Thursday, 20 January 2011

Experiments with Cheese

Having mastered the art of making soft cheese, I decided it was time to try some different cheeses. So I tried some mozzarella, which was so much fun and you get two cheeses for the price of one because you can make riccotta from the whey. So we can have pizza one night and spinach and riccotta ravioli the next (the riccotta freezes quite well so you can just put it away to use later). Making mozzarella involves heating the curds (I use the microwave), and kneading and stretching them until you get that lovely stretchy shiny ball of cheese which you then put into cold water until you want to use it. There are loads of recipes on the web for mozzarella I used this one I can't remember where I got the recipe for the ricotta but again there are loads of them on the web.

With mozzarella under my belt I decided to try some hard cheese. My lovely kids bought me a cheese press for mothers day last year and I have made a few attempts at making a cheddar type cheese since. The first couple were very nice but had more of a drier crumbly texture than cheddar. They were polished off quickly so I suppose that they were a success but they were not what I had intended to make.

In november I bought myself a cheese making book by Paul Peacock, I have found this to be really helpful, it is written with the home cheesemaker in mind, whereas most of the recipes in the other books that I have seen use gallons and gallons of milk and turn out huge cheeses, most of the recipes in this book use 4.5 litres.

So in the run up to christmas I was trying to make one cheese a week and experimenting with recipes from the book and using different starters such as creme fraiche. We have only just started sampling these cheeses as they have been maturing, I have set up my old fridge as a cheese cave in the garage for storing them. So far we have had a few promising results. I m making notes and hopefully will come up with a good every day cheese soon.

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