Meet the Cheesemaker: Joan!

Meet the Cheesemaker: Joan!

Meet Joan, an enthusiastic home cheesemaker from Cheyenne Wyoming. Joan caught the cheesemaking bug about a year ago when a friend gave her 10# of unstretched mozzarella curds. “I was hooked!” says Joan. Growing up in a ‘pizza and mozz’ neighborhood on the East Coast, mozzarella is a family favorite.

I met Joan in February when she attended a Bloomy Rind Cheese class at The Art of Cheese. “I knew what I wanted for Christmas as soon as I found the AoC Cheesemaking Certification!” The happy recipient of The Art of Cheese Platinum package, Joan is well on her way – she has already earned both her Bronze and Silver level certificates. Congratulations, Joan!

For cheese milk, Joan picks up Morning Fresh Dairy cow milk when she’s in Fort Collins and also gets goat milk from Grace Pastures Farm , northeast of Cheyenne. “I love working with raw goat milk because it just reacts so well. I don’t have any dairy animals yet, but I would love to have just one goat so I could have my own milk.”

With a background in biochemistry, Joan says she is a very precise cheesemaker, just like when she worked in a lab. “I have a dedicated cabinet with all of my cheesemaking supplies, and the biologist in me loves watching the mold grow on camembert.” Joan has made a variety of cheeses including mozzarella, chevre, yogurt cheese, colby, camembert, ricotta, and ricotta salata. “The hardest part of cheesemaking is waiting for the cheese to age! I’ve never been a patient person.”

Joan uses a dorm fridge as her aging space. “Keeping the humidity at a cheesemaking level is a challenge. I use clean sponges in water bowls, and it seems to be working so far.” But cheesemaking is not the only food-related activity at Joan’s house. She and her husband keep bees and he bakes sourdough bread. “My husband and I are loving the slow food movement and the culture that making your own food is a good thing.” In 2015, Wyoming passed the Wyoming Food Freedom act, which makes it legal for them to sell their homemade food products to other Wyoming residents.

Joan “is enjoying the adventure and the alchemy of cheesemaking, and I hope to do much, much more.” We look forward to seeing Joan often in 2017. If you meet her in an upcoming class at The Art of Cheese, be sure to say Hello!

Submitted by Becca Heins

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