Skip to content

I made cheese.

I always thought cheesemaking was out of reach for a plebe(*) such as myself. Then I saw recipes by Mercedes of Desert Candy and Heidi of 101 Cookbooks, and thought, “Hey, that looks easy.”

(*)Here defined as someone who has only purchased cheese, never made it. Not meant as derogatory, just as an observation.

Well, things didn’t go as I had hoped. I estimated that with half a gallon of milk plus a pint of buttermilk (mostly following Heidi’s recipe), I’d get about a pint of cheese. Nuh-unh. Barely got a cup out of it. What went wrong? Perhaps I stirred too much? Perhaps the buttermilk wasn’t acidic enough? Or, gasp, perhaps the bacterial beasts in the buttermilk were mostly dead?

Anyhow, what about the texture and flavor? It’s somewhere between a large curd cottage cheese and ricotta cheese; not too creamy, but I did drain it overnight on purpose. (It’s destined for macaroni and cheese tonight.) But, oh, it smells like butter! It has a sweet, milky flavor. And it squeaks. 😀

So rather than giving up, this fresh, unripened cheese will be a work in progress. Although I’m still going through some sticker shock: with such a small yield, cheese shows how expensive milk is! Here are the ingredients I used for this cheese beta:

  • 1/2 gallon whole milk, pasteurized but not ultra-pasteurized. I used an organic cream topped milk from Trader Joe’s, which I believe comes from Straus Creamery.
  • 1 pint buttermilk, again pasteurized but not ultrapasteurized. Another Trader Joe’s purchase, a lowfat variety from Rockview Farms.

…And in the future to try out:

  • Let the milk and buttermilk sit together at room temperature for a few hours.
  • Add some neutral vinegar to the milk and buttermilk.
  • Add some rennet to the milk and buttermilk.
  • Play with fromage blanc culture ordered online.
  • Add a wee bit of salt, just to open up the flavor.

Have you tried making cheese at home? What advice and stories would you share?

One comment

  1. SjG wrote:

    Blessed are the cheesemakers!

    (someone had to say it)

    Monday, 28 January 2008 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

Submit a comment

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked with a red diamond, .