I get asked how I started this venture often. I always think, how does anything start? You learn about this, move on to that, end up at something that lasts. It’s kinda long but here’s the story:
After researching and learning lots about making food from local ingredients, I was inspired to make my own cheese. When I tried to find local cheese making supplies though, I had no luck.
This is Portland, Oregon- the capital of D.I.Y.! How could this be?! I was determined to learn despite this bummer so I begrudgingly purchased supplies from faraway sources on the Internet. I tried to follow recipes online but was overwhelmed by the complexity and the special equipment I seemed to need to get started (calibrated presses, humidity gauges, acidity testers oh my!).
With the knowledge that people have been making cheese for thousands of years with simple recipes and without fancy equipment, I persevered. After endless (still learning!) late nights of weeding through lots of info., I understood that there are many, many fresh cheeses that do not require aging and that can be made at home with little or no special equipment. I tried many, shared them with friends at gatherings and enjoyed the oohs, ahhs and questions.
I thought more people would be happy to have this skill, so I decided to make it easier for others to get started making and enjoying their own homemade cheese too.
I researched wholesalers, tested recipes, sourced quality supplies to create simple kits for fresh cheeses; no cows of your own or aging caves required. This means you can buy a gallon of milk at the grocery store and be eating your own fresh cheese within an hour!
This amazed me too and I want to spread the word. Making fresh cheeses is a simple skill that was lost in the past few decades of quantity over quality and I’d like to help it get back into kitchens- even city kitchens where we don’t have space for bulky equipment (or cows- though in Portland we can have goats in our garages and backyards, yay!).
I strive to make the kits fail-proof and affordable so that novices can get started. There’s a low investment in time and cost but high reward in self-sufficiency and quality!
In less than an hour you can enjoy fresh mozzarella, ricotta, queso blanco, goat cheese and more- made in your very own kitchen, using the milk of your choice. Try it and you won’t believe you didn’t do it sooner. As I learn, I will teach, so look for more kits in the future. Happy cheese making! Claudia
Note- My partner Jeff takes the nice photos that you see all over our shop, the crappy ones here and there are by me, ha ha!
Credit: Jeff Norombaba