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Every Cheese is a Great Cheese...Somewhere

Not every cheese project turns out the way I anticipate. The best advice to follow is to never declare failure, just age it a bit more. Sometimes an extra few weeks or months is required to develop some decent flavour.

Sometimes the extra time is just what you need to confirm that it is actually a rubbish cheese you really don't want to eat.

I've eaten a lot of cheeses over the years, lots in farmers markets and overseas in small villages and artisan fairs... there are a lot of cheeses that are an acquired taste, for want of a better term. I'm just saying, lots of cheeses taste pretty challenging. If your cheese tastes pretty challenging, don't chuck it out straight away. I'm not saying it will get better (sorry), but it might change in directions that surprise you and add to that cumulative cheesemaking knowledge we all aspire to.

YES, cheese should be tasty and delicious. But no cheesemaker starts out as a maestro, we earn our stripes by experience of successes and failures. The thing to remember is that cheesemaking is an essential skill in communities with no freezers that need to store excess produce for leaner parts of the year. Even if the cheese tastes challenging, it was kept and eventually someone found a way to eat it, sometimes like vegemite, that challenging cheese gained totemical status.

I've had some cheeses I kept for MONTHS waiting for them to achieve a dry rind when they remained stubbornly yeasty and damp. I was certain they would taste awful, but eventually they formed a rind, and when I finally tasted them - mild, nutty, with a slight acid finish, really tasty. I should have eaten them all immediately, but I left some a bit longer and the acid took over and two months later I chucked out the remnants.

Other cheeses I was really looking forward to I was disappointed to find were chalky and bland after a couple of months, I left them another month and they had transformed into buttery smooth delicately flavoured morsels, two months later and the blue cheese character finally made an appearance and I realised that I actually was a cheese genius afterall lol.

Cheesemaking is not hard as such, there are just so many different ways to change the outcome. Its nice to learn one way to make a reliably tasty cheese, but its far more satisfying to learn the principles of cheesemaking and then go exploring all the myriad directions cheesemaking offers.



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