Thursday, November 11, 2010

Making Cheese, Day #2

Wednesday, March 2, 2010

An exciting day around here! Cheese Making Day #2! Something that I have only been talking and dreaming about for 3 years was finally here! And, I am pleased to announce, it was so much easier than I ever thought it would be and the results, so far, have been yummy.
The milk and yogurt mixture that had been sitting on the stove all night was ready for the next step, adding the rennet. The milk and yogurt mixture had separated a bit so I mixed it all up.

The next step is to warm the milk to 86 degrees. I found that it warms up rather quickly and we had to find a way to cool it down quickly so as not to kill off the live yogurt cultures or risk ruining the rennet when it was added. I put it on top of a cold pack from the freezer and put some ice in a zip lock bag and put it in the pot until the correct temperature was reached. Once we got the temperature right I added the 1/4 rennet tablet that was dissolved in water into the cheese mix, then covered it and set it back on the stove undisturbed to coagulate (get thick) for about and hour and a half.

I am pretty much directionally challenged so I repeatedly referred back to the tiny print of the Junket tablet direction pamphlet. I am sure once this becomes second nature I will be able to tell by look and feel just how to make cheese, but for now I had a world famous cheese maker to impress when he got home.
Once a clean break is achieved (when cut with a knife it breaks away clean, like jello) it is time to cut the curd. Start by cutting at one edge and working your way across parallel repeatedly. Turn the pot and cut again until the final result is curds that are about 1/2" cubes. After cutting the curd it is time to cook and mix over a low heat. I watched the temperature closely and cooked the cheese at 102 degrees in order to get a harder cheese.
The cheese needs to cook for 15 minutes with gentle mixing by hand so the curds don't get too hot on the bottom. You don't want to break up the curds too much.
Once it reached the stage of "soft scrambled eggs" it was time to remove it from the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes.
We set out our strainer and bowls to catch the whey. Then we poured the whey off. I was surprised at how much whey is left over. I set the pot of whey back on the stove to try ricotta cheese today.
After most of the whey was dripped off it was time to add some salt and mix a little bit more.
Back to the directions.
At this point we wanted to test our new creation to see if there was enough salt. Even at this point it was so good! Trent kept begging for more!
I boiled an old cloth sugar sack and packed the cheese into our mold. A washed baked bean can with both ends cut out was the perfect size.
To press the cheese this cute little jar that was decorating the top of my fridge came in handy.
It fit perfectly inside the can, and with a rubber band around the whole contraption it gave it just the right squeeze. We put the mold back into the strainer, with the dish underneath, and set it out on the cupboard for another 12-24 hours. We couldn't help but pick at the cheese all evening, tho, as it was so good already. This afternoon will be the official unveiling, then it is time to rewrap it and let it age in the refrigerator. I can't wait to try the Ricotta, the Mozzarella, the soft cheeses, and then there are all the possibilities of all the wonderful flavorings to add to the cheeses. Rather than thinning out our herd of lovely goat ladies I think we just may be keeping a couple more than planned now that we have discovered just how easy it is to make cheese.

No comments:

Post a Comment