I would like to have a go at this

General Cheese making discussion

I would like to have a go at this

Postby Patricia Thornton » Wed May 10, 2006 4:58 pm

Hello,

I've read and seen pictures of the impressive cheeses members have made and would like to have a go a making hard cheese but am rather daunted.

The nearest I've ever come to the process is a vague memory of my mother hanging up muslin swathed balls of what I thought was sour milk way back in the late 1940's. I'm certain she told me it was cheese but I don't remember if I tried it and probably didn't.

How easy is it to make cheese?

Would it be worth buy a complete kit from Ascott to start me off?

Should I firstly get a book on the subject and/or read a lot more about the process before I even think about trying?

I did read how where one lives, the type and quality of the milk, etc, will effect the final taste of the product and I wonder if this is why only fetta and semi hard cheeses appear to be made here. Perhaps it wouldn't be possible to make a good hard cheese.

I can buy imported cheese but only one very mild cheddar, which, to be honest, although made in the UK, doesn't do justice to the name it bears. At present we survive by the kindness of friends who visit us, or others who return to the UK and come back with their hand luggage stuffed with cheese (and kippers) but it would be great if I could make my own.

Any advice and help would be greatly appreciated.
Patty
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Postby Rik vonTrense » Wed May 10, 2006 6:32 pm

Patty....

Most people that make their own cheese can find enough items in their everyday kitchens.

Even in Bulgaria you can make good hard cheese but don't forget it takers time and once you get set up with the process then you must continue to keep yourself in supply.

No need to get expensive stuff from Ascotts unless you can afford it quite easily.

Look around your kitchen do you have a bucket that you can use for the curds do you have an old fruit tin that is empty do youhave a couple of cutting boards and an old sheet you can tear up ?

This is about all you need as for weights then bottle ot containers filled with water make good weights it is very easy to make a press for hard cheese all you really need is a walking stick or similar.

You need to have some starter culture which any of us can send you in a letter if you can't obtain cultured buttermilk or yoghurt,and you need some rennet these are the only essentials,

So if you want to make some hard cheese that is ready in three month then let us know and I will guide you through it step by step....


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Postby Wohoki » Wed May 10, 2006 6:36 pm

Reading through what Rik has posted is a master-class in the subject: just go through all the posts and you'll get tips on equipment and techniques that you'd spend a fortune on books to get.
I've only made a couple of soft cheeses so far, but when I get the time this weekend I'm going to make a stilton, and I have no intention of spending any money beyond that needed to buy the dried cultures and the milk.

Good luck and let us know how you get on.
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Cheese making by a real novice

Postby Patricia Thornton » Thu May 11, 2006 9:11 am

Thank you both for your help; Rik, I'd be most grateful for a step-by-step guide.

I do have all the equipment (including a very old meat press which might come in handy) that you (Rik) say is required but a couple of things before I start..........

I have never seen buttermilk here and I have difficulty explaining what it is to any of my Bulgarian friends; few of them actually eat butter and none make it.

Bulgarians claim, with some authority, to have invented yoghurt, so that is not a problem and, in any case, before I moved here I always made my own.

I have some unopened rennet in my store that I bought years ago, whether this will now be useable I'm not too sure. That said, when I was young, people did not need sell/use-by dates to know that things were no longer safe to eat, however, whether that applies to rennet I do not know.

Milk is another question. As far as I can tell the milk sold in supermarkets has between 1 and 4.5% fat is this usual? However, milk straight from cow, (albeit not exactly rich Jersey milk) is freely available and virtually free but would this be safe to use?

Obviously, I need to await advice and answers to the rennet and milk questions before I start but I am really looking forward to having a go!

Regards,
Patty
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Postby Wohoki » Thu May 11, 2006 9:35 am

From what I've read rennet is perishable, so it'd be best to avoid disapointment and replace it.

As for using raw milk, I'd sell a child to be able to get some, even if it cost more than pasturised. All of the artisan made cheeses in France are made with unpasturised milk, and I did a taste test a few years ago between a Presidente camenbert and a "real" camenbert: there was no choice to be made, the raw milk cheese had a depth of flavour and a richness of texture totally absent in the mass produced item. You won't make anyone sick, but avoid letting pregnant women and very young children eat it, as lysteriosis can be nasty for them. It's no worse than a runny bottom for anyone else :D

Get stuck in, it's a fun hobby that you can eat, so everybody wins!
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Postby Oddley » Thu May 11, 2006 9:44 am

Patricia Thornton, Buttermilk tastes very much like yogurt, it is probably made with just a different strain of the lacto bacillus bacteria that makes yogurt.

On the website below the guy shows you how to make buttermilk from scratch hope that helps.


http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/Ch ... ERMILK.HTM

I can't advise you on anything else as I don't know.
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Postby Rik vonTrense » Thu May 11, 2006 11:00 am

You can trust good old David for making things from nothing....brought up as a frugal loving man his family lived for years on things they made themselves.

His buttermilk from scratch using raw milk is ideal for you just follow his instruction and you will have no troubles if you wonder what he means by the word "clabbered" is means just thickened and turning sour. When our milk curdles thats what we call it ...he calls it clabbered.Happy cheesing Patty.

Rennet has a shelf life of two years as it gets older you need more of it to make a set.


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Postby Patricia Thornton » Thu May 11, 2006 4:13 pm

Thanks again everyone for the help and advice.

As soon as I have digested everything I'll be back for more help - I just know it!

Thank you again,
Patty
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Postby Fallow Buck » Fri May 12, 2006 3:38 pm

Patricia,

I have just bought two books off of Amazon.

"Home Cheese Making"
and
"Making Artisan cheese"


They are excellend guides with loads of tips and hints. for �8 thhey are well worth looking at as they give you all the details in a n easy to find form. definately helps make it a lot less scary.

FB
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Postby Patricia Thornton » Sat May 13, 2006 1:18 pm

Thank you FB for the names of those books, I'll take a look at them on Amazon.

Hold on though, your post reminded me that I've had a little book for years called The Backyard Dairy Book, so off I went in search of it and find that it explains how to make cheese in smoe depth. The book is donkey's years old but I doubt the basics have changed in the 30 odd years since it was printed.

Flicking through the pages I almost feel I could go out and milk the cows as they pass the gate on their way home!

Anyway, until I get my fresh supply of rennet it looks like I'll be doing quite a lot of reading one way or another.
Patty
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