Sunday, December 10, 2017

DIY -- sausage

No, I'm not going to tell you to go out and buy a grinder with a sausage casing attachment.

What I want you to do is a price comparison. If it doesn't work out for you, ignore everything else in this post.

Check how much your store charges for extra lean ground beef, for ground lamb and ground turkey. Then compare to the same weight of American breakfast sausage, chorizo, bratwurst, merguez, Italian or Polish sausage, bologna (mortadella), and salami. And can you even get Rookworst in the U.S. without going to a fancy specialty shop?

In my case, which is kosher, the figures are, an average $14.50 a pound for the fancy sausages, compared to $6/lb  for turkey, $10/lb for lamb, and  $7.29/lb for beef. Bologna (mortadella) and salami are cheaper if you buy them because they are high-volume -- but they are also higher in fat than mine because I deliberately buy extra lean ground beef.

I have found recipes online for all of these (although the mortadella and salami are generic), and you can package them in plastic wrap and consolidate them in the fridge, then bake them or run them through a hot smoker, instead of using fussy sausage casings.

I was even able to fake Lebanon bologna, a product of the Amish around Lebanon PA. Some websites tell you to ferment it, but I've talked to the product specialist at Seltzer's where they still make it the old-fashioned way, and I think what he said is that fermentation is a chemical way of doing what happens when you cold smoke it for a few weeks.  If you can't cold-smoke, you can still get close to the flavor without the chemicals.

The downside? Your mortadella and Lebanon bologna will turn out stiff like meatloaf instead of flexible like what you buy at the deli counter, but that's because you used lean ground beef. You can use "regular" or get the meat cutters to give you some of their suet (you might get it free!) but you would need a grinder so you can stir it evenly throughout your product. The last thing most of us need in our diets is fat. I'm down with flavored meatloaf. YMMV.

Now, if SHTF you won't have plastic wrap or aluminum foil that you dare use with raw meat but you will have the intestines of the animal for natural casing, you just have to wash them carefully. Sausage is only useful so that the stray scraps of butchering don't go to waste.  You could always cook the scraps down and cook cornmeal in the broth. It's another Amish product called scrapple.

So save the equipment money and DIY your sausage, and if S does not HTF you'll spend less on flavored scrap meat.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights  Reserved

Friday, December 8, 2017

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Wellhausen's other brother

I didn’t mean to send you screaming from the room at the end of the last post, but there was an up side to that. It meant you realized that DH’s current assignments are a conjunction with something like 6,000 terms, and the probability is infinitesimal that they are all correct  because they are based on bad facts and fallacies.
If you go on from here, either you’re not convinced that DH has an insignificant probability of being correct, or you want to see how much more dirt I can dig up, or you want to find the point at which I drop the other shoe.
Edouard Reuss, teacher and colleague of Graf, stated that his role was to advance French Protestant scholarship. He waited until the 1870s, when he was about 70 years old, to publish his History of the Scriptures. Until 1870 Strasbourg, where he taught, was part of France; in the Franco-Prussian war, it changed hands. It was part of Prussia by the time his Bible was published.
Those of us who know something about history think “repression” when we think of Prussia. But it was in Prussian-led Germany of the 1870s that Wellhausen was publishing. Whatever Reuss felt about what happened to France, the political change gave him a new intellectual lease on life.
Reuss claimed that he had been asked to provide a French Protestant version of the Bible. It’s possible that the majority of French Protestants had other things on their minds. They were helping the Republicans disestablish the Catholic church, supporter of the monarchy.
He claimed that the problem was an official Bible that was not a perfect translation. You know that any translation is not going to be perfect, unless the translator knows enough about the culture of the source document to explain terms that the audience of the translation will not understand.
But Reuss did not produce the kind of translation that would improve things. When he translated Leviticus 11, he erased verse divisions so that his translation combined the verses telling what signs to watch out for in kosher animals, with the four verses naming some animals that are not kosher. This is fundamental to an issue I will discuss shortly.
For now, you have to understand that the versification of Torah is well understood despite the fact that Torah scrolls are written without punctuation. The Neuchatel, for example, does not give verse numbers but its punctuation clearly separates these verses.
It seems pretty clear that Reuss did not consult the Neuchatel French translation. If Reuss had access to it, he could not use it in his work because it did not support what he did.
Or Reuss deliberately ignored the Neuchatel because it contradicted his work. Or else Reuss relied on his readers not checking up on him. YMMV.
So fundamentally, Reuss did two things wrong: he used a translation, which means he wasn’t analyzing the Hebrew Bible. That’s a strawman argument, pretending that Torah says things it doesn’t say, and a strawman argument is a fallacy.
And he performed sampling bias, another fallacy and a rejected practice in any scientific or scholarly study. Everything Reuss wrote has to be ditched because it relies on fallacies.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, December 7, 2017

21st Century Bible Hebrew -- Genesis 1:14, pop quiz on noun gender

Genesis 1:14
יד וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יְהִי מְאֹרֹת בִּרְקִיעַ הַשָּׁמַיִם לְהַבְדִּיל בֵּין הַיּוֹם וּבֵין הַלָּיְלָה וְהָיוּ לְאֹתֹת וּלְמוֹעֲדִים וּלְיָמִים וְשָׁנִים:
Transliteration: Va-yomer elohim y’hi m’orot birqia ha-shamaim l’havdil beyn ha-yom u-veyn ha-laylah v’hayu l’otot ul’moadim ul’yamim v’shanim.
Translation:     Gd said let there be lights in the raqia of the heaven to separate day and night and they shall be for signs and warnings and days and years.
Letters in this lesson:
Vocabulary in this lesson:
Quick quiz:  Which of these four words are masculine gender and which are feminine gender?  This is not a trick question.
Usually moadim is translated as “seasons” because of its relationship to the phrase chol ha-moed which means the days of Pesach and Sukkot which are not “holy convocations.”  That is, some work is permitted on them, though the religious do not go to their jobs on those days.  You can cook on them, you can light lights, and so on.
It is related to legal notice of a problem, something I will discuss in a later lesson.  When the celestial signs are in a given configuration, you are on notice that a holy convocation is approaching.  Every 7th sun is Shabbat; every 29th or 30th day is New Moon; every 12th or 13th New Moon is Rosh Ha-Shanah; the 10th day after that is Yom Kippur; the next full moon is Sukkot; every 6th New Moon after Rosh Ha-Shanah is Adar; if this Adar comes so early in the year that the barley will not be ripe 6 weeks later, then the New Moon after it is Adar II and the New Moon after that is Nisan; the Full Moon of Nisan is Passover; the 50th day after Passover is Shavuot.
A year has 12 or 13 New Moons in it; they alternate.  This used to be determined by visual observation, which was easy in the Holy Land and within a 12-hour ride. Then bonfires would be lit to send word.  Some of the outlying diaspora would get the word late and they would observe two days of some special days (but not Yom Kippur or Tisha B’Av) as a result.  We still do, but the State of Israel does not. 
When enemies started faking the bonfires, the rabbis decreed that we would shift to a calculation that they had known of for centuries, and it’s been like that ever since.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Knitting -- Palette and fingering weight

This is the stitch count for a pullover in fingering weight yarns like Palette.

7 stitches and 8 rows each make one inch on size 3 needles.
The body is 280 stitches around.
Work 150 rounds of body.
The underarms are 14 stitches per side.
Above the underarms, work 70 rounds.
Knit off 30 stitches at the shoulder on each side.
I made a turtleneck with 50 rounds of k1/p1 rib so that the inside and outside look the same, and bound off in rib.
Pick up the armhole stitches (see below) on size 3 circular needles with a 16 inch tether and cut the steeking.
Work a total of 182 rounds.
When you're down to 66 stitches, do your normal cuff OR do 3 rounds k1/p1 rib so you can push the sleeves up when you need to, and bind off in rib.

There are two  ways to pick up the arm stitches.
a) You can cut the steeking and use a crochet hook to pull the yarn through every stitch beside the steeking, putting these stitches on your knitting  needles. This means more stitches to decrease, and you'll probably want to decrease every third row. But you will still wind up with a poufy sleeve. Do this if you're making a top to go over something, unless it's a Fair Isle.


b) You can leave the steeking alone and use the knitting  needle to pick up the horizontal bits of yarn around the armhole, as I discussed about the middle of another post.  You'll pick up about every OTHER stitch. Then cut the steeking when you're done, knit one stabilizing round, a decrease round and continue. You'll probably decrease every 9th row, every 10th or 11th toward the end. This will fit closer to your arm. This is what you need if you're going to wear the turtleneck under an Oxford shirt or if you're knitting a Fair Isle top.

The calculation is: #stitches at armhole - #stitches at wrist = #stitches to decrease.
#stitches to decrease divided by 2  = #rows where you do a  decrease.
#rounds in arm (182) divided by #rows with decreases = #rounds BETWEEN decreases.

This is a great bottom layer on cold days when you're doing housework. For example, I have no dishwasher except my two hands and a sink. I can push up the sleeves on this while doing dishes. When I'm done, I dry my hands and put on a pullover with cuffs for warmth. I can't get there with T-shirts either long or short sleeved; the ends of the long sleeve ones get wet and my arms get cold with the short sleeve ones.

Down side: Palette is soft and will pill away with heavy wear. So I'm going to have to knit these in a lot of colors to keep ahead of the wear.
Palette comes in 150 colors.
Oh, pleeze throw me in that briar patch!

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Friday, December 1, 2017

Fact-Checking the Torah -- Splitting Graf

Graf said one thing which ought to have been a warning to Wellhausen and his successors. Graf did not believe in verse by verse assignment.

He said this could never end in a satisfying and convincing delineation of the sources, and that the criteria for it were often subjective.
Nobody listened. Why should they? Graf himself split Torah up in other ways than by the Jewish aliyot, and also without regard to the chapters. Splitting one verse of a chapter from another authorizes everybody to do so and you can’t exactly influence people after you’re dead unless they let you.
What Graf thought of as subjective was meat and drink to his successors. Without relying on physical finds, without basis in logic, without facts that turned up in the 20th and 21st centuries, DH could give itself a pass as being descriptive, an issue I’ll come back to later. In fact there are no objective grounds for Graf’s conclusions. There are only the claims he feels like making.
His successors went further. And so we get things like this in the online assignment of Numbers 16:27. Note that the assignment is based on the KJV, another bad translation which copies errors made in the Septuagint. This translation implies that Qorach had his own tabernacle, which is false and a classic sign of a bad translation.
27 So they gat up from the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side: and Dathan and Abiram came out, and stood in the door of their tents, and their wives, and their sons, and their little children.
The sky blue and dark blue text (from “and Dathan” to “their tents”, the dark blue picking up at “and their wives”) is from E and J respectively; notice that no name of Gd appears in this verse. No worries, since we know that the “name” axiom is based on bad facts and sampling bias. Somebody needs to dig up the other reasons for those assignments.
The red (the first occurrence of “Dathan, and Abiram”) is supposed to have been added by a redactor who is superfluous unless DH is true, and we have evidence that it isn’t.
The purported source is called “the book of generations”, first proposed by Frank Moore Cross in 1973, about the same time as other writers were realizing that DH had serious problems. The “book of generations” is also the source that the redactor used to fill in his fragmentary P. Cross dates this “book” to the Captivity, but his argument is based on the “repetitions” pillar similar to the work of Graf’s student Reuss, whom I will discuss next.
The olive green (everything else) is supposedly from P, some claims for which are based on the invalid mischsprache concept.
So despite getting his name on the concept, Graf did not affect DH for the better. Where he was right, later writers ignored him. Where he was wrong, he doomed DH to fail in an environment of active scientific inquiry.
By the way, this is the worst-case scenario I told you about some time back. The probability that the above verse has been correctly analyzed is the probability of correctness of every split, multiplied together. DH also has to justify keeping verses together since Graf allows splits between them. There are 5,888 verses (that’s the worst-case, some say 5,845) in Torah.

Do you dare go further?
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, November 30, 2017

21st Century Bible Hebrew -- Genesis 1:13, "do" perfect aspect

Genesis 1:13
יג וַיְהִי־עֶרֶב וַיְהִי־בֹקֶר יוֹם שְׁלִישִׁי:
Transliteration: Va-y’hi erev va-y’hi voqer yom shlishi.
Translation:     There must have been evening and there must have been morning, a third day.
Letters in this lesson:
Vocabulary in this lesson:
There’s nothing new here, folks.  Remember that the va-y’hi is a timing expression and notice that we are halfway to the end of this narrative.
Let’s move on to the perfect aspect of asah, “make, do,” in qal. Memorize this because you will see it a lot.  
First person
Second person/masculine
Second person/feminine
Third person
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, November 26, 2017

I'm just saying -- it's not your fault

You know how you pick out a size 10 and it doesn't fit? Well, it's not your fault.

A retailer admitted to me something I suspected for decades.

Clothing manufacturers do not sew to standards.

They do not say ok we're going to label this size 10 so it has to come out to x inches in the (bust/waist/hips).

They just parcel it out and get it sewn up as fast as possible.

They don't even test random items and retrain or fire whoever did the sewing.

That's only one third of the problem.

The next third is the wholesaler who buys this crap. They have a contract with retailers to accept so many items at such a price. No standards enforcement.

The retailers are the third  part of the problem. Their buyers don't give a hoot how small a  percentage of purchases actually wind up in the customer's closet.

They are selling an image and it doesn't look anything like American demographics.

One retailer near me went out of business decades ago. They consistently had sales racks full of sizes 2-8 but almost nothing for sale either full price or less, in the actual size demographic of 12-16. At last they couldn't stand the shoddy work their buyers, wholesalers, and manufacturers were doing.

So first with brick and mortar stores, and now with Internet sales, it's a crapshoot whether that size ten will fit you.

But it's not your period, the doughnut you had for breakfast, the time you decided you were too tired to work out.

Yes, work out, yes, eat right, losing the weight this way will keep you from getting diabetes and having other deadly health problems.

But if you're doing it to fit into a given size clothing, it will never work because the clothing makers don't care if it fits.

It's not your fault.

I'm just saying....

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Friday, November 24, 2017

Fact-Checking the Torah -- walling in DH

Karl Heinrich Graf gets credit from Wellhausen for fundamental work in DH, although neither called it that at the time.  Graf’s introduction to his Historical Books of the Old Testament suggests a number of reasons why DH has gone so wrong.
While claiming to extract Biblical study from monocular shackles of both Judaism and Catholicism, Graf claims his Protestant perspective is the only way to find the truth.  He claims the other two have been stymied; this is an example of the general ignorance of Judaism previously demonstrated by Astruc.  In the 1860s, when Graf wrote, two trends were continuing.  One was migration of Jews to America, the forerunner of migrations which brought challah and bagels to the American kitchen.  Another was purchases of parcels of the Holy Land from the Ottomans, the foundation of the modern State of Israel.  At this time conflict between Orthodoxy and Chassidism died down, allowing both of the more traditional movements to use their energy in other ways. 
Graf’s standpoint marks a written version of DH’s isolationism.  Whybray credits Wellhausen for thickening the walls around DH. This is one more thing that locks DH into its conjunction, without the mutual support of which real sciences, soft or hard, take advantage.  Perhaps DH proponents intended it to become a monolithic empire of religious thought, which  is borne out in  the 1918 work of Edgar Brightman. He performs the redefinition fallacy to say that “scholar” only applies to those who agree with DH.  Using a fallacy discredits Brightman. 
Graf was relying on an ancient connotation of “science” as meaning study.  Herodotus called his work archaeologos, but there’s no way that in the 400s BCE, he meant the kind of work done by Cyrus Gordon or William Dever in the 20th century CE.  What Herodotus meant was studying the history of nations.  He did it from his armchair, through the reports of others.
Graf views his work as study and that’s why he says Wissenschaft.  Unfortunately, as with “hypothesis,” he was crashing into a new world where ambiguity in the understanding of Wissenschaft misled his successors to believe that they were building on a scientific foundation.
This is an SWLT issue.  The people who think DH is a science, or that it is a proven theory, don’t understand how science works and that they are failing the test of Occam’s Razor or using fallacies at every turn, on top of rejecting the support of other fields.
The problem is not that Graf was a product of his times.  The problem is that he could not see outside his own times, that he was blind to the implications of what he said, that he didn’t even have the wisdom to see that everything he criticized in other scholars, he was about to impose on his own branch of studies.  The problem with Graf is that he was a product of his prejudices.
But he did say one thing that could have made DH less of a problem – if his successors had recognized him as the authority he thought he was.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved 

Thursday, November 23, 2017

21st Century Bible Hebrew -- progressive habitual

Genesis 1:12
יב וַתּוֹצֵא הָאָרֶץ דֶּשֶׁא עֵשֶׂב מַזְרִיעַ זֶרַע לְמִינֵהוּ וְעֵץ עֹשֶׂה־פְּרִי אֲשֶׁר זַרְעוֹ־בוֹ לְמִינֵהוּ וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים כִּי־טוֹב:
Transliteration: Va-totse ha-arets deshe esev mazria zera l’minehu v’ets oseh-pri asher zaro-vo l’minehu vayar elohim ki-tov.
Translation:     The earth brought out grass, herbs seeding seed of its kind and tree making fruit that has its seed in it of its kind; Gd must have manifested, ki-tov.
Letters in this lesson:
Vocabulary in this lesson:
brought forth (v)
make (v)

Here is the progressive aspect of asah. What you see happening in this verse is another use of progressive: what the trees are doing is habitual with them. This is an adjectival use of the progressive, comparable to “the baking pan” where “baking”, a gerund, modifies “pan,” a noun.

Now look at totse. The root is yatsa, but this is partly a hifil; I know that because of the long “o”. However, if it was the hifil imperfect, it should look like the table below, and you will see these forms in later verses.
You might think that totse would be an imperative but that starts with heh. I will discuss a permissive/prescriptive form in a later verse. If that’s what’s going on here, I suggest that this verse is permitting/requiring the dry land to bring forth plants and that’s why Gd had the seas withdraw to reveal it.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Garden -- illegal lawn service

You have to read this Mike McGrath post to believe it. See the guy with the fescue about halfway down.

So basically this lawn service was charging money to break the law.

If your lawn care service feeds your lawn more than McGrath indicates, fire them now.

If they create mulch volcanoes against your tree trunks, fire them now.

If they put down mystery mulch instead of composted leaves, fire them now.

If they want to prune your trees or hedges now, fire them.

Before you hire anybody to work on your lawn or landscaping, ask for their credentials.

In Maryland, you can insist on hiring only licensed tree care experts.

You can also insist on hiring only a Master Gardener -- you can even become one yourself,  see the University of Maryland extension service website.

But don't get cheated into breaking the law.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved  

Friday, November 17, 2017

Fact-Checking the Torah -- the Graf in Graf-Wellhausen

Karl Heinrich Graf gets credit for establishing J and E beyond a doubt. At least, Wellhausen gives him that credit. Graf’s book The Historical Books of the Old Testament is on the web. The introduction is a beautiful indicator of why DH has gone so wrong.
Graf says that Torah has to become divorced from Jewish culture to be properly understood.
Because you have been reading this blog, you know that it has been a divorce from Jewish culture that has led to urban legends which I have debunked.
Graf says is that it is the insistence on a single perspective that has tied Jewish commentators up in shackles (his word), the same as the Catholic church has been tied up in shackles. That demonstrates Graf’s prejudices. He writes as if Protestantism is the only possible correct perspective for any research into the Bible.
Graf says that a single school of study which claims for itself all rights to judge what is correct, will later find itself stymied.
No truer words were ever spoken. That is the position where DH now finds itself. Claiming that it knows THE truth about Torah, and ignoring advances in archaeology as well as in our understanding of how language develops and operates, has created a paradigm with an infinitesimal probability of being true. But true to Victorian scholasticism, Graf believed that his own work will never be overturned by later discoveries or trends.
Graf specifically rejected Astruc’s (and later Hermann Gunkel’s) idea that Torah came together out of fragments.
This is the essence of the doctrine of completeness and invention ab initio, one of which is too ambiguous for proper proof, and the other of which I will deal with some time from now.
I don’t know how Graf could believe that manuscripts survive centuries without scribal errors. He surely knew about the Masoretic annotations I discussed in the Lost in Translation section.
The problem of variations in manuscripts was well known in his time to people studying Samaritan scripture; it was known to Rev. Brian Walton who produced the London Polyglot Bible in the 1600s, incorporating both Samaritan Pentateuch and Samaritan Targum. It was known to the collectors of manuscripts of Samaritan “Chronicle” starting in the 1500s and continuing into Graf’s times, according to Turnbull.
The problems of manuscripts are even better illustrated in in the Qumran scrolls. Of course Graf didn’t know anything about  Qumran.
But wait, there’s more.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Thursday, November 16, 2017

21st Century Bible Hebrew -- noun/verb relationships

Genesis 1:11
יא וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים תַּדְשֵׁא הָאָרֶץ דֶּשֶׁא עֵשֶׂב מַזְרִיעַ זֶרַע עֵץ פְּרִי עֹשֶׂה פְּרִי לְמִינוֹ אֲשֶׁר זַרְעוֹ־בוֹ עַל־הָאָרֶץ וַיְהִי־כֵן:
Transliteration: Va-yomer elohim tadshe ha-arets deshe esev mazria zera ets p’ri oseh p’ri l’mino asher zaro-vo al-ha-arets va-y’hi khen.
Translation:     Gd said let the land sprout sprouts, plants having seed, fruit tree making fruit of its kind that its seed is in it on the earth; it must have been so.
Letters in this lesson: ז
Vocabulary in this lesson:
sprout (v)
sprout (n)
grass, plant, herb
making seed
seed (n)
kind, sort, type
Remember that I said I was going to watch for another example like va-yavdel?  Well, we have it here.  Tadshe has the same vowels in the same places.  What it does not have is a dagesh in the  shin in the middle.
Also notice the relationship between two pairs of words in this vocabulary: tadshe, deshe; mazria, zera.
In English, we do all kinds of things to nouns to get verbs and vice versa. Television becomes televize, compute becomes computer, telephone can be either noun or verb, etc.
In Hebrew the root letters of the verb are always in the noun, and then some of the same prefixes and infixes will be used as in the verbal binyanim, to get the necessary sense. If you remember mavdil, you can see that mazria is from the same binyan,  but zera doesn’t look anything like the verbs we have already seen.
That said, we have esev here, which is green plants, and it makes a good example of what happens to a noun when the first letter is a guttural: alef, heh, chet, or ayin.
Which should make you think back to the conjugation of aseh and rachaf. So here is a chart for esev which is masculine, and for a feminine noun that starts with a guttural.
Masculine singular
Masculine plural
Feminine singular
Feminine plural
Notice the “i" in the construct plural.
Halakhah means Jewish law and, as you might have guessed, it has the same root as halakh, “walk”.
Esev, on the other hand, has no known verbal counterpart that I know of. Harkavy’s dictionary says the verb would mean being bright green, but he has no examples in Tannakh of its use. Neither are there any examples in Mishnah, or in Jastrow’s Talmudic dictionary. So Harkavy has an entry based on the relationship between verbs and nouns in Hebrew but it’s never used.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved  

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Fact-Checking the Torah -- quick note

This just in from our "turn it over and over" department. I added a comment to the following post.

Couple or three points.

First, the Babylonian and Jerusalem schools of Torah do things different ways. However, they have the same basis, Torah amplified and explained by Mishnah. Babylonian Talmud simply reports the conclusion, and by tagging it to a specific scholar, might be rejecting it.

Jerusalem Talmud is much more pegged to the actual text, and narratives like this are illustrations. I'll come back to that after I finish demolishing Documentary Hypothesis.

Second. You can never rest on your laurels if you want a rep for knowing Judaism. Once you know something about Torah, you have to also know something about Tannakh.  You have to know Mishnah.  You have to know Gemara. The more you know about BOTH Gemaras, the more you know about each of them. And so on.

"The more you know" means how they connect back into Mishnah, and Mishnah back into Torah, and how Tannakh relates to them.

So get on the stick, use the Fact-Checking Resources page to find free resources, and start working on your rep or bucket list or chops or whatever you want to call it.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, November 12, 2017

DIY -- cheese again

I owe all of you an apology. The mozzarella recipe I posted some time back does NOT work. I'm not clear on why, but I think it's the temperature. This recipe uses a higher temperature and it probably works or it wouldn't have such good reviews.

Now the hard stuff.  Here is the hard cheese recipe I use. It uses yogurt for a thermophilic culture.

It takes less time than cheddar and I have gotten several nice cheeses with it. Tips.
1.  DO buy a plastic BPA-free mold with follower. The follower compresses the curds; the mold should have holes or something to let out the remaining whey.
If you are only going to process one gallon of milk per batch, buy several. You will want to put the follower of one that you don't need at the moment, on top of the follower on top of the cheese, and then put weight on top of that to press the cheese. I was in this position because I used a gallon pot for warming the milk. If you have or can buy a larger pot, you'll get a bigger cheese out of each batch.

Here is a cheese fresh out of the mold starting to dry.

2.  Be patient after you add the rennet. The recipe doesn't say this (a different recipe does, see below),  but it takes up to an hour for the rennet to do its job.

3.  Tap water is good for the bath. You should set it on the warm burner where you warmed the milk, but turn the burner OFF. Yes, it will cool, but not enough to jeopardize the curding.

4.  Don't forget the vinegar wipe. This retards growth of mold.

5.  A little chemistry. The wax you use, if you are going to age the cheese a long time, is a hydrocarbon. So is the butter you spread on this cheese during the initial aging period. They do the same thing but it's easier to get the butter off when you go to eat that first cheese because you can't stand to wait any longer.

I used some of one of my first cheeses in an omelet when it had aged a couple of weeks. Not bad. It will age some more & I'll try it again.

Here is a cheddar cheese recipe. I bought annatto especially for this, so I would know which was which. You can use cultured buttermilk for mesophilic cultures; use the same amount as you used yogurt for the hard cheese.

I made several batches of this without buying a press and I used stuff I had around the house, added up to get the right weight.  The cheddaring means that getting into press takes longer with more intervention, and the press needs to stay on longer.

I bought cultures and made yogurt and buttermilk to use for cheesing. You can also use the buttermilk to make sour cream and cream cheese. My first two tries at cream cheese were a bust so I will have to  go to a store near me that sells Trickling Spring lightly pasteurized half and half. The heavy and light cream and half an half in your store are probably ultra-pasteurized and all the recipes say DON'T USE THAT. So my first sour cream was nice and firm but didn't have much flavor.

Don't use store-bought yogurt as a culture unless you check the ingredients for food starch and pectin. I was going to use Dannon for this but they had started adding food starch one year, after adding pectin the year before. Another manufacturer putting profit ahead of food quality. The culture I bought to make yogurt with tells you how to make sure it's thick, if that's what you want. But the mfg doesn't have time to waste on doing things right.

Now you know I don't DIY if there's nothing in it for me but there is. This link gives the ingredients of Kraft American cheese.

Notice the gelatin. If you keep halal or kosher, you need a guarantee from Kraft that they ONLY use plant gelatin.  If they won't commit to that, you can't eat this cheese because some gelatin still comes from animals, and you can't be sure the animals qualify for halal or kosher.

Some of the other stuff goes under "can I buy this on the shelves of the grocery where I buy the cheese" and the answer is "no". It's additives meant to preserve the product or make it cheaper to manufacture. But cheese freezes well for up to a year and if you make sure to thaw it  in the fridge it won't come out crumbly.

The down side to making your own cheese is, as I said, that YOU MUST COMMIT to keeping your instruments/utensils scrupulously clean. You cannot use chlorine, this is not about disinfecting and anyway, as you know, the recipes assume some mold will grow in or on the cheese. You should not use detergents, especially those that are bad for the environment. This is where my switch to all-Castile soap has been a benefit,  BUT I must wipe the pot and things down with vinegar and towel them off to remove the salts.

That said, as long as you get the temperature of the milk TO the right value before adding cultures or rennet, and you don't stray too high when using a mesophilic culture, cheese is pretty forgiving.

And pretty tasty.

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved