Yesterday, amongst all the chaos of the day, I managed to squeeze in a cheese making session. In truth, I was about an hour into it when Kim said she needed to go to the doctors to check on her foot, so I threw in the cultures, hoped that the milk would be OK (and Kim of course), and spent the following hour looking after my lovely wife and getting the antibiotics from the pharmacy for her.
When we returned home, I tucked her into bed, made her as comfortable as I could and got back into the kitchen. I added the rennet and waited for an hour for it to set. I then cut the curds with a whisk and spent the next two hours stirring every 10 minutes to get the curds to gently release the whey and to stop it from clumping together. The final product needs to have a fair bit of moisture still in it so you have to be careful not to stir too often or too vigorously.
After the two hours, it was time to strain the curds and whey and to press. I decided to make two wheels out of the 7 litres of milk. One big one for marinating in oil, and the other to eat straight away. The small wheel pressed OK, and held its form well. However, the second one was very cumbersome. Every time I tightened the press, the cheese erupted out of the sides of the follower like a volcano. I decided that I must have missed a step that was not in my recipe book. I remembered back to my class, whereby I had to massage the curds gently to release more whey after the initial straining. So that is what I did. After that, the cheese pressed fine. Here are the finished products.
The large one weighs 740g and the smaller one is 440g.
Here they are in brine, being salted one on top of the other.
I have found that a 2 litre flip top ice-cream container is just perfect for brining. There is about 5mm of solution covering the top wheel.
I will remove them tomorrow, cut the large one up into 2cm cubes and marinate just like I did with the first feta I made. I will take some of the smaller wheel when I visit Kim in hospital with some crackers for an afternoon snack. That should put a smile on her dial!