Today we cracked open Bill's first aged cheese. It was a farmhouse cheddar that was aged for 4 weeks. It looks like this:
It tastes yummy but is a bit wet. This has something to do with undercooked curds...or so it seems from Bill's mumblings as he was searching the internet for clues.
We have another cheddar that he cooked the day after this one that is still aging. That one was pressed longer so more of the whey was squeezed out. It looked a lot more compact and a lot drier when he waxed it. That one won't be ready until May. But in the meantime, we'll be spreading this first attempt on bread and happily eating it all up.
We also brewed our first soda - a ginger beer. Brewing soda is like brewing beer, but you stop the yeast before it eats all the sugar. We mixed grated ginger, lemon juice and sugar, cooked it up, let it cool a little and added yeast. Then we plopped it in bottles and expected to wait 24-72 hours for the yeast to make enough carbonation that we could call it soda.
Yeast work faster or slower depending on the temperature. We know it's a bit cold in our house, so we were thinking it would be closer to 72 hours. It's a bit nerve-wracking because if we waited too long the yeast would make so much CO2 that the bottles could explode.
After 48 hours...and again after 72...we opened a bottle and found our soda was still a bit flat.
Today - a week later (162 hours) - our ginger beer has a delightful sparkle.
Next up...we'll be brewing beer, more soda and making some Parmesan cheese. We're happy with how we've started and are excited to build on our experience!