Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Say Cheese!

For a few months now, Guy and I have been making our own cheese. Well, actually, Guy usually makes it while I watch the baby, which makes it a joint effort. We started with Mozzarella, and had a lot of success. From milk to cheese takes only a half hour! And its easy too! We use the leftover whey to make delicious bread. This past weekend we finally ventured into the world of more complex cheese making.

We decided to make Farmhouse Cheddar, because we eat a lot of cheddar and this recipe seemed reasonably simple and only needs to age for a month. With all cheese making(I think - maybe just some of it), you have to start with milk that is not ultra-pasteurized, we have been able to find it at MOM's, and its from Pennsylvania, local enough for me. You do have to be careful to raise the temperature of the cheese very slowly, but we found that the hardest part of the process was finding weights to press the cheese, to expel more of the whey.


That is a cutting board on the bottom, with a stainless steel cheese mold, the cheese is inside it, being pressed by a empty tin, weighted down with a bocci ball set, 3 heavy books and a box of photos. 50 pounds for 12 hours. That tower didn't last, and we moved it to the bathtub, where we tied the bocci ball ropes to the handicap railings in the tub and put our 20 quart pot of water on top of it.


In the end, we have 2 pounds of organic, local, homemade cheese! It is drying right now, tonight we will wax it, and then it has to age for a month. I can't wait!


Links:
Mozzarella Cheesemaking Kit
Home Cheese Making: Recipes for 75 Delicious Cheeses

8 comments:

Lynnis said...

My but it is a thing of beauty! How do you collect the whey whilst you are squishing it? Maybe you need a little anvil like Lona gave Brian. Please update us on how you wax it and how it turns out!

Lona said...

I think there are some car batteries in the basement that you can have.

Gordon said...

No, the car batteries are good. Make a little wooden lever thingy.

Piri Jenkins said...

Most of the whey comes out before this step, we just catch it in a bowl, and collect the curds in cheesecloth and a colander. We only bothered to save a gallon of it this time, though we started with 2 gallons of milk. You can also farther render the whey to get ricotta, but it has to be done within 3 hours. We have instructions to build a cheese press, but we are not up to it yet.

Gordon said...

This is all a wonderful thing to do. Get me the plans for the cheese press. I love cheddar.

Piri Jenkins said...

The plans are in the book I linked to. I'll try to copy them for you. I think one of our next cheeses will be Parmesan.

Lynnis said...

I can't believe you would consider squishing cheese with car batteries! Surely you jest?

Piri Jenkins said...

I wouldn't use car batteries, but to Lona, dairy is poison anyway.