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Creamy intentions: Goat cheese

Wauseon farm is only one in the area making goat cheese from its own goats

  • GOATCHEESE22p-burkholder

    Del Burkholder prepares to flip a wheel of gouda cheese into a mold for a second pressing.

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  • goats-goat-cheese

    Goats used to make cheese at the Turkeyfoot Creek Creamery in Wauseon, Ohio, wander around the company's barn.

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  • cheese-cave-gouda

    Wheels of gouda cheese are kept cool wile they age in the Cheese cave.

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  • Del-burkholder-and-banana

    Owner and operator, Del Burkholder, with Banana, on of his 37 goats.

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  • goat-cheese

    Jill Proudfoot of Wauseon, Ohio, places cheese curds into a mold so that it can be pressed into a wheel of gouda cheese at the Turkeyfoot Creek Creamery.

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goats-goat-cheese

Goats used to make cheese at the Turkeyfoot Creek Creamery in Wauseon, Ohio, wander around the company's barn.

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WAUSEON -- They have names like Banana and Jive, and they make cheese.

Technically, they only provide the milk that is turned into the cheese. But it is the 40 or so goats that make Turkeyfoot Creek Creamery unique.

According to owner Del Burkholder, the farm near Wauseon is the only one in northwest Ohio to make goat cheese from its own goats. And it is one of only four or five in the whole state to do so.

goat-cheese

Jill Proudfoot of Wauseon, Ohio, places cheese curds into a mold so that it can be pressed into a wheel of gouda cheese at the Turkeyfoot Creek Creamery.

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The creamery will have its official grand opening at noon July 17, though it has been in business since March. It makes cheese in three ways: creamy chevre, firm and flavorful Gouda, and chewy curds, which are eaten deep fried or just plain as a snack.

Currently, the curds are the farm's best seller, though Mr. Burkholder acknowledged it is the kind of food that you either love or hate.

The chevre -- so soft it can be spread on crackers -- comes in six flavors: peppercorn (the most popular), garlic, ranch, honey, pineapple, and plain. The plain is a blank slate to which you can add whatever herbs or seasonings you choose, and it is made without salt for people who are watching their sodium.

Mr. Burkholder, 48, works the five-acre farm with his niece, Jill Proudfoot, who insists he could do all the work himself. Ms. Proudfoot handles sales for the creamery, introducing the cheese to local stores and restaurants. So far, it it's available at Walt Churchill's Markets, Sautter's Market in Sylvania, Monnettes' Market on Reynolds Road, All Things Food and Stoney Ridge Winery in Bryan, Brookview Farm in Archbold, AKA Designs in Wauseon, By Nature in Adrian, Mich., and at the farm itself, and Bar 145 offers it as a choice on a cheeseburger.

Ms. Proudfoot also helps to make the different cheeses, which all begin the same way. The goats -- they were named by Mr. Burkholder's wife, Linda -- are milked and the milk is pumped into a large vat that stirs and heats it, pasteurizing the milk. Rennet, cheese cultures, and calcium chloride are added. Soon, the curds separate from the whey and can be filtered out. Mr. Burkholder gives the whey to local farmers for their hogs -- gives it, not sells it -- and what he does with the curds determines what kind of cheese he gets.

GOATCHEESE22p-burkholder

Del Burkholder prepares to flip a wheel of gouda cheese into a mold for a second pressing.

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The chevre is stirred and drained through cheesecloth before the flavors are added. The curds are heated, stirred, pressed until all the liquid has been forced out, and then cut into the familiar bite-sized pieces.

And the Gouda is pressed into molds, brined, covered with a wax rind, and aged in a cheese cave (it's a humid cooler with wooden shelves) for a minimum of 60 days.

After 60 days, the flavor is pronounced, but mild. But it can age for several years, and the longer it ages, the sharper and deeper the flavor.

"I go through extra processes to make a better Gouda," Mr. Burkholder said. "I'm trying to make my cheese the old way."

That is why he sought the advice and assistance of Harold Schuller, the American representative of a Dutch company that manufactures cheese-making equipment. With Mr. Schuller's help, he learned to make cheese for public consumption.

"I've made cheese in the house for quite a few years, but this is totally different from making cheese in the house," Mr. Burkholder said.

Del-burkholder-and-banana

Owner and operator, Del Burkholder, with Banana, on of his 37 goats.

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When you're making cheese to sell, you have to be almost obsessed with cleanliness. Any contamination that gets in the milk, any of the wrong bacteria in the cheese can sicken the customers. Mr. Burkholder has to have five separate licenses to make it, and he tests every batch of milk to make certain no medication has gotten into it.

Mr. Burkholder generally does not medicate his goats, other than a vaccination when they are kids. If one needs medication, he quarantines her and keeps her from the rest of the herd.

He has been raising goats since he was a child, though until recently he had spent the bulk of his career as a painter. But he developed an allergy to the paint, and as his health declined he realized he had to try something new. He feels better now, and with the cheese operation well underway, the admittedly impatient Mr. Burkholder is eager to find success.

Standing in his century-old barn, he looked over his 40 docile goats -- he has Lamancha and Saanen breeds -- and said he would like to sell enough cheese to have 80 goats.

"As you can see, I have the space," he said.

Turkeyfoot Creek Creamery is at 11313 County Road D, near Wauseon, 419-335-0224.

Contact Daniel Neman at dneman@theblade.com or 419-724-6155.



Fig and Goat Cheese Bruschetta

1 baguette, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces

1 jar fig jam

1 1/4 cups plain chevre

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Honey

5 teaspoons walnuts, finely chopped

Toast bread slices. Top each with 1/2 teaspoon fig jam. Mix chevre and vanilla in a small bowl and spread on top of fig jam. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with walnuts.

Source: Turkeyfoot Creek Creamery


cheese-cave-gouda

Wheels of gouda cheese are kept cool wile they age in the Cheese cave.

THE BLADE/ZACK CONKLE
Enlarge | Buy This Image

Strawberry Delight

1 pound fresh strawberries

1 small bar semi-sweet chocolate

1 pound plain chevre

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw)

Remove stems and tops of strawberries. If the berries are large, cut them in half. With a vegetable peeler, cut chocolate into shavings.

In a mall bowl, mix together chevre, vanilla, and turbinado sugar (which gives the mixture a crunchy texture). Top each strawberry with 1/2 tablespoon chevre mixture, and top with shaved chocolate.

Source: Turkeyfoot Creek Creamery


Chocolate Chip Mint Heaven

1 pound plain chevre

1 teaspoon mint extract

3 tablespoons shaved chocolate

1/4 cup turbinado sugar (Sugar in the Raw)

Thin graham crackers

Marshmallow fluff

Mint leaves

In a small bowl, mix together chevre, mint extract, chocolate shavings, and turbinado sugar. Place 1 tablespoon of this mixture on each graham cracker, and top with 1 teaspoon marshmallow fluff. Serve with a small mint leaf on top.

Source: Turkeyfoot Creek Creamery


Fresh Garlic Chevre on Bruschetta

1 baguette or loaf of Italian bread, in 1/2-inch thick slices

10 ounces garlic chevre

2 Roma tomatoes, sliced thin

1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Spread garlic chevre on slices of bread, as desired. Top with slice of tomato. Sprinkle lightly with fresh basil.

Source: Turkeyfoot Creek Creamery


Beer Batter Curds

4-6 cups oil

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup beer, or more to taste

1 pound fresh curds

In a medium pan or fryer, heat oil to 375°.

In a small mixing bowl add flour, egg, garlic powder, and black pepper. Stir in beer, adding more if you want a thinner batter. Dip curds in batter and fry in small batches for about 1 minute or until golden brown.

Source: Turkeyfoot Creek Creamery


Key Lime Chevre Pie

3 cups sweetened condensed milk

1/2 cup plain chevre

3/4 cup key lime juice

1 tablespoon grated lime zest

1 (9 -inch) prepared graham cracker crust

Preheat oven to 350 degrees°.

In a medium bowl, combine condensed milk, chevre, lime juice, and lime zest. Mix well and pour into graham cracker crust.

Bake 5-8 minutes, until tiny pinhole bubbles burst on the surface of pie. Do not brown! Chill pie thoroughly before serving. Garnish with lime slices and whipped cream if desired.

Source: Turkeyfoot Creek Creamery

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