Sheared Bliss

Say Cheese!
March 28, 2010, 9:49 pm
Filed under: Food, History, Museum | Tags: , , , ,

This weekend was Dairy Day at the museum, but we started getting ready for it a couple of weeks ago when PioneerA and I made two wheels of farmhouse cheddar – one plain and one with sage.

If you think you’d actually like to make cheese yourself, check out the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company – they have awesome stuff and good information.  If you just want to see pictures of me making cheese, read on!

Cheesemaking is part chemistry, part biology, and part art.  The exact process varies by cheese, but here are the steps in a nutshell.

1. Heat the milk.

2. Add a starter (a mixture of bacteria that “ripen” the milk by converting milk sugars to lactic acid).

3. Keep the milk warm while the starter works.

4. Add rennet (an enzyme, traditionally derived from the lining of a calf’s stomach).

5. Keep the milk warm while the rennet works.

6. Once the rennet has done its job and the milk has set into curd, cut the curd.

7. As the curd is cut, it will separate out into curds (solid) and whey (liquid).

8. Once cut, heat the curds to pull more whey out of them.

9. After heating, pour the curds and whey through cheesecloth.

10. Tie the curds up in the cheesecloth and hang to drain.

11. When they’re thoroughly drained, put the curds in a bowl, break them up, and mix in salt to taste.

12. Line the cheese mold with cheesecloth, fill it with the salted curds, put it in the cheese press, and weight it to press the cheese.

13. After the cheese is pressed, remove it from the mold.

14. Air dry the cheese until a rind forms.

15. Coat the cheese with wax.

16. Age the cheese.

17. Eat the cheese.

Whew!  No wonder it took us nearly a whole day just to get it in the cheese molded and in the press.  Next up, more dairy!


2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Wow, I wish I had known you were doing this, I would so loved to have come and watched the process. Do keep us posted on it’s aging..

Comment by Leslie

I know, I should be better about posting when something’s happening at the museum before it actually happens. We actually already ate the cheese – that’ll be in my next post. They’ve had a hard time in the past maintaining the right conditions to age cheese and it tends to mold so we only aged this batch two weeks.

Comment by shearedbliss

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