Blog_Recipe Writing Fun, Part 2_03.05.2015_Stacie_1

Do you ever wonder how your favorite recipes are created? Or how we figure out the best methods of cheese making, so that when you make it at home, your recipe will (most of the time) turn out beautifully?

Well, wonders will cease today, my friends, because we are launching a new blog series, giving you a behind the scenes peek at the writing, testing, and more testing that we do before publishing a cheese recipe. I’m sure our other recipe writers work a little differently, but this is how I do it, fueled by dandelion root tea from my favorite mug.

First, I clean my kitchen and equipment thoroughly, using a combination of 20 ounces of white vinegar, 8 ounces water, and several drops of lavender essential oil. We recognize that most of you aren’t making cheese in a commercial kitchen, and we want to be sure that our recipes work for YOU, so we don’t test recipes in a commercial kitchen either. But we still want everything sparkly clean.

Blog_Recipe Writing Fun, Part I_02.26.2015_Stacie_1

Next, I research. What you can’t see here (because I’m using it to take the picture) is that I also have my iPad in the kitchen, and about twelve cheese websites open, mostly university extension services. I like to learn as much as I possibly can about the cheeses I’m working on: where they come from, how they’re traditionally made and served, and what the experts say. I want to get to know the cheese. Sometimes I run out and buy a really good one to taste. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. Then I can adapt the cheese to our ingredients and to your home kitchen.

Blog_Recipe Writing Fun, Part I_02.26.2015_Stacie_2

I always make a cheese at least three times before I publish a recipe. The first time is with store bought, whole organic milk. I try to use a national brand like Organic Valley, because I want to make sure that the milk I’m using is one that most people will be able to find. The second time I test a recipe, I use raw milk from our cows. The third test is to ensure that my notes are clear, make sense, and don’t have too much whey spilled on them.

Sometimes I have to make a cheese four, five, or more times before it’s ready to publish. Mostly this is because many cheeses are traditionally made in fifty or one hundred pound rounds, and adapting that method down to something that will fit in a two pound press can be challenging. Sometimes it’s because cheese is, as we always say, not an exact science, and obviously if the second or third trial doesn’t go well, I’m not going to publish the recipe until it works perfectly. And occasionally, I make a recipe many multiple times because I have a “feeling” that it needs more tweaking, even if it’s turned out okay more than once.

Blog_Recipe Writing Fun, Part I_02.26.2015_Stacie_3

I am really excited to share this process with you guys. Testing recipes is so much fun…especially if it’s something truly delicious. I’m working on a gruyere recipe right now that should be fabulous, so that will be my next entry. But please, if there’s a cheese that you love and want to make along with me, tell me in the comments!

Until then, happy culturing!