Mehadrin Blue Cheese at Home

Making your own Chalav Yisrael Blue Cheese culture

blue cheese

I love Blue cheese.  I love Stilton, and I love Gorgonzola.  However, making these cheeses at home for the Chalav Yisrael cheese maker is not so easy.  The cultures are expensive, and they are not available for the Chalav Yisrael home cheese maker.

This has been a real problem for me, and for many out there that would really like to make these cheeses, but not able to find the culture.

Penicillium roquefortii is the culprit and this mold is available in a kosher form.  It would be Chalav Stam, but then the price comes into play.  It is around $17.00 for about 2 grams. That’s pretty expensive.

PR A Sacco Chalav Stam Kashrut Certificate.
PR A Sacco Chalav Stam Kashrut Certificate.

So you can’t truly appreciate how excited I was when I came across this recipe for making my own Blue Cheese culture (Penicillium roquefortii).  At last, I will be able to make some these wonderful cheeses.

I will share the secret with you on how this culture can be grown and harvested giving you fresh and natural Penicillium roquefortii to add to what ever cheese you wish to make and then add the blue vein along with the flavor.

The key ingredient is fresh Sour Dough bread.  If you purchase from the store make sure that it is only sour dough starter, flour, salt and water.  I know that this is a blog about cheese and cheese cultures, but I feel that if you really want a taste of the past you should make your own bread as well.  The way this culture was grown for years.

Lets get started:

As there are many recipes out there for making sour dough, I will give you the one that I have been using for weeks now with great results.  It is simple and requires two simple things.  Flour and Water.

How its done

3/4 cup + 2 Tbls flour

1/2 cup water

For five days you will repeat this step.

The only step: Mix the above ingredients in a glass container (about 1 liter/quart).  Leave the lid ajar or cover with cheese cloth.

On day five either make bread or continue doing the same thing.  If you will be taking a break from feeding the starter then put the lid on tight and place in the fridge.  When you are ready to start up again, take 1/2 of the starter out and get rid of it and continue on with the “only step”.

When you want to make bread you will need the following:

1/4 cup water (I use look warm)

2 cups starter

4 cups flour (add more if too sticky)

2 Tbls salt

1 Tbls olve oil

More water (this you will have to feel what is right for you)

Dissolve the starter in the water

Add the Flour, Salt and Oil

Mix well adding water to make the dough (should not be tacky)  Knead about 8 minutes

Cover with plastic wrap (i put a match box with striking side against the plastic to speed up the rising time) and place in a warm are to rise.  This will take about 2-4 hours.  If left over a 24 hour period of time you will now have a bread that is 99% Gluton Free.

Take out and knead for another 5 minutes

Seperate into two loaves and let sit for 20 minutes on backing sheet

Cover and let rise until double in size

Bake (hottest setting your oven will go) spritz water into the oven after they are in to create a steam that will form the crust.

30 minutes take out if ready

Okay, now that we have our sour dough bread lets take a bit of chalav yisrael blue cheese and place on the bread.  Put in your plastic container and cover for about 1 week.  The mold should take over the entire piece of bread.

Once the bread is totally consumed by the blue mold you want to dry it out.  Open your plastic container and leave it out for another week.  The bread will dry out.  Put the likd back on and the molded bread will be preserved for many years.

To User the Mold

To use the mold you will need to transfer some of the mold to the milk that you are making your cheese.  You break a small piece of bread into about 1 tsp of water.  You would strain the liquid into the milk at the same time as you are going to add your starter culture to the milk.  You will not notice and effect of the mold on the cheese until it begins to grow on it surface and if you have pricked the cheese to make aeration holes you will see that they are starting to fill with blue mold as well.

Well, there you have it.  Now all you need to do is get ready to take my Molded Cheese workshop which will be coming out in a few months to make this Blue Cheese.

If you are interested please leave a comment below with the city (In Israel) that you are living in.





Caerphilly does it in Tzfat

Caerphilly (pronounced carefilly) Workshop success!

caerphillyYesterday, I completed a great hard cheese workshop in the holy city of Tzfat. The cheese that we made is a wonderful cheddar type cheese from Wales. It is called Caerphilly. There are a few wonderful elements to making this cheese. The first is that the taste is AMAZING, and the second is that it is ready to eat within 2 weeks time after pressing. So that means by the end of Chanukah it will be ready. The group that came was amazing. The atmosphere was one of excitement.

We did start later than I wanted, but it didn’t seem to bother people from having a great time and getting the cheese from pot to press in time.

This cheese is one of my favorites and I am sure that it will be the hit with many of the participants as well.

As the process of making a hard cheese takes several hours there was enough time for talk and tasting of some fresh cheeses that I had brought for people to sample.

I think that my favorite picture is the thermometer standing by itself in the curds after they have set.  This was a first for me.

At the end of the entire process everybody walked away with about 1kg of Caerphilly cheese that they took home to dry and then age.

I am looking forward to hearing from all that took part in the workshop with regards to how their cheese tasted as well as what the family and friends thought.

20141207_160814 20141207_160826 20141207_160926 20141207_175838 20141208_102623 20141208_102758 20141208_102821


Fresh Kosher cheddar cheese in Efrat

 Kosher Cheddar Cheese (Efrat Style)

The kosher curd nerds of Efrat seem to really love to make fresh kosher cheese and for them to make a nice kosher cheddar cheese I thought would just make many very happy. It has been taking a very long time, but I have finally been able to have the Kosher Cheddar Cheese workshop take place.  It is the first time that this workshop has been done in English only in Israel and I am proud to say that once again I had the pleasure of being hosted by the Leavitt family in Efrat once again for the first Kosher Welsh Cheddar Cheesemaking workshop in Israel.


This family are true partners in making sure that the word is out when a workshop is going to take place.  I just can’t say how much I appreciate all the work they did to make this workshop happen.  Thank you.

The turn out was smaller than what we thought, but it was a great day of cheese making and discussing the kashrut issues of hard cheese making.

The cheese that we made is Kosher Cheddar Cheese called Caerphilly.  It is a Welsh Cheddar style cheese that is crumbly and salty (and not usually kosher).  There are many versions as to how this cheese can be made, for this workshop I took the one that will produce the quickest results without spending more time than needed to get it from pot to press and finally to mouth.  My intention is to have a salty cheese ready for Chanukah and this cheese will fit the bill.



Like all of my workshops, this cheese uses regular Tnuva 3% sack milk.  Once again,only this milk can be used to make cheese at home (unless you have your own animals). This milk is the only milk from the store which we are able to make cheese with here in Israel.


IMG-20140904-WA0023We started the process of ripening the milk by adding are Mesophilic starter culture to the milk.  Once the milk ripened we added the rennet.  In this recipe I used the liquid rennet instead of the powder rennet.  With hard cheeses, the powder rennet might tend to give a bitter taste if aging for more than a few months.  The curds were formed in about 1 hour and ready to be cut.

The process to make hard cheeses can take any time from 3 to 6 hours before getting it to the press.  We were hoping to have it in the press within 3 hours time but it did take us about 5 hours from the time we started.


20141120_171919The curds are cut and then slowly heated to 1 degree more.


The whey was really starting to be released and we were getting to a nice curd mass that we were going to then drain, then cheddar and drain some more before milling, salting and putting it in the press.



The curds can be somewhat hypnotizing and many were getting lost as their constant change was taking place.

After the curds have been cut and whey has been released.  We need to drain them.  This is done by putting them in the cheesecloth and colander.


Once they have drained for around 5-10 minutes we need to mill them and add the salt.

One of the great parts of this workshop is you get a cheese press (if you want). You are not able to make a hard cheese without a press, so to have one included in the basic kosher cheddar cheese making kit was a great whey for the participants to start making this cheese instantly.  Our host even made his family press, and I had mine that I purchased from the states many years ago.  The pressure was applied by bricks, spring, and straight pressure applied by hand.  Below are the different presses that we used to make our cheese.

Kosher cheddar cheese





Well, the next day came and not everybody was able to make it to the unwrapping, drying stage of the workshop so my host family, one participant and myself were able to take out of the press and unwrap and start the air drying process of about 6kg of a wonderful Caerphilly cheese.  The cheese will be in the air for about 4-5 days before being placed in the fridge for final aging.

Taking the Cheese out of the mold, Paring the left over, tasting a bit before it dries Yumm!!!









This cheese is one of my favorites because it can be aged for a s little as 14 days, but to really get a nice surprise it is better to wait another 14 days.  This is not a cheese that you want to age for long time though.  It was traditionally made and eaten within the month. Below is the cheese getting ready to spend some time alone.


What does your child have in his/her sandwich for school?

In honour of the new coming year  – What your child has in his/her sandwich for school?

Being busy with the beginning of the school year I had forgotten to publish this blog which was written 2 weeks ago at some g_dly hour at night.

 I thought it was still too important of a message to ignore and can be suggested as a good resolution for the new year which will B”H impact our children’s well being.

 It seems this year, Sept 1st came earlier than ever.  It could be with the war in Gaza, could be that just time goes faster then ever, could be that because our son is joining school after being homeschooled for 3 years (by his choice).

Sandwich for school
Is this your child’s lunch?

 However almost without noticing we found ourselves facing Sept 1st. We were not really prepared and unfortunately my husband did not get to make homemade cheese for awhile being busy in workshops (thank G-D), proving the saying that “the shoemaker walks bare feet”. So the first few days the sandwiches consisted of eggs and cucumbers and [ some tuna , along with some vegetables and fruits. Then I bought some store cheese (I think it was cottage)…When Dovid saw this he just gave us a look as if (how dare we think of enjoying that stuff…) that was enough, last night he was up till 1am making homemade Mozzarella. I shared with Dovid  the joy this Mozzarella was greeted in the morning by our son, he was excited  like he was meeting an old friend he really missed! I hope it was enjoyed by him inside the whole wheat bread sandwich.

 Since our son has started school we hear some live descriptions about the other children sandwiches: white bread with chocolate spread, Fanta or Coke as a drink …. Should I go on?

 I thought that a campaign for healthier sandwiches should be carried out. Approaching the New Year it could be a good new year resolution to have healthier sandwiches for our children as an expression of our commitment to their well being.  For those readers that have been in one of the Koshercurd Cheesemaking workshops I hope your children will enjoy your homemade mozzarella sandwich for school.

 I bless all of us with Ktiva and Chatime Tova, to To a healthy good and sweet* year

Rachel Wheeler

* Sweet – sweet not by candies or sugar, but by having all of the verdicts been sweetened.

Cheese Making in Givat Shmuel

Where to find fresh Kosher Mozzarella and Ricotta in Givat Shmuel

This question probably has not passed many people’s minds as they are driving down Highway 471 from Kvish 6 and wanting to get into Petak Tikvah or Tel Aviv or Bnei Brak for that matter.  Well, after last week I imagine that there are at least 7 families that can answer that question.  The answer would be at their houses, located in the neighborhood of Givat Shmuel .

Yep, another kosher cheesemaking workshop took place and this time it was hosted by a wonderful family that has a son that loves Mozzarella balls.  Well, from now on that will not a be a problem as his mother can make this wonderful little fresh bocconcini  it the call of a dime.  They will be ready within 45 minutes from the time she starts and inside his little tummy (if he wants them still warm).

Correct Milk

tnuvahI can’t express this enough.  If you live in Israel and you want to make cheese at home from store bought milk, you will need to purchase Tnuvah 3% milk.  Does it matter if it is in a bag or a carton? No, just the bag is cheaper and I believe that we should be saving money as well as having a great cheese.

Some did show up with Tahara milk.  Great package that they have, but it is not milk that one can make cheese with.  It has been ultra heat pasteurized (I will be talking about that in the next blog), you can not make cheese with this type of milk.  They went back out and were able to exchange for the Tnuva milk.

hanging ricotta
Ricotta Cheese Draining

Making The Cheese

One of the most exciting parts of this workshop is the magical conversion from the milk to become curds and whey and then cheese.  Starting with the Ricotta cheese we see how it truly will staIMG-20140904-WA0023rt to become curds very quickly as we acidify the milk.  The curds will slowly develop and then form a curd mass that will be hung up to drain.


Some times, when hanging our cheese to drain, something bad could happen and then we have a huge mess on our hands (or our feet in this case).    This was truly a very sad moment when this happened.   However, we were able to save about 1/4 cup of this amazing cheese. Givat Shmuel - Cheese




Equipment in Cheese Making

home cheese equipmentAs we continued on our journey about making cheese at home, we spoke about many of the molds, presses and wax and rennet (enzyme).   One of the best aspects of doing this workshop in a persons home is that the host gets to see how to it will be making the cheese in their space.

The last item that we speak about before getting ready to make our Mozzarella is the rennet (enzyme).  This the fascinating part of the cheese making process that turns white liquid into a gelatin type substance that we can cut and then turn into many different types of cheeses.  The enzyme that we use in the Kosher Cheesemaking workshop is a Microbacterial enzyme (not from cow) but from a mushroom.  It is non-GMO and 100% kosher.

Mozzarella uhmmm!

What all were waiting for.  The final part of this workshop is what many people are waiting for.  The making of the mozzarella.  The whole process when done at home will take about 35-40 minutes using the technique that is taught in the workshop.  The traditional method will take about 6 hours.

What you get at the end the workshop is this…

Displaying IMG-20140904-WA0053.jpg

What an amazing Mozzarella Stretch.  NIce work E.S. from Givat Shmuel.

One of the great things about the Koshercurds Kosher Cheesemaking workshop being a mobile workshop is that people are aware of it.

This past Shabbat, I was visiting friends who had guests and do you know where they were from.  That’s right, they were from Givat Shmuel and they had heard of the workshop from friends that were there.

In closing, I just want to say that Koshercurd Nerds from Givat Shmuel thank you from the bottom of my heart for a wonderful and fun evening.




Back in Efrat to Make Cheese


What can I say, I love Efrat

You know that yoefrat workshopu are doing something right when you are back in the same city, and the same house that you were in a month earlier doing another Kosher Cheese making workshop.  I think that Efrat is going to become the kosher home cheesemaking center the way that people are so excited there about making their own cheese.

I can’t say thank you enough to the host of this event two times in a row now.  As I was not given permission to put her name online, those that have been in the two workshops or have read her advertisement about the workshops know who I am speaking about, and a big thank you for the hard work and continued hard work you are doing to make kosher cheesemaking alive in Efrat.

The big difference between this time and then, was that there were no rockets (at least getting there) and we were al able to be above ground making cheese the entire time.

As I mentioned in my last post, one of the great things about traveling around the country to do these workshops is the ability to meet wonderful people.   It was truly a real treat to have a professional pizza maker in the crowd.  The owner of Pizzeria Efrat was there to learn to make fresh Mozzarella and Ricottoa.  She even wrote to me to say that she had made fresh Mozzarella and Ricotta for the Shabbat that followed the workshop and the guests were very pleased with her creations.

The other thing that I notice is that there people that are always wanting to help and the kosher cheesemaking workshops become bigger and bigger.  There was a participant who is a social media expert and while the workshop was going on she was taking photos and letting people in the states know what she was doing in real time.  She then offered from the bottom of her heart to help establish themselves in the social media world.  I can’t express how touched and moved I was to have someone really want to help get the word out that one can truly make kosher cheese at home.  THR, I thank you.  To the right you can see a beautiful set of curds that are being cut.

Now one of the things that happen in almost every workshop is what I call the LYR (Low Yield Result).  Why this happens, I don’t know.  Does it happen, yes.  Did it happen in this workshop, yes.  I have to admit it really is disheartening to see someone put all of their energy and love into making a cheese and at the end they get a low yield.  This can happen from many things, but with making Ricotta it usually happens when the curds have either been stirred too hard, or too fast.  How do I handle this problem? I let the participant know that the mozzarella that they are going to make will be amazing.  This is a guarantee.  And you know what, IT IS AMAZAING and the smile is put back on there face.

20140819_220350I am looking forward to being back in Efrat soon for our 3rd basic kosher cheesemaking workshop as well as the stage 2 workshop where we will be making a hard cheese.

In the mean time, just smile and say Kosher CHEESE!

Making Cheese on the Ella Valley Farm

Ella Valley Farm

One of the great things about traveling around the country and doing the Kosher Cheesemaking workshop is that I get to go to many different areas and meet some truly amazing people.

Ella Valley Farm










A few weeks ago, the workshop was fortunate to be hosted in a moshav in Emek HaElla.  The place Ella Valley Farm.  The family is the Weisman family.

What was so great about being out there, is that it was like making cheese the way it was before the modern idea of lets build apartments or live in the “burbs”.    Now before moving to the Golan Heights, I lived in the moshav around the corner from there and I never thought that I would be in that area for a long time.  But Hashem has different plans for his two legged creatures.

As I arrived at Ella Valley Farm I was greeted with the sound of children and parents either playing or working in the yard, then a small goat (I do mean small, African Pygmy Goat small) was being carried in the arms of one of the girls.  The goat was a few weeks old.

Then it was time for the milking of the sheep and the goat so we could have a real treat for this work shop.  Fresh, raw milk.

Now sheep milk has the highest percent of fat of all the animals that are used historically used for making cheese.  There wasn’t too much of it either, so I decided that the family would make the Ricotta with the Sheep milk and the Mozzarella with the Tnuva.

What happened was that it took a very long time for this milk to start to form curds.  Almost 30 minutes after everybody else was already done and having the curds drain.  But I knew that this was going to very special and I kept telling Chaya that it was going to be just fine, and that “good things happen to those who can wait”.  Well, wait she did.  WOW! I couldn’t believe the yield it was wonderful, the color was a bit yellowish and the flavor, well I can’t really tell you about that…

Everybody was able to take home wonderful cheese at the end of the night, and I took home a great feeling.  The feeling of being connected back to our land, and doing things that the way that they should be done.

I want to say thank you Chaya, Mordachai and the entire Weisman family for hosting me and the workshop on the Ella Valley Farm.






Making Cheese in Efrat

Cheese Making in Efrat

Last week I had the privilege and honor to be hosted in the city of Efrat for a kosher cheese making workshop.

Cheese Making in EfratThe journey to Efrat is about 3.5 hours from my home in the Golan Heights, and I have to admit that I was a bit nervous driving there as there were missiles being sent from Gaza to the area.  But my family and had decided that we were not going to let that deter us from the mission at hand and that was to teach about making kosher cheese at home.

We arrive on time and set the space up.  People started to arrive and it was truly wonderful to see that we did have a full house, and that the host had done a hard job of getting everyone to make their commitment and show.  There was even one participant that had come from the Kibbutz Ein Gedi on this missile night.

Whole Milk Ricotta

We started the evening with making the Whole Milk Ricotta as this cheese takes the longest to make.  I noticed that all but one was getting the curds to separate rather quickly, but this one pot just wasn’t doing it.  I then noticed that it was an Aluminum pot.  I told the participant that he will get the curds to separate, but it will just take a longer time as the pot was not retaining the heat that is needed.   About 30 minutes into the draining another person showed up and they too had an aluminum pot.  I explained that they were going to get cheese, just because of the pot it will take a longer time and that they will just have to be stay  calm, and be patient.

Everything was going well, the Ricotta was draining and we had spoken about milk, rennet, and other kosher ingredients that are used for making cheese along with some of the kosher aspects as well as health aspects.  We were now ready to start with Mozzarella making.

Making Mozzarella

This aspect of the workshop is really where we get to see chemistry in action.  The pots were filled again with milk, and the rennet was added.  The curds were starting to set, everything was going great when all of the sudden we heard the siren.  At first I wasn’t sure what we were to do as I have not been around one for a long time, so I asked if this was real and what was the procedure.  I was informed that it was real and that we needed to head downstairs to the bomb shelter for 10 minutes.

Ten minutes, I couldn’t believe that we would have to wait that long.  Making cheese is a very precise thing.  One minute to long or to short could change your cheese altogether.  I couldn’t imagine what ten minutes was going to do.

efratws1Well, the time eventually passed and B”H everybody was well , the rackets fell in a remote field.  We all went back upstairs to continue the process of making the Mozzarella. It seemed as though everything just took a break while we were gone.  The curds looked wonderful, some were a bit slower than others, but they were getting there.  Now the time came heat them up and get the stretch going.

As the group started to heat the curds and getting the stretch we could all see that there was going to be success.  A few didn’t get it exactly, but got a wonderful cheese instead.  Others got what we were looking for.

All in all, as bizarre and strange the evening was, it was a great workshop.  May Hashem keep protecting us as it is written “the eyes of Hashem are continually upon it  from the beginning of the year to the end of the year” (Dvarim 11,12).

For workshop in Efrat in August so please send an email to to stay updated as to when and where.

Till later kosher curd nerds.


Organic Kosher Yogurt Culture

Yogurt Culture

As most of you know, I am generally writing about cheese and cheesemaking but I just happened to have this come in my email today and thought that I would share this with all of you as it does fit within the koshsercurds theme. I have been making Yogurt off and on for about as many years as I have been making cheese.  I have been asked by many to supply them with a recipe or a “how do you do it” question in the cheesemaking workshop.

Just last month, I was asked if I had a yogurt culture that was Chalav Yisrael.  I was pleased to inform the questioner that I did and would bring it to them as they were attending a workshop in Tzfat.

As I said earlier,  something very special showed up in my email.  It was a recipe for making Yogurt without a starter culture. Very much like making cheese with the “milk” of the fig tree.

Making Yogurt from scratch

Once you read this you will just laugh as you see how truly simple this process is.


Organic Red sweet peppers with long stems (about 6-8)

1.5 cup milk

How it’s done

  1. Remove a fine slice from the already open end of the stem, then chop the stem off the pepper.
  2. Put 6-8 stems in about 1.5 cups of milk
  3. Warm until you start to see light bubbles forming around the edge of the pot
  4. Turn off the heat and wrap in a small blanket and let cool very slowly.
  5. After it has cooled down (some hours later) and there you have the culture.
  6. You will want to freeze batches ( would pour in ice tray and freeze)
  7. What you want to do now is start using this to make yogurt, and each time, remove one of the cubes and use according to your yogurt recipe.

My Yogurt Recipe




How it’s done:

  1. Heat the milk up to 185(F) 85(C)
  2. Take off heat and let cool until 116(F) 47(C)
  3. Add the starter and stir
  4. Cover the pot and place in a warm place (maybe put a blanket around the pot) for 6-8 hours.
  5. Place in refrigerator and cool.

You can then use 2 tablespoon from your fresh yogurt to make a new batch of health and tasty yogurt.

This seems to have solved the chalav yisrael yogurt starter.

10 Kraft Cream Cheese Flavors Lose Their Certification

Kraft Cream Cheese (What were they thinking)

I don’t think that they were really thinking that this would happen when they launched their new product that contains real Bacon pieces. I can’t even think how that would taste to the non-Jewish palate.

Thanks to our good friends at OK who put out a memo stating that it was not kosher. Because the company also produces other cream cheeses on the same production line the following 10 flavors are no longer kosher.

Philadelphia Original
Fat Free Cream Cheese Spread
Milk Chocolate Cream Cheese Spread
Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Cream Cheese Spread
Strawberry Fat Free Cream Cheese Spread

The original cream cheese was not affected by the production so it is still OK.

This reminds me of the article that I wrote about a few posts ago about the DNA of Pig in the Cadburry Chocolate in Malaysia.

I can’t help but think that all of these artificial flavorings, colors, etc… are just Hashem’s way of saying stick with the original. It was created to be just cream cheese and nothing more. If the non-Jews want to eat all that strange stuff let them, but we should just eat what we know. A Schmear of cream cheese on whatever you want to put it on and that’s all.

If you want to learn to make real cream cheese (not taking sour cream and putting in the diaper to drain) then keep your eyes on my site as I will be launching my new book “Kosher Curds – Making Kosher Cheese at Home” soon.