2-day Natural Cheesemaking Workshop
Learn how to make cheese naturally, with milk's indigenous microbes, and without added starter cultures, packaged fungal spores and synthetic rennets.
» Find Out More & Register
A new season and new ideas
Dave and I have spent eight weeks travelling to Vancouver, England and San Francisco. We visited farmers, home cheesemakers, commercial cheesemakers, cheesemongers, writers and publishers and generally anyone interested in food.
What a fantastic trip made even more special by the personalities we met. A great thank you to Chera Gunter-Renouf who organised the Campbell River BC part of the trip. My new friends in the area are part of my cheesemaking family now.
Every time I go away I come home so full of ideas. Not just for new recipes but also enthusiasm for new ventures. It also brings home to me how very lucky our home cheesemakers are in New Zealand to have access to so much milk.
When you see what our overseas counterparts are producing with sterilised milk it just makes you so proud of their persistence and innovation and brings home to us how lucky we are .
I have been part of the Facebook group 'Learn to Make Cheese' for a while now. Chera who founded the group is visiting me in NZ for all of October 2016. Anyone wanting to meet her or make cheese with her should contact me and I will organise a 'meet Chera day.'
The cows are producing milk again and I have begun begin classes again for the 2016-17 milking season. My usual venues in Auckland, my Waihi farm and house in Whitianga will be available as well as other areas by request. I'll also be available to give demonstrations and give talks to groups. Let me know if you are interested.
I'll be adding a few new cheeses to the classes. Quark, belper knolle, and flavoured cheeses.
One of the super new recipes I learned compliments of Janice Ammundsen on Quadra Island BC was how to use whey in a fantastic fermented lemon drink.
Whey as a byproduct of yoghurt or cheesemaking has many uses but this recipe is the most delicious I have encountered.
Whey lemon drink:
- 6 cups water
- 1 cup honey
- 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup whey
- Warm water to 30 degrees Celsius. Add honey and stir until melted
- Add the lemon juice and whisk until all combined
- Strain into 3 glass bottles and seal down the kids
- Keep on bench for 4 to seven days
- It will be fizzy by this time. Refrigerate
- Serve over ice cubes with a mint leaf
A refreshing probiotic drink that can be watered down for children.
A hard season. A new book...
Another hard year for dairy farmers. The summer was long, hot and dry. Not ideal grass growing weather and the milk in the vat has suffered. Milk prices are low and morale even lower. Thankfully I have enjoyed making cheese with many enthusiastic home cheesemakers.
My new hardback cheesemaking book 'How to Make 50 Cheeses' will be out in October 2015. It covers everything the beginner will need to know as well as some more advanced recipes for the adventurous cheesemakers out there. Grab a copy for Christmas.
2015 Cheese Awards
This was the first year yoghurt and butter have been entered to the NZ cheese Awards. I was the aesthetic judge for yoghurt and a wonderful selection was available. The standard was high, particularly the buffalo yoghurt. If you haven't tried buffalo yoghurt you are really missing a gourmet treat. I also judged the craft section of the awards. More than forty entries in this category show how popular home cheesemaking has become in New Zealand.
I encourage you to enter in March 2016. Go to the NZ Specialist Cheesemakers Association website for entry details.
End of milking season news 2013-2014
Hello Happy Cheese Makers!
Thank you for all the lovely emails, photos and company you have given me over this 2013 to 2014 milking season.
As a farmer and cheese maker I measure the year according to when the cows are in milk. The very dry conditions have made it a hard milking year. The cheese making however has been great. My cheese store (a wine fridge) is full of great cheeses.
I'm going to visit cheese makers in Europe in June this year and hope to have some wonderful new recipes and ideas to bring back.
New Teaching Kitchen
I have had a new kitchen installed in my Otahuhu house and now have 2 teaching kitchens for cheese making classes - one on the farm in Waihi and one in South Auckland.
New dates are listed for later in the year at both venues (see our bookings page). I will still travel to other parts of the country too though.
2014 New Zealand Cheese Awards
The 2014 New Zealand Cheese awards were a great success with many new entries and a huge increase in sheep milk cheeses. The craft cheese maker section, which I judged, showed just how much home cheese making has improved in New Zealand over the last five years. Many medals were awarded in the craft cheese maker category and I encourage anyone making cheese at home to enter their cheeses. Go to the New Zealand Cheesemakers Association web page for details of entry. Plan now for March 2015.
More Cheesemaking and Preserves
I have been really happy with the feedback from my first book and DVD on cheesemaking. It's great to be able to introduce people to a new skill that they can do for themselves and then enjoy with family and friends.
In case it's been some time since you did a cheesemaking course with me and you haven't visited the website for a while, I have a couple of newer books on both cheesemaking and preserves.
Sheep and Buffalo Milk...
Although I predominately use jersey cow milk, I am experimenting with sheep and buffalo milk this year and hope to have some spectacular cheese recipes for you. I have also developed some great soft cheese recipes using supermarket milk for those who don’t have access to raw milk.
Don’t forget to send me photos and information about your cheese. I will try to answer any queries that you have also.
Make Cheese Volume 2!
The new book is out - Make Cheese & Other Dairy Products Volume 2!
This is our second essential guide to making cheese. It's jam-packed with step-by-step recipes.
»Find out more
HomeMade Cheese. What could be better?
For all you aspiring cheese makers, I have Make Cheese Book Volume 2 coming on to the market Late October. Lifestyle Block’s Make cheese 1 was such a success that I have expanded the variety and number of cheese recipes and instructions. Thank you for the lovely feedback from book 1 and I hope I have answered all your questions too.
Cheese workshops coming up:
Waihi farm day Saturday 2 November 8.30am to 3.30pm, making Feta, Parmesan and Ricotta.
Kerikeri (at Flourflower cookery school) November 16th and 17th. Contact me or Flourflower for a place. My classes are ‘hands on’ and you take home the cheese that you make. We have a lovely lunch and cheese tasting (4 places remaining).
See me at the Whangarei Show on Saturday December 7th and Sunday December 8th. I will be demonstrating feta and ricotta and other cheeses too. Demonstrations at 10am, 12noon, 2pm.
Waihi farm day Saturday January 25th 8.30am to 3.30pm. Making Farmhouse blue, Mozzarella and Ricotta. See where the cows graze and are milked and make cheese with me in my farmhouse kitchen.
Exciting news for Auckland
Auckland classes will restart February / March 2014. New venue, new cheeses. Watch this space.
Customised cheesemaking classes
I will come to you if you have a group of 8 or more people who want a cheese making day especially tailored for you. Anywhere in the North Island. Contact me on 027 499 5960. Team building days a specialty.
Five years of writing and another book on the way
I am in my fifth year of writing for Lifestyle Block Magazine focusing on farmhouse kitchen and cheesemaking recipes. My second cheese book will be published in the next few months with 25 plus new recipes including swiss style Emmental , Gruyere, chestnut wrapped banon and triple crème brie.
My first cheese book 'How to Make Cheese & Other Dairy Products' (published in 2012) has been a great success and is in its second printing. This was followed by ‘A fresh take on Preserves’ covering many pantry and preserving favourites of pickles, jams, sausagemaking and cheesemaking.
Thank you for the wonderful emails and photos from enthusiastic home cheesemakers who have been to one of my hands on classes or read some of my articles or books. I really appreciate the feedback.
Please keep an eye on our workshop calendar for upcoming dates and venues. Come and visit me at the farm in Waihi or one of my other venues and see what can be accomplished making cheese in your own kitchen.