Monday, 25 July 2011

How to make your own cheese

A hard cheese is usually made with cow's milk. The following recipe will make half a kilo of cheddar cheese.

Ingredients - 5 litres of full fat cow's milk; a teaspoon of rennet and approximately 10g of salt. 

Add the rennet to the fresh milk which has been heated gently to 32c (use a thermometer to ensure the correct heat) and leave for about 30 minutes to set. Break up the curds and place the solids into a large muslin bag or several and allow the whey to drain into a pan. 

After the whey has drained fully wring the muslin to squeeze as much liquid as possible from the cheese. Remove from the muslin and break the curd into pea sized pieces, sprinkle with the salt and roll gently with a rolling pin to further break up the curd. 

Use a mould lined with a sterilised cheesecloth, press the curd into the mould until full and cover with the cheesecloth. Place a weight on the mould and exert pressure onto the weight with a homemade press  which uses a car vice to exert pressure (lots of instructions are available just search for homemade cheese press) to extract any remaining whey for about a day.

Remove the cheese from mould and the cheesecloth and dip the cheese into very hot water for a few minutes to allow the surface of the cheese to smooth. Leave in a well ventilated but warm area to dry for a few days and a rind will begin to form. 

The cheese at this stage is rather tasteless and needs to be left in a cool and dry place (about 7-10c) for 3-4 weeks to mature whilst turning daily. 

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