Russian Paskha – no bake cheesecake with homemade ricotta and Kulich to serve it with …

Posted in Individual Cheeses on March 31, 2018 by ddhirsh

I just love Old World delicacies and when they can be made with cheese – all the better.


The Perfect Rustic Bread to Have with Cheese: Russian Rye

Posted in Individual Cheeses on September 21, 2016 by ddhirsh

I’ve taken to making bread instead of buying it. My inspiration is our new outdoor pizza oven – next day after making pizzas, the oven is still 400 degrees – perfect bread making temp! The pizza oven coupled with my Kitchen Aid with its dough hook and my Vitamix with a second “dry” canister for grinding grains render making bread an absolute cinch!

This bread is also easily made in the regular oven with a baking stone.


1.5 cups rye flour

.5 cups whole wheat flour

1.5 cups white bread flour

1 cup wheat germ or wheat bran

2 tsp active dry yeast (or 1 packet)

1 T brown sugar

2 T molasses

1 tsp instant coffee

1 tsp salt

1 T caraway seeds

1 tsp fennel seeds (optional)

1.5 tsp onion powder (optional)

1 T vegetable ash (optional secret ingredient to make the bread very dark – have a jar in my cheesemaking supplies drawer)

2 T softened or melted butter

2 T apple cider vinegar

1.5 cups warm water (about 105 degrees)

Preheat oven to 400 F at beginning of second rise. Mix dry ingredients and add to wet ingredients. Mix with dough hook until it all comes together then knead with dough hook (or by hand) for about 7 minutes until elastic. May be a bit sticky – can add a little more water or flour as needed to make a firm dough. Make into a big ball and let rise in warm place in a large greased bowl covered with plastic wrap and a towel. When doubled in about an hour or hour and a half, punch down, reform the ball stretching the top and folding over a seam on the bottom. Let rise again covered for about a half an hour until doubled again. Carve an X on top and then  gently lift out and place on stone in oven with the seam on the bottom and X on top. Cook for about 35 minutes until it is browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let cool a few minutes, then enjoy.





Homemade Ricotta Toasts. Yum!

Posted in Individual Cheeses on May 14, 2016 by ddhirsh

imageRicotta – the easiest cheese to make and eat in under an hour! Got up this morning and decided to make this yummy toast concoction for breakfast:

First – the ricotta: I heated up just to boiling 2 quarts of whole milk, a cup of heavy cream, and a teaspoon of kosher salt. When just starting to boil (we live at 5,000 feet – so if you are at sea level 180-190F will do) I stirred  in a quarter cup of fresh lemon juice (can use white vinegar or citric acid as alternative). I stirred and removed from the heat and immediately you will see small curds separating from the whey. I let this sit for about 15 minutes then poured into a sieve lined with two layers of cheesecloth, catching the whey in a bowl below. After draining about 20 minutes, I corrected the seasoning by adding a little finishing salt and 1T of softened butter.

Roasted tomato spread: I skewered about six mini yellow tomatoes on a metal skewer and roasted over an open flame on my stovetop until tomato skins were somewhat blackened. Meanwhile I toasted together then ground, 1/4 tsp each fenugreek seeds, cumin and pepper corns. The tomatoes and spices along with a pinch of salt and one chiltepine pepper (red pepper flakes) were whirled in my mini food processor for a few pulses. Then I added 1T of mayo. I passed this through a sieve to separate out a sauce and a spread.

Assembling the toasts: I toasted two sourdough slices and spread with the roasted tomato spread. Then heaped on ricotta and topped with fresh herbs (oregano and thyme here). I finished with some spooned over reserved sauce and a couple grinds of pepper.

Truly divine. Enjoy!

I know – not cheese – but chocolate goes so well with cheese!

Posted in Individual Cheeses on April 21, 2016 by ddhirsh

Some more of my handcrafted artisan chocolates made with Daddio magnet chocolate molds and chocolate transfer sheets! I filled them with pumpkin cream (made from Trader Joes Pumpkin Butter – yum!) They come out so pretty!

Drum Roll please – we sliced open the two pound wheel of Coastal Breeze!

Posted in Individual Cheeses on April 19, 2016 by ddhirsh

And it did not disappoint – used Mary Karlin’s recipe for a riff in Cypress Grove’s inimitable Humboldt Fog – she calls it Coastal Breeze.


An Interpretation of Cypress Grove’s Wonderful Humboldt Fog

Posted in Individual Cheeses on April 12, 2016 by ddhirsh

imageThis is Mary Karlin’s interpretation of Cypress Grove’s wonderful Humboldt Fog. She calls it Coastal Breeze! Very good! It ripened for 13 days to this point – still a little young but good anyway. I am quite proud  of the neat, straight line for the ash in the middle. Trick is to end about a half inch from the edge when you are sprinkling it on the top of the bottom layer.

An Interpretation of Cypress Grove’s Wonderful Humboldt Fog

Posted in Individual Cheeses on April 12, 2016 by ddhirsh