I purchased this great cheese making book awhile ago and have been so eager to begin but just haven't been able to find the time. I finally got around to ordering all the items necessary to make basic cheese and they arrived yesterday. I'm hoping that I can start my first batch on Sunday.
Cheese making isn't terribly difficult, especially soft cheeses, but very time consuming. Much of your time is spent standing by the stove, watching the thermometer and letting it stand covered, draining, etc.
My first cheese is going to be cream cheese. We all love it and home made cream cheese will keep in your refrigerator for at least two weeks. I can add fresh herbs of my choice or any other ingredients that we enjoy. If that is a success, cottage cheese is next on the list and it goes on and on :)
According to my book and what I've read on the net, in the cheese making world, raw milk is seen as the gold standard ( I sure have plenty of that). Raw milk contains all of the micro flora and enzymes that the animal has ingested from grazing in it's own unique environment. It's also full-flavored milk that makes rich-flavored cheeses. Completely natural -
When using pasteurized milk, you have to add calcium chloride during cheese making if the milk is homogenized. This is due to the fact that the milk will have fewer enzymes and will have a flatter taste.
According to my book and I quote "in essence, it could be said that raw milk cheeses are the direct descendants of the cheese makers of antiquity". I find the history of cheese making very interesting. I can only hope mine will be edible :)
Of course, when dealing with raw milk or milk in general, cleanliness and safety are of the utmost importance. I have utensils that will only be used for cheese just as I have items that are only used for milking my cow.
It takes approximately 4 days from start to finish to make cream cheese. Wish me luck!