Cheesemaking – Beyond Kits

June 17, 2010

Admittedly, my skills making cheese has not really expanded my further than the DYI kits. I’m still making mostly fresh cheeses, though I have tried to expand into a slightly aged cheese.

As a child, we had for a short amount of time a Mexican worker. His wife would come and get raw cows milk from us and make queso, which I loved. Don’t get me wrong – the DYI queso blanco recipe is good, but it isn’t how I remembered our worker’s wife made it. Hunting online, I found this recipe, and I went and got some  rennet, buttermilk, milk, and rennet to make it. Since I was already working with pasteurized milk, I just started making the cheese. The nice thing about it was that I didn’t need to heat it quite so much. However, it does require a second heating without stirring, which caused a bit of problems because I got different temperature readings from different locations in the pot. In the end, I got it to hot, but it still turned out tasting better than the DYI kit.

The other cheese I have attempted to make was a cow’s milk feta. I found some recipes online and tried twice, but they both failed to curdle. My local Clark County Goat Association had former commercial cheese maker Mary Rosenblum come give a demonstration on making feta and then ricotta from the left over whey. I learned a lot from her that day, and I went home and had my first success at making feta. Rosenblum also gives demonstrations at Kookoolan Farms in Yamhill, OR, and my regions Whole Foods Markets and Homebrew Exchange frequently give cheese making demonstrations. Look for classes in the Food Day section of the newspapers to find other classes. I highly recommend attending a cheese making class when moving beyond kits when making cheese.

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