On Saturday, I took part in a marathon cheese making session. I started at 1230 and finally finished at 2100! I didn’t realise that it took so long to make a more complex cheese.
I used 7 litres of commercial homebrand full cream milk and had no problems this time getting the curds to set. You should have seen the smile on my face when I tested the curd for firmness after the allotted time. After one failure last week, I was a bit dubious of my future as an amateur cheese maker. Happy days are here now. Never, ever use UHT milk to make cheese except for Ricotta.
The recipe had so many steps, but easy enough to follow. It just took a long time. After I finally go to drain the curds after two hours of stirring every 10 minutes, I had to tie up the cheesecloth and then break the cheese up every 15 minutes for another 2 hours. I am not sure what this was all about, but I didn’t question the method and just got on with it. Finally it was time to test out the new cheese press, and I gave the honour to Ben. He used all his muscles to squeeze out the remainder of the whey. I left the cheese in the press for an hour, and now have to dry the cheese for two days before waxing it. It will be mature in about 2-3 months.
Here is the nearly final product before waxing. It is starting to yellow and get a crust as it dries. It weighs 750 grams.
Notice the green bits in the middle. That is a layer of sage leaves, which I hope will impart a wonderful flavour throughout the wheel. I still haven’t had any luck finding a local dairy, so might have to look a bit further afield. It would be good to get the milk as fresh as I can get it. I dare say it would make a wonderful cheese.
So if you have a lot of time on your hands, you could try this type of cheese out. I think I will make a quick batch of feta during the week. At least I know that it only takes 3.5 hours to make that type of cheese! My marinated Feta is just divine, and I have to make some more.
Well done Mate.
Beer, cheese…..exactly what is your address – I need somewhere for lunch when I come down in June….LOL
Well done Gavin I am finding it hard to get the time for the vegtbale garden at the moment let alone thinking about anything else.
How do you apply the wax ? and what type of wax is used ?
Rest is not idleness says
So now we know why cheese is expensive, there is a lot of labour (and love) in making it. I have to say it looks very edible as it is now.
Margaret's Ramblings says
How does making your own compare pricewise Gavin. Is it very much more expensive than shop bought?
Great looking work.
My understanding is that the whole breaking the cheese up thing is all about prompting the curds to release whey as you possibly can before putting it through the press.
Veggie Gnome says
Fantastic! Hope it’ll be the best ever cheese you’ll taste in 2-3 months!
What do you do with all the whey?
Life is better barefoot says
Did you add something to the milk to unhomogenise it? If so please tell what and where can I find it. I love the idea of cheesemaking and ideally I would always buy organic, unhomogenised milk… unfortunately my budget is minimal.
Your bottled beer looks fantastic.
Thanks everyone! I have posted some answers to these questions on my latest post, but will try and answer the ones I missed.
To unhomogenise milk, add a teaspoon of calcium chloride. You can buy it from cheese making suppliers.
The wax is special cheese making wax that is soft and flexible.
The cost of ingredients was; Milk $9.00, Renet $0.35, Mesophilic Culture $1.00, my time and effort, priceless! So it cost about $10.35 to make 750g of Wensleydale cheese.
The entire kit cost about $190, but you can make about 60kg of cheese with the contents of the kit. Well worth it, and compare that with hand made cheese anywhere and you will find that it is a lot cheaper to make it yourself.
Oh, and you can make ricotta from the whey! You get about 100gm from it. As I already have 500g of ricotta in the fridge, I gave some to the dog, and some to the chooks as it is full of protein. They loved it!
I would like to be able to make Feta cheese,having lived in Cyprus we used to buy our Feta from a lady in the village,it was already wrapped, but I did once watch her making Haloumi, cheese in a large container—–cottonreel
That’s impressive. I don’t actually like cheese (unles it is melted), but I’s love to try and make some. It would be a bit like magic if it weren’t so much work 🙂
I have just been touring around Yorkshire Dales and stumbled across Wensleydale cheese. I am from Australia so pardon me for not being familiar with it. I now know that our Stockdale heritage has been actively involved with this cheese. Are you able to share with me the culture used or is that to invasive?? I am not a cheesemaker, just an interesed person having just competed a 2 day cheesemaking course in Somerset…
Hi Anonymous! I too an from Australia, so I had only heard of this cheese from Wallace and Gromit! I use the normal Mesophilic starter culture and vegetable rennet in my Wensleydale.
Hi.. its anonymous from Australia again.. finally home and after my last comment landed a job working on a goat dairy milking 300 goats twice a day and helping make cheese every afternoon… so now I am hooked. Just a question on your wensleydale cheese… did you heat the milk in a double saucepan.. to maintain the heat ?? and when you tied it in the cheesecloth while breaking it up every 15 min was it actually hanging up and draining ? after that process I assume you put it into a mould ? just a few more tips would be great then I plan to give it a go.. thank you.
Hi again Anon. Have a look at my last post. All is revealed!
Well, spend yesterday arvo in my kitchen and I sit here looking at my amazing Wensleydale Cheese. Back to you comment about opening the cheesecloth & breaking up the curds every 15 min for 2 hours.. my theory is that because the curds are by now cool, this is why this cheese is historically fairly crumbly as its the warmth that knits the curds together in other cheeses !! thanks so much for your detailed notes, which I referred to every 5 mins.. my last query is… when its in the mould for the first night & then dryin out before waxing and maturing.. should it be kept in warm conditions for the bacteria to continue growing??? cheers Anonymous from Australia… Marian
Hi Marian, Well done. I just leave the cheese in the press overnight on the kitchen bench. Similarly for when the cheese is drying out. I just leave the cheese on a cheese board with a tea towel over the top. It should dry in about 2-3 days this way and then is ready for waxing.