Well, we've had a busy week. Running here and there, window-shopping for a pickup truck for Cliff, seeing about a refinance to take advantage of a much lower interest rate, visiting our lawyer (no problems, no divorces, just learning some things). And I'm still making cheese. I have another two-pound hunk that will be ready for wax tomorrow morning.
I mentioned originally that I was going to pasteurize the milk, but I read more closely and found it it was better if I didn't. Once again in my cheese-making efforts I found something that confused me: The directions that came with the cheese-making kit I'm using said this: "Pour the drained curds into a bowl and break them up gently with your fingers into walnut-sized pieces. Mix in the 1 tablespoon of salt, half a tablespoon at a time."
That's what I did both times. Then, looking at the New England Cheese supply website at what should have been the same recipe, I read this: "Break this curd mass into 1/2-3/4-inch pieces. Add salt (use 2% of the curd weight in salt). Add the salt in 3 phases allowing the salt to dissolve between additions. Stir often enough to keep from matting and this salting should take 30 minutes."
Well, if that's the right way, I did it wrong, because I didn't spend over five minutes stirring in the salt. Just think, I have to wait two months to find out if I ruined the cheese. The entire set of directions and times for pressing was different, too, although I don't see that part making a huge difference.
I made some buttermilk from culture I bought, too: For this, I did pasteurize the skim milk, because I wanted to freeze some cubes of it and see if they would work on my next attempt. If they do, my home-cultured buttermilk will be much cheaper to make. The directions said I could use one to two quarts of milk with this packet of culture, but that one was best. So I used one. Then it said to let it set for twelve to twenty-four hours. I peeked at it after twelve hours and thought, "I'll give it plenty of time," and left it alone for another twelve. So I have buttermilk the consistency of yogurt. But hey, it's buttermilk! If only biscuits didn't have so many calories I would be making biscuits right now. Meanwhile I'm eating my buttermilk with a spoon, and it's pretty darned good!
I want to try making mozzarella cheese, but I have to order citric acid for that. It's supposed to be one of the easiest cheeses to make. Ree Drummond gives her instructions HERE. Looks like fun.
On the weight-loss scene, I'm about a pound away from my goal of 160 pounds, but since I don't plan to do anything differently than I have done since January 1, and I will probably be more active in the spring, maybe I'll lose more weight. I have no other goals except to maintain the weight loss for once in my life.
In the garden, the peas are up, onions are up and growing, radish and carrot tops are above-ground, and beets just sprouted. Spinach looks good, too. The six cabbages I started in the house are loving the cold weather and doing fine. I forgot to plant lettuce, can you believe it? I'm hoping I'll be able to get the tiller in the garden by tomorrow if we don't get more rain (we've received over three inches lately, thank the good Lord). Maybe I'd be wise to just go out there with a rake and hoe and get it done today, because lettuce needs to be in early.
So, there you have it. Consider me "checked-in".