Learn to Make Cheese at Home — No Cow or Goat Required

This weekend, the homesteading movement comes to Boston. THE KITCHEN at the Boston Pubic Market will be home to the daylong Urban Homesteading Festival on Saturday, February 18, which is presented by The Trustees of Reservations in partnership with The Northeast Organic Farming Association, Slow Food Boston, and Oldways.

Homesteaders-to-be will learn the arts of brewing beer, cultivating mushrooms, preserving herbs, preparing broths, and...drumroll please...making cheese at home — no cow, goat or sheep needed! Adam Shutes, owner of the Boston Cheese Cellar in Roslindale, Mass., will lead the cheese-making portion of the festival. To get ready for the Urban Homesteading Festival on February 18, OCC research intern, Daniel McElligot, connected with Adam to learn more about his love affair with cheese and cheese-making.

Adam is originally from Britain and he moved to the United States in 2001 to pursue his post-doctoral studies of oncology in North Carolina. Two years ago Adam’s work brought him to the Boston area. In 2015, the then-owners of the Boston Cheese Cellar retired and were selling their shop. Adam left the oncology field and purchased the Boston Cheese Cellar.

The Boston Cheese Cellar is a small, independent cheese counter, also stocking charcuterie and accompaniments for their cheese. Adam says the shop is “small but its got a big heart.” Two of Adam’s current favorite cheeses are: Keene’s Cheddar paired with brown ale, specifically Fuller’s London Pride, as well as Oma from von Trapp & Jasper Hill paired with a nice hearty bread.

Adam made his first cheese about 5 years ago, a simple homemade ricotta, which he found to be both a fun and rewarding process. As his cheese making experience has grown, Adam now finds his favorite part of cheese making to be cloth wrapping the cheeses and the rubbing of lard on the wheels.

As far as this weekend’s workshop goes, attendees can expect to learn an outline of the cheese making process. Adam will give an understanding of how and why the process of cheese making works, as well as troubleshooting the process and how to improve from batch to batch. Come by and learn how to make simple cheeses at home and see just how good they taste and how rewarding the process is!

Use PARTNER30 to receive 30% off tickets.

Meet our new research intern

Joining our staff this month as a full-time intern is Daniel McElligott, a cheesemonger and student from Melrose, Massachusetts.

Daniel’s cheese career began in 2013 at Whole Foods Market in Melrose, where he worked behind the cheese counter, offering weekly themed tastings of selected cheeses and engaging customers through cheesy suggestions and conversations. Daniel can now be found working as a cheesemonger behind the Salumi e Formaggi counter at Eataly Boston. Among Daniel’s favorite cheeses are Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, Springbrook Tarentaise, Quadrello di Bufala, Il Nocciolo, and Pata Cabra.

Daniel is also an undergraduate student at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. Majoring in history, Daniel found a link between his interests in cheese and 19th Century American history among Northeastern’s Consortium on Food Systems Sustainability, Health, and Equity.  This common ground between his passion for cheese and love of history has allowed Daniel to pursue a cooperative education opportunity at Oldways in the Cheese Coalition. Check out our future blog posts for updates on projects Daniel will be working on with us!

Eat cheese for your health this holiday season

Eat cheese for your health this holiday season

With high rates of obesity, it is estimated that 45 million people in the United States alone are dieting every year. Many of today’s popular diets cut out specific foods or food groups. Dairy is oftentimes one of the first foods eliminated when wanting to lose weight. Even though cheese and dairy are important sources of essential vitamins and minerals, dieters tend to demonize it because it can be high in fat and calories.

Cheese for the novice?

Cheese for the novice?

How is it possible that most of us are so intimidated when we approach the cheese counter at our local supermarket, when we have been eating cheese for all of our lifes? Probably, the mystification either comes from a growing selection of cheeses from far and more diverse places; or from the many news reports and opinions saying that the cheese we eat is not healthy. Talk about making grocery shopping a complicated and stressful journey. Here at Oldways, we love good traditional food, but the most important thing for us is to empower you with information to make you choose the best food for your lifestyle. Lets get some basic information first and then on to some serious recommendations.

Did you know that microbes make the cheese?

Yes, that is what the American Society for Microbiology published in its recent FAQ on cheese. The report published February 2015, and available free online, introduces a host of ways in which micro-organisms lead the way to healthy, delicious, and varied cheese.

We learn from this publication that "Streptococcus thermophiles, Lactobacillus helveticus, and Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. are associated with Swiss- and Italian-type cheeses." While Lactococcus lactis and Leuconostoc mesenteroides are integral part of making Cheddar and Gouda style cheeses. Even the ammonia smell of some cheeses can be attributed to the presence of microbes. Trust us, after reading the entire booklet, you will never see moldy cheese the same way.

No time to read the report? Why not download this engaging episode of Gastropod. The host interviews MIT Anthropologist Heather Paxson (a member of our Academic Advisory Committee), cheese expert and University of Vermont professor Paul Kindstedt, and Tufts University microbiologist Benjamin Wolfe on cheese, history, and science.

To find out more on this topic, you can also read from Prof. Rachel Dutton (also a member of our Academic Advisory Committee) and Benjamin Wolfe in the academic journal Cell (Vol. 158, Issue 2, p422-433) published on July 17, 2014.

Our resources section is also a great place to find peer-reviewed articles. We provide small introductions to all of them, and you can download them free of charge.

Your membership ensures that we continue researching on traditional cheeses and promoting its benefits. 

- Carlos Yescas