The Art of Natural Cheese Making

by Wendy

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All Good cheese is wild and free.

~David Asher

Re-learning how to make cheese in my homestead kitchen has been an amazingly delicious adventure.  I love the above quote by David Asher from the beginning of his book, The Art of Natural Cheese Making, and even more so, I love that he wrote this book.  The Art of Natural Cheese Making is a restoration of knowledge and empowerment that brings a nearly lost art back into easy grasp for everyone.  As it says on the cover of the book, he uses traditional, non-industrial methods and raw ingredients to make the world’s best cheeses, and after trying just a few methods, I am quite sure he is right.

Amen.  Naturally made artisan cheese is divine.

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We have been making a beautiful keifer cheese, that is naturally fermented with keifer grains, then hung to drain the whey, lightly salted and hung again to dreamy perfection.  I make this cheese every other day.  The amazing thing is how easy it is to make, and tastes like heaven.

It is a creamy delight, it’s texture dependent upon how long you hang it, so it is completely up to your discretion where and when you want your cheese to be ready.  It has a mild tang, almost effervescent, thanks to the keifer cultures, and melts on your tongue in eye-rolling moments of bliss.

Yes, it is that good.

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The beauty of keifer cheese lies in it’s simplicity.  I am learning from David that making cheese is an art, not something that should be done in a laboratory, which is how my previous Cheesemaking processes felt.  Most modern Cheesemaking, even in the home, is based much more upon exact temperatures, measurements, laboratory engineered cultures, and precise control.  There is no freedom in the process, and no joy.  Only perhaps in the end when you have coagulated some milk into something that resembles a cheese from the grocery store.

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Every part of the traditional Cheesemaking process brings me joy.  I have made intimate friendships and partnerships in my homestead kitchen with the good bacteria in raw milk.  These are the kind of friends that you want to sit down and linger long over a good glass of wine with, you want to hang out with, you want to stay and be present with.  These good guys are more than good, they are amazing.  With minimal effort and perhaps even some beneficial magic, they transform beautifully unassuming raw milk into a whole other universe.  The world of dynamic, cultured cheese, that loves you more than you love it, from the inside out, of course.

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Keifer cheese contains no rennet, only pure and simple keifer cultures, as well as the naturally present cultures within your raw milk, making it vegetarian, as well as an out of this world addition to your daily repertoire of deeply nurturing food for body and soul.