Hard Cheese Making Class

Today we had 6 students to our home to make cheese.  The class wasn’t hard–making cheese is easy–but the cheese we made is of the hard, aged category.  Everyone who came lives nearby and it was amazing that it was such a comfortable group of people.  By the end of the class, Billy and I felt as if we’d made 6 new friends.  Here are some photos of the class:

Melissa stirs the whey after the curds have been placed in the cheese press. Once the whey boils, lemon juice is added and ricotta cheese amazingly rises to the surface.

Our cheese press is a colander with a wooden "follower"--a piece of round wood that holds the weights.

The finished cheese is aged for several weeks in the refrigerator. We call it Eatonville Bill. It is something like Monterey Jack with more flavor.

Students enjoyed tasting cheese, caramel and chapatis with cucumbers from our greenhouse--in November!

 

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~ by Anuttama on November 20, 2010.

2 Responses to “Hard Cheese Making Class”

  1. I have tried this process twice today and both times the buttermilk has done nothing to set the milk. It is exactly the same consistency as when I put it into the pot. I have followed the instructions as given and feel very disappointed that I have just wasted the second gallon of milk. I have used pasteurised whole milk, but then it doesnt say not to, I have stuck to all the correct temperatures. What could be the problem? I have used St.Ivel cultured buttermilk, and, based on the gallon of milk I have added a tablespoon of buttermilk. Do I leave it for longer to see if it will thicken, do I heat it up? It is currently at room temp as that seems to be the condition at this stage. Please would you advise me? I dont want to waste a second gallon of milk.

    • The buttermilk doesn’t do anything to thicken the milk. It is the rennet that “gels” it. You can get rennet at the grocery store, but I order vegetarian rennet online. If you use store bought milk, there is a good chance that it has been pasteurized at very high temps, destroying the proteins that bond the curds. Some cheese makers add calcium tabs–available online–to milk that is pasteurized at lower temps. The only way to find out is to call the milk processing plant and ask the temp. I think over 180 degrees is too hot.

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