Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Making Cheese... Maybe.

This week, I took my first stab at making real cheese.   But... it didn't go too great.  I broke out a gallon of milk, added the acid and set to heating it up.  Like with my rennet making experience, the heating took way longer than I anticipated, so I was getting a bit panicky by the time it reached the mandatory 88oF.  Once there, I started the real test, adding the rennet.  I measured out a few tablespoons of the mixture, stirred it in for the required time, then covered it and furiously hoped for ten minutes that when I opened the pot, I would see any kind of separation.  Unfortunately, when I whipped off the lid, it looked exactly the same as when I covered it.  I repeated the process several more times, each time adding a little more rennet, until I was pouring in half cups, and the milk itself was turning a weird brownish color.   No matter how much I added, nothing was happening.  The only conclusion I could come to was that something was up with the rennet.  That was the key thing for the coagulation to occur, and based on my less than precise rennet making process, it seemed likely that it did not work properly.  The most likely cause of this, in my opinion, is the fact that the nettle leaves that we used had been processed and made into an herbal supplement, instead of being the hand picked leaves that the recipe called for.  Going from here, I would like to order the fresh leaves, and try my hand again at making rennet.  Unfortunately, there is not a huge amount of time left in this year, so I am just ordering rennet premade.  Hopefully, this will ensure the success of my second attempt at making cheese.

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