Wow. It's been over a year!
Back in the saddle again...
Yesterday was Farmhouse Cheddar, today is Gouda. Oh, and Friday was Ricotta. :lol:
Friday was also sort and box soap day. I have...more soap than I thought I did, and I need to update the webstore (soon as I label the boxes.) I'm not as out of some scents as I had thought....I had a bunch curing. :grins: I also pulled a back muscle during the great soap reboxing.....but it's healing.
It's been pretty quiet around here - hope everybody is staying cool this Summer!
We have to go dig a hole. Li'l Bit - aka Troi - died sometime today. She was fine at breakfast....but when I went out at 4:30 to feed her, she was gone. It looks like one of the play toys fell on her - but I can't really tell (she's under it, but it's not on top of her.) She might have gotten bit by something....SG is going to look her over to see what he can find out.
This has not been a good year for kids, here. 2 stillborn girls, then Trip, and now my baby girl. :sigh:
I hate this part of critter caretakership, I really do.
Let's see....Sunday I made a quick batch of Queso Fresco - Herself says that when it's about a week old it's her favorite cheese. :lol:
Today was Swiss - the last one looks OK, but it has no holes. I didn't see the step where you refrigerate it before setting it out to dry...:sigh: We'll try again with this batch.
I heard a loud goat earlier...turns out it was Spock. Somehow, he had gotten out, and wasn't happy. Herself went to put him up, and started yelling. He was bleeding profusely from his horn buds. :sigh: I went out to look him over (he's fine, just looks like the victim of a mugging or something)...and noticed that all the does were NEXT DOOR. :sigh:
They had managed to knock over 1 of the fence panels, and waltzed over to eat the neighbor's mesquite trees. The neighbors don't mind...but I do. We did get things squared away....life with goats is never dull!
Yesterday was Ricotta. 2 batches - the first one flopped. Instead of 2 pounds of cheese, I got 2 OUNCES. For 6 hours of work. :sigh:
I got mad, and decided to try again - but this time, I cranked the heat up, added more water to the bath, and let 'er rip.
2 hours later, I had 2 pounds of lovely, soft Ricotta. :mmmmmm: Which promptly went to its requestor. :lol:
Today is Caerphilly. Never heard of it, but what the heck - it's different. It's new. Not like I don't have the milk, right? :wink:
Bad news - my digital thermometer died. Good news - I have an analog that goes below 80*. Just means I have to keep getting up to check the temp. :shrug: It works - and the cheese is now in the press.
Tomorrow is another day...wonder what cheese it will produce? :lol:
Got a new book!
We went on a Field Trip today, and ended up at Half-Price Books. I have a love/hate relationship with them - it is very hard for me to go in and NOT buy a book or 10. Today was no different.....I had no intention of purchasing anything. But then......they actually had a book on making cheese. I've gotten bored with the recipes in "Home Cheesemaking" - I have 32 pounds of cheese in the fridge (not counting the 2 pounds of Manchego and the leftovers of Queso Fresco and Chevre) and 6 more pounds in the china cabinet (my "drying" cabinet - the door is propped open so the wheels can dry before being waxed.) Most of it is cheddar of some form or another....but really, I'm BORED. the new book is "Making Artisan Cheese" (or something like that) and it has at least 5 recipes my other book doesn't have. :bounce: I need to make more Ricotta tomorrow (for a local guy - he asked, and I don't mind.), then I think I'm gonna try Caerphilly. Then Romano. And maybe Swiss again....:lol: (Hey, the Lord has blessed us with all this milk, it'd be wrong to let it go to waste, right? Right.)
Herself loves the aged Queso Fresco - and it's fast, so I'll probably be making another batch of that this week - but it's a semi-hard cheese and doesn't last long. I need more varieties of hard cheese - it stores longer, and - to me - makes better use of all the milk.
Soaping: I de-molded the Rain Forest log, but haven't cut it yet. It's pretty solid, and looks good - from the outside anyway. I washed up with the scraps from the mold.....no zap, so it's a good bet it's a good batch. I'll cut it tomorrow.....here's hoping it looks as good inside as it does on the outside. Not that it matters - this is MINE. :heheh:
I need to read my new book....see what else I can make!
Ok, quick lesson in soapmaking:
1. You take a bunch of oils (or just one :wink:), some form of liquid, and sodium hydroxide (the dreaded lye.)
2. You run your proposed recipe through a soap calculator, to make sure you're using just enough lye to saponify the oils.
3. You weigh out everything, as precisely as you can.
4. You mix the lye into the liquid, then pour that into your oils.
5. When it reaches "trace", you pour into your mold. ("trace" = when you pull out your mixing implement, the soap that drizzles onto the batter leaves a trace on top. Real scientific, huh? :lol:)
It's a pretty simple process. If you want color/scent, you add it in between steps 4 and 5. Got it?
Usually, you have no problems. However, sometimes things happen. The ones occurring most often:
1. Acceleration. This is when you go from an oil slick to soap-on-a-stick faster than an Indy-1 car goes from 0 to Race.
2. Discoloration. This is when an ingredient causes the soap to discolor - usually it's an oil. Cocoa Butter makes the soap go brown, some oils (hemp and some types of olive) shift it to green. Sometimes the scent will shift the color - and it usually shifts it to a weird tan/brown.
Now. I wasn't planning on soaping today, but I've had a recipe running thru my head lately. It's a new one - I've NEVER soaped it before - and I finally just HAD to try it.
Normally, I test a recipe with no color/no scent. But...I have a bunch of plain soap lying around, and I didn't want to get this new recipe mixed up with my "proven" ones. So I decided to use my favorite scent ("Rainforest" by DayStar Scents - it's a dupe of Lush's "Jungle"), so I decided to use the colorway I do for this scent (green/brown).
I'm not sure what caused it, but I went from oil to sludge in under 30 seconds. I managed to get the batter colored, then I glopped it into the mold. I had to slam it against the tabletop a few times, to make sure it was evenly distributed (have I mentioned it was SLUDGE?), then I did a "fancy" textured top (to disguise the ugly). :sigh:
At least this soap was intended for ME (and a few testers), so it doesn't have to be pretty, but I'm going to have to do another batch plain to see if I can figure out what caused the acceleration.
I'm drowning in cheese...
The Ricotta finally did it's thing at 6 PM last night - *4* hours to separate into curds and whey. :whew!: Tastes good, and had a really good yield, so...yeah, it was worth it.
Today's batch is Leicester. Easy, cheddar-like cheese that only needs to age a couple of months (vs. Cheddar's 6 months).
The goats are doing well - Troi (my little doeling, AKA "li'l bit") has decided that she's a Big Girl, and is jumping up on the milk stand when she finishes her bottle. :lol: She also discovered that horses are sloppy eaters, and if she hangs around them she can clean up.
Only, I think we're headed for a fail, here. Today's batch is supposed to be Whole Milk Ricotta. I started it at 2...and it's STILL not up to temp (185*), it's STILL not separating into curds, and I'm not sure it's gonna work. :fingers crossed:
Cut the batch of Marrakesh - it's pretty. I LOVE this bar - a 3-color swirl, the scent is wonderful....it's just a pretty, good-smelling bar. I think I need to make another batch, just for us.....
The shaving soap is stuck in the mold. I use a 3" PVC pipe for this (and my shampoo bars), and normally there's no problem un-molding it. The screw-on lid has an air nozzle on it; you hook up the air compressor and USUALLY the bar slides right out. This time? Nothing. :confused: Guess I need to find some sort of follower that fits, so I can manually push it out.
Not much else going on...it's too hot to do much outside (except swim), the goats are all lounging around, and the rest of the animals would prefer to nap instead of move.
Oh - we made 2 more batches of ice cream: Cookies and Cream (with the Oreo choc/vanilla double stuffed. Can you say YUMMY?) and Banana Pudding (tastes EXACTLY like 'nanner pudding. :mmmmmmm: I'm supposed to be on a diet....this isn't helping. Need to hit the pool more often!
First up, news! Picard has boldly gone - to Houston (yes, they DO have a problem now! :lol:) The buyer was impressed with him, and he didn't give us any problems in catching, carrying, or stuffing him in the kennel. I wish his new family much joy and plenty of productive babies from him.
Yesterday was a "holiday", but I managed to make a batch of Marrakesh Bazaar. I needed to re-stock....I love that particular soap; the scent, the look - the whole she-bang. I also re-did my soaping notebook - I have a "better" way to keep track of batches now. We'll see how it works.....so far, I like it.
We're just a family living the good life in the country. With goats. (And horses, chickens, and dogs. But the goats outnumber everybody else!)
Cast of Characters:
SG: short for "Sweet Geek", the man of the family