Hi everyone! My name is Bobby and I live in South Carolina. I'm thrilled beyond believe to have found this forum. I've always questioned things and constantly asking why and how things work. With cheese making there are tons of questions.
I made my first mozzarella over 10 years ago. However, I didn't progress past this and ricotta. I've been in the culinary world for over 30 years so I'm quite comfortable in the kitchen and am not intimidated in the least.
I think the reason for my not moving beyond mozzarella and ricotta is that when I first read a recipe for a cheese and saw "increase temp by 2.134 degrees over a 5 1/2 minute period, hold temp at 90.75 degrees for 13 minutes, increase temp by 1 degree every 3 1/2 minutes blah blah blah...Press and age for 9 months". I did not have the patience nor the time to spend an entire day on something and then wait months to see if I did it right.
Now that I'm older I guess I've mellowed. Either that or through my travels I've had so many incredible cheeses that I'm willing to do anything to produce them.
Living in South Carolina we have heat issues and I have no place cool enough to age anything. I found some great plans for a cave using a mini fridge and a reptile terrarium humidifier. I'll be looking for a used mini fridge shortly so that I can begin. Until then I'll be making non aged ones.
I made a Queso Fresco last week per Ricki Carroll's book. I added 1/2 t of Lipase to see if it would give it a little more cheesy flavor. It did give it a nice cheesy aroma and it does have a little bite to it.
It was supposed to be under 35 pounds of weight for six hours. The grand kids came, time got away and I fell asleep. The cheese was pressed for 14 hours. The texture is great. It slices nicely but doesn't crumble like Queso Fresco usually does. If I were to age it it might turn out quite nice (
) I was going to brine it and then dry for a few days then age. But, since I don't have anyplace at 55 degrees I thought it would be silly to waste it so I've been eating it in salads or just to munch on.
The Ricotta made from the whey was the best I've ever tasted in my life. I added a quart of whole milk to it. Could the Lipase that was added in the beginning have anything to do with the flavor? It's a very rich, buttery taste. Not your usual bland Ricotta. From the two gallons of milk I got 2 lbs of Queso Fresco and with the extra quart of milk added to the whey I got 1 lb 1/2 oz of Ricotta. I need to make some cheese tomorrow just to get the whey for the Ricotta!
I have a nice pH meter that I use with my aquariums. I see where pH is mentioned a lot in cheese making so I'll start using it. Is there a chart or anything that tells you what the various pH readings should be during the various stages?
Ok, I've gone on and on for long enough. Sorry about that!
I'm so looking forward to being a part of this group. Thanks!