If at first you don’t succeed…

keep trying to make cheese!

sterilizing cheesemaking equipment

sterilizing cheesemaking equipment

Last night, I determined I would try, try again after my two failed batches over the weekend. As with all my attempts, the first step is sterilizing all the stuff needed to process the milk.

I brought the milk to 68 degrees and inoculated it with buttermilk this time. I still don’t have a successful batch made with buttermilk, and I am hoping to compare it to the kind I made with yogurt, over a week ago. Then, with lid on, it rests overnight,

This morning, I was supposed to bring the milk to 86 degrees and then add the rennet. But I forgot to heat the milk, and added the rennet at room temperature. About an hour and a half later, I realized I had made this mistake, again. My first failed batch was as a result of having forgotten this step. So, since I didn’t have another gallon of milk and entire night to wait, I put the pot on the stove and brought it up to 86 degrees. I could tell the second it reached temperature, because curd began to form, immediately.

I removed it from the heat, lidded it and waited a couple of hours. Shazzam! Clean break curd!

It was a completely Eureka moment. The first failed batch was as a result of not heating it at all. The second failed batch must have failed, not because I forgot to heat it, but because the milk wasn’t quite hot enough to kick off the reaction in the rennet! I have found my own kryptonite in the cheesemaking process! I just need to heat it a little higher than 86, so it can afford to cool a minute as I incorporate the dissolved rennet.

This time, the curd was firm and lovely, and is in the mold right now.

I am so excited to have figured out what was holding me back, and to know how to compensate for it in the future. (Like a post-it note that says “Heat me to 86+ degrees” on the lid of the pot of inoculated milk)

Tomorrow, the round comes out of the mold and will be salted for curing. I’ll be updating the blog with a picture of the “started” little Cheese #2!!!

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