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Old 11-25-2008, 04:24 AM   #1
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Default Making cheese, yet another new hobby

Cheese making has now joined brewing, mead making, sausage making, bread making, dehydrating, and canning and preserving in my repertoire of food-related craft pursuits. I'm excited about it.

I made some queso blanco last week, and some mozzarella today. I was fairly pleased with the results in both cases considering that it was my first attempts. But I clearly have a lot of room for improvement.

The queso blanco came out a little harder than it should, but it went very well on salads and with scrambled eggs and with greens (turnip, kale, etc). I think I used too much vinegar. I'll use less next time to see if I can keep it a bit softer. The mozzarella I made today seemed bland, but the consistency and texture were pretty good.

I've been researching milk. Getting good milk is going to prove to be a challenge. It seems like most grocery store milk these days, especially the organic milks, are ultra-pasteurized. You can't make cheese from UP milk. It won't set into proper curds.

One problem is that some grocery store milk that is ultra-pasteurized isn't labeled as such. I tried regular whole milk from Costco, and even though it wasn't labeled UP, I am sure that it was. The curds wouldn't form at all. Basically, UP milk is a dead white fluid that resembles real milk in some regards, except that it doesn't taste good and isn't good for you.

Today I used Shepp's milk, which is from a local dairy. It worked fine for a conventionally pasteurized and homogenized cow's milk.

What I really want for my cheese making is raw unpasteurized goat's milk and cow's milk. Licensed raw milk farmers in Texas can sell it to consumers, but the purchase and pickup must be made at the farm where the milk is produced. It can't be sold in stores or anywhere off the farm. Around here raw goat's milk tends to go for about $14 a gallon. I don't know about raw cow's milk, as I'm still looking for a source. The main problem with sourcing it is that all of the producers near here are 50 to 70 miles away, and the ones I called aren't accepting any more customers right now. I'm on a waiting list for March at one of the farms.

If I can solve my milk supply problem, I'll be looking for a wine cooler to convert into a cheese aging fridge.

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Old 11-25-2008, 04:56 AM   #2
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there was a forum for cheese making

editkay when did the cheese making forum dissappear?

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Old 11-25-2008, 12:52 PM   #3
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I thought there was too, but if you search for "cheese" in titles only you'll find that all the cheese making threads are in this Cooking & Pairing forum. I guess cheese making is sort of like cooking.

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Old 11-25-2008, 02:43 PM   #4
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It's been down for months, there was a lack of interest I believe, never seemed like there was a lot of activity in the cheese forum.

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Old 11-25-2008, 02:59 PM   #5
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I've been making my own cheese for a few years now. Mostly just mozz and ricotta, and an occasional queso blanco. Would like to try doing other cheese, but there's more equipment to aquire and that would start to compete with my brewing equip. space...

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Old 11-25-2008, 03:32 PM   #6
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I bought a cheese press from Hoegger Goat Supply. It's required for making hard cheese. I haven't used it yet.

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Old 11-25-2008, 03:43 PM   #7
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I paid $12/gallon for raw cow's milk. My mozzarella turned out not significantly different between using the $12/gallon raw milk and $4/gallon rehydrated dry milk with fat added.

I found that the "bland" comes from not using enough salt. Each time I make it, I add more and more salt and there never seems to be enough. I think I just need to bite the bullet and add "way too much" and see how it turns out.

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Old 11-25-2008, 03:50 PM   #8
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Thanks for the salt tip, Laurel. My normal inclination is to use less salt that most recipes call for, but in this case you may well be right. I formed my cheese into two balls before I heated it and stretched it, and I salted one more than the other as I was pulling and stretching. I just tasted them both side by side to compare the flavor, and the one I salted more definitely tastes better.

Have you used Lipase in your mozzarella? One of the recipes I have calls for it. It wasn't included in the kit I got from the New England Cheese Making Supply Company, but the longer recipe in Ricki Carroll's Home Cheese Making book calls for it.

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Old 11-25-2008, 03:53 PM   #9
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Beer, Cheese and salted meats........life cannot get any better.

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Old 11-25-2008, 04:00 PM   #10
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I've definitely wanted to do this for a long time, thanks for the link to the starter kit.

What cheeses are most people making?

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