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Old 03-21-2010, 04:52 PM   #1
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Default Pondering making cheese

I grew up on a dairy farm, and we had a Mexican farm worker whose wife made fresh queso all the time for us. Granted, it was raw milk... Fast forward a few decades, and I'm living in the city but definitely caught up in a movement to go back to the roots - to grow a garden, make wine, etc.

Anyway, I eat a lot of feta, and I've been thinking I should make some. I found this recipe: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Feta-Cheese. First off, where do I find Junkit? I know it used to be in the grocery store, but I haven't had much luck. Secondly, do I need a special cheese mold talked about in step 13, or could I use something like a round cake pan? There is a brew store about 15 miles away that does do cheese, but it is a start up store, and I'm not entirely sure how serious I'm going to get about this yet.

Oh, and I did find a queso recipe. Again, I question the need for a form, and wonder where to get rennet.

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Old 03-21-2010, 07:42 PM   #2
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I order my cheesemaking supplies from http://www.cheesemaking.com/. I've never used Junket rennet, because I heard it was not very good. I've also used leeners.com for cheesemaking supplies, and I love their easy recipes on their site. I've made most of the hard cheeses, and many of the soft, from here: http://www.leeners.com/cheese-recipes.html

Also, make sure you don't use ultra high pasteurized milk, and it will never set a curd. If you're using homogenized milk, you'll need calcium chloride.

I like the "chevre" culture on the website I linked to. I'm ordering more, as a matter of fact. I have also just used mesophilic culture for my feta (along with the rennet) and had it turn out beautifully. The recipe you linked to will work fine, too.

For molds, you can buy some but you can make some too. A few easy ones are by using the Briess liquid malt extract "cans" (they're plastic) and cut off the top and bottom. A sour cream lid is my follower. For the feta, you don't even need a mold. Let it sit as directed, and it's semi-firm. You can then put it in any cylinder container- cottage cheese container, etc, and just use a mason jar that fits inside it to press your cheese. A small weight, like a bag of powdered sugar, can go on top. Just like that homemade cheese press pictured, but a bit easier.

You will definitely need cheesecloth (NOT the "cheesecloth" from the store that is big and hole-y, but the muslin kind)

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Old 03-21-2010, 08:26 PM   #3
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i started the cheese making a few weeks ago and like everthing else i jump in hard.
the firts kit from austin home brew was around 30.00.
then i needed cheese wax so i found a canadian site( they also have a U.S. site) http://glengarrycheesemaking.on.ca. and ordered the wax plus some renett and of course another mold and better have some colouring and yes some more mesophilic cultures.(75.00 later) i have 8 lbs in a styrofoam cooler and am making 2 lbs of colby as i type.
had to make a press using springs and a fishing scale to calculate weight.
yooper - when do you add the coloring?
i did it when adding the salt and ended up with a "marbled" color - some curds took the color and others didn't

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Old 03-21-2010, 08:42 PM   #4
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Wow, is there anything you don't know how to do Yooper?

From what you are saying, it would probably be worth it to make a trip to the brew store and do things right. Didn't even know about homogenized milk issues. Actually, we have a closer brew store, but they don't do cheese and we find the staff twits and the owner has moved on to a winery business, so the store is a bit neglected. It would be good to support a new store, especially if they do other things like cheese.

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Old 03-21-2010, 10:17 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by CandleWineProject View Post
Wow, is there anything you don't know how to do Yooper?

From what you are saying, it would probably be worth it to make a trip to the brew store and do things right. Didn't even know about homogenized milk issues. Actually, we have a closer brew store, but they don't do cheese and we find the staff twits and the owner has moved on to a winery business, so the store is a bit neglected. It would be good to support a new store, especially if they do other things like cheese.
Rod- if I use annatto coloring, I add it BEFORE the rennet. Mix it in just before the rennet, diluted in a little distilled water. Stir it very, very well, and then go ahead and add the diluted rennet. It shouldn't be streaky then. I only use the coloring for colby and cheddar.

Homogenized milk really isn't a big issue. It just means that the protein structure is different, and 1/4 teaspoon of a 30% CaCl2 solution (available at every cheesemaking place) will fix that. The issue is more the UHP, or the "Ultra High Pasteurized" milk. It makes the milk more stable, and lasts longer on store shelves, but it means that the curd simply will NOT set.

I'm lucky- I have a goat. Well, I own a share of a goat but it's not at my house! It's at a farm, and I get some fresh raw goat's milk and the farmer gets the kids and some milk, for keeping the goats.

She does such a great job milking, that I don't even pasteurize the milk. She gets the temperature from 102 to under 40 degrees in under an hour, so the milk doesn't have time to get spoilage organisms started.

The goat's milk makes the most wonderful feta you can imagine. I also do cottage cheese, soft spreadable cheeses, ricotta, colby, pepper jack, manchego, cheddar, havarti, gouda, cabra al vino, and mozzerella. The funny part is that I don't like cheese! I make it for my husband and friends. I'm NOT a dairy product person. I hate milk!
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Old 03-22-2010, 12:01 AM   #6
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thanks yooper - ricki's recipes didn't say when to add it
i guess my colby will be speckled too- just put in in the press

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Old 03-23-2010, 01:09 PM   #7
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I have to remember to get a good ricotta recipe so I can use the leftover whey from making Mozz.

Also, need to remember to build that press and start making some hard cheese!

Oh, and try to find a good recipe for fried mozz sticks.

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Old 04-20-2010, 04:25 PM   #8
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i got a 12 pack of junket boxes on ebay for three dollars, each box has 12 tabs. thats around 288+lbs of cheese.

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