David's Naturals

Living naturally shouldn't be hard

   Nov 23

Kosher Cheddar Cheese Workshop Is Underway

Kosher Cheddar Cheese (Efrat Style)

The kosher curd nerds of Efrat seem to really love to make fresh kosher cheese and for them to make a nice kosher cheddar cheese I thought would just make many very happy. It has been taking a very long time, but I have finally been able to have the Kosher Cheddar Cheese workshop take place.  It is the first time that this workshop has been done in English only in Israel and I am proud to say that once again I had the pleasure of being hosted by the Leavitt family in Efrat once again for the first Kosher Welsh Cheddar Cheesemaking workshop in Israel.


This family are true partners in making sure that the word is out when a workshop is going to take place.  I just can’t say how much I appreciate all the work they did to make this workshop happen.  Thank you.

The turn out was smaller than what we thought, but it was a great day of cheese making and discussing the kashrut issues of hard cheese making.

The cheese that we made is Kosher Cheddar Cheese called Caerphilly.  It is a Welsh Cheddar style cheese that is crumbly and salty (and not usually kosher).  There are many versions as to how this cheese can be made, for this workshop I took the one that will produce the quickest results without spending more time than needed to get it from pot to press and finally to mouth.  My intention is to have a salty cheese ready for Chanukah and this cheese will fit the bill.



Like all of my workshops, this cheese uses regular Tnuva 3% sack milk.  Once again,only this milk can be used to make cheese at home (unless you have your own animals). This milk is the only milk from the store which we are able to make cheese with here in Israel.


IMG-20140904-WA0023We started the process of ripening the milk by adding are Mesophilic starter culture to the milk.  Once the milk ripened we added the rennet.  In this recipe I used the liquid rennet instead of the powder rennet.  With hard cheeses, the powder rennet might tend to give a bitter taste if aging for more than a few months.  The curds were formed in about 1 hour and ready to be cut.

The process to make hard cheeses can take any time from 3 to 6 hours before getting it to the press.  We were hoping to have it in the press within 3 hours time but it did take us about 5 hours from the time we started.


20141120_171919The curds are cut and then slowly heated to 1 degree more.


The whey was really starting to be released and we were getting to a nice curd mass that we were going to then drain, then cheddar and drain some more before milling, salting and putting it in the press.



The curds can be somewhat hypnotizing and many were getting lost as their constant change was taking place.

After the curds have been cut and whey has been released.  We need to drain them.  This is done by putting them in the cheesecloth and colander.


Once they have drained for around 5-10 minutes we need to mill them and add the salt.

One of the great parts of this workshop is you get a cheese press (if you want). You are not able to make a hard cheese without a press, so to have one included in the basic kosher cheddar cheese making kit was a great whey for the participants to start making this cheese instantly.  Our host even made his family press, and I had mine that I purchased from the states many years ago.  The pressure was applied by bricks, spring, and straight pressure applied by hand.  Below are the different presses that we used to make our cheese.

Kosher cheddar cheese





Well, the next day came and not everybody was able to make it to the unwrapping, drying stage of the workshop so my host family, one participant and myself were able to take out of the press and unwrap and start the air drying process of about 6kg of a wonderful Caerphilly cheese.  The cheese will be in the air for about 4-5 days before being placed in the fridge for final aging.

Taking the Cheese out of the mold, Paring the left over, tasting a bit before it dries Yumm!!!









This cheese is one of my favorites because it can be aged for a s little as 14 days, but to really get a nice surprise it is better to wait another 14 days.  This is not a cheese that you want to age for long time though.  It was traditionally made and eaten within the month. Below is the cheese getting ready to spend some time alone.  If you are wanting to host a kosher cheddar cheese workshop at your home please send an email to david@koshercurds.com


   Nov 05

Hard Cheese Workshop Starting

Hard Cheese Workshop

For many the idea of cheese making is to go past the basics.  They like the soft cheeses that they make but they really wanted to make Hard Cheese.  You know, Cheddar, Colby, Halumi, Swiss… the names go on.  It has taken about a 7 months to get this workshop together but I am glad to say that it is finally done.

Koshercurds.com is getting ready to start their new workshop for Hard Cheese making. As far as I can tell, the first one will be in Efrat.  There are two great groups down there that are really wanting to step up their cheese making.   For information on that workshop please send an email to this address .hard cheeseThis new workshop will take around 4.5 hours and split between 2 days.  The cheese that we will be making will be a Welsh Cheddar.  The reason that I choose this cheese is because it can be eaten in 14 days after pressing. Yumm!!!! :)

The course will be complete with ingredients for hard cheese making including a press that we will put together.  This will be a great experience and adventure for those that are truly wanting to take their “koshercurd nerd” cheese making to the next level.

If you are wanting to host this course in your area please send an email to david@koshercurds.com with the subject hard cheese workshop

   Oct 22

When building an Aquaponic system You should think about these things

Aquaponic system basics

Even though setting up an aquaponic system is rather easy, it still requires some basic knowledge of aquaponics.  If you have decided to put a system like this in your house, then you are aware of what it is and how it can help you.  However, there could still be a few things which might be of interest to you, or help you along the way.  Below I have listed some the basic things which you should know in order to have amazing results.

  1. Location

Where you decide to place your aquaponic system is extremely important for the way in how the plants and the fish will develop. In order to get maximum  results you Aquaponic system should make sure that the temperature from the room is not too high, nor too low, that there is enough light for the plants to prepare their food and that no wind or extreme weather conditions will reach them. Also, make sure that no harming chemical substances can get inside the water as this means death for both your fish and your plants.

Oxygenizing the water

If you want to have happy fish, then you will need to make sure that they have plenty of oxygen.   The water needs to be oxygenized on a daily basis to make sure that the fish are comfortable and happy.  This will make sure that your system is running properly.

Choosing your fish accordingly

An aquaponic system is designed to work well with most fish types.  However, there are some states that do not permit you to raise any type of fish that you want.  You will need to find out what fish you are allowed to grow before starting your system, in order to not have troubles with law enforcement.

Placing the pots

One of the hardest parts of gardening is having to always be bending down.  With an aquaponics system you can build it to be at waist level.  This will mean no more bending over to care for your garden.

Adding additives

Fish should be able to provide what is needed for your plants in terms of nutrients.  However, if the nutrient level is low or poor, you will want to supply them with a little booster.  Generally,  you will supplement iron, calcium carbonate or potassium carbonate.

An Aquaponic system is an easy activity which will provide you with the necessary vegetables and fish in a short amount of time. Just follow the tips mentioned above and you will have great success in your attempt to grow organic food in your home.

   Jun 29

Organic Yogurt Culture

Yogurt Culture

Being a Yogurt drinker/eater and maker Generally, IYogurt Culture just happened to have this come in my email today and thought that I would share this with all of you as it does fit within the davidsnaturals.com theme.I have been making Yogurt off and on for about as many years as I have been makng cheese.  I have been asked by many to supply them with a recipe or a “how do you do it” question in the cheesemaking workshop. 


Sacco CY YogurtJust last month, I was asked if I had a yogurt culture that was Chalav Yisrael.  I was please to inform the questioner that I did and would bring it to them as they were attending a workshop in Tzfat.

Today something very special showed up in my email.  It was a recipe for making Yogurt without a starter culture. Very much like making cheese with the “milk” of the fig tree.

Making Yogurt from scratch

Once you read this you will just laugh as you see how truly simple this process is.


Organic Red sweet peppers with long stems (about 6-8)

1.5 cup milk

How it’s done

Remove a fine slice from the already open end of the stem, then chop the stem off the pepper.

Put 6-8 stems in about 1.5 cups of milk, warm till you see light bubbles forming around the edge of the pot, turn off the heat, wrap in a small blanket and let cool very slowly. open some hours later – anything from 5 to 8 depending on seasonal temperature, and voila, you have the culture. freeze some in batches of abt 1.5 tablespoons. What you want to do now is start using this to make yogurt, and each time, remove 2x 1.5 Tab and freeze. Each time you get to a few too many just take the old ones out and toss away. The only reason to freeze a couple is so you don’t need to redo the entire process should a batch go off and you’re left with nothing. Over some months, the quality of your yogurt [which is also you starter for the next batch] will improve consistently. I just dole some from a batch of yogurt currently being eaten right into the warmed milk of the next batch-in-the-making. Halav Yisrael yogurt starter prob solved, worldwide. Go for it, yogurt makers!

   Jun 25

Kombucha – The Fizzy Tea

Kombucha I didn’t get it at first

I have to admit, the first time that I tasted it, I didn’t get it.  I mean, it was sour (wanted to be sweet) and fizzy. OK nothing there.  What was all the buzz about this healthy drink?

We were at some friends house for lunch and they offered it to my wife, child and myself.  My wife really liked it, my son enjoyed it and I well let’s just say that it didn’t make me want to go and purchase this beverage from a retail outlet.

What did interest me in this drink though was the fact that it was claimed to have priobiotics (another new buzz word for us natural lovers) and we all know how it’s important to have those healthy flora in our insides.

Now, being a sufferer of severe IBS for years I did want to hear more about this drink.  Even if it didn’t taste all that great if it could help me in this area I would learn how to make and learn how to enjoy it and even learn how to make at as our host has been doing for some time now.

How to Make Kombucha at home

Who would have thought that you could make this naturally fizzy drink at home using two basic ingredients. Tea and Sugar. Yep, that’s right only tea and sugar mixed together with the aid of SCOBY.

Kombucha Scoby That last word SCOBY (is actually an acronym for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.”) is a strange creature but it is what does all the work in making the fizz part of the Kombucha beverage.

Let’s talk about that scoby. It’s weird, right?! It floats, it’s rubbery and slightly spongy, brown stringy bits hang from it, and it transforms sugary tea into something fizzy and sour. It’s totally weird. But if you take a step back, it’s also pretty awesome.

There are many ideas regarding why this jello-like cellular structure floats at the the top of the kombucha. The one that makes the most sense to me at least is that is that it creates a barrier from unwanted bacteria to come into contact with the fermenting tea. If you have ever made wine or beer then think of it as a air-lock system only alive.

Frendly Bacteria
It is well know that kombucha is full of probiotics. There are even unproven reports that drinking kombucha cures things like arthritis, depression, and heart burn. I say if it works and then enjoy it. (DISCLAIMER I am not a doctor and I do not in any way shape or form make any claims saying that drinking this concoction will heal your illnesses).

Does this drink have alcohol. Short answer. YES. How much? probably not more than 1%, and that is the byproduct of fermentation. Will you get drunk. I don’t think so, but if you are sensitive to alcohol I would consult with your health practitioner.

How to make this stuff
I am going to break this down really simple.

Yield: About 4 liters


  • 3.5 liters water
  • 8 teabags
  • 1c Sugar
  • 2 c starter (from previous kombucha)
  • 1 SCOBY (if you don’t have one you can find one online or ask a friend to give you one of theirs or grow your own, That part will be in a different post.).

How it’s done

  1. Bring the water to a boil (then take off the heat)
  2. Add the sugar and stir until it is dissolved
  3. Add The tea bags
  4. Let the whole thing cool down to room temperature
  5. Take the tea bags out
  6. Add two cups starter and stir
  7. Transfer into either 1 gallon Jar or two 2 liter jars
  8. If you are using 1 jar add the scoby and cover with cheese cloth (bound with a rubber band or paper towel (bound with a rubber band)
  9. If you are using 2 jars you will need two SCOBYS
  10. Let sit for 7-10 days
  11. transfer to water bottles (plastic 2 liter bottles) or if you have soda/beer bottles they work well also if you can cork them
  12. Let sit and carbonate for 2-3 days.  If you are using plastic bottles they will be rock hard when done.  Put in fridge and drink within 30 days.

That is basically all there is to make kombucha.  If you wish to add fruits to it during the second stage you can.

I have been making this drink now for about 3 weeks and I still don’t get it but I am starting to.  The taste is still rather bitter/sweet, but I am hoping that it will start to make me feel good


   May 30

Chalav Yisrael – Food for Thought


Traces of Pig in DNA were found in Cadbury chocolate bars in Malaysia. The Muslims that live there are religious and were very upset about this.  Since the British chocolate company was purchased by KRAFT, questions were raised regarding the other dairy products of Kraft (like Orion cookies etc).

Here is the full article: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/may/28/pork-in-cadburys-malaysian-chocolate-recalled-after-dna-traces-found

Suddenly it becomes clear for the Kosher consumer that the whole issue of Chalav Stam vs Chalav Yisrael is not so simple. We are no longer in the days when things were simple.  With all the modified additives that are popping up in the food industry, the unknown becomes bigger and bigger.

True that the gazera that was made was on milk from non-Jewish dairy farms and not on milk powder (what is used in most chocolate bars).

Food for thought note: Now for those that read any articles regarding what corn products are doing to children and some of the behavior problems they are having, they might be interested in knowing that some of the ingredients of powdered milk  are the following:

The ingredients in milk powder is nonfat dry milk, vitamin A palmitate, and vitamin D3. The ingredients usually also include sweet dairy whey, non fat dry milk solids, partially hydro-generated vegetable oil, and corn syrup. (Source

For the kosher consumer they might be interested in all of the dairy ingredients as well as the vegetable oil.

Food for thought note: I myself will not go into panic mode but it does once again make me think that when we looking at a heter in halacha we need to truly look to see what the final impact could have on us as the the food industry is getting so complicated, and maybe it is just the time for us to go back to the simple way of life and just go back to Jewish Milk  Or … just Food for thought.

Wishing all of you Happy Shavous and that you receive the Torah with Joy.

Dovid Wheeler


koshercurds.com – 100% Kosher Home Cheese Making supplies and workshops.



   May 11

Is Rennet Kosher

Rennet, it does a cheese good

There is a great misunderstanding regarding the concept of Rennet in the making of Kosher Cheese.  Many believe that if cheese is made with animal rennet, there would be a violation of Basar vChalav.  I am glad to say that would not be the case.

Everybody probably knows the story of how cheese came to being.  Once upon a time, there was a nomad that put his milk in his stomach pouch and went on his journey.  When he arrived to his destination he took the top off of the pouch held it to his mouth for a drink and out came a coagulated kind of cheesey thing.

So we see that it is true that by putting milk in side a dried stomach we can get curdled milk. But what is rennet really?  Can it truly be Kosher?

Rennet is from an enzyme found in the 4th stomach of a kosher animal.  It is known and documented that milk that has been obtained from non-kosher mammals can not be made into either cheese or butter.  They will simply not coagulate under normal circumstances.

In order for Rennet to be kosher though the animal needs to be schechted and deveined according to halacha.  Once this is done the enzyme is extracted and that is what is used to make milk (from a kosher animal) into cheese.

As this is not meat but an enzyme found in the meat, there is no violation of Basar vChalav.

Since the process involved is time consuming and very expensive it is very rare that you will find Kosher rennet from an animal.

I read the other day that there is someone here in Israel that states that he can make rennet from the stomach of either cows or goats that have been killed on the road.  It is true that he is making rennet, but the cheese that he makes from it is not fit for Jewish consumption as the animal is a Nevaila  and we can only derive benefit such as selling such made rennet to a non-Jew.

All vegetable based rennets (such as fig juice as used in days long gone) are Kosher, but only if they are added to milk by a Torah observant Jew will the cheese be kosher.  This is because of a ban that Chazal made on all cheese made from non-Jews.


Fig, Vegetable, and Microbial rennet

All Microbial rennet is generally kosher and will follow the same rules as vegetable based rennets.

Please keep your eyes open as I am hoping to have my first book done very soon

“Kosher Curds – Making Artisan Kosher Cheese at Home”


Till later Kosher Curd Nerds


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   May 09

Home Cheese Workshop in Tzfat

Kosher Cheese Workshop in Tzfat, Israel

Well, after the problems with my Pesach milk and having to cancel our first workshop in Tzfat,  I was pleased that today we were able to have another shot at it.  Even though the drive was going slow (raining non-stop from the Golan Heights, then Fog in Tzfat) we had a nice turn out.

Once again, the venue was how to make two traditional Italian cheeses at home using store bought milk.  The cheeses being Mozzarella and Ricotta.

As many Americans are used to Ricotta for their making cheesecake, blintzes, and lasagna.  It is not a cheese to be easily found in Israel and most definitely in the religious communities.  After leaving the cheese workshop the participants have the skills that they need to be able to make this cheese every time.

As the ricotta was draining outside in the rain (underneath a cover) we started to get ready to make the Mozzarella.

It always surprises me when I see the participants face change as they turn their liquid milk into a solid mass with the help of rennet.  They see that the process is truly in their hands and they can start to see their cheese creation take shape.

Cheese Workshop

Mozzarella Stretch

Draining the whey provided each person with a beautiful curd that was ready to be heated. As one student said “this is so cool” as she watched the transformation of a solid mass become a stretchable, taffy like substance that she then formed the way she wanted and placed it in cool water to hold the shape.

Another comment that I heard from one that had grown up in Italy “it is amazing!”

We really had a lot of fun today. Everybody walked away with the cheese that they made, kits to make the cheese at home, and the feeling that they learned something today.

If you are interested in learning to make Kosher cheese at home then please send me an email with the subject being CHEESE WORKSHOP and we will make it happen.


   May 05

Goat Cheese – Nice Surprise

Chevre French for Goat cheese.

Today, I had a very special surprise.  One of my customers (David’s Naturals) who buys the Ice cream (about every other week) that I make came buy with 2 liters of fresh Goats milk.  Now, just yesterday I was speaking with another customer about purchasing goats milk as she is not able to purchase my regular cheese as she is not consuming Cow dairy products.

I just finished pasteurizing the milk.  This is done by heating to 145(f) and holding for 1/2 hour.  Then cooling down rapidly.  And decided to make a Chevre.

Now with 2 liters of milk will not produce much cheese, but for the family it is enough.  It will make about 1/2 kilo.

About Chevre, this Fresh Goat cheese is very easy to make and a great cheese for the beginner cheese maker.  It may be used as a substitute for cream cheese.

Thats all for tonight Kosher Curd nerds

I will post how it came out, and hope to have pictures to show the process.

   May 05

Mozzarella is Back

Mozzarella, where did you go?

meir mishna brachos 001Well, if you remember yesterday when I wrote about The Cheese That Almost Wasn’t?  Well, today I am happy to say that my cheese is back.  That’s right Kosher Curd nerds, we have the Mozzarella back again.

Since it was mentioned that there was going to be a workshop next week in Tzfat, I really felt some pressure.  As you have seen me mention time and time and time again for the last month I have not been able to make Mozzarella, and I didn’t know what I was going to do regarding this.  So today i decided that I had to switch one of the ingredients.  The Milk was still the same milk that I use and recommend people to use Tnuvah Sack (NOT FOR PESACH though).  I tried my new powder rennet, and it worked wonderfully for my Colby.  The only thing left was the secret ingredient that I have been using (set up a workshop in your home, don’t pay for the workshop and learn how to make this amazing cheese and what that ingredient is).  I decided that I was going to change it.

Mozzarella came back


Well, that was it.  The curds started to form and set beautifully.  I strained, drained and started to heat the curds until they started to look like taffy, and there it was.  Mozzarella!!!! :)

I ran and told Rachel (my wife) who was at the computer and she said that she would taste when it cooled down.  I said ” no problem”, we will have it for dinner.

I posted on the Golan Heights Facebook stating that I had three mozzarella balls that I was giving away, because I was so happy and you know what?  Not one person was interested in this give away.  I was shocked, surprised, amazed and confused.  I mean, there is not one person in the Golan or the Galil for that matter that is making fresh Mozzarella (and then offering it for free).  So, I guess that my family and guests will truly enjoy it for Shabbat.

Mozzarella 006

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