Kensho’s ‘Stinking Peasant’

‘Stinky cheese’ is an official cheese category for those unfamiliar with the great wide world of cheeses. Really! They include the washed-rind cheeses, but some others as well, depending who you talk to.

These would include such well-known varieties as Muenster, Limburger, Raclette, but also some relatively new popular favorites like the Stinking Bishop of Charles Martell & Son – Cheesemakers and Distillers.

The Stinking Bishop—the name inspiration behind my own new cheese—the Stinking Peasant!
About the Stinking Bishop:
“The rind becomes sticky and pink, with a pungent, almost meaty aroma, while the interior is velvety smooth and almost spoonable. It is bound with a strip of beechwood, which also imparts its own woody notes to a cheese that is farmyardy, but not as strong as its smell, or its name, would suggest.”

The wash-rind process used to be referred to as “putrefaction fermentation”so you can understand why they might want to change the name.

When I set out 7 years ago into the glories of cheesemaking I had no idea I’d also be making my own ‘signature’ cheeses. At the time I was responding to the sorry fact that in order to buy even a remotely decent cheese I had to drive several hours. And even then, nothing was made from raw milk. I bought freeze-dried cultures just like the vast majority of home cheesemakers do. I found a lot of success imitating the favorites—mozzarella, Pepper Jack, Camembert, Parmesan, Swiss, dozens of cheeses. I’ve tried making just about every cheese you’ve ever heard of, and quite a few unknown to even real cheese aficionados.

Of course, considering there are 1400 named cheese varieties in the world, I still have a long way to go!

Several of my ‘signature’ goat cheeses now ripe and ready to eat. Still in the aging fridge are Pepper Jack, Dill Havarti and Caraway Gouda

But, the more I learned, the more I wanted to get back to basics. The more I got back to basics, the more I began to understand what a beneficial and even necessary learning experience it has been. Sure I can spend much time and effort recreating other people’s cheeses. But even better is to invent my own!

That means developing our ‘terroir’. No more purchased cheese cultures. Milking our own goats and making raw milk cheeses with our own wild yeasts, yogurt and buttermilk, all which change flavors and colors with the season.

Like a true Roquefort can only come from Roquefort, France and real Champagne only from Champagne. These have PDO status, that is Protected Designation of Origin.

The process is only part of the story, because the finished product is a signature of its terroir. Affinage, that is, the art of maturing the cheeses, is the next crucial component.

Not that I have any interest in throwing my cheeses into any rings with the big guys. Not a chance, even if my cheeses were that good (I think they are!). I have no interest in turning my pleasurable hobby into a stressful profession.

“In its simplest form cheesemaking is the aggregation and preservation of protein; in its highest form cheesemaking is alchemy. . . Many traditional European cheeses are on the decline or have disappeared. It is ironic that the United States is leading the resurgence of artisan cheese and is the fastest growing market for specialty cheese on the planet. Can we Americans be the saviors of French terroir? Or will our efforts to reveal our own terroir be stillborn because of insurmountable regulatory hurdles?”
~Mateo Kehler
Jasper Hill Farm, Greensboro VT

Anatole and the Robot (1960) — The story of a professional cheese taster whose job has gone to a robot. I think Anatole has the right idea:
“I sniff, I taste, I think, and then I use the magic of my imagination!”

The Oxford Companion to Cheese edited by Catherine Donnelly, foreword by Mateo Kehler

My favorite cheese-making book:

Author: KenshoHomestead

Creatively working toward self-sufficiency on the land.

9 thoughts on “Kensho’s ‘Stinking Peasant’”

  1. Thanks! I was very hesitant to get goats, but in hindsight I should’ve done it sooner, they are awesome. Many of the cheeses are so easy and so delicious—like that one in the mason jars—nothing to it and it tastes fabulous. So economical too, when you compare it to high-quality cheeses in the stores. Asher’s book is a real treasure. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, I love the idea of not having to buy cultures! I need to get a copy of that book. 😁

    I was considering turning our root cellar into a cheese cave and monitored the temperature and humidity for a year. Turns out, it’s not even good for a root cellar! 😄

    We’re looking at having milk goats in our future, so I’m still looking into what to do to set up for making cheese, when we finally get to that point. Yours looks amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. yes. i have a press. i have always managed to make my cheese perfect culture wise. and pressed perfectly. but when it came to aging. i didn’t get the humidity right and they turned into bricks. even coons won’t eat them. they could be used for building material. haha….but now i know and that link you gave me is awesome. it shows what i was missing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Do you have a cheese press yet? You can make lots of great cheeses without one, but it gets much more interesting once you can make all the cheeses! Pepper Jack is one of our main staples, because we both love it and it’s so versatile and Hubby doesn’t like the stinky cheeses as much as I do.

    Sorry to hear it on the chemical ice! I think more and more there won’t be pilots at all, it will be unmanned vehicles operating as ‘space weather drones’ or something. Filling the atmosphere with all kinds of crap and then telling everyone their allergies and lung issues and ‘viruses’ are ‘seasonal’ and come from pollen and city smog and even vaccines, and nothing else coating the atmosphere. So disgusting! We have a week of overcast drizzles and chem fog, but I’d rather have that than ice or our new-normal weather whiplash, that’s for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you so much for the info. it gives me more to hunt for. i have a wine refrigerator and used it but didn’t use plastic tubs. i am going to try that next. it didn’t do what i wanted no matter what i tried. i confess the plastic tubs make me go …ah…ha.!!

    we are getting chemical ice nucleating storms. the soap slicks and pelleted snow that isn’t snow. it sticks to everything and freezes the latches. the doors. the locks. you name it. had to bust the ice to get into my barn.

    i really really really hate geoengineering pilots. i hope they took their boosters and if not…then please do so soon! i would like to know what natural weather is at least once in my lifetime. since they have destroyed all weather for the past 75 years very few people alive today know what it looks like. i certainly don’t.

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  6. No secrets, just a lot of trial and error! I do have a separate fridge, a small beverage fridge from Walmart, they are pretty cheap. It’s not the best solution, but it’s the cheapest one. Then to get the humidity high I use the plastic tub system, like you said. There are other ‘humidity solutions’ folks post about online, but I don’t think they work.

    There are others so much better at the ‘how-to’ than I am. I’m not detailed-oriented or patient enough for that! This is a friend of ours not far from here, we’ve made cheese together. She’s got a few excellent posts and vids that can walk you through the steps of several cheeses:

    She does use store-bought cultures, which especially in the beginning will have its advantages because you’ll get consistent results. When you’re ready to branch out into your own terroir you can then start saving the whey and the rinds from previous successful cheeses to inoculate your next cheeses. The Asher book talks about growing/saving your own cultures. He even explains the long process of making your own animal rennet! I haven’t gone down that road yet, looks pretty complicated!

    Are you getting ice storms now? Hope it’s not too bad!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. i am learning to make cheese. nothing like yours though. i can’t get my aging cave to work good enough. do you use a plastic tub system in a fridge or a basement to age your cheese? in your own homemade cheese cave. i would love to know how you do that as i have had no success…yet! i don’t give up.

    if you could create a post showing some basics on it…wouldn’t want you to give away your secrets. i would really be interested. i bought that 2nd book with the guy making cheese the natural way. it made my mozzarella very tasty. i even froze it for times when my cow is out of milk. i can’t stand store bought cheese. like you say.

    Liked by 1 person

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