Friday, December 07, 2012

The perils of cheese-making

I have attempted to make hard cheese no more than a half-dozen times.  Once it actually looked and tasted like real cheese, similar to cheddar.  Except it wasn't yellow.  You have to add coloring if you want yellow cheese.  Another time it turned out to be a dry, crumbly cheese similar to Feta, and was very good used in salad even though it was supposed to be a hard cheese like Cheddar.  The other three or four times, it was a total flop.  
I have played around with this cheese-making process enough to halfway know what the curds should look like before you start heating them.  
Yesterday afternoon I relieved Bonnie of her excess milk, brought it in and strained it, and poured it into a large stainless steel pan.  I inoculated it with 1/4 cup of store-bought buttermilk, covered it with a towel, and let it set undisturbed until this morning.  First thing when I got up, I dissolved half a rennet tablet in 1/4 cup water, stirred it into the milk, and let it sit for another hour.  Then I cut the curd.  I was supposed to end up with 1/2 inch curds, but for some reason the curds broke up into smaller bits and I knew I had another flop on my hands.  Oh well, chickens love any sort of failed cheese product.  I decided to taste the mess, anyhow, just to see.  
It tasted like cottage cheese!  Well hey, even though I did not use the proper recipe for cottage cheese, if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck...    

I don't know why there is a yellowish cast to this picture.  The colander and the curds are actually white.  So I washed the curds in cold water a few times.  They are draining right now, as you see in the picture.  All I have to do is add a little cream.  I may have cottage cheese with canned pears for breakfast.   
If I get a full gallon of milk from Bonnie again, I guess I will try for hard cheese again tomorrow.

1 comment:

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I do remember my grandmother making homemade cottage cheese and it was delicious! It sounds to me like you have a real treat there for breakfast!