Jan then went through the whole process explaining the different steps so we could see this process from beginning to end. The time frame for Chevre is 3 days from start to finish. So the next time you are at a farmers market and you question the price on the Chevre, just remember how time consuming it is. That person really puts their time, energy and love into cheese making. Beats the heck out of buying it from a major conglomerate with giant machines any day in my book.
After the Chevre has drained it is ready to mix with your choice of seasonings. Jan mixed our batch with Herbes de Provence. This with crackers is a meal! This spreadable cheese can be used on wraps, on baked potatoes under the broiler, spread on bagels like cream cheese, and on white pizza. The refrigerator life for Chevre is about 2 weeks.
Jan taught us how to make feta. Feta is the wonderfully tasty cheese from Greece. It takes a whole gallon of milk to make 1 batch of feta. It is wonderful cubed and marinated in canola oil and herbs.
Last but not least was her 30 Minute Mozzarella. I think this is a favorite cheese for most people. Here, Jan is showing us how to stretch the mozzarella. She has gloves, pots and utensils specific to cheese. Stony Knolls Farm is licensed by the State of Maine and is a working farm in every sense of the word.
Jan served a tasty chicken vegetable soup with her own bread for lunch. Most of the students attending Cheese and Soap School were from the Goat School over the weekend. It seemed like old times with good friends. Anyone who wanted to get into the soap making was welcome. Jon was the first to volunteer when asked. Jan hand stirs her soap. It is a process that is necessary. It does take time and stamina to keep stirring so the fat and lye/goat milk slurry mix does not congeal.
After the mixing was completed, Jan added scent, and oatmeal to the pot. She uses molds to form the bars.
John wanted to try to make a soap ball from a bar that Jan had made the night before. The soap remains soft for about 24 hours. It made a perfect ball and he was amazed at how soft his hands were when he washed the soap off. That is one of the true pluses with Goat Milk Soap. If you have never tried it, please, pick up a bar at your next farmers market. It takes time and love to make and you will not be disappointed.
Hmm..... soap ball.
Jan had a tray full of soaps that she is letting cure. Soap has to air dry for about 6 weeks to let the free radicals from the lye dissipate. The bars become hard and long lasting. If you keep the soap dry it will provide many washes.
It was kind of sad leaving all of our friends. Thank goodness for the internet. We will be able to keep in touch. We had a wonderful time. I highly recommend Goat School to anyone who is interested in raising goats. If you get the chance please check out this issue of Hobby Farm. There is an article with great pictures about Stony Knolls Farm featuring Jan and Ken Spaulding. Thank you both for welcoming us into you home. You guys run a top notch operation there. Much love and prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.