“What has been the most surprising thing about making cheese?” I asked.
“That over 2,500 different types of cheeses are made from only 4 ingredients,” he replied. “It’s all about subtle differences, temperature for instance. It’s the little nuances among recipes that make up the 2,500.”
I spent yesterday with David and Matt Eagle from Eagle Mountain Farm House Cheese Co., a cheese maker in Lipan, Texas. We discussed raw milk, politics, business, seasonality of milk flavor and the science of cheese making. They shared how while scalding the curd only a two degree variance from recipe can result in a different cheese. They lamented salt rations in blue and they shared why they choose to “whey down” in their pursuit of a consistent product. Six years of commercial cheese making, tons of research, and working closely with others in the field has resulted in a wonderful product where the nuances are from the milk not the facility. It was easy to see the thread of art and science woven through their day to day life. At one point their prose had me pondering what an at home cheese mold would cost on Amazon.
“We start construction next week on the restaurant,” he shared.
There was a Molotov cocktail of nerves and excitement in his voice. I instantaneously joined him with heartburn and butterflies. We are so close. We have been in Austin for almost 3 months and are filling our days with HACCP’s and Pinterest boards in the pursuit of fine tuning our restaurant. Of course the most enjoyable part is the menu planning.
Bowl after bowl of pasta is put in front of me. Every time with the same question, “What do you think?” What he really means is can I taste the difference in the additional 50 grams of Einkorn flour or the chilled equipment vs chilled dough? Copious notes and re-fires resulting in a recipe he is almost happy with. Four more months to add the layers to this restaurant and several more years of fine-tuning those layers, eventually we will get there, I know it.
We have an insatiable thirst for learning, desire to know the community around us, curiosity of the why and the need to create a restaurant that is us. After all, someone once told me, there may be over 2,500 ways to do something but it all starts from four ingredients….and a bit of heartburn and butterflies I hope.