Saturday, 20 February 2010

Making Soft Cheese

 I've been without a computer for a couple of weeks so haven't been able to blog, it's now back from the repair man and is working better than before. I've had an eventful couple of weeks my husband and son were involved in a car accident, thankfully neither were hurt, although he car was a write off. I've now left my part time job at the pre-school and will be home full time now. I have loads of plans including soap making, expanding the fruit and vegetable garden at home as well as starting the allotment, I am hoping to get more chickens in the spring so we will probably extend the chicken run and I want to make more cheeses.
I currently make a basic soft cheese, I use standard whole milk from the supermarket, I have read in a few places that you can't make cheese with homogenised milk but I not had a problem with it.

I bought some starter in powder form and made it up then froze it in an ice cube tray. I use 2 cubes, defrosted, for about 2 litres of milk.

The milk I buy is already pasteurized so I just heat it to 30 degrees C and then add the starter, it is important that it's not too hot or the heat will kill the bacteria in the starter. It then needs to sit somewhere warm for about and hour. While this is sitting I add 2 drops of rennet to 2 teaspoons of previously boiled cooled water and then stir this into the milk. Leave it until it sets into curds, you should be able to touch it without it leaving a milky stain on your finger.

I then spoon it into a sterilized cheese cloth, (I boil the cloth to sterilize it) tie up the top and hang it from a cupboard door knob over a bowl. I usually leave it over night, during which time the whey should drain out leaving soft cheese in the cloth. I save the whey and use it in cooking, it is makes tasty bread when used instead of the water and can be used instead of milk in lots of recipes.

I roll the cheese into logs and flavour them, the one on the left has cracked black peppercorns on it and the right one has garlic and herbs. They are standing on a rack from the bottom of a Tupperware vegetable crisper, I store them in the crisper in the fridge as some more whey will often drain out and the rack holds them above the liquid.

I'm hoping to try mozzarella soon, I'll post about it once I've tried it.

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