Making Labane Cheese on Chai Farm

Making Labane Cheese on Chai Farm

Come and try your hand at making your own cheese here at Chai Farm Visitors Center!

During our workshops you will learn how to make a variety of delectable soft, semi soft and hard cheeses. You will learn the ins and outs of creating Labane, Tzfatit, Bulgarit, Camembert, Tomme and Edam cheeses, many of which you can take home with you at the end of the course. We offer many different workshops, from a quick half hour hands on experience as part of the farm “tour”, to a full fledged training course that can turn you into a professional cheesemaker!

Cheese making workshop from 1 – 3 days and a half hour hands on cheese making for just the tour.

You will be provided you with the knowhow to make your own cheeses whenever and wherever you want to – you will not need much equipment or space and you can amaze your friends and family with your very own handmade cheeses!

As well as your cheeses, a delicious seasonal lunch is included as part of the day, freshly prepared by our Chai Family Farm gourmet chefs.

The different array of textures and flavors derived from cheese making at Chai Farm are a mix of variables for heated temperature, type of culture, amount of coagulation enzyme, type of milk and processing method.

Labane Cheese Balls

Labane Cheese Balls

Labane

Strained yogurt or labneh (also known as labni, lebni or zabedi) is a popular mezze dish and sandwich ingredient. Pleasantly sour and refreshing this unique cheese is probably one of the first cheeses ever to be made. Curdled, soured milk was the only milk that the Hasmoneans who lived in the area of Chai Farms knew. Unless drunk directly from the udder, milk soured almost immediately on contact with milk souring spores that contaminated the wooden or leather containers used for milking. The resulting curd or ‘yoghurt’ was drained to produce a brilliantly white, tangy, creamy cheese. To preserve the cheese it was mixed with salt, rolled into balls and either preserved in oil or dried in the sun. At Chai Farm you will learn how to make traditional Labaneh, form the labeneh into balls, cover the cheese with herbs or spices, and how to store the balls in olive oil. Labneh is a common breakfast in Israel, typically eaten with pita or flat bread, olive oil and often mint. It is usually lightly salted and eaten in a fashion similar to hummus, being spread on a plate with thicker edges and a more shallow centre and drizzled in olive oil. It is often served with an assortment of pickled vegetables, olives, hummus and cheese as part of a meal.

Tzfat cheese (Tzfatit)

Tzfat cheese (Tzfatit)

Tzfatit

Tzfat cheese (Tzfatit) is a semi-hard cheese produced from sheep’s milk. It was first produced by the HaMeiri dairy in Safed in 1840 and is still produced there by descendants of the original cheese makers. Like the HaMeiri Tzfat cheeses, the Chai Farm version has a unique texture and taste. Both the HaMeiri and the Chai Farm cheeses are produced from animals that graze in the open, not confined to pens or given commercial feed to eat. They are hand-milked, so that they enjoy human touch. At Chai farm, you will learn how to create a cheese with an elastic texture and low fat content and salinity. The milk used in the production of cheese is pasteurized at a low 72°C, which guarantees the security of valuable food proteins of the milk. Trimming based largely on the action of enzymes contained in a special ferment, and calcium chloride than in on the action of lactic acid. The fermentation is quick, about an hour. After the separation of most whey, the cheese is stored for several hours in straw or plastic baskets, to drain the remaining whey and to form its round shape. For the remainder of the draining time, the cheese is flipped a few times to help the draining and to form the basket’s pattern on all sides.

Tomme Cheese

Tomme Cheese

Tomme

Tommes are normally produced from the skim milk left over after the cream has been removed to produce butter and richer cheeses, or when there is too little milk to produce a full cheese. As a result, they are generally low in fat. Tomme-style cheese have circular round shapes and earthy gray-brown rind. They have pale white semi-soft to firm paste and intensely nutty taste. Chai Farm Tommes have varying notes of rich hazelnut and mild citrus flavor and a texture from firm to crumbly. At Chai Farm you will learn about the two distinguishing characteristics that combine to make a tomme: the low temperature at which the milk is heated (31 to 37 degrees Celsius) and the pressing of the curds into molds (done by hand or by weights). It’s this lower temperature and pressing that helps create the “tomme” texture that fluctuates from light and semi-soft to thick and dense (all relatively creamy on the palate). As soon as the milk is heated, the coagulation enzyme is added to separate the curds from the whey. This allows the curds to thicken into the solid creamy substance that will become the “tomme.” Every tomme has a rustic “edible” rind – sometimes dark enough to look as though the cheese is covered in soil – which makes it stand apart from other Chai Farm cheeses. This weathered appearance can be attributed to the aging process, which, when combined with the lower than normal heating, the pressing and the microflora in the cave creates the tomme’s earthy rind.

Bulgarit Cheese

Bulgarit Cheese

Bulgarit

Sirene/ Sirenje (Known is Israel as Bulgarit) is a type of brine cheese made of goat milk, sheep milk, cow’s milk or a combination of milks. At Chai farm you will learn the art of making this slightly crumbly cheese, shape it into blocks while keeping it’s unique grainy texture. Sirene / Sirenje / Bulgarit is used as a table cheese, as well as in salads and in baking. Once broken down, tossed throughout a dish and/or pureed into a dip, the cheese softens and turns into a creamy blanket, enveloping the food with a delightful texture that is delectably delicious, enchantingly engaging and satisfyingly scrumptious. Chai Farm Sirene / Sirenje / Bulgarit can be integrated into delectable potato or vegetable soups; delicious shopska salads with tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers and onions; mouthwatering fried eggs and omelettes; tantalizing pasta and cornmeal entrees; tempting pastries and yummy stuffed pepper fillings. Chai Farm Sirene / Sirenje / Bulgarit is often served as a large rectangular appetizer from which you can slice or cube and eat with olive oil, olives and spices. Chai Far produces three different types of Bulgarit, with fat contents varying from five per cent to 24 per cent.

Camembert

Camembert

Camembert

Camembert is a soft, creamy, surface-ripened cow’s milk cheese. It was first made in the late 18th century at Camembert, Normandy in northern France. At Chai Farm you will learn how to make the cheese by inoculating warmed milk with mesophilic bacteria, then adding a coagulation enzyme and allowing the mixture to coagulate. The curd is then cut into roughly 1 cm (1/2 inch) cubes, salted, and transferred to low cylindrical Camembert molds. The molds are turned every six to twelve hours to allow the whey to drain evenly from the cut curds; after 48 hours, each mold contains a flat, cylindrical, solid cheese mass weighing approximately 350 grams (about 12 oz). At this point the fresh cheese is hard, crumbly, and bland. The surface of each cheese is then sprayed with an aqueous suspension of the mold Penicillium camemberti and the cheeses are left to ripen for at least three weeks. The ripening process produces the distinctive powdery rind and creamy interior texture characteristic of the cheese.

Chai Farm Edam

Chai Farm Edam

Edam

Edam is a semi-hard cheese that originated in the Netherlands, and is named after the town of Edam in the province of North Holland. At Chai Farm you will learn how to make Edam into spheres with a pale yellow interior and a coat of red paraffin wax. Chai Farm Edam ages and travels well, and does not spoil; it only hardens. Our “Young” Edam cheese has a very mild flavor, is slightly salty or nutty, and has almost no smell when compared to other cheeses. As Chai Farm Edam ages, its flavor sharpens, and it becomes firmer. It has a significantly lower fat content than many other traditional cheeses; as little as 28 percent of the cheese is made up of fat.