As promised, a picture of the “started” cheese, out of the press:
It is a queer sensation, to be so pleased with firmly pressed curds of milk. But after a couple of completely boneheaded fails, I am willing to call it perfection!
She has been liberally dusted in salt, wrapped in muslin and is curing in the fridge, with her wax-covered, aging predecessor from a week or so ago.
As with all “mad scientists”, I am already looking for ways to improve my process. A better press (than a crock and a spaghetti sauce can) would be nice. I am always looking for really heavy things that measure less than 5 inches in diameter to use as a weight. Maybe a mold that is a little less Irish ghetto than an oatmeal can. Proper presses and molds aren’t cheap, but I am not going to let a lack of equipment slow me down! But, a girl can dream…
Someday, I would like to invest in some real bacterial strains and make a more reliable cheese. I am already not as happy with the tangy-ness of the buttermilk incoulant. The yogurt was milder, and I will be using that, instead of the buttermilk, in the future. The flavors of the cheeses will be very different as a result of the different incoulants.
The point is, as always, start where you are, use what you have and do what you can. And, this morning, I am happy with the cheese I could make with what I had.
This weekend, when I make Cheese #3, I will be photographing the entire process so it is easy to understand for anyone who hasn’t tried this before. Hopefully, what I have learned in all 4 attempts will aid me in making an even better product.
Next time we see Cheese #2, it will be after the cure and time to wax!
Happy Handcrafting, Everyone!!!