this morning, the sky woke up the cackling growl in her throat. a booming, cackling growl. this early morning thunderstorm, so rich and complex, demanded me to wake up while the patter of rain lulled me back to sleep. after a week of springtime sunshine, the rain came down to open, happy arms. the thunder did, too.

yesterday was a great day. a friday, sunshiney, 80 degrees, and i got to do my favorite things: keep bees and poke in the kitchen. stacey and made five splits in the earthworks apiaries. the hives, bursting with bustling, busy, boisterous girls, were all calm and gentle. this, like the rain this morning, came very welcome by beekeepers malasky and meyer.

they're wearing their leg warmers!

crazy busy!

oh so busy!

this time, i was suited up for my apiary photographic adventures. no more facial bee stings for this lady…

after such a lovely day of tending those nectar-loving, pollen-packing, crazy busy bees, i decided it was time to confront the MASSIVE glass container of goat’s milk that has been hanging out in our fridge since monday. by massive, i mean quite a lot of goat’s milk. as in 75 oz (or 4 lbs, 11 oz). with this much milk on hand, it was time to attempt the elusive fresh cheese-making.

and friends, it was an udder success (hahaha).

forewarning: i had no idea what i was doing. and, actually, what i made is pretty much amazing. light, moist, well-rounded flavor. i made two batches: one with lemon as my acid and one with apple cider vinegar as my acid. the acid works to separate the curd from the whey, as i understand it. the lemony one is a tad sweeter than the apple cider, which is great to know for future cheese making endeavors: for the sweet dishes, go lemon! for savory, apple cider! i am excited to try other acids (balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, and the like) to see how their flavors work out.

fresh farmers cheese

lemon juice/apple cider vinegar/yogurt (i used a combination of lemon juice/yogurt for batch one and apple cider vinegar/yogurt for the second)

1. pour milk into a big pot on the stove (i used about half of the 75 ounces for batch one). heat the milk on medium-high heat until it boils, stirring frequently. add acid (about 2 tablespoons per 1/2 gallon, i think, is the ratio. i just poured in acids until the milk started to curdle, where the curd separates from the whey). look for separation of curd from whey. if it doesn’t separate, add more acid. stir for 2-3 minutes, then let sit for about 10 minutes, to let the whey and curd separate more.

2. pour the liquid through a cheese cloth, with a bowl underneath if you want to save the whey (otherwise, you can do this over the sink). i saved the whey (will let you know what i do with it!).

3. wrap up the curd snugly in cheesecloth and press it, setting it on a cutting board angled into a sink with a weight on top (see below). this squeezes more of the whey out.

4. after 20 minutes to however long you want to experiment this pressing, unwrap the curd and you’ve got farmers cheese! DELISH!