Yogurt is a healthy food that can be made at home. One way to make it is to first buy some yogurt from a store or purchase dry yogurt culture. Add two small spoonfuls of the yogurt to two cups of milk. This will be the starter for your own yogurt. A cup in the United States is two hundred forty milliliters.
|A Tibetan woman tries some yogurt during a yogurt festival in Lhasa
When making yogurt, it is very important to have clean equipment, clean hands and good temperature control.
Pour eight cups of milk into a large cooking pot. Heat the milk to eighty-five degrees Celsius. Then cool the milk quickly to forty-three degrees. To do this, you can put the cooking pot in cool water.
Keep the yogurt at forty-three degrees and add one-half cup of the starter. The remaining starter can be kept for later use. If you want a thicker yogurt, you can also add one-third of a cup of dry milk.
Cover the pot and keep it at a temperature of forty to forty-five degrees Celsius for four to six hours. After that, your homemade yogurt is ready. It can be left at room temperature for up to twelve hours if you like a stronger taste.
You can add fruit, nuts, honey or spices.
Yogurt can be made with milk from cows or other animals including goats, sheep, water buffalo and camels. It can be spelled y-o-g-u-r-t or y-o-g-h-u-r-t. More information on making it can be found at Web sites such as practicalaction.org.
Now, from yogurt, we move on to another ancient and related food — cheese.
Parmigiano-Reggiano is the king of Italy’s cheeses. People worldwide use it on pasta and other foods. The traditional Italian cheese is produced on several hundred farms around the northern city of Parma.
Cheese makers age it for at least twelve months in large rounds called wheels.
Parmigiano-Reggiano producers say now they are struggling with the financial crisis. Sales of the cheese and a lower-priced version, Grana Padano, are down in Italy. Prices for producers have dropped. And low-priced copies are on the market.
Now comes a rescue plan for the industry. Italy’s government has made available enough money to buy two hundred thousand wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano. Charitable organizations then will give the cheese — more than sixty million dollars’ worth — to poor people.
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Here is a list of cheeses to try in the new year… I think this could be a new years resolution I can actually keep!
1. Monforte Dairy Company, Millbank
In the heart of Amish country, cheesemaker Ruth Klahsen, a veteran chef well-known to patrons of Rundles and the Old Prune in Stratford where she once cooked, makes more than 30 different cheeses including the “wow” one called Piacere (pleasure in Italian), a semi-soft sheep’s milk cheese covered with rosemary, savoury, chill pepper and juniper, that’s addictive.
2. Fifth Town Artisan Cheese, Picton
Fifth Town, which gets its name from its location, once known as “Fifth Town” or the fifth town to be settled in newly formed Upper Canada, makes about 15 cheeses including I Wish, an Idiazbal-style sheep’s-milk cheese (a Basque style smoked cheese), cave-aged for three to nine months, and Lemon Fetish, a soft sheep’s milk cheese that’s lightly aged and made with lemon zest.
3. Upper Canada Cheese Company, Jordan
The well-stocked factory shop naturally features Upper Canada’s two unique cheeses produced using the milk of a single local Niagara herd of Guernsey cows cared for by the Comfort Family (one of only a half dozen Guernsey herds in Canada), namely the Oka-style semi-soft Niagara Gold fashioned after recipes developed by the Trappist Monks, and Comfort Cream, their camembert-style soft, white bloomy rind cheese.
4. Thunder Oak Cheese, Thunder Bay
One of the most northerly of Ontario’s cheesemakers, Thunder Oak took the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix in 2002 for the best firm cheese for their handcrafted farmstead Gouda. The cheese company was founded by Jacob and Margaret Schep, who both came from cheese-making families in Holland.
5. Les Brebis sur le toit bleu, Oxford Mills
This small farm with a name evocative of Jean Cocteau and 1920′s Paris has been developing a special herd of dairy sheep, such as Lacaune, East Friesian and Rideau Arcott crosses, to produce Pyrenees-style Tomme, blue cheese and feta. www.sheepcheese.ca
– Margaret Swaine, a cheese- and wine-loving Toronto based writer, who makes it a point to search out both wherever she goes.
6. Black River Cheese, Milford
Historic Black River Cheese Company, located in bucolic Prince Edward County, was started in 1901 by local farmers and is still a co-operative producing tangy aged cheddar, flavoured mozzarella and even garlic curds. www.blackrivercheese.com
7. Best Baa Dairy, Fergus
As founding members of Ewenity Dairy Co-op, cheesemaker Elisabeth Bzikot and her husband Eric buy raw sheep milk from the small co-operative to make yogurt, ice cream and a fine collection of firm and soft sheep cheeses, such as Mouton Rouge, a 60-day-aged raw milk cheese and Ramembert, a creamy camembert style cheese. www.ewenity.com
8. Wilton Cheese, Odessa
Master cheesemaker Arne Jensen from Denmark founded Jensen Cheese in 1925, now Wilton’s Cheese Factory. Aged cheddars, such as Vintage Reserved that’s six years and older, is the delicious specialty. www.jensencheese.ca or www.wiltoncheese.com
9. Back Forty Artisan Cheese, Lanark
James Keith handmakes ewe milk cheese in a little fromagerie in Lanark Highlands and trucks it to the Carp Farmer’s market, the Byward Market and restaurants and shops in Ottawa, Perth and Kingston. Back Forty is known for its Highland Blue; Madawaska, with its tangy soft centre; and Dalhousie, a semi-firm brushed cheese. www.artisancheese.ca
10. Thornloe Cheese, Thornloe
A respected brand in Northern Ontario for more than 68 years, the cheese, ice cream and curds made at Thornloe use millions of litres of locally produced milk every year. Travellers love to stop at the cheese factory store on Highway 11 between New Liskeard and Armstrong. www.thornloecheese.ca
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At this year’s annual American Cheese Society competition, aficionados and producers were dazzled by a newcomer: Hidden Springs Creamery of Westby, Wis., won six awards, including two first-place honors.
Tasters may have been puzzled by how this cheesemaker emerged from nowhere. Just two years ago, Hidden Springs did not exist and its owner, Brenda Jensen, was working as a manager at a global packaging company.
Today, Ms. Jensen can be found milking sheep and hand-crafting two-pound wheels of cheese. After 25 years in the corporate world, Ms. Jensen, 47 years old, decided to quit her job and start a creamery. Her first-place Ocooch Mountain cheese, a European Bufont-style aged cheese, is gaining prestige in the artisanal cheese world. Her creamy sheep’s milk cheese, Driftless, which comes in flavors ranging from basil to lavender, has garnered a number of local and national awards, including three at the 2007 American Cheese Society competition, which is considered the U.S.’s premiere cheese festival.
“Brenda sends me this almost flawless cheese that is consistent and sharp,” says Lenny Rice, the buyer for Cowgirl Creamery, which carries Ocooch Mountain and Driftless cheese at its stores in California and Washington, D.C. “One of the reasons is she has put a lot of care into the milk.”
Ms. Jensen is among a growing number of dairy farmers who have left corporate jobs for the allure of the cheese world. According to the American Cheese Society, which represents artisanal and craft cheesemakers, the number of cheesemakers who have joined the organization has more than tripled in the past seven years, from 426 in 2001 to 1,346 in 2007. And cheesemaking has attracted producers from non-food backgrounds. Jeff Roberts, author of “The Atlas of American Cheese,” found that almost a third of artisanal cheesemakers in 2006 had come from other careers ranging from doctors to dotcommers.
“It’s a desire to do something outside of the corporate world, to do something with nature, to do something on your own,” says Mike Gingrich of Uplands Cheese Company, in Dodgeville, Wis. Mr. Gingrich spent several years as an executive at Xerox Corp. and on a venture capital team before settling into the dairy business nine years ago. His Pleasant Ridge Reserve cheese won two American Cheese Society “Best in Show” awards. “I have never been in a business like this where your customers are helpful, where your competitors are helpful. It’s not as cutthroat.”
Adds Laura Werlin, author of “Laura Werlin’s Cheese Essentials”: “The lifestyle appeals to people. I think we revere cheese makers in a way that we don’t other agricultural producers. It’s harder to stand out if you are a really good blueberry maker than if you are a really good cheesemaker.”
A demand for artisanal cheese has helped foster these new cheesemakers. The rising cost of transporting cheese from Europe, in addition to the weakened dollar, has driven up the price of imported cheese by as much as 30%, forcing many consumers to look to cheaper domestic products. In addition, Jeanne Carpenter, a spokeswoman at the Wisconsin Diary Business Innovation Center, points to a shift in American taste towards bolder and farmstead cheeses.
“We have gone from the 1970s when everybody wants to eat this commodity Kraft cheese to one where they want a cheese that is funky and has a story behind [it]. The artisanal cheesemaker provides this,” Ms. Carpenter said, noting that the number of farmstead cheesemakers in Wisconsin has increased from 10 to 44 in the past decade. “It’s really been consumer driven.”
To be sure, becoming a cheesemaker is no simple task. Average start-up costs are about $250,000, says Ms. Carpenter, and cheesemakers must take a series of classes to become certified. And once you’re knee-deep in cow manure, the lifestyle may not seem quite as romantic.
“You got to really love it,” says Ms. Rice of Cowgirl Creamery. “They might be wealthy coming into it, but they are not going to get wealthy making cheese. We have a seen a couple of instances of people who worked in the dotcom industry, sold out their stock and opened a dairy farm — and they were quickly humbled by the lifestyle. Those animals become your children. You’re up at 3 o’clock in the morning to tend to them.”
Ms. Jensen was the manufacturing manager at Milprint, a division of packaging giant Bemis Co. in Lancaster, Wis, before she decided to leave her $80,000-a-year job for the cheese world in 2006.
“I always knew that I would live in the country and have a barn,” says Ms. Jensen, who grew up on a “hobby farm” in Benoit, Wis., where she and her brothers helped tend to chickens, rabbits, horses and a milk cow. “But I didn’t know much beyond that. I never thought I would have sheep.”
For fun, she and her husband, Dean, a mental health physician, decided to buy about 50 milking sheep for their 76-acre farm four years ago. In November 2005 she attended a three-day cheese-making and started experimenting with cheese.
Today, Ms. Jensen’s retails Hidden Valley Creamery cheese for $20 to $40 a pound at specialty stores across the country. She made about 6,000 pounds of cheese in 2007 and expects to make a total of 12,000 pounds by year end. Ms. Jensen says she is $20,000 away from being profitable.
“It was the whole romance of it,” she says. “The smell of the milk, the feel of the cheese — I didn’t realize how intimate you could become with the cheese making process.”
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THE public is being asked to comment on whether authorities should allow cheese to be made from raw milk in Australia.
At present, only cheese made with pasteurised milk can be sold. The importation of a few raw milk cheeses, such as parmesan and Roquefort, is permitted.
Debate over raw milk cheese has raged for some years. Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has put out a discussion paper and is seeking comments (see www.foodstandards.gov.au).
The organisation is considering amendments to the Food Standards Code, which could increase the number and type of raw milk, or unpasteurised, products imported or made here.
A spokeswoman for FSANZ, Lydia Buchtmann, says the intent “is to make sure that these products are safe, while at the same time making the standards national and uniform … and getting rid of that inconsistency where you’re permitted to import raw milk cheeses but can’t necessarily make them locally”.
One of Australia’s strongest advocates for raw milk cheese, importer and host of pay TV’s Cheese Slices, Will Studd, has asked FSANZ to allow more of the products into the country and “bring Australian food standards into line with European food standards”.
“I want to be proud of Australian cheese internationally,” he says. “They [FSANZ] have been dragging their feet about this issue.
“There are anomalies in the current system – you’ve got exceptions for international cheese but the local producers are not allowed a choice.”
Lynne Tietzel, co-owner of cheese specialist Australia On A Plate, would also like the standards changed in favour of raw milk cheese. She says the response to the release of Roquefort in Australia was “incredible” and is aware of frustration experienced by locals of European background, who cannot buy cheeses here that they or their parents grew up with.
However, not everyone in the industry wants a change. David Brown, president of Australian Specialist Cheesemakers Association, says when Victorian members were surveyed about raw milk cheese in 2002, “only 6 per cent showed any enthusiasm … which means there was 94 per cent that either didn’t care or didn’t want it”.
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CHESHIRE cheese producers have revealed a marked rise in sales, in marked contrast to the current trend in consumer credit crunch shopping habits.
The volume of Cheshire Cheese sold has risen by 7 per cent and producers have also seen a 25 per cent increase in the value of sales from April 25 – July 18), which the producers are attributing to consumers increasingly opting to make packed lunches at home, rather than spend up to £5 a day on a shop bought sandwich or lunch.
British Cheese Board Secretary Nigel White comments: “As we analyse consumer behaviour it becomes clear that many people are opting to prepare their lunches at home as part of their credit crunch cost cutting. Historically Cheshire Cheese has been known as ‘the poor man’s meat’ and sales have traditionally spiked at times of economic hardship.
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BARAMBAH Organics is best known for its milk which serious foodies in Sydney and Melbourne hail as somewhat of a national treasure.
This is old-fashioned, non-homogenised stuff – with thick cream on the top – and is used to make Brisbane’s best cappuccinos and cafe lattes.
After branching out into butter and yoghurt production, Ian and Jane Campbell started making cheeses in 2005 and these are starting to pick up awards.
Judges at the recent Dairy Industry Association awards in Queensland selected Barambah Crow’s Ash Brie as the overall champion product.
What you get is a rich, creamy brie with a white mould exterior and a coating of vineyard ash.
As it ages the skin gets crunchy and the middle becomes oozy, golden and mushroomy.
The name comes from the crow’s ash trees that Ian Campbell planted on the family’s Spring Creek farm near Murgon.
His Fig Tree Paddock double brie is named after a Spring Creek pasture dominated by a big old Moreton Bay fig.
Nowadays, the Campbells’ main dairy herd grazes under river redgums at their Glenarbon property on the Dumaresq River between Texas and Yelarbon.
This isn’t traditional dairy country and a few of the old-school locals were a bit sceptical about how friesians would go in their neck of the woods.
The herd is now thriving on perennial lucerne, and certified organic grains and molasses. There is plenty of water from the river and bores and no cattle ticks. The river soils are responding well to organic farming and the earthworms are thriving.
Cheesemaker Timothy Gadischke – who trained at Kingaroy and Witches Chase at Mount Tamborine – also produces quark and fetta and a new labna, which is a yoghurt cheese popular in Lebanon and Israel.
Traditionally it is made in the home by wrapping the yoghurt in muslin and draining it over a pot.
Once the mixture solidifies it is rolled into walnut-sized balls. Gadischke adds sea salt and fennel seeds to his version. Jane Campbell uses the balls to stuff boned-out lamb roasts. Otherwise use them as a spread on crusty bread or instead of bocconcini in garden salads.
These products are made at Barambah’s Oxley plant and are widely available. For more information, go to www.barambahorganics.com.au.
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Lino Saputo Jr. runs Saputo Cheese, a $5-billion company that is the colossus of the Canadian cheese business – and a pretty big player in milk processing, as well. But at heart, the 42-year-old chief executive officer insists he is a humble ricotta-maker in the family network of 47 cheese and dairy plants in Canada, Argentina, the United States and Europe – a business founded and developed by his father, also named Lino. The Saputos, he says, are absolutely devoted to their model of family ownership, employee loyalty and a healthy skepticism of the value of an MBA.
How long have you been CEO?
Since 2004, but I’ve been in the business since I was 13 years old. I started on the plant floor, washing the floors, sweeping and mopping, and then I graduated to cheese making. I grew up in our manufacturing division.
Absolutely, and the best-quality cheese too. My first boss, a plant manager, showed me the ins and outs of the dairy industry. He said ‘Lino, the easiest thing in the world is to make cheese. Now, to make good-quality cheese, that’s more difficult.’ There are a lot of good cheese makers out there, but specialized cheese makers are fewer and fewer.
Do you have a favourites cheese, a Camembert or Epoisse?
My taste profiles are not that fancy. I grew up on the Italian specialty cheeses, so I love ricotta and you eat that typically in the morning. One of my cheese plant stints was in the ricotta department and I remember at lunch there was a bakery right across the street. I used to buy a little loaf of bread for about 10 cents. I would open it up and take the hot ricotta and spread it on the bread and that would be my lunch.
Did you always know you would work in the business?
I knew I would be in the business, because I had a passion for the dairy industry. I have milk in my blood. I never expected to be CEO. It just evolved that way. But I knew in some capacity, as a labourer, supervisor or plant manager, I would be in the company.
Do you have siblings?
An older brother and a younger sister, and they are not in the business. My brother is actually the president of the Montreal Impact soccer team, which he founded back in 2003. He has other investments. My sister is a mother of three and she has a fashion boutique for women’s clothes and a party planning business.
Except for your brief stint in a family-owned forestry firm, why didn’t you get experience outside the firm?
Even if my father had sent me somewhere else, I wouldn’t have gone. I follow the same model with my kids – you need to understand the business from the grassroots. You need to rub shoulders with the folks who are busting their behinds to make an honest day’s pay.
A lot of people will say you are CEO only because your father owns the business.
It is common reaction, but I would say that over the time I’ve been in the company I think I’ve proven what I have to prove to the people I need to prove it to. So I don’t lose sleep at night over that.
What does your father do now?
He’s still chairman. He no longer gets involved in day-to-day responsibilities and, of course, we do discuss all strategic decisions. He came to the realization in 2004 that he was ready to step back. When you’re a private entity, you really don’t have to answer to anybody at any time. It’s a different grind when you are a public company, as we have been after 1997. In the past, you had employees whom you wanted to keep happy, but now you have shareholders, analysts and journalists too. He was ready to let go.
Do you have a business education?
I have a political science degree, but the reality is we don’t give a whole lot of importance to academic education. What we look for is people who are passionate, have good common sense and believe in the culture of the company. It is not uncommon to find people who don’t have a high-school education and are vice-presidents of operations with three or four plants reporting to them.
Don’t you want professional managers out of business schools?
There is a place for that. There are certain cultures where professionals will fit better than, say, entrepreneurs or people who just work on passion and dedication. But within our culture, this is the only way we can continue to build on what we are.
Would you hire an MBA?
I wouldn’t be opposed to it, but I wouldn’t reject someone because they don’t have an MBA. We do have MBAs in our organization but of the top management – including executive VPs, presidents of divisions – I don’t think any one of us has an MBA. It is a culture that we have. We are a $5-billion company that still operates as a family enterprise and that’s the way we want to keep it.
What are you doing in the bakery business, which is reeling from the high cost of raw materials?
We got into the snack-cake business in 1999 because it was a great opportunity at the time. It was really opportunistic but our primary focus is dairy. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I think about is dairy.
So you shouldn’t have been in the bakery business?
I’m not sure I’d say that. But will we be in bakery long-term? I’m not sure. If I had to choose from two potential acquisitions, one in bakery and the other in dairy, our reflex would be to go dairy first. That’s our heritage.
How did your family get in the cheese and dairy business?
My grandfather was a trained cheese maker. He had his own cheese business in Sicily and when he immigrated into Canada, he got any work he could get into. Like most immigrants, it was sort of pick-and-shovel work. It was really my father’s dream to have his father own his own dairy business – to get back to his roots. So my father initiated this push towards dairy. My grandfather was a trained cheese maker, while my dad was the salesman trying to sell his father’s cheese.
Is your company looking to making acquisitions?
Yes, and the reason is that there is a global consolidation push in the dairy industry – that is, if you exclude Canada, which is pretty concentrated right now. We are the dominant player here in cheese and fluid milk although there are small strategic opportunities to acquire things here. But in the U.S., the industry is still very fragmented and there are still opportunities to grow our business there.
We’ve already got 32 to 35 per cent of the cheese market in Canada, and we cover the country. We have about 20 per cent of the fluid milk market. We are a dominant player out West and in the Maritimes, but not in Quebec and Ontario.
You said you’ve been an ‘introverted’ business. Why?
Our primary focus, back to the days of my father and grandfather, has been to keep our house in order, and produce the best cheese at the most competitive price. That focus has allowed us to keep our nose on the grindstone. That platform has allowed us to make acquisitions. We say, as long as we take care of our own home, the opportunities will come.
Is that going to change now?
Not entirely, no. But we understand as a public company we need to have certain disclosure. Shareholders would like to know more about our business, and we have to be aware of that.
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Cheese is becoming a “hot” commodity reading stories like the one below…all the illigal cheese makers out there…be on guard!!
CORONA, Calif. Three people were arrested and 31 pounds of illegally processed cheese and 13 head of undocumented cattle were seized on Sunday in the Eastvale area north of Corona, a sheriff’s sergeant said.
Sheriff’s deputies raided a property in the 14800 block of Chandler Street from 7 a.m. to noon, said sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Brown.
The investigation led to another address in Home Gardens, between Corona and Riverside, where deputies seized an additional 124 pounds of cheese, Brown said.
Efigenia Desalez, 44, of Home Gardens; Antonio Desalez Guzman, 59, of
Home Gardens; and Reyes Hernandez Herrera, 39, of Eastvale, were arrested on suspicion of illegally manufacturing dairy products, unlicensed sales of dairy products, unsanitary and impure dairy products, and conspiracy.
Arturo Cisneros, 35, of Eastvale, was arrested on suspicion of methamphetamine possession and being under the influence of narcotics, Brown said.
The raid was part of ongoing effort to crack down on illegal food producers and vendors in Riverside County, Brown said. Some cheese samples seized recently in Riverside County have tested positive for salmonella, he
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Managers at a school for dairy farmers say a chart-topping monks’ chant has turned their cheese into a prize winner.
The ‘Chant – Music of Paradise’ album – which reached the top 10 in Britain – is played over and over again to two and a half tonnes cheese as it matures in cellars at the school in Graz-Altgrottenhof, Austria.
“Cheese matures with the help of micro-organisms which I am sure also feel vibes. The music is very simple and I think that is what helps,” said head teacher Erich Kerngast.
Since serenading their product with the monks’ chants, the school has won a string of prizes for its Grottenhofer Auslese cheese.
“We put in a Dolby Surround hi-fi system worth £1,600 and have been playing the Gregorian chant in there over and over again,” said Mr Kerngast.
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I am a lover of cheese, maker of cheese and passionate about all things cheesy.
Please come back soon as I will be developing a great site, full of great info and entertaining tid-bits. See you soon!
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