Saturday, October 24, 2009

Beekman Blaak

My friends Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell (owners, curators and farmers of the historic Beekman Farm in Sharon Springs, New York) have expanded their goat farming operations to now include cheese making. Already renowned for their gorgeous, all-natural goats-milk soap, Brent and Josh have developed a new cheese that is now available online. The cheese is stunning to look at it and, I'm told, even more stunning to taste and it might be worth sampling at your Thanksgiving table.

Beekman 1802 Blaak is the first artisanal cheese produced from the goats at Beekman Farm. Blaak is an Italian-style semi-hard cheese made from a 60:40 mix of goat and cow milk giving the cheese a mild but distinctive flavor.

In keeping with traditional cheesemaking practices, this rare cheese is aged for 4 months in our caves and is coated with ash at each turning to promote the ripening of the wheel. The resulting edible black rind gives the cheese its name and makes it a true conversation piece on your table.

Brent and Josh describe the cheese below:


It took us a while to perfect the “recipe” for Blaak. We wanted to create a cheese that was distinctive in taste but that could also appeal to people who don’t (or think they don’t) like the taste of goat milk cheeses. The cow milk mellows out the tanginess traditionally associated with goats' milk, but allows Blaak to maintain the lingering and sophisticated taste of the finest goat milk cheeses.


Bacteria and mold are what give any cheese its flavor and texture. Most cheeses use pasteurized milk, which kills all ambient bacteria resulting in a predictable - and often bland - flavor. Beekman 1802 is a special place, and we think the Beekman goats are special, too. It stands to reason (at least by our logic) that our bacteria is fabulous as well. Pasteurizing our milk prior to making the cheese would prevent the resulting cheese from living up to its best natural potential.


The ash is helpful in mellowing the acidity to promote the affinage (a fancy word for ripening) and produce a more delectable cheese. It also helps make the cheese surface more hospitable to the growth of beneficial molds that add to the complexity of the overall flavor.

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