When we last saw Little Cheese #1 on March 7, she looked like this:
coated in beeswax and aging in my fridge. The recipe called for an aging time of one month. I almost made it. Today is 2 days shy of that mark, but, honestly, I waited as long as I could stand to.
This cheese was made with my own homemade yogurt as an inoculant. The details about how I made this batch are outlined in this post from March 3.
This morning, I took her from the fridge and cut her in half, so I could begin to survey the texture of the finished cheese.
I peeled and saved all the beeswax from the round. Beeswax is expensive and I want to be able to reuse as much as possible.
Then I cut a slice and nibbled it slowly, and shared a piece with my husband, another true cheese-a-holic. As I want to reduce our dependence on Tillamook cheddar, it was vital to get his opinion as well.
The texture was familiar, like a cheddar or a colby. Firm, but yielding. The flavor was very mild, and almost mild cheddar-like. I would use more salt next time, as it was a teeny bit bland, but otherwise delicious!
My online cheesemaking mentor, Ian Treuer, of Much To Do About Cheese (an actual cheesemaker!) says that “if it’s edible, it’s a success”, so Ian, it was a success! Not only was it edible, but it was lovely!
I believe that another 2 weeks aging would have made a lot of difference in the sharpness and would have made it more flavorful. Maybe even another month. But on my first go, that is insanity! I could never have waited that long!
Another vital test to me was melt-ability. I need to know that in a zombie apocalypse I can have a grilled cheese sandwich.
It melted quickly and had a consistency that seemed a cross between melted mozzerella and melted swiss. A little rubbery, but also sort of creamy. Absolutely perfect for a grilled cheese. And, let’s face it, if zombies are descending, comfort food is at a premium.
I am 100% thrilled, overall, with the outcome of this experiment. I will add more salt at the mix of the curds,before molding and pressing, and I will age the next batch (after Little Cheese #2- I want to taste the difference between the yogurt inoculant and the buttermilk- I am dying to compare, in fact. That batch won’t be finished aging until the 16th. I am going to stash a few slices of #1 to compare when #2 is revealed) a couple of weeks longer, to see if there is additional sharpness due to longer aging.
But for now, I am going to enjoy a few slices with my lunch, and rejoice that the Cheese Gods have smiled upon this venture.
Now, I am dying to make more!!!!
Thank you Ian, at Much Ado About Cheese for your encouragement. I have been, decidedly, bitten by the Cheesemaking bug and will be trying some new things as soon as possible!!!