• Kate Johnson | Episode 20 | The Story of A CheesemakHer

April 17, 2017 2 Comments

Farming and food go hand in hand….or maybe they are more like a hand and a glove.  You have to have one to have one to have the other.   Our visit to Kate Johnson took this food and farming partnership to a whole new level.  Kate, who moved from suburbia to a hobby farm on the outskirts of Longmont, Colorado with her family years ago got started in farming when her daughter started showing goats with 4-H.  

As we’ve heard before, those goats led to more and the hobby became more of a profession.  Finding herself with plenty of extra milk from the family’s goats, Kate decided to start making some cheese.  Just like the goats, that cheese led to more cheese and she didn’t stop there.  Soon Kate found herself in the role of teaching others about her craft and formed The Art of Cheese, a school in which she teaches regular classes on creating all kinds of cheeses, for all levels of chefs, from all types of milk.  

On the day we visited Kate at her farm, we met up with her just as she was getting ready to milk a few of the new mothers. We followed her through the milking and then watched and even helped a bit as she bottle fed those cute new kids (this is something I could do all day long - sign me up as a full-time kid nanny!!).

 

As she was finishing up milking her friends started to arrive for the Cheesemaking 101 course she was about to teach in her kitchen.  Kate carried in the milk as her friends followed her inside.  As everyone washed hands I could hear the buzz of excitement in their voices about the fact that we were going to make our very own CHEESE!  The group was seated around the kitchen island and we listened as Kate told us some of the basics about making cheese.  From pasteurization to homogenization we learned just enough to get going.  We started in with the Chèvre cheese, adding the rennet and cultures to the milk before letting it sit to drain.  

She jumped us forward in the process with a batch that had been draining overnight and we each formed our own little log of Chèvre - some mixing in honey while others rolled it in a mixture of herbs.  I have to tell you, it was GOOD.  Probably the best Chèvre I have ever had!  Next up was ricotta.  I had been working with my neighbor to stir the goat's milk as it heated up to 263 degrees so it was pasteurized.  As soon as it hit that point, Kate put in the vinegar and boom, we had ricotta.  She added her magic trick (BUTTER) and we all enjoyed a cup of warm, fresh and delicious ricotta.  What she did next was nothing short of wonderful - she took half of the ricotta, added in a some melted chocolate, introduced it to a food processor and we had ourselves a wonderful desert!  

 

This was hands down the coolest farm-to-kitchen experience I have ever had - from the goat to the cheese and every step in between!  

Kate talks about teaching a cheesy lesson here




2 Responses

Marion  Satterthwaite
Marion Satterthwaite

May 01, 2017

I absolutely love this show. The woman are strong, fearless and true role models. The fact that they love agriculture in all it’s forms is icing on the cake.

linda grimmett
linda grimmett

April 24, 2017

This episode was my very favorite. Kate is one of those ladies that draws you in because of her energy,passion and subject knowledge.
Hoping to go visit one of these days!

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