casein point

Cheese maker, cheesemonger, cheese teacher and cheese talker at Fairview Wine and Cheese, Paarl, South Africa

Kefir lactic cheese.

So it has been nearly two weeks since the kefir cheese was made. If you see my last post you’ll understand the making of the cheese and how I got the white mould to grow. To mature the cheese I put it on a metal steaming tray (the curvy type with holes in that changes shape to fit inside a saucepan) and put that inside a bowl (I actually used an early twentieth century chamber pot, clean of course, as that’s what fitted best in the fridge and it just so happened to be the only vessel available). Due to the nature of the steamer, there is a gap between it and the pot underneath. In this gap I kept some of the ‘mould water’ so that there were more spores knocking around to inoculate the cheese. I put the cheese, still in its form with holes in into the fridge on a plate to catch the draining whey. The next day my wife Jessy, as I was at work, kindly turned the cheese out of the form, which I had made out of a light round plastic deli tub and a drill to make the little holes onto the base of the steamer. All my cheese forms are in the UK and moving to Cape Town means I’ve got to start from scratch for home cheesy experiments. Jessy said that it was like trying to turn compact cottage cheese out but it had drained enough to keep its shape and not sag.

Well, 12 days later and quite a few turns of the cheese to help drainage and all sorts has happened. It has turned from a fresh cottage cheese to a mould ripened, almost Saint-Felicien style cheese. Unfortunately the fridge door was accidentally kept ajar on day 12 so the cheese was much warmer than I wanted it overnight and had ripened extremely fast. I had been hoping for a 18-20 day ripening period and I slightly thicker white mould growth but as the cheese was looking pretty ripe and the mould/yeast coat was starting to get slip-rind… and I was hungry and curiosity got the better of me, I decided to cut it open and try it.
On first inspection the most noticeable thing was the natural geotrichum brain like rind that had decided to get busy and grow all over the cheese. Kefir has so many natural yeasts such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae (the main yeast used for brewing and baking ), Saccharomyces kefir which must be its own particular strain, Kluyveromyces marxianus and Pichia fermentens. These all help towards kefir’s beneficial properties. Anyway basically there’s tonnes of yeast all over it which helped to de-acidify the cheese’s surface so that white mould could start to grow.

In hindsight I would have taken the foil off earlier as, quite clearly, the cheese wasn’t lacking in humidity. Also as it was very high moisture to begin with it probably could have done with another day’s draining without the foil on top. I didn’t do this because my fridge is full of all sorts of other food stuffs as I don’t have my own curing fridge here in Cape Town (yet!) and I didn’t want any other flavours, smells or microbes infecting the cheese.
As it’s a very high moisture cheese, the texture in the middle remained pretty fudgy due to this high moisture. Nothing that bad about that. The little rubbery grains of kefir had all but disintegrated into the curd ‘paste’. In between the gentle fluffy rind and the fudgy interior were pools of oozing gooey richness just waiting to pour out when cut open and released. The taste was somewhere between a souped up but still well rounded, slightly less acidic cottage cheese (in the middle) and a very ripe St.Felicien/St.Marcelin on the outside. Not bad for a first proper go at kefir cheese

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Kefir cheese

Using natural kefir milk grains (little rubbery colonies of yeasts and bacteria), I fermented 1 1/2L whole milk in a warm (about 19°C) cupboard for ten hours, then transferred the slightly lumpy mixture to the fridge where it stayed for a further 18 hours. If I was just making a kefir drink I would have taken the grains out after 8 hours but I wanted it to activate more than normal to split the curds and whey. By this time the curdled mass had coagulated sufficiently to seive the curd and extract the whey. Not having any white mould to hand, I stole some from a nearby Camembert by stripping off the rind and dunking the thin pieces in water. 2 hours later I used the murky solution to wash through my curd and then transferred it into a small form with holes in to drain. I turned the cheese twice and six days later, a lovely bloomy kefir cheese is starting to emerge. Due to the incredibly high levels of wonderful bacteria in kefir, I’m looking forward to sinking my teeth into this, although I left quite a few rubbery nuggets of kefir in the curd which may cause the cheese to be a little sour. I may leave it for a week or two more so that the Penicillium Camemberti gets a chance to hook its teeth in and raise the pH. I may just scoff it tomorrow

Kefir cheese

Using natural kefir milk grains (little rubbery colonies of yeasts and bacteria), I fermented 1 1/2L whole milk in a warm (about 19°C) cupboard for ten hours, then transferred the slightly lumpy mixture to the fridge where it stayed for a further 18 hours. If I was just making a kefir drink I would have taken the grains out after 8 hours but I wanted it to activate more than normal to split the curds and whey. By this time the curdled mass had coagulated sufficiently to seive the curd and extract the whey. Not having any white mould to hand, I stole some from a nearby Camembert by stripping off the rind and dunking the thin pieces in water. 2 hours later I used the murky solution to wash through my curd and then transferred it into a small form with holes in to drain. I turned the cheese twice and six days later, a lovely bloomy kefir cheese is starting to emerge. Due to the incredibly high levels of wonderful bacteria in kefir, I’m looking forward to sinking my teeth into this, although I left quite a few rubbery nuggets of kefir in the curd which may cause the cheese to be a little sour. I may leave it for a week or two more so that the Penicillium Camemberti gets a chance to hook its teeth in and raise the pH. I may just scoff it tomorrow

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Why does eating cheese make us feel happy and wanting more?

This picture should go some way into explaining why we feel so happy eating cheese and we always go back for another chunk. Its name is beta-casomorphin 7 found in cow’s milk (the seven coming from the number of amino acids). It’s not only the delicious flavours that come from well-aged, fermented curd that cause us to beam when we chew on cheese or babies drink breast milk. There is now scientific understanding behind the smiles and infatuation.

These microscopic tribes of happiness are known as casomorphins. The name comes from the word casein, a protein found commonly in bovine milk (and in all other species’ milk) and morphine, the opioid best known for its pain relieving qualities, euphoria enducing experiences and its ability to dramatically reduce fear and anxiety. It is also highly addictive - heroin is very ‘moreish’. 

It has been found in greater quantities in mouldy cheeses such as Brie and Chaource so if you’re feeling a bit down in the dumps, crack open the Camembert. 

In hospitals the morphine used comes from poppies but cows don’t go around eating poppies most of the time. It appears that cows, via their livers, produce a number of opiates including codeine and morphine which find their way into the milk. Once the casein protein is split along its long chain of amino acids (this happens via the bacterial breakdown within our gut during digestion when we drink a glass of milk or eat a hunk of cheese) a variation of short-chain amino acids known as casomorphins are produced.

If anybody has ever had the pleasure of watching a tetchy, riled baby suddenly find themselves soothed, sedated and transported into a very different, peaceful lala land from a helping of mother’s milk, here’s one reason. The physical bond between mother and child is enormously important, not just for keeping the baby alive, but also for the psychological well-being of both parent and child. 

There have been different opinions on just how much these casomorphins get into our adult system but cheese is by far and away the food with the greatest quantity of casein in and research has shown that the bloodstream receives these tiny morsels of casein about 30-45 minutes after ingestion. A baby’s digestive tract is much thinner than our adult system and therefore allows the transferral of these happy chappies quite willingly into the bloodstream. Most of the opioids stay in our adult gut and indirectly send messages from there to the brain. Some though, do make their way into the bloodstream. If you eat a decent sized lump of cheese, which to most people is not that difficult as it tastes so delicious, we find ourselves with more than enough casomorphins in our system to signal to our brain that this is something we want more of, again and again.

There are other compounds that have a drug-like effect found within cheese. One of them is phenylethylamine, or PEA, unique neurotransmitters related to amphetamines also released by chocolate and sausages! - Two other food stuffs we can’t get enough of.

Basically keep on eating cheese, sausages and chocolate and your life will be filled with joy and happiness. I certainly plan on feeding my baby solely with all three. Stuff pureed butternut squash ;)

Why does eating cheese make us feel happy and wanting more?

This picture should go some way into explaining why we feel so happy eating cheese and we always go back for another chunk. Its name is beta-casomorphin 7 found in cow’s milk (the seven coming from the number of amino acids). It’s not only the delicious flavours that come from well-aged, fermented curd that cause us to beam when we chew on cheese or babies drink breast milk. There is now scientific understanding behind the smiles and infatuation.

These microscopic tribes of happiness are known as casomorphins. The name comes from the word casein, a protein found commonly in bovine milk (and in all other species’ milk) and morphine, the opioid best known for its pain relieving qualities, euphoria enducing experiences and its ability to dramatically reduce fear and anxiety. It is also highly addictive - heroin is very ‘moreish’.

It has been found in greater quantities in mouldy cheeses such as Brie and Chaource so if you’re feeling a bit down in the dumps, crack open the Camembert.

In hospitals the morphine used comes from poppies but cows don’t go around eating poppies most of the time. It appears that cows, via their livers, produce a number of opiates including codeine and morphine which find their way into the milk. Once the casein protein is split along its long chain of amino acids (this happens via the bacterial breakdown within our gut during digestion when we drink a glass of milk or eat a hunk of cheese) a variation of short-chain amino acids known as casomorphins are produced.

If anybody has ever had the pleasure of watching a tetchy, riled baby suddenly find themselves soothed, sedated and transported into a very different, peaceful lala land from a helping of mother’s milk, here’s one reason. The physical bond between mother and child is enormously important, not just for keeping the baby alive, but also for the psychological well-being of both parent and child.

There have been different opinions on just how much these casomorphins get into our adult system but cheese is by far and away the food with the greatest quantity of casein in and research has shown that the bloodstream receives these tiny morsels of casein about 30-45 minutes after ingestion. A baby’s digestive tract is much thinner than our adult system and therefore allows the transferral of these happy chappies quite willingly into the bloodstream. Most of the opioids stay in our adult gut and indirectly send messages from there to the brain. Some though, do make their way into the bloodstream. If you eat a decent sized lump of cheese, which to most people is not that difficult as it tastes so delicious, we find ourselves with more than enough casomorphins in our system to signal to our brain that this is something we want more of, again and again.

There are other compounds that have a drug-like effect found within cheese. One of them is phenylethylamine, or PEA, unique neurotransmitters related to amphetamines also released by chocolate and sausages! - Two other food stuffs we can’t get enough of.

Basically keep on eating cheese, sausages and chocolate and your life will be filled with joy and happiness. I certainly plan on feeding my baby solely with all three. Stuff pureed butternut squash ;)

Comments
My son likes cheese. This is great news. He also seems to understand that there’s a time and a place for young, modestly flavoured cheddar, although I have no idea whether he likes the older, fruitier stuff as this is his first foray into the fascinating world of cheese and by the look on his face, it won’t be his last.

Pick and Pay Cheddar Plain - R77/kg (£4.23/kg, $7.02/kg)

Alby’s face during the taste test expressed emotions that only a smooth, buttery cheese could produce. He squished the curd in his hand (like a true cheese connoisseur should when taste testing cheese) for a couple of minutes to check for texture and oil levels. Exceptionally high malleability and oil levels experienced. The slightly damp plastic rind accentuated the sweet odour of the young, orange cheese. Once the curd made its way from hand to mouth, his initial grimace said ‘this is too saccharine and honeyed’ and his lack of willingness to swallow said low-end, bog standard curd fodder. The general spread across his body said high playability level.

My son likes cheese. This is great news. He also seems to understand that there’s a time and a place for young, modestly flavoured cheddar, although I have no idea whether he likes the older, fruitier stuff as this is his first foray into the fascinating world of cheese and by the look on his face, it won’t be his last.

Pick and Pay Cheddar Plain - R77/kg (£4.23/kg, $7.02/kg)

Alby’s face during the taste test expressed emotions that only a smooth, buttery cheese could produce. He squished the curd in his hand (like a true cheese connoisseur should when taste testing cheese) for a couple of minutes to check for texture and oil levels. Exceptionally high malleability and oil levels experienced. The slightly damp plastic rind accentuated the sweet odour of the young, orange cheese. Once the curd made its way from hand to mouth, his initial grimace said ‘this is too saccharine and honeyed’ and his lack of willingness to swallow said low-end, bog standard curd fodder. The general spread across his body said high playability level.

Comments

It’s been a long time since my last post, what with moving countries and starting a new cheesy job, but coming soon will be information about my cheese related tour of India (yes you heard that right). You may be surprised to hear that I found more than just a few fantastic cheese makers. From the southern hills of Tamil Nadu to the foothills of the mighty Himalayas, India has a wealth of marvellous cheese and I’m going to tell you all about it. Sadly when I was in Bangladesh I had my phone stolen, which held more than a small amount of info about my travels including painstakingly organised interviews with the makers themselves but I shall endure to paint a picture of what I found and spread the good word of what’s happening over there. See you soon

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murrayscheese:

It’s not to late to enter this weeks photo contest. Snap a picture of your favorite cheese, tag it @murrayscheese and #cheeseme. You could win a big old bag full of funk!

Cheese photo people get snapping

murrayscheese:

It’s not to late to enter this weeks photo contest. Snap a picture of your favorite cheese, tag it @murrayscheese and #cheeseme. You could win a big old bag full of funk!

Cheese photo people get snapping

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JOWETT CHEESE LTD.: Chapter one "Build A Dairy", almost completed. Chapter two "Cheesemaking" is beginning

jowettcheese:

Today was an incredibly monumental day for the JC project: it was the first time I’ve brought milk into the dairy… And bringing milk into the dairy means cheese is being made!

I did the milk run to Gorsehill Abbey at sunrise, arrived back at the dairy in record time and without a drop of milk…

(via jowettcheese-deactivated2014091)

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Turkish artisan cheese shop in the eastern town of Edirne near the Bulgarian-Greek-Turkish border, which prides itself as the home of Turkey’s ”White cheese”.

Turkish artisan cheese shop in the eastern town of Edirne near the Bulgarian-Greek-Turkish border, which prides itself as the home of Turkey’s ”White cheese”.

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INDIA

soon to be blogging Turkish and Indian cheeses

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As well as making burrata today (see below), we also created some lovely mozzarella. Thank you Italy

As well as making burrata today (see below), we also created some lovely mozzarella. Thank you Italy

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Burrata. Mozzarella for adults. Imitating leather medieval pouches of gold, these wonderful cheeses not only taste incredible but are also incredibly fun to make. Inside the mozzarella ball lies a pool of fresh cream and strips of stretched mozzarella. Once made, they are tied up, put in bags and either kept in ice cold water or eaten immediately with fresh tomato and basil. Traditionally they are tied up with the leaves of the asphodelus plant. 

I can’t wait to get hold of some buffalo milk at my local farmers’ market in Stoke Newington and make some more. In my days as a cheesemonger, on the day that the Italian delivery arrived we had customers waiting impatiently to get hold of burrata as it has a limited shelf life and we could only buy in a certain amount. 

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Stomachs. Loads of em. Our booty from the Ludlow/Jongia Dairy symposium earlier this week. Never before have I been so excited about having a bag full of dried stomachs (abomasums) to take home. Actually never before have I had a bag full of stomachs. Now what to do with them?…..make cheese?

Stomachs. Loads of em. Our booty from the Ludlow/Jongia Dairy symposium earlier this week. Never before have I been so excited about having a bag full of dried stomachs (abomasums) to take home. Actually never before have I had a bag full of stomachs. Now what to do with them?…..make cheese?

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