Monday 25 January 2010

Home made cheese, a first attempt

I'm inspired. For a while now I have been reading on Natashya, Heather and Simona's blogs about their forays into homemade cheese making. It has all sounded amazing and wonderful and I decided that I really had to have a go at it. I ordered some supplies from Leeners, bought a couple of litres of full-fat goats milk from the supermarket and got stuck in.

I started with these recipes, following the method for cheddar because it sounded the most achievable. I didn't have the right sized mould for making a single cheese, so I used egg rings, lined with scalded cheesecloth and set in my bamboo steamer. 2l of milk made 4 cheeses. The curds didn't set up as firmly as I was anticipating, so I abandoned the idea of pressing them into a hard cheese, and just went where I was led, into a soft goats cheese.

After 2 days draining I turned them out of their moulds, onto a fresh piece of scalded cheesecloth, and let them mature for another 4 days before we sampled one. Isn't the pattern from the bamboo steamer pretty? It was delicious. Very mild and creamy, goaty but not intensely so and with an unmistakeable "cheese" texture - it definitely wasn't yoghurt. It had grown up.

The intention was to let the other 3 cheeses mature for longer to see how the flavour developed, but sadly they developed a nasty mould and had to be chucked. Oh well - for a first attempt I was happy!

Of course, when you make cheese at home, you end up with a lot of whey. In a lot of areas (well - Stilton and Parma) a thriving dairy industry has also led to a thriving pork industry, as they whey is fed to the pigs and they grow fat and flavoursome. But I don't have a pig.

The last scoop of the goats curd (which didn't fit into the moulds) and a little of the whey went into my blood orange syrup cakes instead of yoghurt.

The rest of the whey went to make ricotta. Now, making ricotta this traditional way is very, very low yield. But since it takes no effort and it is really a bonus yield from the cheesemaking, I wasn't too bothered. Remember I started with 2l of milk, got 4 x 10cm cheeses and 200ml of goats curd for my cakes. The 1/2 cup of lovely fresh ricotta was eaten almost straight away, in this pasta with artichokes dish. It was seriously delicious, but I kept thinking that it'd be even better in summer with fresh baby courgettes substituted for the artichokes.

So THEN the whey drained from the ricotta needed a home. Oh yes - I was very keen to make this milk go as far as possible! 1/3 cup went into the syrup for the orange syrup cakes - it added a slight tang and richer flavour than a plain citrus syrup. Some went into the freezer - I hear it makes a good marinade for meat - and some went into a version of this buttermilk syrup (I say "a version" because I used twice the amount of whey as the recipe calls for buttermilk, no corn syrup and no baking soda). Then THAT syrup went into this spelt porridge, which I portioned up and took to work for breakfast.

Spelt Porridge

250g pearled spelt
250ml water
1/4 cup golden flax seed
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
375ml whey syrup
60g dried cranberries
80g dried figs, cut into quarters
100g hazelnuts, roughly chopped

Combine ingredients in a heavy bottomed pan. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer gently on a low heat for about 1/2 hour, stirring frequently, or until it is thick and gelatinous and the spelt is tender. Serve hot, with extra cold milk poured over. It's very filling and sustaining.


Sharon said...

Awesome! I can't wait for your next cheesy post.

Arlene Delloro said...

What a great result for your first foray into cheesemaking. I'm dying to make homemade mozzarella, but haven't yet worked up the nerve to jump in.

Inspired by eRecipeCards said...

You are right... I can feel the pressure to get sucked into this.... Good for you, it looks fabulous!

Saving your post and gonna give it a shot soon

George Gaston said...

Move over Farmhouse Cheese Company ~ there is a new cheese gal in town and her's looks incredible. Made from quality ingredients found in her local market with her her creative hands.

Well done and your cheese look amazing...

I Poderi del Sole said...

Wow! Amazing all the things you made with just 2 L of milk. I like it.
I'm the same way about food. I don't like throwing anything away. I recycle. Great post.

kat said...

Good for you! We've enjoyed our forays into cheese making too. We have some farmhouse cheddar aging in wax in the basement that I'm a little afraid to open.

Alicia Foodycat said...

Poppy - thanks! There will be another!

Arlene - mozzarella is on my list of things to do too.

AYOTG - the peer pressure is terrible.

George - thank you!

I Poderi - I hate wasting food! It upsets me so much.

Kat - it was the Leeners kit that you had that inspired me to get supplies from there.

NKP said...

Wow - I am so impressed! May we put this post of yours up on the Forging Fromage site?

grace said...

um, wow. many kudos to you for taking on this awesome endeavor and for doing it to the fullest extent! not being a cheese-lover, the most appealing part for me is the spelt porridge, but i can appreciate all of it!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Natashya - oh please do!

Grace - Not a cheese lover? I am sorry, I don't understand? For me that is like saying that you don't care for breathing! The spelt porridge was very good though.

Simona Carini said...

Beautiful! I am honored to have been mentioned as an inspiration for your adventure into cheese making. And I am glad you are satisfied with the results of your first try. Did the mold develop while the cheese was in the fridge?

Chef Aimee said...

I am SO impressed you did this! Congrats on your first go-round!

Esi said...

Cheese is one of the things I must make before this year is over! Nice job. That spelt looks great too. I need to get my hands on some more of it.

Deb in Hawaii said...

I am so impressed and for your first time too. I also love how used used practically every drop and scrap--no waste, amazing!

Alicia Foodycat said...

Simona - in the pantry, it was cold enough to leave out of the fridge!

Aimee - thanks! It won't be the last

Esi - the spelt porridge was economical too. I am just eating the last portion: it lasted 8 days!

Deb - waste not, want not!

Dharm said...

Wow! I am sooo impressed. Making your own cheese. Good On ya!

NKP said...

Hey Foodycat, your post has been duplicated onto the Forging Fromage site today. Thanks so much, very inspiring!

NKP said...

Ps, another great use for leftover whey is to use it for the water in bread baking. Gives a softness to the loaf and a sourdough-like tang.

Teresa Cordero Cordell said...

Foodycat, you are so inspiring. To actually make your own cheese at home is quite an accomplishment. Congratulations. It sounds delicious. And yes, the steamer did add a nice decorative touch. :)

Carly Findlay said...

Hello there
I came across your blog via Faux Fuschia's.
And I have read three posts so far - I adore your blog!
I especially love this one because it features cheese, I love cheese more than chocolate.
I recently bought a cheesemaking DVD from Ebay and you have inspired me to watch it and make my own cheese.
I will visit again soon

mscrankypants said...

Oh, yummy. I'm addicted to goat's feta cheese at the moment and it's making me crave your home made cheese. Looks gorgeous.

Alicia Foodycat said...

Dharm - thanks!

Natashya - I love the idea of using it in bread! I am definitely going to try that.

Teresa - thank you!

Carly - I hadn't even thought of getting a DVD! That's a great idea thanks!

Cranky - I can't decide whether feta or mozzarella will be my next adventure.

Dharm said...

Indeed Chef Wan is a funny guy! Glad you caught him on a show so at least you know who he is! He really is rather eccentric isn't he!! Great recipes though!

Jenny said...

That looks fantastic Foodycat. Shame that the other went off. It looks a bit complicated and time consuming for me, I think I'll stick with my hung yogurt soft cheese but I'm really looking forward to reading about the next attempt.

Alicia Foodycat said...

Dharm - I am going to have a look on youtube to see if I can find more Chef Wan.

Jennifer - I think those yoghurt cheeses are delicious! No shame there.

Carly Findlay said...

I bought my CD (it only plays on computers?) for $9.95 on Ebay - you should def search for one.

MrOrph said...




Alicia Foodycat said...

Carly - thanks, Will do!

Mr Orph - thanks Donald!


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