Meet Pepper, a home cheesemaker from Arvada, Colorado who has been making cheese for about 5 years. As an urban cheesemaker, Pepper typically gets her milk from local groceries. “Typically I get milk from Costco, a grocery store, or Trader Joe’s, which is where I get goat milk. “I don’t have ready access to farm fresh milk, but I’d love to try to make a few raw milk cheeses in the future.”
Her favorite cheese to make is Chèvre “because of its ease and immediate reward! Plus, it’s impressive for guests with its versatility!” Pepper also makes mozzarella, burrata, farmhouse cheddar, camembert/brie, brick big fail! (she says), fromage blanc, sour cream and yogurt. “Our chickens love my home made yogurt!”
Like many of us, Pepper makes cheese in her home kitchen. “I have a ‘cheesemaking basket’ for all of my tools….cheesecloth, draining mats, baskets, an electric hotplate, rubber gloves for handling/stretching mozzarella, molds, and a press.”
Her next cheesemaking goal? “My biggest challenge is consistency! Cheese fails sometimes discourage me and send me off to other projects like canning, pasta/bread making and crafts. I started canning in the 80’s, making preserves and then moved on to other jams and jellies. Now I also do pickles, salsas, peaches and a lot of tomatoes and sauce. My goal is to be able to grow enough tomatoes to not have to buy any for canning.”
Although Pepper is a self taught canner, she has taken a number of cheesemaking classes, both online and in the Denver metro area, including The Art of Cheese. “I’ve taken all three days of bootcamps but not concurrently. ” That makes Pepper a Gold level home cheesemaker in our book! And these pictures of her homemade cheeses prove it! Everything looks scrumptious!
Pepper likes the more immediate rewards of quick cheeses like chèvre and mozzarella. But she has also made some aged cheeses. Her wine fridge/ aging space houses both bottles and cheese. She uses a hygrometer to help keep an eye on the humidity. “My first try at aging and waxing cheese was a farmhouse cheddar. It was delicious! I’d like to delve more into cheddars and aged cheeses.”
When asked if she had anything else she’d like to share she added, “I would like to share how much I’ve enjoyed taking classes at The Art of Cheese. Kate and Becca are both wonderful instructors…patient, kind and knowledgeable. They have inspired my passion for cheesemaking and given me lots of tools for success.” Gosh, thanks, Pepper! We can say from experience it is always great to have you in class! And thanks so much for sharing a little about being a home cheesemaker.
Submitted by Becca Heins