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Old 05-15-2007, 12:54 PM   #1
JohnBarleycorn
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Default Making cheese

Has anyone here made thier own cheese ? Been checking on line about the process and was wondering if its really worth the effort in cost and quality .

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Old 05-15-2007, 01:49 PM   #2
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I have. It depends on what you want to make and what you have available. You need a temperature and humidity controlled environment to do it properly. Other than that, you probably already have a large enough SS brew kettle to hold enough milk. Buy good Rennet and cultures and that is pretty much all there is to it. Making good cheese is easy, making exceptional cheese requires skill, knowledge and experience.

It takes time as well. One good thing I got from it was perspective. I realized why good cheese costs so much...it is simply that there is so much effort and time in it to create the end product.

One nice advantage is that you can make raw milk cheeses, which are not legal in the US when aged less than 60 days. So as close as you'll ever get to a true Camembert for instance will be done in the home (aside from a flight to Europe hehe).

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Old 05-15-2007, 05:38 PM   #3
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I've made ricotta, by boiling lemon juice in milk. This causes the milk to curdle it is then strained though cheese cloth and a strainer. Got the idea from Gourmet magazine.

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Old 05-15-2007, 08:13 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Short Drive
I've made ricotta, by boiling lemon juice in milk. This causes the milk to curdle it is then strained though cheese cloth and a strainer. Got the idea from Gourmet magazine.
My wife made and Indian dish that required this process as well. I don't think it was actually "ricotta" cheese, but it was good. Interesting as well, but not worth the effort, except maybe, once in a while.

I can see making cheese in large quantities as being worth it, but really, unless you will be sharing with a lot of people (or it keeps for a long time), who eats that much cheese? I'm guessing it's not made in 5 or 10 gallon batches like we make beer?
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Old 05-15-2007, 10:35 PM   #5
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I was actually interested in this after watching the website where the cheese ages. www.cheddarvision.tv

Making cheese seems alot like homebrewing. Buy alot of expensive equipment, a dedicated refrigerator, and wait for it to age and get better (except from what I read, some cheeses take a long time)

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Old 05-16-2007, 11:55 AM   #6
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I've made cheese a couple of times now, and I'm still working on the process. It is a lot like homebrewing in that you can spend a lot of money on equipment, or be really creative and build your own.
My setup was pretty simple:
To control the temperature of my milk and rennet I placed a pot into a sink with water, and added hot water to the sink periodically to maintain or increase the temperature.
To press the cheese at the end, I made a cheese press using some PVC piping and some scrap lumber.
One question for zoebisch01 or anyone else whose made cheese - I've haven't been impressed with the consistancy with my cheese. It's quite gummy. Around my house, it's really hard to find unhomogenized milk, and I think this plays a big role in the consistancy because the fat isn't binding together. Has anyone had this problem? My only other option is Organic Whole Milk which costs $10 a gallon...
I think is either the milk or the press isn't getting the pressure I think it is.

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Old 05-16-2007, 12:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iBeer
One question for zoebisch01 or anyone else whose made cheese - I've haven't been impressed with the consistancy with my cheese. It's quite gummy. Around my house, it's really hard to find unhomogenized milk, and I think this plays a big role in the consistancy because the fat isn't binding together. Has anyone had this problem? My only other option is Organic Whole Milk which costs $10 a gallon...
I think is either the milk or the press isn't getting the pressure I think it is.
If you are making a hard cheese (or any cheese for that matter) make sure you are getting your curd right (usually smaller and more well cooked). Cooking time is one of the biggest factors behind this, and pH also plays a critical role. I have made fairly good cheese with homogenized milk, but it is fresh that day from a local farm. I am eventually going to get some goats, so until then I have kind of suspended the process (too many other projects going on). But the gumminess I would look to my curd first.

Aside from that though, It is all about the milk! It is near impossible to make stellar cheese from poor milk. Personally, I'd try to do some digging and (depending on your location) try to find a farmer within reasonable driving distance that will sell you fresh milk.
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Old 05-16-2007, 12:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by desiderata
My wife made and Indian dish that required this process as well. I don't think it was actually "ricotta" cheese, but it was good. Interesting as well, but not worth the effort, except maybe, once in a while.

I can see making cheese in large quantities as being worth it, but really, unless you will be sharing with a lot of people (or it keeps for a long time), who eats that much cheese? I'm guessing it's not made in 5 or 10 gallon batches like we make beer?
Sounds like she made Paneer. It is really good cooked with Spinach in one of their traditional dishes.

You roughly get iirc 1 lb of cheese per gallon of milk and batches at home are usually 5 gallons. 5 lbs of cheese is a bit, but especially if you are making an aged cheese it is not a problem to use up. Plus the whey material which can be used to make Ricotta if you are frugal. T

wo reasons to make cheese. The first is if you actually have animals that produce a surplus of milk (most likely one of the original reasons for cheese) and need to use it. The second is (imho) if you want to get into the artistic part of it. There are plenty of rather bland cheeses you can make easily, but getting into the challenge of making a fresh Brie or Camembert would be the cat's meow imo. I haven't made either yet, but aim to do so this year hopefully.
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Old 05-18-2007, 12:51 AM   #9
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My wife and I made cheese from goat's milk. As someone said earlier, is really is all about the milk. We have an old nanny goat that we were milking daily. We'd get a margerine tub full of milk from her twice daily. When we had a couple of gallons, we'd make one cheese. Two gallons will yield a cheese that weighs approximately one pound, give or take.
We'd dry the cheese for several days, and then dip it in beeswax to seal it. We let it cure for anywhere from three to six months in the fridge.
I'm not a goat milk fan, but I do enjoy goat cheese. It has a kinda strong, funky taste like a sharp cheddar ( really sharp). From experience, I can advise you not to eat several ounces of it and wash it down with too much Stout. You won't be able to sleep for all the noise your stomach will make.

Hoegger's Supply probably has a website. They carry some really good supplies at reasonable prices, and they have great instructions on cheesemaking in their catalog.

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Old 05-18-2007, 12:17 PM   #10
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Speaking of Cheese...

Some 'must tries' in my book (I haven't really thought long and hard about pairing though so no recommendations there):

Humboldt Fog
Taleggio (cave aged)
Brillat-Savarin

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