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-   -   Please help a beginner!! (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f130/please-help-beginner-286276/)

ann89031 12-09-2011 11:11 PM

Please help a beginner!!
Hi everyone! My boyfriend is very interested in making hard cheeses, and I'd like to get him all the things he needs as a Christmas present, but I am SO confused! I was hoping I could get some tips here :)

So far, I'm planning on making him a cheese press, and I've already ordered cheese wax (I heard you don't need it, but I think it's pretty :D). I need to know what else he will need...you know, all of the important parts :D

Since he has never made a hard cheese, and he tends to lose interest in things :D, I think I'd like to get him the ingredients to make a cheddar, and if he enjoys it then we can get other ingredients later. I thought about just getting him a gift certificate to an online store, but I know he'd prefer to have the ingredients. I have quite a few questions, so I've just listed them below.

What type of rennet should I get? I think the tablet will serve him best; from what I've read it will last longer than liquid, and it is easier to use than powder if you're only making small batches (I imagine he'll be using 1-2 gallons of milk at a time). Is that information correct? Also, does tablet rennet only come in vegetable? That's all I'm seeing on the website I've been referred to; does it matter if he uses vegetable or animal rennet?

Next, what type of starter should I get him? He'll want to start with making a cheddar (probably the farmhouse cheddar!). It looks like he'll need a mesophilic starter; is that right? I also saw this product available online: New England Cheesemaking - Hard Cheese Sample Pack-C101, C201, C21 #CP-H would this be better to give to a beginner?

I've read that calcium chloride is necessary...and I've read that it's not necessary! Any thoughts? If it is something that I need, I assume that it will all be the same, is that correct?

Finally, will he need anything else? Does he only need the starter, or are there other cultures that he will need? Other supplies? Other anything?? :D

Thank you so much for any tips or thoughts you can offer!!

HopLife 12-17-2011 03:31 AM

Hmmm...you might see if there is a local shop that does cheese, winemaking, and beer. They should be a key resource. Be warned though, if he likes beer he might go into the store with a cheese making hobby and come out with a home brewing hobby.:mug:

From the looks of it you know more about cheese than I do. Sorry I can't help more.

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