Meet the Cheesemaker: Jim!

Meet the Cheesemaker: Jim!

Meet Jim, a home cheesemaker from Erie, Colorado. Jim has been making cheese since September of 2017. “Being half Swiss, cheese and wine have been part of my life forever. But I never really considered making cheese until after taking my first Mozzarella class. I immediately began looking for ways to further my knowledge.”

Jim found The Art of Cheese on the Internet while searching for cheesemaking classes. In just a few short months he’s attended enough classes to complete his AoC Bronze and Silver level certification and is well on his way to Gold. Congratulations, Jim! “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the teaching, the great people I’ve met in The Art of Cheese classes, and the follow up that I receive from Kate and Becca. It has really helped my cheesemaking because you can only learn so much in class. When you are starting out, you question everything you are doing and having really super people to turn to, people who take time out of their already busy days to help me, well, that just means the world to me.”

Jim enjoys getting out all his cheese-making supplies and equipment. “I love shiny, stainless steel objects of any sort, but really it is the set-up that brings me pleasure and that includes all the cool cultures, rennet, etc. that we home cheesemakers get to play with!”

Jim has already made a dozen or more cheeses in many different styles — fresh, washed curd, bloomy rind, and cheddars (among others). He likes to add variation to his basic recipes by adding various ingredients like wine and truffle oil. As a self-described tinkerer and former chemist he’s always trying new things. In addition to making cheese one or two times per week, he is also enrolled in the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) program with a goal to become a winemaker. “And my wife and I love to cook and make as much from scratch as possible (e.g. pasta and pizza).”

Like many beginning home cheesemakers, Jim says affinage is his biggest challenge. “I recall when I totally blew a Robiola by following the instructions too closely and they were simply too wet. What this taught me is to let the curds tell me what to do, and not blindly follow instructions. But of course, this takes experience. That noted, I love aged cheeses, so staying on top of what is in the cellar is challenging, given I love to travel and have many other hobbies.”

Jim’s advice to other home cheesemakers? “Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! Ya gotta make cheese to know cheese!”

by Becca Heins, Certified Cheese Professional and Art of Cheese Instructor

 

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