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Do-It-Yourself Food-Making Kits from FarmSteady

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 08 October 2016 at 23:51
I recently purchased one of each of these kits from www.Farmsteady.com:




http://farmsteady.com/shop/soft-pretzel-beer-cheese-kit



http://farmsteady.com/shop/everything-bagel-cream-cheese-kit

And their Fresh Cheese Making Kit (Ricotta, Mascarpone, Mozzarella and Burrata):


http://farmsteady.com/shop/fresh-cheese-making-kit

I will say at the outset that these kits are a little over-priced when it comes to practicality, but I really don't care; I see them as a gateway that will open a door for people like myself, who have long wanted to take on such projects but have hesitated to do so, either because the idea seemed complicated or intimidating, or because getting organised seemed out of reach. For me, these kits achieve those goals, allowing me to actually get started and eventually grow as I learn. The basic equipment/recipes in each kit are, of course, re-usable, and it is handy, in my opinion, to have all of the essentials in one place, rather than piecing it all together.

Farmsteady is a project conceived by the same team that launched Brooklyn Brew Shop:

http://brooklynbrewshop.com/

Thanks to them, I was able to learn to brew real, all-grain beer, as the process was broken down in a way that was both accessible and do-able, while allowing me to achieve very good results that encouraged me to learn more and grow from the basic kit, to their pre-packaged, all-grain mixes, to recipes in their books, to trying my own recipes, and even to making wine and mead. Beyond that, they were very accessible and able to help any time I had a question, either via email, Twitter or Facebook query.

So yes, I am a bit biased toward these folks; however, if I didn't truly believe that their products had some value, I wouldn't be recommending them. You might pay a bit more, but you're actually doing, and learning, which to me makes it worth it.

I haven't yet attempted any of these Farmsteady kits, partially because we've been doing so much traveling this summer, partially to self-imposed diet restrictions, and partially due to not having the necessary ingredients/equipment on hand at the same time (you'd be surprised at how a stand mixer - or at least its parts - can disappear). However, I think it's going to happen, and soon. My own preference would be to start with the pretzel kit, but for the sake of starting with the easiest and working my way up, it may be the bagel kit. I will reserve the cheese kit for last, and work my way through the cheeses one at a time.

Once I do these, I intend to strike out on my own, and grow from there, building on the base that these kits have provided for me.

More as I progress; I'd like to start one next week, but we will see if that happens. In the meantime, if anyone is interested and/or would like to try these, please do let us know how you do with them.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 October 2016 at 12:16
I am going to try to do the Everything Bagel and Cream Cheese kit this coming weekend. It looks to be the "easiest" kit to do, and I won't have to buy much in the way of ingredients or equipment.

The instructions for the bagels call for using a food processor to mix the dough, but mine is too small for this. I am assuming that my Kitchen Aid stand mixer with the dough hook will work just fine; now, all I need to do is find the dough hook!

The kit calls for the cream cheese to be made at least the night before, so I will to be sure to do so.

If I am able to start this project as planned, I'll create a separate thread, and link it back to this one. I'll probably also create one for the cream cheese as well, since it looks to me as though anyone with some dairy products and some rennet can make it, with or without the kit. Reading the separate instructions for the cream cheese, I don't think anyone would have any trouble at all making it as a stand-alone project.

More as it happens, etc. & c....

Ron
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 October 2016 at 09:07
Dough hook found - onward!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pitrow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 October 2016 at 09:11
Originally posted by TasunkaWitko TasunkaWitko wrote:

Dough hook found - onward!


HA! I feel your pain with that one! I lost my hook and search and search for months and never found it so I ended up ordering two from amazon, and lo-and-behold the missing one turns up the day after the two new ones arrive. Ugh.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing your adventures with this. Definitely something I've been wanting to try, just never find the time for it so I'll live vicariously through you.
Mike
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 October 2016 at 09:24
Mike - by the looks of it, it is easier to do it than to actually read about it...I'm not kidding!



They're currently editing the video for the pretzels, and I assume that they will make videos for the cheeses from there.

In any case, I am not usually much of a "video person," but these folks are good at breaking it down. Their videos for Brooklyn Brew Shop essentially taught me to brew beer, and you know what a process that is.

Time aside, I'm guessing that you could do this, no troubles at all!





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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 October 2016 at 11:15
The only tricky part about bagels and soft pretzels is the soaking. The rest isn't much different than making any other bread or rolls.

It might take one or three tries before you get the technique down. But after that you'll be just fine.

Even with the baking soda approach (as opposed to lye) it's a good idea to wear rubber gloves. Making pretzels is about the only time I ever do so when cooking or baking.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 October 2016 at 23:03
The cream cheese has been made, and it was easy! 

Due to my mis-reading of the instructions, it took a little longer than expected, but it was very easy to make. It's chilling and firming up in the refrigerator now, and I think it's going to be great!

I'll post more later, on a separate thread.

Ron
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pitrow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 October 2016 at 11:27
Originally posted by TasunkaWitko TasunkaWitko wrote:

Mike - by the looks of it, it is easier to do it than to actually read about it...I'm not kidding!

...

Time aside, I'm guessing that you could do this, no troubles at all!


Finally got around to watching this. I wonder why they're using malt syrup in the boil? Most bagel or pretzel recipes I've seen use baking soda or lye to lower the PH to get that nice chewy crust. from what I can tell malt syrup is pretty neutral in ph. Maybe the extra sugars on the outside help form the chewy crust?

anyway, you nailed it with the time thing. My weekends are so jam-packed these days that I'm lucky if I get half an hour in the entire weekend to think about doing something I want to instead of running all over NW Oregon running errands and doing stuff for other people. And during the week I'm just too wiped out by the time I get home, get the kids fed, play with the little one and get him off to bed to even think about anything other than vegging on the couch for half an hour before I go to bed myself. Dead
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 October 2016 at 13:18
Mike - my guess (and that's all it is) is that the malt syrup is for colour and flavor. There might be some textural consideration, as well, but I cannot say for sure. I did notice that there is a conspicuous absence of the "baking soda step" with the bagels, even though the pretzels employ baking soda in the boiling water (the pretzels use malt syrup, as well). I'm positive that they did the bagels this way for a reason; but what that reason is, I do not know. Looking at their Twitter, FaceBook and InstaGram posts, they definitely know what they're doing, and it looks like they're having a fun time doing it.

That enthusiasm is a big part of what finally got me motivated to give this a try, and I am glad that I did! Like you, I found it difficult to find the time to start. These last couple-three years have been pretty busy for us; but even before that, I was having trouble getting started with projects like this, even though I definitely wanted to try them.

The cream cheese itself was very easy and while it did take time for the over-all making of it, the time that I had to put in was surprisingly short. It was also broken up into three separate steps, due to the fact that the milk/cream sat for 12 hours while the curds formed, and another 8 hours or so while the curds were hanging and drying in cheesecloth. This allowed me time to take care of a few other home/family/shopping and other duties. I'd be surprised if I actually put more than an hours worth of my own action into the project, and that includes taking the photos, which I will post as soon as I can.

Here's a "teaser" photo that will be part of the over-all pictorial that I am preparing:



Looks pretty good, I'd say!

All-in-all, the cheese-making part was easier and less-involved than I thought it would be, and I'm glad that I finally did it. The bagels? That might take a little more time, but I'll get it done, along with everything else!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 October 2016 at 14:32
Here is the pictorial that I did for the cream cheese portion of the Everything Bagel and Cream Cheese kit:

http://foodsoftheworld.activeboards.net/cream-cheese-kit-from-farmsteady_topic4708.html
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 October 2016 at 10:09
I made the bagels over the weekend; I don't often toot my own horn, but I am pretty sure that I nailed this project. These were beautiful and tasted even better; a healthy schmear of cream cheese was the only adornment necessary! They were a) easier and b) more delicious than I would have guessed, and the education was well worth the price of the kit. Now that I have the method down, and - just as importantly - now that I've actually experienced the results, I suspect that there will be more bagels in the future.

I took a few photos; I will try to organize and post them by this weekend.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 November 2016 at 16:23
Here is the pictorial that I did for the everything bagel portion of the Everything Bagel and Cream Cheese kit:

http://foodsoftheworld.activeboards.net/everything-bagel-kit-from-farmsteady_topic4718.html
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 April 2017 at 09:56
I just placed an order for one of these today.

http://farmsteady.com/shop/kraut-kit



This is marketed as a sauerkraut kit, but good for any lacto-fermenting project. I've made home-made sauerkraut before, on a smaller scale, using an old recipe and method that we found in my wife's grandmother's recipe files after she passed away. The method works, but is probably not the "best" way to do it where food safety is concerned.

I'm looking forward to receiving and experimenting with this kit, which is totally re-usable and should last many years. One of the first projects on my list is pickles, and I am guessing that there well be a few more. I might even dip my toe into the pool that is kimchee!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 April 2017 at 13:33
Lightning-fast shipping; four hours after I ordered it, it is on its way! :)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hoser Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 April 2017 at 03:35
Now you can make some half sour pickles if you want too!
Go ahead...play with your food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 April 2017 at 04:37
Neat kit...I can't wait to hear your thoughts, after you try it.
Enjoy The Food!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 May 2017 at 08:38
This is expected to arrive today, according to USPS tracking.

I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with it, and might even pick up a head of cabbage on the way home from work tonight, so that I can get a quick start on it. That way, when the local farmers' markets begin, I can be ready to make some sauerkraut using some very nicely-grown cabbages from our local Hutterite colonies.

Eventually, I'd like to make the lacto-fermented pickles, as has been discussed on the forum many times; also, there is a whole world of foods out there that can be explored. This kit - along with the other kits from Farmsteady - should be a great way to begin that exploration.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 May 2017 at 13:44
Well - it did arrive yesterday, but the post office was closed when I got back to town after work. I was, however, able to pick it up this morning.

I haven't been able to open it yet, but will do so this evening. I bought some cabbage, so I see no reason not to get started!
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Here is the pictorial that I did for the sauerkraut:

http://foodsoftheworld.activeboards.net/making-sauerkraut-with-farmsteadys-kraut-kit_topic4797.html
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 May 2017 at 09:15
I ordered this yesterday:

http://farmsteady.com/shop/mexican-fresh-cheese-making-kit



The kit contains equipment, ingredients (except milk) and recipes and instructions to make Queso Fresco, Queso Panela and Queso Oaxaca. I think it will be interesting (and delicious) to compare this one to the Italian.
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