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I started making cheeses a few weeks ago, using the milk from our beloved Jersey house cow, now that the animals are weaned. For me, it’s all about the cow first.
I had success with lovely creamy feta, then tried Camembert, not as nice as the bought stuff, but I just grate it for cooking.
Now I am into the hard stuff. I have a wonderful book, The art of natural cheese making, by David Asher. He does not use commercial cultures, just uses whey from a previous batch (I drained yoghurt to get my first lot of whey). Then add rennet. So far I’ve made six tommes, each just under 2kg, and I can’t stop admiring them. Actually, the first one was 2.6kg, as the recipe says that 20 litres of milk makes a 2kg cheese. So I used 20 litres but got a 2.6kg cheese. I guess that means that my Clementine’s milk is high in butterfat.
I am extremely fortunate to have what could almost be called a cheese cave right under our house. It’s a cellar, lined on all four walls with thick sandstone, and with sandstone flagstones on the floor. The temperature is constantly around 15 degrees, and humidity is 90%.
I look forward to sharing cheese-making experiences with like-minded people out there. I grew up on a small dairy farm south of Hobart, then had house cows on our sheep farm for all the time that our children were home, then a break for twenty years, until I said I needed just one more. I just love them so much.
Now the long wait until the end of September to try our first hard cheese.Yvonne MaryGuest
I must get the David Asher book. I would prefer to not have to buy commercial starters.SusanGuest
Yes, Yvonne. The whey works absolutely fine! And very convenient, as you always have some on hand from a previous batch, or you can even just drain yoghurt to get some whey too.
My cheeses look fine, but won’t know for sure until the end of September. But I’ve also made feta, which is absolutely gorgeous, and Camembert, which is a bit meh so far, but have been grating it for cooking.Yvonne MaryGuest
Your feta sounds great. Are you able to share your recipe?SusanGuest
Yes, happy to share, in the morning 😊Yvonne MaryGuest
Thank you that’s wonderful. I’ve also just remembered that I have a recipe for feta using kefir as starter from the PIP website.SusanGuest
Hi Yvonne Mary. I’ll start with the easiest feta, which I make if I am going away for the day.
Creamy feta (from the David Asher book)
Bring four litres of milk slowly to 32 degrees (if straight from the cow, it’s already at the right temp).
Add 1/4 cup whey or active kefir, and AT THE SAME TIME, 1 ml rennet mixed in 1/4 cup water. Gently stir for 1 minute. Lid on, let it ferment at room temp for 24 hours.
Ladle the curds into the cheesecloth-lined forms with a slotted spoon.
Prepare a light salt brine, with 1 litre of whey and 1/4 cup salt.
Flip the young cheeses (gently) after 12 hours draining.
Salt after 24 hours, 1 teaspoon on each cheese.
Air-dry on draining mat at room temp for 24 hrs, flipping once or twice. When dry to the touch, they can be brine-aged.
Book says to put them in a jar with brine in a cool place. But I put them in zip-lock bags with a bit of brine, and turn them every day for a week, in the fridge.
Can eat it as soon as you like, or leave for two weeks. It’s just lovely!Yvonne MaryGuest
Thank you. That sounds just the thing. I will be having a go as soon as I get the milk (I’m house-bound at the moment).
Cheers from Melbourne