Sunday, February 7, 2010


Salami making was Friday night. Saturday morning I got back into the cheese. I've decided that I'll keep myself supplied as far as I'm able with Parmesan, Camembert, feta, and halloumi. Plain old cheddar is cheaper to buy from the shop.

I started with ten litres of milk this time, the most I've ever used, and the most that will fit in my big pot. I used ordinary pasteurised and homogenised milk from the petrol station at $5.99 for four litres, making this a $15 batch of cheese.

You use a thermophilic bacterium for Parmesan, before I have used yoghurt, but I have some proper culture now. You also need to add lipase to milk that's been pasteurised or you'll never get that sourness in the cheese.

Here are the curds half cut:

A closer look:

After the curds have been cut you slowly heat them up to ~52°C. This makes the protein in the curds contract, expelling a lot of whey. The hotter you cook it and the smaller the curds have been cut, the more whey is expelled and the harder the cheese will be.

This is the cheese after its first pressing:

I pressed it for 15 mins under 2.5kg, then turned it and pressed for 30 mins under 5kg, then 2 hours under 7.5kg, then overnight under 10kg.

Then it went into a saturated brine:

And will stay there for 24 hours. After that I dry it and leave it to mature for at least 8 months.

There's a bit of forethought necessary if you want to be self-sufficient with respect to cheese.

While the cheese was doing its thing I smoked some chicken thighs that had been curing in the fridge since Thursday:

I couldn't help myself, I had to eat one. The rest will be for lunches at work this week.

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