Hi Simon, Welcome. I am not one of the expert members, but will try to answer a couple of these questions until a more seasoned veteran chimes in.
1. When making the mother culture I was supposed to keep the mixture at 22°(I think) for 24 hours. I wrapped it in blankets stuck the thermometer in and tried to keep it at that temperature as best as I could. It wavered slightly across that period though. Is this how you go about it? Didn't seem very accurate!
I don't think a slight fluctuation will be detrimental, and the blankets is what I usually do when I can/conserve, and have never had problems.
2. How long is the 'mother culture' in my fridge going to last? A few recipes I've seen seem to only suggest needed 100ml of mother culture, is the majority of my culture going to go to waste unless I knock out a few tons of cheese ASAP?
I have NO IDEA how long a mother culture will last in your fridge. I have a cheesemaking book that advises against making mother cultures until you are a bit more seasoned as a cheesemaker, so I have never looked into it. They are live bacteria though, so I imagine they have eat or go dormant. Maybe in the freezer you could be more sure that they will be dormant-remember this is all just me guessing and using possibly flawed logic.
3. What does 'Fresh Raw Milk' actually mean? I have only ever bought milk from a supermarket - whole, semi or skimmed?
Fresh, Raw milk means non-pasteurized, non homogenized, and from a very recent milking (like the morning milking, or at the latest, the previous evening. Hygeine is very important when using raw milk, if you have access, make sure that it is a source that uses clean milking practices (clean the udders before milking, possibly use a hygenic milking machine) and that the milk is very quickly cooled after milking, or that you buy it straight out of the teat.
[quote*4. On the rennet bottle it has a quick recipe for a soft cheese, but all it states is add a few drops to boiled water. It doesn't state how much water, this undisclosed amount of water seems to pop up in few places which leaves me clueless.[/quote]
about 20 drops of water per drop of rennet should work-although I can't remember where I read that. For a recipe I made the other day, it called for 1.5mL of rennet and 30mL of water, if you want to do the math from there...I don't feel like it right now
5. The frozen culture I have, what do I have to do to this next time round to use it?
Do you mean the mother culture? I don't know, I'll wait for someone else to chime in here, I don't know about dosing (sp?) mother culture and have never seen quantities referenced in the recipes I have come across so far.