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Old 03-13-2008, 02:01 PM   #1
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Default Got my cheesemaking kit, now what?

My Basic Hard Cheese Kit from New England Cheesemaking Supply arrived last night. I was looking at all the different types of cheese I can make, and I can't make up my mind. I also got a pound of the wax.

Anyone want to tell me where I might want to begin? Would a Monterey Jack be too difficult a choice for a first cheese? Anything not included in the kit that I should have on hand before I give this a shot this weekend? I'm thinking I need to get some powdered milk just in case my only "fresh" milk choices are ultra past. stuff, and I hope the Morton's Kosher salt I have in the pantry is good for cheese, but I could pick up some other non-iodized salt if it'd be a better choice.

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Old 03-13-2008, 03:41 PM   #2
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I got the same one and attempted the farmhouse cheddar and just waxed it last weekend. Watch out, though, as it calls for 2 gallons of milk and seems to be a 2# recipe, but 2# does not fit nicely into the press. Ok, it doesn't even BARELY fit into the press. I ended up having a nightmare and cut my cheese down to almost a half pound just to get a decent round enough shape to wax. :/

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Old 03-14-2008, 12:08 AM   #3
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I got my kit last week and hope to get the farmhouse cheddar done this weekend. I did find something interesting at my grocery store. I checked out the health food area and found they have whole milk that has been pasteurized but NOT homogenized. Homogenizing seems to be a big issue with making cheese so I figure it's worth a shot using it.

I also found some full cream powdered milk (Nestle Nido) at the Mediterranean market and bought some of that too. I'm not sure if the drying process will hurt the butter fat in the milk but if it works, the market has giant cans of it for $25. I would much rather use full cream powdered milk that makes many gallons than buying the "organic" milk at $3.99 per 1/2 gallon.

The only cheese I've made is Indian Paneer so I can't give you any cool tips about what you'll need for your foray into cheesemaking. It does make me feel better knowing someone else will be struggling through the process the same time as me.

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Old 03-14-2008, 08:37 PM   #4
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I just started this hobby- I am also a home brewer. You need to be able to follow intructions carefully. and you really don't need much in the way of equipment. Other than that I don't know why all the fuss about starting with "cream cheese" or "mozzarella"...just my HO.

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Old 03-14-2008, 10:28 PM   #5
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Well, I just pitched, rennet that is. The wife insisted on Gouda, so I hope that's not too ambitious to start with.

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Old 03-15-2008, 02:05 AM   #6
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So I didn't use whole milk, rather I used skim and heavy whipping cream to make the Gouda. I used 15cups of Maola™ brand skim, and a store brand ultra pasteurized cream, but I read that the ultra pasteurized cream wasn't as bad as the milk. I also followed the kit's instructions to use calcium chloride, of which I used 1/8 tsp diluted in a 1/4 cup of water. The rennet I used was the vegetable type in tablet form, and I used 1/2 tablet dissolved in water. I didn't use the NSF type analog thermometer that came with the kit, but used my new favorite Taylor waterproof digital one I got from Target.

Following the instructions that came with the New England Cheesemaking kit, I got a real nice curd, not the mushy rice-sized mess that I saw in pictures from using ultra pasteurized milk, so I guess I did alright there. This Gouda recipe was kinda like mashing, as I had to heat some water to strike temp in another pot, 175ºF in this case, to add to the curds slowly to get the temp up to a temp of 100º and let it rest at that temp for a half hour. Sound familiar?

Everything went as explained in the direction, and I now have a nice glob of curds in a mould getting pressed under 20 lbs of weight. I didn't have anything around that weighed 20lbs., so I improvised with about 2.3 gallons of water in an Ale Pail and used that. Worked great!

Now this cheese needs to set under pressure for 12 hours, then get turned over and get pressed another 12 hours. Then I get to soak it in brine, which I'll be making using the Morton's Canning and Pickling salt, nothing added, that I picked up at the store. After getting salted the cheese gets to have it's skin dried out for a number of days, and finally I'll be waxing it, and aging for 3-6 months. Unlike beer, it's going to be some time before I know if it's any good.

I got my fingers crossed.

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Old 03-15-2008, 04:52 AM   #7
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HEY!!!! Cheese Making is three doors down on the right...

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