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Old 03-09-2017, 07:49 PM   #1
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Making cheese 2016 into 2017

I started making soft cheeses last fall. It takes a while to accumulate all the equipment and ingredients.

I started with mozzarella which is the hardest cheese in my opinion. Then I started making curds. Both turned out great with an occasional ricotta cheese.

Then I got my refrigerator 'cheese cave' set up recently. My cheese press is half assembled now. I have two homemade molds and although I was limited to only 30 lbs of pressure up to now, I was able to make some cheeses this winter.

I've done about 20 gallons of milk for ricotta, mozzarella, and curds. Recently I made three soft 'pressed cheeses', havarti, butterkase, and caerphilly, each are ripening in ripening boxes in the cheese cave. I turn or wash them twice a week. The havarti will be waxed in 3 weeks then ripened another 2 weeks to eat. The butterkase is waxed and will be ready to eat in 3 weeks. The caerphilly will be ready to eat in a couple weeks. Each of the soft press cheeses are just shy of 5 lbs each.

Today I made a 4 gallon batch of mozzarella, as the guys here are crazy for pizza and motz sticks and they have the metabolism to be able to eat that at their leisure.

There are bound to be failures along the way but I am keeping my hope up. Here are two pictures.

The first is the cheese cave with ripening boxes with the cheese in them, the vinegar and brine solutions I use, a bucket of water with a towel to keep the humidity very very high. The temperature in the cheese cave is between 52 and 57 degrees F.



This second picture is a picture of the havarti, and you can see the lines in the surface made by the sushi mats.



Next cheeses will be parmesan, romano, colby, and cheddar, multiples of each so they can age for a long time. It is a fun hobby--though it might be more seasonal because I'm a gardener and canner in the summer.

For recipes and reference I use Gavin Webber videos and blog which are both free. He resides in Australia and does a mighty fine job of explaining things.
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Old 03-09-2017, 08:08 PM   #2
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That looks terrific ( and like fun too)
I tried making Mozzarella once , and almost burned my fingers, and all I wound up with was a ball of cheese smaller than a golf ball.

I occasionally make paneer, but the store bought is better .
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Old 03-09-2017, 10:32 PM   #3
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Looks like fun..I wish I had the time....I would love to do it...
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Old 03-10-2017, 10:34 AM   #4
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That looks terrific ( and like fun too)
I tried making Mozzarella once , and almost burned my fingers, and all I wound up with was a ball of cheese smaller than a golf ball.

I occasionally make paneer, but the store bought is better .
Since mozzarella doesn't require a cheese cave or aging, or a mold, or a press, people believe that it is an easy cheese to make. The method of making mozza is a little more difficult, the ph has to be just right, and the method of handling it is a little touchy. I made one 4 gallon batch yesterday and ended up with three big bowls of curds/whey. 2 out of the 3 turned out perfect and I had a little trouble with one bowl, and I believe it was the way I was physically handling it was the problem. I was mashing it a little instead of patting and squeezing it a little. I ended up with too much whey and the curds weren't sticking together. I was in too much of a hurry to do a good job on that one bowl.

I use rubber gloves to handle the hot curd. A good yield for cheese is 1.25 lbs of cheese per gallon of milk, if I'm lucky. Still, it is fun even when it doesn't turn out perfect, and it is still edible.

Cheese making is more like baking than cooking. The amounts of ingredients are touchy, the timing of the heat is touchy, when to stir, when to let it rest, putting it in a mold, pressing it for a number of lbs of pressure for so many minutes, turn, rewrap, press again. Dry or age or wax in some combination.

I decided to do this because with 3 of us here we go through a lot of cheese. Our milk prices are pretty low in the midwest and we like 'expensive' cheeses when we can fit them in the budget.

If you end up giving it a try, make sure you have either raw or your own milk supply or find recipes that are for store bought milk. Before investing in a cheese cave/old refrigerator with temp controller, or a press, there are ingenious ways to mimic those conditions temporarily until you decide you want to get into it with more equipment. A cheese cave can by used to dry and age sausage/hams too, another use for one.

The point is, I guess, it has been fun and I hope to continue to make cheeses this year when I'm not busy gardening and canning and dehydrating and freezing food. Winter is always a lull in activities around here and cheese has been useful and delicious as a hobby.
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Old 03-10-2017, 12:42 PM   #5
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Winter is always a lull in activities around here and cheese has been useful and delicious as a hobby.
Definitely sounds like a great winter project. I've resorted to growing mushrooms indoors, and herbs in my aquaponics garden during the winter months. Cheese sounds more exciting, as it is more hands -on.
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Old 03-15-2017, 05:20 PM   #6
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Larry I've thought we should do mushrooms here too, but we haven't accomplished it yet.

I made some really great cheddar curds a couple days ago, friends are thrilled, we are thrilled too, they taste specatular.

Yesterday I made some colby, I'll wax it in a couple days.

Tomorrow I'll make parmesan, I'm excited to try it. It takes 10 months to age, so I'll probably make it a half dozen times before I taste the first stuff that is aged out. Fun.

Today, I'm making a lemon glazed white cake and mac and cheese, some bacon to put on top. Dh's birthday is tomorrow.
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Old 03-15-2017, 09:48 PM   #7
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Larry I've thought we should do mushrooms here too, but we haven't accomplished it yet.

I made some really great cheddar curds a couple days ago, friends are thrilled, we are thrilled too, they taste specatular.

Yesterday I made some colby, I'll wax it in a couple days.

Tomorrow I'll make parmesan, I'm excited to try it. It takes 10 months to age, so I'll probably make it a half dozen times before I taste the first stuff that is aged out. Fun.

Today, I'm making a lemon glazed white cake and mac and cheese, some bacon to put on top. Dh's birthday is tomorrow.
So, since you have fresh cheese curds, you could make some really good poutine.
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Old 03-15-2017, 09:53 PM   #8
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So, since you have fresh cheese curds, you could make some really good poutine.
Yes I could, if we don't eat them out of hand so fast. They are fantastic!
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Old 03-21-2017, 12:24 PM   #9
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I made the parmesan, then 2 days later, romano, then yesterday, cheddar. The fun (WORK) never ends. So many dishes to wash and sterilizing everything. UGH.


That is the outside of the havarti, scary stuff.



There is a green blue spot of mold, I removed it. Under it there is a white clean cheese--believe it or not.


The cheese press, needs a bit of tweeking, some parts work okay and I'd like it to work more predictably. DH made it.

Most of the cheeses are waxed, or brined, pretty boring but filling up the cheese cave.
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Old 03-21-2017, 12:38 PM   #10
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Making cheese 2016 into 2017

Quote:
Originally Posted by blissful View Post
I made the parmesan, then 2 days later, romano, then yesterday, cheddar. The fun (WORK) never ends. So many dishes to wash and sterilizing everything. UGH.


That is the outside of the havarti, scary stuff.



There is a green blue spot of mold, I removed it. Under it there is a white clean cheese--believe it or not.


The cheese press, needs a bit of tweeking, some parts work okay and I'd like it to work more predictably. DH made it.

Most of the cheeses are waxed, or brined, pretty boring but filling up the cheese cave.

Gah! Brainzzz!

Neat endeavor though, bliss!
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Old 03-21-2017, 12:57 PM   #11
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Gah! Brainzzz!

Neat endeavor though, bliss!
My aunt told me she thinks there are tiny interstellar beings in the cheese and they are trying to communicate with the mold. ha ha ha so funny. Brainzzzz...it's something isn't it?

I'm having fun, and it is work, but we like cheese, so it works out. I'm looking forward to the part where we TASTE the cheese. The first stuff will be ready in a couple weeks now. Some of it ages 3-6 weeks, some ages for months and years. We have about 30lbs of cheese put up in the cheese cave so far. Tomorrow I make parmesan again. We are feeling blessed by the whole thing.

You know how when you freeze cheddar or colby, it crumbles and doesn't stick together as well as cheese that has never been frozen? That is one of my DH's pet peeves, and this might fix that problem and we'll have fresh cheese available. He likes to eat cheese out of hand.
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Old 03-21-2017, 01:19 PM   #12
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Please let us know if you need any additional taste testers for, you know, quality control. We'd all be happy to gorge, um, I mean help you out!
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Old 03-21-2017, 01:27 PM   #13
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Please let us know if you need any additional taste testers for, you know, quality control. We'd all be happy to gorge, um, I mean help you out!
Oh I do, I will, need taste testers and I wish you were closer, I could send you some for your birthday! Happy Birthday!
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Old 03-27-2017, 12:21 AM   #14
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The second parmesan, Parmesan2.



Cheddar1, waxed in red.



First ripened cheese, Caerphilly. 7 out of 10, salty, less salt than feta, tasted somewhat like brick, can be sliced, does melt. MMMMMMMM We've got cheese.

Here's my list of what I've made besides mozzarella, curds, ricotta, with some help from DH for the press and buying milk, on sale, and DS, on taking out brining cheeses at 2 am, thank goodness I was tired.

Starting in late february and ending yesterday, from my cheese log.
Havarti
Butterkase
Caerphilly
Colby (2 1/2 months)
Parmesan1 (10 months)
Romano1 (8 months)
Cheddar1 (6 months or much more)
parmesan2
romano2
gruyere (6 months and more)
cheddar2

Each cheese is between 2 and 5 lbs and they are stored in the cheese cave refrigerator in the basement. So now when I need some cheese, once it ages, then I'll have it available.

And I spent today making mother cultures to cut the cost of buying cultures of meso and thermo. Tomorrow I think some swiss cheese of some type or a second colby. Milk is on sale today, tomorrow and tuesday. Then, after that, I might get a little break. Gardening season is calling.
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Old 03-27-2017, 01:36 AM   #15
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Wow blissful, that's impressive.
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Old 03-28-2017, 04:18 PM   #16
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Thanks for the encouragement taxlady and everyone.
I made some mother cultures frozen now, so that will save money on buying them. Yesterday I made colby2 and I took it out of the mold this morning.
Today I'm making Emmentaler (swiss type cheese) for the first time. I need at least three types of swiss cheeses for Christmas when I make swiss cheese fondue, four is better. Then when I shred up the cheese mixture, I keep it in the freezer to use in quiches and egg dishes and ham dishes. I have one Gruyere, so I need 2 more swiss types--just can't decide what to make.

2 oz of rennet runs between $7 and $9, a 4 gallon recipe of cheese uses about a teaspoon of rennet. There are different types, organic vegetable, vegetable, and animal. Each is labeled so that 1/2 teaspoon is enough for 2 gallons of milk, double rennet is 1/4 teaspoon for 2 gallons of milk, triple rennet is 1/6th teaspoon per 2 gallons of milk--something to pay attention to! I just found a source for organic vegetable triple rennet.

This sure keeps me busy and on my feet for about 7 hours a day!
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Old 03-28-2017, 04:26 PM   #17
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You are making me really want to invest in a cheese cave/wine fridge
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Old 03-28-2017, 04:31 PM   #18
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You are making me really want to invest in a cheese cave/wine fridge
Well, splitting hairs....no one makes you ....anything. I take what you say in a very positive way, just as I'm sure you meant it. But if you want to do it, just get an old used fridge, and the thermostat units were super expensive a year or so ago and now you can get them for $28.50. And if you decide not to have a cheese cave anymore, you can use the thermostat portion to keep your crock pot at just about any temperature you like!
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 03-28-2017, 04:36 PM   #19
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Are the mother cultures what make the different cheeses the kind of cheese they are?
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Old 03-28-2017, 04:49 PM   #20
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Are the mother cultures what make the different cheeses the kind of cheese they are?
Essentially yes. There are other factors too. The two cultures most often used alone and with other cultures are mesophilic and thermophilic. Meso is for lower temperatures while thermo cultures can be heated higher. I was reading a manchego recipe which uses both!

Other factors:
How long you stir at each stage.
How big you cut the curds.
The temperature you bring the curds up to.
How long you rest the curds.
If you wash the curds to heat them or to cool them.
If you add salt to the cheese, as it controls how acidic it gets.
If you mill the salt in or if you brine the cheese after pressing.
How long and at what poundage you press the curds.
How long and at what temperature and humidity you age the cheese.
Whether you wash the rind to protect the cheese or if you wax it or if you grow something moldy on the outside of it.

It makes a difference what kind of milk you have, sheep, goat, or cows, or? and whether it is pasteurized and homogenized, or raw. So, there are lots of factors and the mother cultures are part of the recipe that makes them what they are.
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