Sunday, August 6, 2017

First Cheddar Update; Second Cheddar Started; Curd Cheese (first try)!

Hi Everyone!! :)))

Has your week been as cheesy as mine? :) I'm up to my ears in cheese and LOVING IT.

Aaah mold...a thing of beauty for me now lol! Okay, I agree, I wouldn't eat a Cheddar of this fine colour, but I'm getting more and more interested in bacteria these days and the hows/whys of its role in cheese making.

Speaking of that, my bacteria cultures arrived early last week! Oh happy day! :) Now I'm all equipped to try some new cheeses and also ensure that I have enough Mesophilic Culture to make more Cheddars!

First Cheddar Update (Aging for three months until Halloween)

The last time I posted about my First Cheddar, I mentioned that my orange coating was melting and sticky. I took it out and let it dry up. I saw a wee little possible hole...not sure if it was just the coating losing its orange or if it was the cheese showing...I decided to take a chance and put a little more coating on. I let it dry until it was rock hard and now it's back in the "cheese cave" at the appropriate 10-12 C temperature. But...I adjusted things so that the humidity is only between 75-80% (instead of 85%) - as advised by the cheese supply shop. The coating isn't melting or sticky and hopefully in 3 months, I'll have made the right decision! Now I keep flipping it once a day for another three weeks, then twice weekly until Halloween! Exciting!

Second Cheddar (Currently drying; will age for 6 months)

I made my second Cheddar a few days ago! This one will age for 6 months. I got a few bamboo place mats...I found them in the "Sushi" aisle of the grocery store. They are a much better improvement from the little plastic mat I had to dry my first Cheddar.

Alright, I have a little tale of the virtue of paying attention, please indulge me.

Looks like a nice pot of whey doesn't it? Well, I completely wasted 6 liters of milk and the additives on my first attempt at the second Cheddar. Why? I WAS NOT PAYING ATTENTION to the thermometer. I was very distracted...that doesn't work with cheese making. Basically the very first step is to heat your milk SLOWLY to 88F then add your cultures...wait a bit, add the calcium chloride...wait a bit...add the rennet...wait a bit and the curd will form. This was after the rennet step...NO CURD.

I let my milk heat to 95F because I was distracted by the dogs. Silly me, I decided to just keep going, but deep down I knew I made a mistake. Oh well, $10 and 3 hours of my life down the drain.

Please learn from my silly mistakes my friends!!! PAY ATTENTION TO THE CHEESE!!! So...being me, I ran over to the gas station to buy another 6 liters of milk and restarted. Aaah, now this is what paying attention looks like lol! CURD.

The rest of the process went very smoothly! It took me 5 1/2 hours instead of 6 to get to the final pressing stage and I'm glad I started in the evening this time. I finished just before 10:30 pm so I could let the 12-hour final pressing happen overnight instead of staying up late to start the drying phase. This is my 40 pound pressing set up. Four bricks and 2 x 7 pound dumbbells.

I mentioned on my other blog last week that I built a cat barricade since I couldn't babysit the cheese overnight! It worked!!! :)

Now my cheese is drying until tomorrow or Tuesday, when I'll coat it again. This time, I will only do two coats and let them dry at least 4 hours in between coats. I don't want any sticky coating again! 

Curd Cheese

My love for poutine had me motivated to make my own curd cheese. (Check out this link, it'll show you photos on Google if you don't know this luscious Canadian dish)

I started this on Friday so that we could have it Saturday night for dinner. There is no aging for this cheese. You just need to make it a day ahead of time to let it dry out but it's quite an easy cheese to make. The ingredients vary and the process changes slightly, but all cheese starts as milk and turns to curd. Here is my curd cheese cooking away.

After I drained it for half an hour, this is what it looked like. And it smelled so yummy, it was difficult not to take a big bite out of it!

At that point, I chopped it all up and into the fridge it went for 24 hours to dry. This Curd Cheese wasn't difficult to make, but it did take a total of about 4 hours for the entire process before drying.

And the result? JUST okay!!! The curd wasn't squeaky - which is the calling card of a real poutine curd. It was good, and we'll eat it most definitely, but I will try another recipe next time using some cultured buttermilk, and maybe make some adjustments while cooking it. I'm finding that making cheese isn't a perfect science, but it's very fun to experiment and learn!


Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

I can't believe you made your own curd cheese! Well, no. I actually DO believe you made it. I just find it amazing. I love that cheese. So wonderfully chewy. Perfect for poutine. I'm looking forward to what other cheese you'll tackle in time. You'll become an expert in this!

Sam I Am...... said...

I thought I was a persistent person but you take the 'cake' or curd? LOL! You let nothing stop you or get in the way of your goals and that is so admirable! As I've aged I've slowed down quite a bit....I used to be like you but now I have to really prioritize because I run out of steam and I get no warning really. It's like I hit a brick wall and it could be 3:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m but I never know! LOL!
Your cheese curds look great and you will figure out how to get them squeaky. I always thought it meant they were fresh when they squeaked. We had an Amish cheese maker in our area in Iowa and they were wonderful but I have never made them myself. I'll have to wait until my outside work is done this Winter...painting, landscaping etc. The cheddar looks phenominal and a second wheel already! You are definitely amazing! Wonder Woman! You go girlfriend! Hugs to all ~ Sam

Rain said...

Thanks Martha! :)) The next on the agenda is my 12-month aged Cheddar and some cultured "Pizza" Mozzarella! I can't wait to try the Pizza Mozza, it's supposed to be nice and melty.

Rain said...

Thanks Sam :)) I take the curd lol! :) Oh, I think I've slowed down too...I know how that feels. I usually run out of steam around 4pm on the dot no matter what. Sometimes I find that extra motivation if the cheese needs something, but otherwise, I'm done for the night right after dinner.

I was talking the the lady of the cheese making company and she admitted that the Poutine cheese recipe had a few mistakes in it, grrr...I wish I'd know before! Nothing earth-shattering, but it might explain why my cheese didn't get "squeaky". I'll try again and I'll try a new recipe after that just in case! I think, at least in the curd cheese case, squeaky means they really dried well and most of the curd was cooked out of them. I think I would have been better off starting the cheese in the fall, the humidity is causing some challenges, but I think I like a challenge! :) Big hugs back to you! xx

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

You are the cheese Queen! :)

My son wondered if I could make curd for poutine when I start my cheese making venture...I told him I would see and now it seems that its fairly easy to do, just needs more squeek!

Jenn said...

Will you make the cheese curds again?
LOL the cat barricade!!

Nicole Thomas said...

Cheese curds are sonweurd to canadian thing I never got used to ... lol

Rain said...

Hi Dianna :)) Cheese Queen lol, I'll take that title! :) It's an easy cheese to make, but stay tuned because I will try a different recipe with Buttermilk...supposed to make them "guaranteed" squeaky...we shall see.

Rain said...

Hi Jenn :)) Yup, I won't be defeated! :) I'm late replying to my comments, but I accidentally made squeaky curds in one of my pizza Mozzarella attempts (I'll post that tomorrow)...but I will definitely be trying another recipe. I am a poutine LOVER/ADORER/WORSHIPPER I must try! :)

Rain said...

Really Nik? I didn't know it wasn't an "International" type of cheese!! :)

Nicole Thomas said...

Hi sis :) I am not sure if it is just a northamerican cheese but I had never heard of it before I moved here.
I don't even dislike it ... it's just awkward to me that they sell bags of cheese it's something I would never think of buying ... lol

Rain said...

It seems like the "discards" doesn't it? I remember first trying it in high school and I got hooked!