Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Roquefort??

I just returned from the IACP conference in Portland. Pretty much one continuous party, the highlight of which was a butchery workshop: one half of a pig broken down in the French manner, the other half US. So, upon my return home I thought I'd check out some ongoing projects. Kraut worked nicely but the mandoline sliced the cabbage too thinly, so it lost some crunch. Note to self: stick with the knife. My new starter was actually fed in my absence and was potent enough to raise a big sourdough boule on the first try. I'm eating it right now for breakfast. Scrumptious. But do you remember that nice bright white cheese I made a few months ago? Eccolo! And I just happened to be talking about Alexander Fleming in class! It's actually the first thing I have ever made that I'm a little scared to taste. It smells ok, moldy of course and a little rank. I'm fairly certain this is what happens if you don't use raw milk. There was no lactobacillus in the milk, and so the mold in the "cave" just attacked it. The cheese right above it, now 9 months old, remains unscathed. Is the world not endlessly fascinating?

9 comments:

Juana Isabella/Donna said...

Hi Ken,

Two of my recent aged cheeses got rather moldy on the outside too. But, when I cut them open the mold had not penetrated to the paste. Yours may turn out that way too.

I rub the cheeses with salt every few days during the aging process. One of the particularly moldy ones I also rubbed with brandy on the theory that alcohol makes things better :-)

Moldy or not, I hope your cheese is tasty.

Donna

Peter Hertzmann said...

I'd like to hear more about Saturday morning. I'm sorry I had to leave and catch a flight home.

What I saw while I was there was a bit disappointing. Besides the pig being about half normal size and thus producing smaller than normal finished pieces, the American was extremely unconventional in his methods. It may work fine for his menu and his customers, but his cuts were nothing like you or I would find in butcher shop. The loin chops had way too much bone and would be difficult to eat. Especially starting at the second rib and leaving the tip of the scapula embedded in the meat.

Dominique attacked his half totally different than he did the week before in Sonoma. There he ignored all the natural boundaries in order to produce rectangular cuts for curing and lots of trim for sausages. I left before he finished the loin, and he may have done this, but I'm used to seeing the loin cleaned of the all connective tissue where it was attached to the spine and then wrapped in barding fat and tied, at least in Paris or Lyon it's finished that way.

Peter Hertzmann said...

BTW, one of the things I got out of the conference was a result of a brief conversation with a “beef scientist” from Penn. He pointed me to a website with bovine mycology, which lead to another with porcine mycology. Both have more information about animal anatomy than I’ve seen anywhere else. I’ve been looking for this information for years. Now to find it in book form.

Ken Albala said...

Hey Peter, Knowing very little about butchery I had nothing on which to base an opinion. It all looked great to me. Dominique did end up with a lot of elegant little packages for tying up. And the charcuterie we tasted was all fabulous. I had a nice conversation with Michael Ruhlman afterwards too. Who knows? But I sure would like to learn more. I'll check out the mycology site. Doesn't that mean mushrooms though??

Ken Albala said...

Ah myology! Rather than mycology.

Peter Hertzmann said...

I really liked Dominique's charcuterie, especially since he uses so little additional flavoring. I stuffed myself on it in Sonoma.

Whoops...my spelling error.

janelle said...

So sad I missed the IACP event! Bummer me: a year in Italy;) but will be returning stateside and plan to go next year! Applause on all the fantastic books!

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