Thursday, February 25, 2010

Kraut Pot

This was an idea I had some time ago fiddling around with clay. The idea is a pot big enough to fit a whole big head of cabbage with a wide mouth for easy access. Then the invention is a lid smaller than the upper rim, perforated with holes so it sinks below the level of the liquid. So we have access to good bacteria without any cabbage floating up. The best batches of sauerkraut I've ever made come from this pot.

This batch is just 4 days old. After a week or more I put it in a big covered jar in the wine fridge or the regular fridge if I want to keep it around for a while. Why don't they sell contraptions like this?
Next up some pastrami to go under it.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Cheese Old and New

Is this not a heart-warming shot? Cheese 7 months old and cheese 7 hours old. There is another significant difference. I was telling someone recently that it's really hard to make cheese using traditional methods if you're using pasteurized milk. Apart from the ultimate flavor, and need for bacterial funk, there's something wrong with the texture and the process sometimes doesn't work right. Yesterday I set out to prove myself wrong. There was another reason too: using raw milk at 9 dollars a half gallon, the cheese on the top was 36 dollars plus labor. Regular supermarket whole milk and a little butter milk as starter, with the bottom one, about 8 bucks. I also did it on the stove top rather than the very gentle water bath. And you know what? I have never had the process go smoother.

I did have to follow my own directions, and aghast, I found an infelicitous turn of phrase that I think I missed in the proofreading. But this was easier and nothing scorched or overheated as I feared it might. Now I have no idea what this will be like flavor-wise, the proof of this cheese will be in the eating.