Sara (aryanhwy ) wrote,

Cheese-making

A few weeks ago, Morrigan was lamenting the fact that there was going to be a cheese-making class at Pennsic but she was stuck over here and couldn't attend. It occured to me that we don't need to wait for a cheese-making class to make cheese, instead, anyone who was interested could participate in a virtual/communal cheese-making day the same time as the class. The class turned out to be scheduled for the 6th, and since I figured I wasn't the only one who'd be working on a Monday, I nominated today instead, as a day for anyone who wanted to make cheese at home and then post the results for others to share in.

Preparations began yesterday. I picked all the ripe cherry tomatoes from the plants on our patio:

tomatoes

Quartered them:

tomatoes

And dried them in the oven:

tomatoes

I went to the organic foods store in hopes of getting unpasteurized milk; unfortunately, no luck with that, but they did have some sheep's milk so I picked up 500ml of that to experiment with. I was also going to look for rennet, but got completed distracted from that when I saw that they also have camel's milk! That sparked all sorts of interesting thoughts and plans, about perhaps getting some for future cheese-making, until I found out that it's really hard to make cheese from camel's milk. Curious!

I decided to make two batches, one with the sheep's milk, and one experimenting with additions. Here's my ingredients:

ingredients

As a basic recipe I was following this one that I've made cheese from before.

Cheese #1
500ml sheep's milk
1 liter whole cow's milk
500ml cream
1/3 c white vinegar

Heat milk and cream to 195F, stirring regularly:

milk

Once it's hot, remove from heat and add vinegar slowly, stirring to precipitate the curds. Pour the mixture into a colander lined with cheesecloth and when most of the liquid has drained, add salt. Press out as much of the whey as you can:

cheese

I was having trouble getting the rest of the whey out, and I wanted to mix a bit more salt in, so I removed the curds to a small bowl:

curds

If I were going to knead the curds, this would've been the appropriate time to do so. I didn't, I just transferred the cheese to a plastic container lined with cheesecloth with a few holes poked in the bottom, to drain and be pressed:

pressed


Cheese #2
2 liters whole milk
250ml cream
1 tsp garlic powder
~1 T dried rosemary
~1 T dried thyme
1/3 cup 18-year balsamic vinegar + enough white vinegar to make 1/2 cup

I put the herbs and garlic powder into the milk/cream mixture while it was heating to infuse them:

cheese

It gets all foamy when it's almost the right temperature:

foam

As before, once it has reached 195F, turn off the heat, and add the vinegar:

vinegar

This produced smaller curds than the other batch, not sure if this is because of the milk composition or because of the type of vinegar used:

curds

Drain the curds in the cheesecloth lined colandar. The vinegar also turned this a nice brownish color:

draining

Once it was mostly drained, I added the tomatoes and some salt:

tomatoes

I ended up transferring this to another bowl too in order to mix everything well:

bowl

Here both of them are draining:

draining

I let them drain for a couple of hours, and then removed them from the cheesecloth lined containers, and transferred them to slightly larger containers and put them in the fridge. But before doing so, I took pictures of the finished products:


Cheese #1Cheese #2
one two

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