Sunday, March 18, 2012

Soft Cheese Fun

I have used Ricki's book before but I had just borrowed from the library and not been able to dig into it.  This past month my wife got it for me and I was very happy.  I have decided to try and make as many recipes from it as possible over the next year.   The best thing is that you all get to accompany on on these fun cheeses.
Last week I made two cheeses with recipes basically found in "Home Cheese Making" by Ricki Carroll.  I have not ordered my new supplies yet so I found two I could do with the ingredients I had.  I choose to make a cheese called Lactic Cheese and some Cottage Cheese.

The first recipe in Ricki's book is Lactic Cheese.  It tasted very close to a cream cheese to me and tasted good on some bagels.  It made a lot of cheese.  1 gallon of milk made a little over 2 lbs of cheese.  I have to come up a with a few recipes this week to use all the cream cheese in.

I used:
    1 gallon of whole milk
    1 packet of mesophillic culture
    4 drops from rennet dissolved in 1/3 cups water

I first started by heating my 1 gallon of milk and the mesophillic starter to 86ºF
Then I added 1 tsp of the diluted rennet mixture and gently stirred.

I then let it sit in the pot with the burner turned off overnight, approximately 12 hours.

Overnight the milk had turned into a very loose yogurt like substance.  I then poured the mixture into a muslin lined colander.  As you can see I barely had enough room, this recipe made so much more then I expected since most of the cheeses I make follow a 2 gallon = 1 lb instead of the 1 gallon = 2 lbs this had.

I then left the bag to drain for about 12 more hours (while I was at work).  I drained a lot of whey during this time.

After draining I flipped the muslin inside out into a bowl.  At this point I just added some salt.  You can ad a lot more types of ingredients but being my first time I did just salt and have used it mainly on bagels in the morning.  It has a great taste with just the right amount of tanginess.  I believe I will make this again when I have family visiting since it is a cheese you can see the fruits of your labor quite quickly.

Since this cheese was so easy in the process I made a 2nd cheese at the same time. So I made homemade small-curd cottage cheese.

This cheese does not even use rennet.  I guess that is why it takes so long for the curds to form.  The ingredients I used for this cheese was"
    - 1 gallon 2% milk
    - 1 packet mesophillic starter
    - 3 tbl cream

I first heated the milk to 72ºF and then added the mesophillic starter, mixing thoroughly.

I then let it sit overnight and most of the next day, about 24 hours at room temperature. I then cut the curds into 1/4 inch cubes and raised the temperature to 100ºF over about 15 minutes and then let it remain there for about 10 minutes while stirring occasionally.  I then raised temp to 112ºF over another 15 minutes and leave it at that temp for 30 minutes.  The process is cooking the curds I had which were very weak and soft and making them more firm.  After the curds were firm enough I let them sit for 5 minutes.  

I then poured off the whey into a cheesecloth lined colander.  Picture below is not very good of the curds hanging to dry.

Here is a another picture of the curds hanging to drain more whey out.  I let it drain for about 10 minutes. 

I then dipped the curds into cold water for 5 minutes.  Next untie the bag and break up the curds into small pieces and add salt.  This tasted okay but not as good as the lactic cheese.  It was a little more sour then I liked and I did not get the creamy mixture you usually get when eating cottage cheese. I may just need to add some plain milk next time after it is all done to get that mixture.  This made a little over 1 lb of cheese.

On too my next part of this blog which will be shorter since I had no pictures.  About a month ago we had some family friends over to make cheese.  The friend was actually in the cheese making class with me that started this whole thing.  But since then they had moved and been to busy to get too much into the cheese making.  This friend is also hopefully getting a goat here in the spring which will be lots of fun once I can get some milk from it.

We made mozzarella together but also for him to see some of the process of a hard cheese is made.  So before they came over I started the process of making a Colby.  Which was a brand new cheese for me.  The part was fun, we made two mozzarella, one for me and one for his family.  They both turned out really good.  However the Colby did not turn out too great.  It is really salty and has a bland flavor.  I thing the reason is because I was trying to use a different mold to get the classic shape of a Colby but it was to small so I had to make another one with my other mold.  This equated into 2 -1 lb bricks of cheese that I put into a salt bath that was meant for a 2 lb brick of cheese.  With more surface area I think the salt was able to penetrate the cheese too much.  Here is a picture of the finished cheese after it was waxed and aged.

I hope to try doing Colby again in about two weeks.  Wish me luck. I also hope to try Brie again as well as make two more recipes from the first part of Ricki's book.  Maybe Fromage Blanc, Mascarpone, Gervais, English cheddar, or other.  Leave a comment and tell me which ones you think I should make.