Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Who cut the cheese???

Are you ready for too many pictures? This post in nuts.  And cheesy :)
But, I managed (with help) to turn


into THIS!!!!!

Start with all your little tools.  Sanitize them well.

Add a few inches of water to a large pot.

The chaos in the kitchen

My teacher

Set a large stainless steel bowl in your pot of water.  Add a thermometer.  Temperatures are very important in cheese making.

You will need 1 four litre jug of homogenized milk

Pour it into the bowl.  Yes it will fit :)

Choose to add banana pepper rings cause...well? Why not!

Pull the magic out of the fridge!

Bring the milk to a high temp ( I forget the number) and then add the magic.  I think it is called Rennet) This is what turns your milk into curds.  It makes it almost a soft jello consistency.  Once your milk is at the right temperature, you leave it covered and wait.  And wait.  Did I mention wait again?

You have to set timers to check on it every once in a while.  To tell when it is done, you place a small plastic container on top of the milk.  You wait 10 minutes.  Then you try to turn it.  You keep doing this until it is hard to spin.  At this point? You are ready for the next step.

Weighing the rennet.  It is all very scientific!

Me, no makeup and a lot of weight ago.  Wow.  Sad.  But look at me spin!

Once it is hard to spin, take a long metal spatula and slice through the mix to make curds.  You slice on different angles to make it a whole lot of small squares.  You have to slice slowly.  It is very peaceful.

Me slicing.

Can you see it? CURDS!!!

Proof that I actually did it!  At this point, you add your cultures.  That is what gives it the flavor.  We added cultures to make it a sharp flavor, but also to have a buttery taste.

Then you stir in a figure 8 position forever! OK, so maybe 40 minutes or so.  As you stir and it slowly heats up again, it will form actual little cheese curds.  They are kind of rubbery.

She kept track of the whole process.  How much of stuff and how long it took to get it where we needed it to be.

The "recipe" we followed.

Once everything is at the right temperature and the curds are properly formed, you place a strainer in the bowl.  Using a measuring cup, scoop the whey from the curds.  Save it though! You need it later!

Grab your cheese mould.  Line it with Cheese cloth that has been soaked in the whey.  This will help your cheese to not stick.

Chop your peppers and strain.

Scoop out as much liquid as you can

Add your peppers.

At this point? It feels really cool.  Mix in the peppers.

With your mould placed on a cookie sheet (to catch the whey) fill the cheese mould with your curd mixture.

Squish down with the top of the mould.

Put the top on and wrap the cheese cloth around it.  At this point? You should pull and stretch the cheesecloth so that it is really smooth and you get perfectly smooth cheese.  I didn't.  Oops.

Fill your milk jug with water.  Place on top.  This will help squish out some more whey.

Use your cheese press, we all have one don't we??? to squish your cheese.

At this point, you will have let it sit with the milk on it for a few hours.  You need to pull it out every hour and flip it.

Put under the cheese press.

Press for a few days.  Then, leave it on a counter top on top of a sushi rolling mat for a few days.  Flipping often.  Once dry?

Vacuum seal that bad boy! Make sure you label it.  It then goes into the cheese cave.  ( a wine cooler set at 54 degrees) for 6 weeks.  Make sure you flip it once in a while!

And that is how you make cheese! I made a Banana Pepper Gouda.  It was wonderful! I wish you could have tried it.

Will I make cheese again? Not sure.  It was a long process and a very precise process.  Not sure that is my style.  Not when I have the amazing Italian Market not far away and they have amazing cheese!

Hope you enjoyed learning how to make cheese today.  Have you ever made anything crazy like that?

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