Name: Ian Treuer
Blog name: Much To Do About Cheese
Where were you born? Sarnia, Ontario
Where are you living now? Edmonton, Alberta
Why did you start your blog?
I originally started it as way express what I was doing and not pester my family with every detail.
How did you decide on your blog name?
The original title was Pop Tarts and Schnitzel, but in the end it did not fit what I was writing about. I wanted to change it to Much Ado About Cheese, but there is a YouTube channel with that name, so my wife suggested the change to “To Do” and it stuck.
What do you blog about?
As the title suggests, it is about cheese and cheese making. I write about my journey as a home cheese maker on my “Quest for Cheesetopia”, which means that I am constantly looking to improve my cheese making and maybe do this for a living someday.
What post are you most proud of and why?
There are so many of my posts that I am proud of that it is hard to choose, but if I had to pick one it would be the post I wrote on Ripening Boxes called “Thinking inside the Ripening Box!” The New England Cheesemaking Supply Company’s Cheesemaking help blog asked to re-blog it on their site, it has brought a lot of traffic to my site. It has helped quite a few people with some issues they have had with aging cheeses. I still get emails about it.
Which post do you wish received more love and why?
I would have to say it would be my post on a cheese failure. “Camembert Cry – Not a pretty sight” I don’t care if a make is successful or not, it is all about sharing the experience too and maybe the reader has an opinion or a suggestion on what went wrong.
I am still surprised that anyone reads my blog, does that count? No the one the surprises my the most is my post on cheese “caves”/fridges called “Cheese Cave Spelunking!” It is not that well written and the pictures are pretty bad. It is the post with the most all time views on my website. I still get emails from people asking about for suggestions for their cheese “caves”
What is one (non-kitchen) gadget you can’t live without?
That is a very easy answer, my iPad. It has my cheese making records; I use it as a camera and as my source of music during cheese making.
What is one kitchen gadget you can’t live without?
Another easy question, it would be my curd knife. Which is just a long stainless steel cake spatula. I use it every time I make cheese no matter what kind. It can be used to cut curd, check for a clean break, and even stir the vat it necessary.
Favourite food, care to share a recipe?
I have to say that I love Caerphilly Cheese; it is one of the most versatile cheeses that I make. I even had the opportunity to make it on a large scale when I was working at a local Artisan Cheese producer for a little while last year.
This is my version that I have worked on and almost tweaked to where I want it. It works for me and is a family favourite.
Ingredients must be scaled up for larger batches.
16 L. Whole milk
1/4 tsp Mesophilic type II or M4001
1/4 tsp. Aroma B/Flora Danica/Probat 222
3/4 tsp. Calcium Chloride (Optional if using Raw Milk)
3/4 tsp. Rennet
2 tbsp. cheese salt
1. Heat milk to 90F/32C (ph 6.6)
2. Sprinkle cultures on surface of milk. Let re-hydrate for 5 min, and then mix in with an up and down motion. Let ripen for 30 min at 90F/32C. (pH should drop .25 = 6.35)
3. Dilute Calcium Chloride in 1/4 cup distilled water and add to milk in up and down motion. Then dilute rennet in 1/4 cup distilled water and add to milk in an up and down motion and let set for 45 mins, if using flocculation method your multiplier is 4. Maintain temperature for duration of set. (pH should drop .05-.1 = 6.3-6.25)
4. Check for clean break. Cut curds to 1 inch and let sit for 5 mins to firm up.
5. Turn on heat and slowly bring temperature to 95F/35C over the next 30 min, stirring the curd gently. Turn off heat then let curd rest for 45 min and cover the vat. (pH should be around 6.0-5.9)
6. Drain the curd for 5 minutes, and then start to cheddar. Cut the curd mass into even slabs and put back into vat (or heated draining table). Flip the slabs every 10 minutes on each side. Removing whey that is released. After the first two flips, stack slabs on each other' then after another two flips stack again. It should take about an hour of stacking and flipping. In the end the cheese should look like a slab of boiled chicken. (pH should be at about 5.5-5.7) remove whey as it comes off the curd.
7. Mill or break up the curd, you can use a peg mill if you have one or rip up the curd into thumb size pieces. Alternately you can cut the slabs into French fry like strips. Now toss the milled curd in 2 tbsp of cheese salt.
8. Fill curd in cheesecloth lined moulds and press for 30 minutes at medium pressure (10 lbs)
9. Flip cheese and redress and press for 8 to 12 hours or overnight 30 lbs.
10. Remove cheese from moulds and brine for 16 hours flipping after 8 hours. (do this if you don't salt curd)
11. Air dry cheese for 2 to 4 days until dry to touch, flipping twice a day.
12. Once dry you can wax this cheese, but it is best to develop a natural rind. Ripen at 85% humidity at 50 to 54F/10 to 12C, turning daily. At 10 to 14 days grey powdery mould should appear, this is good.
13. After 3 weeks this cheese can be consumed, its flavour will improve up to 3 months. The cheese will begin to soften under the rind at about 4 weeks; this gives the cheese its soft outer layer and creamy crumbly layer in the centre.
What else should we know about you that may or not be in your “About Me” page?
I am normally quite a private person; I don’t like to share too much personal information with people; so having this blog is a huge step for me. I just retired from the Canadian Forces Reserves after serving 20 years as an Officer in the Cadet Instructor Cadre. Everyone knows, or should know now, that I have an amazing wife who puts up with my cheese making obsession even though she is not a real fan of cheese.
What makes your blog unique?
I think what makes my blog unique is that not only do I write about the cheese that I make, I also write about my cheese failures. I had an ongoing battle with mozzarella; several failed Camembert as well as cheeses that needed to be “rescued” all put up on the site as part of my journey.