Beginners

General Cheese making discussion

Beginners

Postby this41uk » Wed Mar 28, 2007 3:50 pm

Hi

There is no beginners section so I hope I'm in the place. I've wanted to have a go at making cheese for years but have now idea of how to go about it. I've searched the net and not found a lot but low and behold at the bottom of the Sausagemaking Forum I found you.

I want to have a go but I don't now what equipment I need where to get it, whether I should try to make soft or hard cheese to start, what I need to add to make cheese.

Can someone help; point me in the right direction.

Tim
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Postby saucisson » Wed Mar 28, 2007 4:22 pm

Here's the best place to ask as most people probably look in here. The easiest cheeses to make are the softer ones, harder cheeses need some form of pressing however simple. The simplest to start with are probably the camembert/brie types. All you need are milk, a colander or two, a bucket, some sort of mold (tin can, milk carton, anything you can make a tubular shape with) some Vegeren from the supermarket (check it's in date they are dreadful at checking) and usually some cultured buttermilk, also from the supermarket. Cheesecloth or sterile tea towels will help. A thermometer is useful too. Sliton and Lancashire are also early ones to attempt. Have a look in the soft cheese and hard cheese recipes and come back asking questions.

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Postby this41uk » Wed Mar 28, 2007 4:27 pm

What's Vegeren and can you get it at Asda

I'm off to look at the recipes now!!

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Postby BBQer » Wed Mar 28, 2007 4:36 pm

There's quite a bit of info in this cheese making section of the sausage forum. Read through some of the recipes and you'll get an idea of what equipment you'll need. The basics - something to heat the milk in; a big pot or double boiler, an accurate thermometer with a range of roughly 80-200F/25-95C, real cheesecloth (linen not gauze), possibly a press and molds and draining mat.

Here are some other sites that have recipes, supplies and possibly instruction:

New England Cheesemaking Supply recipes

Cheese recipes

Dairy Connection recipes and supplies

David Fankhauser's Cheese website

Gourmet Sleuth Cheese recipes

Cheese Wizard website

Leener's Supply - some recipes

Soft cheese is easier to make and usually can be eaten right away, so you can test your process more quickly.

A really simple hard cheese to make is a panir style(or queso blanco) - you heat milk (raw or whole milk works best) in a double boiler to 195F/90C and, while stirring slowly, slowly add 1/4 cup of white vinegar (for one gallon of milk). The curds will separate from the whey very quickly. Turn off heat, let it sit til it cools to 100F/38C. Strain the curds and whey through a cheesecloth (linen or muslin) lined strainer. Either form the cheesecloth edges up into a bag and hang it overnight or put the drained curds in a mold and press it for 15 minutes, flip it and add more weight for 30-60 minutes and it's done.

First time I did this, I just formed the cheesecloth up into a bag, put a twist-tie around it and put weight on it with no mold. Just a small cutting board on top with a jug of water balanced or some other easily accessible weight.
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Postby saucisson » Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:21 pm

Check out BBQer's links, I'm going to look at a few of them myself. David Frankhauser's site is well worth a look.

this41uk wrote:What's Vegeren and can you get it at Asda
Tim


Rennet is the enzyme in a calf's stomach that solidifies milk to make it easier to digest. Vegeren is a vegetarian equivelant that is easier to get hold of in supermarkets, usually in the baking/flavouring/essence section.

Tescos sell it, I don't know if Asda do. You can buy the vege and animal versions from specialist cheesemaking suppliers but their p&p is extortionate. If you can't find it locally I'll send you some.

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Postby BlueCheese » Wed Mar 28, 2007 5:30 pm

Read all the peoples post on this site and all the recipies posted, then u will get an overall idea, then decide what u like/want to make. And have fun. :)
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Postby jpj » Fri Mar 30, 2007 8:16 am

ascott's p&p isn't extortionate if you're stocking up on supplies and kit etc
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Postby saucisson » Fri Mar 30, 2007 9:56 am

extortionate was a bit harsh wasn't it :oops: I should have said "not cost effective for a small order"

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Postby jpj » Tue Apr 03, 2007 6:32 am

:D -conv-
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Postby this41uk » Tue Apr 03, 2007 10:37 pm

Been to Tesco and got the vegi rennet.

Just need to get the rest and decide what to make.

Any suggestions :? :?


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Postby jenny_haddow » Tue Apr 03, 2007 11:00 pm

Hi Tim

The first cheese I made was Rik's recipe for stilton. I Bought the biggest tin of fruit I could find and used the tin as a mould, and the two ends as followers. The rest of the equipment is mostly in the average kitchen anyway. I just followed his step by step instructions and ended up with a great tasting piece of cheese, I couldn't believe I'd made it myself.

It wasn't at all difficult to do, to press it I used a full bottle of water which fitted nicely inside the tin. I made several cheeses this way until I felt I could justify buying dedicated equipment, which I have done a bit at a time.

Have a look through Rik's recipes and step by step guides. They are easy to follow and work well. Overall though I would ask yourself what sort of cheese you like and want to make, then what you will need is the patience to allow them to mature before you cut into them!

Cheers

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Postby Fallow Buck » Wed Apr 04, 2007 12:06 pm

Tim

A lot of people's first try at cheese was Riks Stilton, myself included.

It is a great place to start if you have some patience, as it will make an impression when yu finally cut into it.

In the mean time some of the soft cheeses are very quick and easy especially those using various acids to form the curds.

Good luck and keep us posted on how yu get on,
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Postby BlueCheese » Wed Apr 04, 2007 5:09 pm

Question is, what do u like?
Camembert/brie are the quickest, 2 months, Blue 3 months, technicaly ;)
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Postby this41uk » Wed Apr 04, 2007 6:13 pm

I've printer out the step by step Blue Stilton recipe and I'm going to have a go pos friday or def 1 day next week.

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Postby Richierich » Thu Apr 05, 2007 8:40 am

I too used Riks Stilton as my first attempt, and there are a few photos posted elsewhere in the cheese chat, I can't post any more pictures however, as I've eaten it.

I used a 1 litre Tescos Mineral water bottle as the mold, 17p or something, chop the top and bottom off (making sure you get a grown ups help if the scissors are sharp) and I then pierced a lot of little holes in the bottle with a panel pin to aid drainage (more so when I did the Brie), make sure if you do this you pierce from the inside-out as the material you push out will leave a burr, and you don't want it scratching your cheese.

I had a few problems with the stilton sweating and going slimey, probably as it was only in the garage and the weather was warming up. The brie works well, but really does smell, in fact its going in the bin later, thats not been in the fridge and I think is rotting. Need to get the fridge back in the garage.

One thing I used to regulate the water temp for the water bath was a aquarium heater, good for Brie and Stilton as you can achieve up to around 95F with the heater, no good if you need hotter though.
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