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tracyfitz

Cheese Making

I love making cheese and would like to sell some in the near future.

At the moment I swap my cheese for bits and bobs, whatever someone has on offer.

Does anyone have experience of selling at market or direct to shops? Are the regulations just awful?

I would love to hear about your experiences.
MrsWW

What cheese(s) do you make?

I bought OH a beginners cheesemaking kit for Christmas a couple of years ago but he's not used it yet.  I've experimented once by using milk and rennet and ended up making a passable soft cheese that rapidly disappeared within a couple of days.

It's something I would like to get into but I think I may lack the confidence to do it which is a real shame as we both love cheese.
tracyfitz

I make all types. Cheddars, soft cheese, philidelphia type cheese, mozzarella, marscapone etc. Going for a Cornish blue next.

I particularly like making cheddars and goats cheese, but it is quite difficult to find reasonably priced goats milk  - I am yet to find someone who keeps goats - any goat keepers in Cornwall willing to sell me some milk??

Interestingly cheese is very easy to make, as long as you are methodical and keep everything clean. It is the bacteria that will make the difference and temperature of the curd.

I constantly have a whiffy house due to the cheese maturing at different stages.

I love the fact that I know exactly what is going in to them and the taste is nothing like shop bought cheese.

I would encourage you to start making it at home, especially if you can source fresh milk.

If you need any advice just ask.
MrsWW

Re: Cheese Making

tracyfitz wrote:
At the moment I swap my cheese for bits and bobs, whatever someone has on offer.


Only just spotted this sentence in your opening post.  Fancy swapping some cheese for some homemade marmalade?  PM me if you're interested.  
Woodsmoke

tracyfitz wrote:

If you need any advice just ask.


I've always fancied making my own cheese! I make sausages, bacon, etc, & cold-smoke a lot of food (including cheese!), but I've yet to try this. I did, however, make my first wee batch of home made butter last weekend, & if you have an easy to follow 'beginners' recipe for the likes of cheddar-type cheese I'd love to have a go if you'd be kind enough to post it  
tracyfitz

Hi Woodstoke

Yes. Leave it with me overnight and I will post a recipe up. You will need to purchase bacteria (starter), but I will put a link up. Other than that you should be able to put your hands on all equipment needed.

Dead easy!
MrsWW

If it's any help, Sainsbugs sell rennet in the baking section  
tracyfitz

Rennet is available readily. It is the starter (bacteria) that is hard to get hold of and can be costly if you get it wrong.

It is the starter that is the important bit....to warm the milk up and liven it.
Woodsmoke

Thanks Tracey! (and Teri   ) Look forward to having a go this weekend, hopefully  
tracyfitz

Okay. Here is the link(s) for the culture. You will need to purchase the MA400 Cheese Making Starter. Just one pack.

Either from:

http://www.cheesemaking.co.uk/cgi...ultures&cart_id=8480641_23201

or

http://www.ascott.biz/acatalog/Cheese-Culture-and-Rennet.html

And some rennet - not a large bottle though. You only need the smallest bottle that you can find.  Vegetarian rennet is fine, but does not work quite as well. It will work though.

Those are the two items that you need to purchase to be ready. The rest of the stuff you will be able to get easily.

Mrs WW suggested that I do a pictorial, which I think would be a good idea. So, I might post the recipe tomorro and then pictorial at the weekend whilst I am making her cheese.

Leave it with me.
MrsWW

Sounds good Tracy - looking forward to it    
Woodsmoke

Brilliant, thank you!  Just ordered the starter. Off to see if I can find some rennet tomorrow

I love nothing more than trying something I can make a real mess with!    
tracyfitz

Woodsmoke wrote:
Just ordered the starter. Off to see if I can find some rennet tomorrow


Great. You will love it!

As a thought, if you are going shopping. You will need:

6 litres of milk - any kind as long as it is full fat milk
Themometer - doesn't matter what kind really
Large saucepan
Bucket
Sieve (one that will sit inside the mouth of the bucket)

Something to press the cheese in. If you have a fruit press brilliant. If not invent something that has holes in the sides and bottom - an icecream tube - poke holes in it. A tupperware thing....burn holes in it. You will need a lid that fits just inside the tub to press down on. Ask if you need further clarification.

That's it - everything else you will have in your kitchen.

Shame that we can't do a 'real time' lesson - that would be fun   No out-takes for me!!!  
MrsWW

We could do a real time lesson - so long as everyone participating is close enough to their computer to post?
Woodsmoke

Heh heh! I can imagine it! 'No Woodsmoke, you need to keep the curds & disard the whey...........................'  

Just had another look at my basket & realised I can order rennet & cheese mats from them too, so I revised my order  

I've got heaps of cheese cloth left over from the pig & mutton carcasses that I bought. I always tend to keep stuff like that as you never know when it'll come in handy! So all I'll need to get is a decent thermometer & a larger sieve than the one we have.

Can't wait to get cracking now! This is something I've always fancied trying  
tracyfitz

Really....no. I would be in such a state. I would be dropping things, the dog would be licking the things that I drop .....it would be a NIGHTMARE.  
MrsWW

Nah, come on, it'd be fun  
Woodsmoke

We should probably have left the wine until afterwards?      
MrsWW

I'd like to make this thread a "sticky" so's people can see it on Saturday morning  
Woodsmoke

Good idea! I need all the help I can get remembering anything on a Saturday morning  
tracyfitz

Needing a stiff drink......

Good luck all!
MrsWW

It'll be fine, don't worry, be happy    
bodger

OK! So I'm boring, but there's a nice introduction to cheese making in my latest purchase.
http://overthegate.myfreeforum.org/about22706.html
tracyfitz

This is what we are aiming for this weekend....one of these.....mmmmmmm..

tracyfitz

Here it is....pictorial tutorial. Photo Heavy!

This is the equipment that will be used:

Bucket
Stainless steel pan (for warming the milk)
Knife (for cutting the curd)
Sieve and jug (for sieving and jugging the whey)
Themometer
Cheese press – but your homemade effort will be fine. Don’t have a tapered side or you might have trouble at the pressing stage.





As you can see, it does not matter what type of milk you use. I am using a variety today (for individual cheeses) because I have swap orders for them. In essence the greater the fat content the creamier the cheese. However I have used 40p per litre milk from Farm Foods and cheese is cheese. It will just have a different texture.



I would suggest leaving the cheaper milk to mature a week longer to give depth of flavour.  I always shop around for deals – today being a deal on at Waitrose that makes it 50p a litre, which is good. It has a slightly higher fat content than cheaper milk.  The Gold Top was requested for a cheese and this cost £1.03 per litre. So, as you can see there is a huge variation in price.

Firstly, if you have a packet of the starter you need to divide the powder into 8 equal parts. We are only using 6 litres of milk, so you will only need 1/8th of the full packet. Once you have divided the powder pop each part (apart from the one that you will use today) and pop it in ice cube trays. Top up the cube with previously boiled cooled water. Pop into the freezer and you can use them at a later date. As you can see I have mine already in freezer trays. When you want to use it just defrost it and have it in a warm room for a little before you want to use it. We need to wake it up!





First it is really important to sterilise all equipment that will be used. If it is not really clean then it can give you a bad stomach.



Now, let’s prepare the rennet. This is important because most people forget to add the rennet to previously boiled cooled water. It is 5 drops of rennet to each litre of milk – so we want to put a little previously boiled cooled water in a glass or a jug and add 30 drops of rennet to the water. Leave aside until later.



Warm the milk really gently until it reaches 29o – ideally you want it bang on but just a little over won’t hurt.  Under isn’t ideal at all. 29o is roughly just warm to the touch. Do this in batches if necessary – it won’t hurt. If you are doing it in batches transfer to the bucket when just over 29o so that it is cooling slightly while you are heating the next batch.

MG]

Pour into bucket.



Double-check the temperature is 29o and then add the bacteria (starter).  Stir very gently.



Pop the lid on and leave for one hour. Make a note of the time that the starter went in…..oh those distractions, now what time did I put the starter in? Try to keep the milk in a warm place. If you don’t have a warm place, wrap the bucket in a single quilt or a blanket. I put mine relatively near the fire, but I do check the temperature over the hour.

After one hour add the rennet.  Stir gently. Leave for thirty minutes and then keep testing until you can cut it cleanly with  your finger. I have always found that mine sets in this house at about 45 minutes to an hour after added the rennet - don't panic though, it might take a couple of hours.



It must feel like you are running your finger through junket (a thin blamanche) and it must cut it cleanly with no dragging behind. Don’t worry, it might feel wrong, but as long as there is no dragging then it has cleanly cut.

The mix now needs to be cut so that they curd and whey separates. Do this with a long sharp knife. Place the knife vertically into the mix and cut back and forth as if you are tracing a grid. Do this back and forth and then side to side across the bucket. Then leave to stand for about 10 minutes.



It will now look something like this....



It is now time for the fun stuff.

Boil a kettle of water. Once boiled let it stand for 10 mins.

Now you need to push the sieve gently into the bucket to allow the whey to run into the sieve, but not the curd. Scoop the whey out. Either throw away or keep for making bread. Remove approximately 1/3rd of the whey and then add the very warm, previously boiled, water to raise the temperature to 32o. Ready……gently stir for 20 mins – by hand. Very gentle mind, back and forth.



Boil the water again.


After 20 mins there will be an abundance of whey and the curd will start to sink to the bottom of the bucket. Remove, as before, half of the volume of whey. Add the hot water to raise the temperature to 35o. Stir gently for 20 mins.



Almost there now…..

Remove all the whey that you can, eventually tipping the curd into the sieve to remove the rest of the surplus whey.



Pop your curd into your mould and press! Press for at least 45 mins. Remove your pressed curd, turn it over and pop it back in your mould. Press for another 45 mins.









You have cheese!!!


To finish off and seal your cheese you now need to brine. Fill a container with water and put a handful of salt in and stir. Pop your cheese in and if the cheese floats with just about 1-2cm floating above the water line it is just right. If it does not just add more salt.  Leave in the brine mixture for 10 hours and then remove.

You need to turn your cheese daily in the beginning for the first week. In the second week reduce this to every other day. In the third week only a couple of times a week and in the fourth week once. In the fifth week scoff!!

I will take a photo of all three that I made over the next three days so that you can see the difference in the colour and how they mature.

Good Luck!
MrsWW

What a fantastic and informative pictorial - thanks for that Tracy.  It certainly makes me more likely to have a go.  Looking forward to tasting yours though  
Woodsmoke

Brilliant, Tracey! Thank you again  

My starter & rennet, etc should arrive tomorrow, hopefully! I've got an idea as to how I can make a half-decent press, all I need to do is cut out a round board to suit the bottom of my wine-making filter buckets & I should hopefully be able to use them as a makeshift press!

Can't wait to get stuck in now!
tracyfitz

You're both welcome.

I can't wait to see the pictures Woodsmoke.

I hope that it will encourage everyone to give it a go.
Jonty

Very, very good tutorial Tracy.  Well done.
tracyfitz

Thanks Jonty

Hopefully there will be a plethora of cheeses made around the country...
tracyfitz

Update

Morning all!

This is what the three cheeses look like this morning. It is hard to see from the photos but the Jersey Gold Top is slightly darker in colour, due to the fat content.



And there is Teri's at the front.....

MrsWW

 Tracy, I'm salivating here - it's already looking delicious       A good job extremely well done by you  
Woodsmoke

I was just getting everything ready to make a start on the cheese, & realised that I need to incubate the culture I've bought for 24 hours......................

Bugger!!!!!!

tracyfitz

[quote="Woodsmoke:220524"I need to incubate the culture I've bought for 24 hours......................

Bugger!!!!!!

[/quote]

Really....where does it say that? On the packet?

I have never done that.

Did you buy freeze dried - from the link that I gave you?
Woodsmoke

This is the culture I bought.....................it says I need to incubate it for 24 hours. I can use a dessertspoonful per batch, & freeze the rest apparently  

Do you think I could just use this as per your recipe then? I don't really mind waiting for it, but it'd be great if I could just crack on!  

(Those cheeses look great, by the way!)
tracyfitz

Mmmm. I have not used their own brand before. It says freeze dried, which usually can be added direct to the milk.

However, because they are asking you to incubate it I perhaps would as you only have enough for one.

I will try it direct at some point and then report back.

Oh well.....tomorrow it will be  
Woodsmoke

I actually bought ten packets. They were only a quid or so, so I reckon I might just have a bash anyway & see how we get on  

Here goes  
tracyfitz

Oh good luck. Can't wait to hear about the results.......wow. Pioneering on the cheese front.

Keep us updated  
Woodsmoke

Cheesey Pioneer, that's me  

Well! The milk was heated as per instructions (I only used 2 litres of milk as this is more or less an experiment) Divided the starter into 8ths, then 1 1/8th into 3rds (if that makes sense?   ) Left for an hour, added 10 drops rennet half an hour ago, & I'm just waiting to see if anything happens  
tracyfitz

Woodsmoke

Looks as though it might be starting to thicken a bit  
MrsWW

Hey, well done Stu - any piccies available?
Woodsmoke

Only a couple, Teri....................................






You can just about see the 'trail' left by the spoon? I'm hoping it thickens up soon, then I can cut it & start taking out the whey  
tracyfitz

Is there a clean cut?

It is more a clean cut than it getting really thick....if you get what I mean  
Woodsmoke

Not quite a clean cut yet, Tracey...................it's by the stove at the moment, so it's staying nice & warm anyway.

I'm keeping a weather eye on it though.................hopefully it'll be cut before the first bottle of red is finished    
tracyfitz

Uh oh...

I'm rather excited by this.

Test again for goodness sake!!
Woodsmoke

Ok!









Oooooooooh, now that's interesting.............................................
tracyfitz

 
Woodsmoke

Heh heh!

Checked it again & got a clean cut! I see exactly what you mean about it not 'thickening'   The curds don't seem to be as dense-looking as the ones in your photo, but we'll see how it goes anyway.............

Cut in a criss-cross pattern now, so I'll pour myself a wee drink & see what happens after that! (to the cheese, not me! )  
tracyfitz

Excellent.

The curds will thicken now. Each time you remove the whey they will thicken more and more.

You definitely deserve the glass (or two)....stoke yourself up because the long stirring happens soon. You should have cheese by about 1 a.m.    
MrsWW

tracyfitz wrote:
....stoke yourself up because the long stirring happens soon. You should have cheese by about 1 a.m.    


   Go for it Stu - you're an inspiration     Coffee (strong) is good for staying awake  
tracyfitz

Teri....Stu's hit the booze....it's going to be a long ole night    
Woodsmoke

This is a scandalous slur on my good name! Accurate though      

Anyhoo...........!

Here it is now  



I'm getting quite excited about it now!
tracyfitz

Oooooo....looking good. Have you done this before  

You have some fine curd there.
Woodsmoke

Just sieved out about a third of the whey..................time to add the hot water & stir. I may be quiet for a time    
tracyfitz

How exciting....the Babybel is almost complete.
Woodsmoke

I've cheated a tiny bit & cut right down on the stirring time. I reckoned because the quantity was so small (Babybel was almost on the money) I could get away with a couple of shortcuts  

I warmed it & stirred until the curds were pretty dense, then sieved it to drain as much of the whey as I could. It was then that it dawned on me that the 5 litre bucket I had ready as a press might be a tiny wee bit on the optimistic side  





I wrapped the curds in cheesecloth, then twisted until the curds were as dry as I could get them...................

Racking my brains for what to use as a mould, I decided that a ramekin was more suited to the business than my bucket, but after breaking two of them () I think that's enough 'experimenting' for one night!  

Anyway! Here it is............................

Cheese (sort of) I've left it out of the ramekin so you can see it, but I'll put it back in & lay some weight over the top. Hopefully, any extra whey will pour over the top



The freeze-dried culture will be ready tomorrow, so I'll have another go with Traceys quantities & a proper press  
MrsWW

Still looks good to me mate  
tracyfitz

That's brilliant. Well done.



So, a proper attempt tomorrow then    
Woodsmoke

Thanks Tracey! Couldn't have done it without you. Thank you so much for all your help  

I'm actually watching Gourmet Farmer at the moment..............don't know if you've ever seen it, but it's all about a New Zealand food critic who takes up farming to become self-sufficient. It's a cracking series, and tonights episode (coincidentally enough) is about butter & cheesemaking.............oneof his friends is an expert, & has just shown how to make ricotta from the leftover whey by adding vinegar & salt. Guess who's chucked his down the sink?  

Apparently, you add salt to the whey, bring the temp' up to 92C, then add vinegar, & it instantly curdles into Ricotta  
tracyfitz

Woodsmoke wrote:
bring the temp' up to 92C


Pretty hot then?

You're more than welcome. It's easy when you know how.

I haven't seen that series, I'll have to have a nosey at it.
MrsWW

What channel is it on?
Woodsmoke

262  

It's repeated quite often though, so you should be able to find it quite easily
MrsWW

Is that the Sky number?  We're on Virgin and I can't find it  
Jonty

Tracy,  I noticed the way you're draining the whey with a sieve, would a bicket like this one from oxfam http://www.oxfam.org.uk/shop/ethi...llection-home-and-garden/HN252913 with a tap on be of any use/make the job easier?
tracyfitz

Hi Jonty

Thanks for the suggestion.

That would seem idea, however, the curd would all get stuck in the bottom at the mouth of the tap. Even if you had a filter product at the tap the weight of the curd would just block the filter.

Sorry.
Jonty

No need to apologise Tracy!!  Someone pointed them out to me wit a view to brewing and I thought they might have been of use.  I did suspect that may have been the case but not having made the stuff I wasn't sure of the texture.

I'm also now as I type, being gloated at via text by a wee bald scotsman (AKA Woodsmoke) for my daft suggestion  
tracyfitz

Jonty wrote:
I'm also now as I type, being gloated at via text by a wee bald scotsman (AKA Woodsmoke) for my daft suggestion  
   

AKA the cheese expert......      Just let him know that when he can produce something larger than a Babybel then we might listen  
Jonty

tracyfitz wrote:
AKA the cheese expert......      Just let him know that when he can produce something larger than a Babybel then we might listen  


That's just what J20 said too
tracyfitz

I know where there is a job lot of ramekins.....if he is interested......
Woodsmoke

Oi, don't bring me into this..........................

I've made cheese, dontcha know    
tracyfitz

This is what cheese will look like after a few days, just under a week.

This is Teri's nicely changing colour to the yellow we know to be cheese. Smells great    

Jonty

What kind of cheese variety are the cheeses you produced in that tutorial Tracy?  It's certainly looking very good
tracyfitz

Hi Jonty

The cheese in the tutorial is a type of Gouda on the edge of a Cheddar....a Gedda      

Oh dear....

You will see it change again soon.
Jonty

Thanks Tracy, so how do you change the characteristics to say make a cheddar, I understand that the milk is obviously a key component but are there different ensymes etc to add....
tracyfitz

It's all in the heat. You just keep upping the temperature and eventually you will produce cheddar.

I just find it easier to follow the recipe that I posted and it is fairly quick that way....taste is not much different as long as you allow it to mature for long enough  
Jonty

Bugger!!  I was just tellling my wife about Stu's cheesemaking antics and she asked me why I wasn't making any for her.....  That's another £25 quid just gone to ascotts......
tracyfitz

Jonty wrote:
Bugger!!  I was just tellling my wife about Stu's cheesemaking antics and she asked me why I wasn't making any for her.....  That's another £25 quid just gone to ascotts......


 

Good for her!
Seabird

I'm trying to get to the end of my long list of projects so that I can have a go at this - thanks for posting this thread  
MrsWW

Looking very good indeed Tracy - can't wait to try it  
Woodsmoke

Batch number 3 is starting to curdle nicely as we speak  
debbie

will your recipe work with goats cheese Tracy?

Woodsmoke, how much milk are you using per patch?  At this rate you are going to need your own goat or cow
Woodsmoke

Heh heh! Don't let Jo hear you say that!  

I bought a 7 litre stainless steel stockpot the other day, & 6 litres seems to be just enough to give me space to stir without spilling it all over the kitchen
debbie

That would be one day and a mornings milking for us as Amber is giving around 4 ltrs a day most of it in the morning.  Have to say its very cheap to keep a goat - with hard feed it is around £8 for three weeks for two goats so my milk is a bit of a bargain really - we have too much so a lot of it goes to the pigs  which is why i am so interested in these cheese threads - I really must make more of an effert to make more. I tried a parmesan type cheese made with goats milk the other week with no goat taint to it what so ever - would love a recipe for that one if anyone can help.
tracyfitz

Debbie, yes, this recipe is great for goats cheese.

Use the tutorial recipe right up to the first cut and then leave in the bucket (pan/whatever) overnight. In the morning remove as much whey as poss and then plonk the rest in a cheese cloth and hang for 24 hours. Take down and squelch through your fingers....lick....yum!  

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