June 23, 2017 – Cheesemaking Experiment

The cheese recipe I decided on was a stirred curd cheddar recipe found in Ricki Carroll’s Home Cheese Making book. This is the first I’ve used a curd knife, which I bought here BYOB – this is a step up from the relatively short knives found in my kitchen. I also decided to use a pint of heavy whipping cream, hopefully making for a richer cheese.

Using three gallons of milk, a pint of heavy cream, one packet of mesophilic culture, one teaspoon of animal rennet, and three tablespoons of cheese salt, and some unchlorinated bottled water, I struck out to make something that loosely resembled cheddar.

I have found that applying short bursts of high flame to my 16-quart thick bottomed kettle seems to work well to approach and keep the temperatures needed for cheese. It was a little aggravating learning how to adequately heat the milk without overshooting the temperature.

Two methods of pressing the cheese were used: one at the recommended amount of pressure and one with a lower, pressure. This was partially due to the limited space in the cheese and the large amount of curds generated by the three gallons of milk.

The cheese pressed with a greater weight was difficult to melt but crumbled well, while the batch pressed with less force melted well and resembled a softer cheese, with creamier textures, and could have been firmer. Some middle ground could be reached to aide in the firmness of the cheese but also retain more of the butterfat.

I strayed away from the recipe when it comes to ageing, I ate it fresh. I have the capability to condition at the temperatures required, 45-55 degrees, but not the patience. Someday though, it would be nice to have my very own extra sharp cheddar

This week I tried a feta cheese made from fresh goat’s milk that had been brining for ~ 1 month. The product turned out great! At the start of the brining process it tasted too salty, for whatever reason that has diminished. It does taste a little bit like pickles due to the fact that I’m brining in a pickle jar; it works with the flavor though and is very mild component of the overall profile. A fun part was finding local, fresh goat’s milk and I’m super excited that the cheese turned out well.

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