.  I continually marvel at the transformation and find a real joy in reconnecting to ancient recipes, ancient knowledge, as well as the world we live in.   This is the real underlying reason that I make cheese. (plus… my wife loves cheese and tolerates this hobby)

Here is a quick cheese making overview for anyone curious about the general steps for cheese making (this is kind of the cliff notes for those who don’t want to read all of the steps).

  1. Cultivating or Ripening cultures in the milk( introducing and encouraging good bacteria growth… each cheese may require different bacteria.  This process also changes/lowers the PH of the milk)
  2.  Coagulating the milk (enzyme break down of the kappa casein… first of the milk proteins to be broken down… we are “cleaving” its chain of amino acids… cool huh… making it hydrophobic and attracted to itself)
  3.  Consolidation and drying of the curds  (each cheese does this in a unique way… often by cutting, stirring, cooking, washing, draining, stacking, pressing etc….)
  4. Salting or brining
  5. Aging (this is where the “magic” of cheese happens and it is the enzymes left behind from the bacteria or it is the  mold… think camembert… that breaks down the protein in the milk … unique enzymes/molds cleave specific target sites in the amino acid chains and that creates different peptides each with a unique flavor…)

(I am not a microbiologist… and only understand the microbiology of cheese making at a surface level… but it is incredibly fascinating… or maybe it is not… and I am just weird)

If you want the details click “continue reading”

 

Continue reading “Weekend with Romano”