Hi. I was born in the UK but have lived in Japan for most of my adult life. I love it here except that cheese is very expensive and the only UK cheese available is plastic-wrapped Cheddar and the very occasional bit of plastic-wrapped Red Leicester. After a trip home the the UK last year saw me smuggling a suitcase full of potentially illicit cheese back through customs, I decided I would have to Do Something About It, and started reading up on home cheesemaking.
I managed to find a bottle of veggie rennet on Amazon Japan, but cultures were nowhere to be found, and for my first attempts I used plain yogurt as my starter. The results were pretty encouraging, and prompted me to invest in a 20l pot, a wine cellar to use as a cave, and an order of cultures from Moreland Cheese in the UK.
My first proper 'cultured' cheese was a Caerphilly, followed by a Double Gloucester half of which was turned into a Cotswold with the addition of chives and onions from the garden. After aging for 3 weeks (couldn't wait any longer) I cut the Caerphilly into wedges and vacuum-packed the ones we weren't going to eat immediately. The wedge we did eat was wonderful, better than anything available in the shops. Half of the vacuum-packed wedges developed a mysterious blue mold so it's no longer really Caerphilly
; I had a little taste and I'm still alive, so I'm thinking of using them to make a pasta sauce. (I think the love of my life would leave home if I put a visibly blue cheese on the table).
The Double Gloucester and Cotswold are still sitting in the cave, and I hope I will be able to resist cutting into them until mid-September. It will be hard.
I am so pleased to have found a forum peopled by folk who like to make cheese; people here, including TLOML, think I'm a bit crazy....