Absolute Beginner

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  • #8131 Reply
    Hello from Aotearoa/ New Zealand- World Leader in Cheese!

    Starting virtually from scratch with a “Mad Millie” cheese kit that my kids bought me years ago which has sat in a corner for a long, long time as I could never quite get it together to use it. However, several years back I took the plunge and made some haloumi that seemed to work. This time though, I thought I’d make some REAL cheese, namely cheddar, my first hard (i.e. “REAL”) cheese.

    So I set up the laptop in the (scrupulously clean) kitchen pulling up the videos of Mr Webber patiently explaining what to do. That was my first hurdle I think. Although by chance we have a cheesemaking/ home brew shop nearby where I can get all the ingredients, their recipe required TWO litres of milk whereas the “curd nurd” one required THREE. Of course my pot can only hold two litres of milk, but I’ll adapt things somehow. Anyway, I finished my first cheddar yesterday which (unfortunately) is a bit rubbery and looks nothing like the smooth, solid ones I see on the video.

    So now to put it aside for 5 weeks using the Mad Millie case, in lieu of a cheese fridge and to be kept at the correct temperature- once I figure what that is! I’m not being too hard on myself as I intend making more cheeses. But I wonder about the precision involved (like 33 degrees as opposed to say 38 degrees) and even measuring those temperatures with only having the Mad Millie temperature stick thingy! So my questions at this stage are- what temperature does the cheese have to be once it matures for the next 5 weeks and how important are the obvious variations in making cheeses. And I tell myself that in days gone by they didn’t have all the whizz bang gear we have now and still came up with some cheese masterpieces!

    Having fun anyway!!

    #8148 Reply

    Kia ora fellow kiwi beginner.

    I have just started making cheese after thinking about it for a whole year and slowly finding pots etc at hospice to get ready to start. Turns out I love it!

    I think the temperature of the milk for different recipes is extremely important as it is the difference between mesophillic and thermophillic culture. In saying that I use mine straight from the cow – so I don’t do any heating and often don’t even bother with my thermometer. But I am working with 10L minimum at a time and it holds its heat better with volume.

    Cheese Caves: I am already up to my 3rd incarnation of cheese caves. I have used a large chillibin – not very successfully – a small chilli bin – very successfully and have now cleaned an old fridge that doesn’t work. For all three of these option I have ice packs that I switch out daily. I think the temp you are aiming for is between 8 and 12 for most recipes. I aim for 10 and seems to work – except when I forget to switch out my ice packs. I think even having a cool spot to leave it in free from dirt,dust would do the trick. Being itn the Far North our temps are always too high for that – but my friend in Taranaki left her camemberts in an uninsulated room which worked well.

    Goodluck on your cheese journey 🙂 let us know how it is going.

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