This last weekend I made the cheese we are going to serve at the reception. Here is what I did:
I used 6 gallons of milk. If I would have had a cow handy, that would have worked too. However, lacking an actual cow, I visited my favorite store Costco, as their milk works really well for cheese. I use whole milk, and it has to be homogenized, not ultra homogenized as you find in most stores.
I brought the milk up to 86 degrees, and then added calcium chloride, diluted in distilled water. It helps the store bought milk turn into curds and whey.
Then the milk sits, then the culture is added. Here is a packet that I buy from cheesemaking.com
There is mesophilic and thermophilic. It has to do with the temperature the milk is taken to when creating the cheese.
Also, rennet needs to be added. I dissolve it in distilled water, and then add it to the cheese. You stir it up and down for a minute, and then the cheese sits again. BTW, this whole process took me almost all day!
Lots of stirring occurred as well. And picture taking!
You can see it turning into curds, and not just milk anymore! I love this whole process, being able to start out with MILK and turn it into CHEESE!
Then you strain the curds from the whey.
I separated the whey into 3 parts - made it easier to work with. I hung it in the bathroom, yes, to let it drain.
One almost ready to hang, the other needed a little more time.
Mom -- are you ever going to be done???
The cheese had to hang like that for 2 hours -- and every 15 minutes, it had to be "broken up" into chunks to help it drain better.
Then, it was ready to be pressed!
Coming out of the cheesecloth, it looks like this:
The type of cheese I made is Wensledale cheese. You can read about it here
You can put fruit, such as cranberries in it, or sage. I, however, put in my fresh dill straight from the garden! OK, it is from a pot I have been growing inside, as it isn't warm enough yet for us to plant outside. Soon hopefully! I cut the dill, dried it in the oven to sanitize it, and then layered curds, dill, curds, dill, curds.
Introducing our Charlie Papa Mark 3, I believe. (CP for Cheese Press -- and the third attempt) In other words, our cheese press that Rob constructed himself! It is very unique, I bet you won't find one like it anywhere else!! But it works :)
Cheese ready to be pressed!
It was supposed to press for 10 pounds and 15 minutes.
Ok, so I actually did 11 pounds, and more like 30 minutes. Then, the cheese gets flipped (you unwrap it from the cheesecloth and turn it over -- so what was on the top is now on the bottom), and pressed at 50 pounds for 12 hours.
We think that is close to 50 pounds ... probably a little more.
And then ... drum roll please ...
You have cheese!
Then the cheese has to dry -- which is what it is currently doing. This coming Thursday, I will be waxing it, and showing you our cheese cave! Stay tuned!
maybe you could get milking goats and Sammy can be your herding dog :) lol
All I can say is HOLY COW..This is ART and can't wait to taste it. Congratulations !
Dosen't that guy ever comb his hair? Believe me everyone, I've already sampled, - OK more like eaten a ton of - Jane's Wensledale (or, as I like to call it - "JanesleDILL") cheese and it is the Bee's knees! Should be perfectly aged by September! Yum!