I’ve been in a cheese frenzy over the last week or so and it’s been so much fun! On and off, I’ve made 7 cheeses in 5 days in my home kitchen. Some have been easy, others hard, and I even had what I am classing as a failure.
Let’s go through the list shall we?
Chilli Queso Fresco.
Kim asked for a cheese with a bit of kick that was ready to eat in a couple of days. I chose to do a chilli infused version of my Queso Fresco because we all like the flavour of this fresh cheese and it was ready to eat straight out of the cheese press.
It tasted amazing the first day, but it was even better after two days in an airtight container in the fridge. The chilli flavours permeated the entire cheese. A fresh yet spicy hot aftertaste. I was on a winner, so I created a video tutorial for those of you who wish to recreate this amazing cheese. You can view the Chilli Queso Fresco video here.
I’ve often wanted to make this cheese but I couldn’t find an authentic recipe. Thankfully I have lots of work colleagues of Indian descent, so asked around and found a great recipe for this easy to make cheese.
With only 3 ingredients (Milk, Yoghurt, and Lemon Juice) Paneer can be made in less than 90 minutes.
I did intend on making a vegetarian curry with this cheese, but it’s been such a big hit with Ben who is eating it by the handful from the fridge. Don’t think this batch will make into a meal!
You can find the video for Paneer here.
Not quite ready yet, this Camembert is growing mould in its maturation box in the cheese fridge. It takes about 14 days for the mould to fully develop, so I will be wrapping it in cheese paper next Wednesday. I am filming the entire process from milk to cheese board, so it will take some time before it is released.
In the meantime, here is an older Camembert video tutorial so you get the feel for the process. I’ve modified the recipe slightly using a different starter culture, but it is basically the same.
Because there was at least 6 litres of whey left over from the Queso Fresco and Camembert combined, I decided not to waste it. The easiest thing to make was Whey Ricotta!
It’s such a simple process. Heat the milk to 92°C, then add ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar to curdle, then drain, add salt to taste, then eat or use in your favourite Ricotta recipe.
Here’s a Whey Ricotta video tutorial that you can use to make this cheese.
This was my only challenging cheese. I had never made Provolone before and it wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be. I was missing one important piece of equipment for this cheese. It was a method on how to read the pH of the whey during the process.
As the pH level of the cheese reaches 5.2, you can stretch the cheese and form it into the tradition tube or ball shape. Well, I waited and waited and the stretchiness never happened so I decided to press the curd that I had. After a couple of hours in brine, I then air-dried and vac packed. I am going to mature it for two months to see what happens, but in the meantime will purchase some pH paper so I can make another batch.
No video for this cheese as I haven’t perfected it yet.
We had the kids over for a BBQ and Kim wanted to make a Greek Salad, so I just had to make some Feta. This cheese is ready to eat in a couple of days and is simple to make. It only needs 20 minutes of curd stirring then into the mould.
To make this cheese check out the Feta video tutorial.
This Blue cheese is of my own creation. I was never happy with the recipes I had in books so I cobbled together the best of all processes and made my own.
This will be a small blue cheese that will have an affinage of 8 weeks. These blues are still in their moulds and I will salt them further this afternoon then air dry for 2 days. Then I will pierce about 15 holes in each one to allow the blue veins to develop and seal them in their maturation boxes and into the cheese fridge.
Once the Petit Bleu is mature, I will wrap in cheese paper and store in the kitchen fridge. If all goes well, a video tutorial will be available.
Maybe One More?
I have one last day before I go back to work and still have 4 litres of bio-dynamic milk in the fridge just waiting to be turned into cheese. So I am scouring my cheese books for a new challenge. It will be a surprise for us all!
If you want to check out all of my video tutorials check out my Cheese Making Playlist over on YouTube. They are quite popular with home cheese makers and I am pleased to mention that the YouTube Channel just past 8000 subscribers yesterday!
I am truly a Curd Nerd! But I suppose given enough time, anyone can make 7 cheeses in 5 days!
What’s your favourite cheese? I might just have a recipe for it or at least add it to my list to research.
Your queso fresco inspired me and I made one loosely based on pepper jack from the USA. It had cracked black pepper and fresh peppercorns off my pepper vine, along with a little crushed chile. It is awesome. I am off to go and look at your paneer – I have never added yoghurt – i bet that makes it tasty! You are on fire!
Gavin Webber says
Sounds like a winner Gillian. The yoghurt gives it a bit of flavour which is otherwise lacking.
Well done, I make Monterey Jack and I have also added the blue culture to it making a hard blue cheese, works wonderfully, or alternatively I use the farmhouse recipe and soak the curds in smoke mix for half an hour or in a dark beer for 30 mins before pressing, it gives a firm creamy cheese that is best after 3 months maturation either vacuum sealed or waxed.
Gavin Webber says
Great variations Elizabeth. Where do you get the smoke mix from? Sounds interesting.
Wow, what a powerhouse of cheesemaking you are Gavin! I’ve made Camembert, feta and haloumi before, but there are so many others I want to make. Love your videos, thanks for all the effort you go to 🙂
Ann Reed says
We just tried your Colby Cheese I made a couple of months ago from your video and book.
I’m so exited as it turned out Beautifully .
Every time I Try one of your videos I have had huge success.
Have a pepper Jack waiting to sample this next week.
Thank you so much.
My goal is to make two chesses a week for a few months.
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I had a go making cream cheese last week, using a homemade mesophillic culture – buttermilk (made from raw milk as opposed to leftovers from butter making). I followed a recipe I came across on Mother Earth News and I have to say success. It has far more flavour than purchased cream cheese although it’s nowhere near as firm. I used some of it with my homegrown sundried tomatoes with some sour cream for a delish sauce on gnocchi. I’ll return to that recipe again for sure.
I made the paneer yesterday and it came out great! Over the summer I freeze a lot of soups, stews and curries without a protein for use during the winter (which we are in now in the US). This way I can add whatever protein I feel like at the time of eating and one meal base becomes a variety of dishes. I added the paneer to a vegetable coconut milk curry – yum! I’ll be adding it into the protein mix. Thanks for the recipe! Sue
Janice Graham says
Watched all your cheesemaking videos and really enjoyed them. The cheese press looks very effective and somewhat different to my efforts with bricks to press my cheeses in the past. You are very inspirational Gavin. I have posted a link on my blog http://www.retireandenjoy.com so hope my readers will log into your site and be rewarded with ideas for things they can achieve.
What’s my favourite cheese? Havarti, hands down. I’ve made some from a combination of recipes sourced online but I have to wait another 2 months to take the wax off and see if it passes the taste test. I’ve enjoyed expanding my cheese horizons with your tutorials, though. 🙂