First, I'll show you how the last batch is coming along:
My directions say to use calcium chloride before the culture and rennet if the milk makes a weak curd and takes an inordinate amount of time to set. I didn't know if my milk would have that problem or not, so I used it. This time, I did not use it and found out it wasn't necessary. Cliff tells me calcium chloride is the stuff farmers put in tractor tires to keep them from freezing in winter, and that it's some bad stuff! Also, last time I used liquid rennet made for cheese-making. This time I used tablet... not the Junket like you buy in the store, though, it's what I bought from the cheese-making place. I can tell you there is a tremendous difference. Using the proper kind of rennet, a firmer curd develops in thirty minutes than what I got from the Junket tablets after twelve hours. So if you venture into cheese-making, spend the bucks and buy the proper stuff.
As I was at the stage after cutting the curd where I set the pan into a sink full of hot water. At this point I saw something I don't remember reading last week: "Place the pot into a sink of hot water and bring the temperature slowly (not more than 2 degrees every five minutes) up to 100 degrees. The will probably take about 30 minutes.
See the underlined part? I'm sure I didn't pay attention to that the other time, so let's hope it didn't ruin that batch. I'll bet it didn't.
The next hour or so should be interesting. I'll be applying the weight to the cheese after it's in the mold. Cliff was here to help with that before.
Another modification we made this time is to get the cheese off the surface of the plate when it's being pressed; before, I used paper towels and just wiped off the whey as it collected. Cliff fixed me up with a way of draining so the curds aren't sitting in the whey.