Thursday, April 29, 2010

Adventures in Cheese Making

A couple weeks ago I made cheese for the first time, and it was....interesting. And time consuming. Also, I don't actually know how my Monterey Jack turned out, and won't for another month. So while I have some issues with the delayed gratification, I am planning on making another batch this weekend. A homestyle cheddar, in case you are interested.

The whole cheese making process is fascinating. It begins with thickening the milk with bacterial cultures (different types are used for different cheeses) and ends with drying the pressed curds and waxing the cheese to protect it.

I had to keep the milk at a constant temperature during the entire process. While the milk thickened, Ken and I discovered if you jumped up and down in front of the stove it made an awesome standing wave pattern. Clearly I am not mature enough to make cheese.

 This is what it looks like when you "cut the curd." The liquid you see is the whey.

Mmmmm, not so tasty looking cheese curds.

The curds had to be drained through cheese cloth, then pressed for 12 hours.

The final product had to be left out for three days so the rind could dry.

I used too much cheese cloth and it bunched up, so my cheese bottom is not very pretty. That's okay, it all looks the same chewed up in my tummy.

The final waxed product. It is now in a cupboard in our basement, where it will stay for two months.


Anonymous said...

I hope it turns out well. If so, save some for when we come out.

Are you going to age the cheddar for 8 years like Balderson's? It is really good!


Meghan said...

Fabulous!!! Am very envious and wondering why I have not tried the same thing??