Last night, with DH home, and a lovely sunny evening, we opened a bottle of wine on the back deck and broke into a pile of cheeses. First up were the Cheshires.
In the second photo, back to front, are cheshire #1, cheshire #2 and cheshire #3, with a wedge of stilton on front. To accompany them were sourdough baguettes fresh from the oven, home-made hummous, olives, semi-dried tomatoes and a handful of nuts.
Cheshire #1 was made according to the first recipe on this thread, with a single-strain L. lactis starter. I overshot the temp a bit, and misreading instructions, pressed it for 40 hours. The texture on this is very crumbly and while it tastes like cheese, it's the kind of cheese you'd like if you didn't know you could make better.
Cheshire #2 was made according to the second recipe on this thread, with a blend of starters. I cut this with a knife that cuts vertically and horizontally at the same time and which tore the curd, which meant I had uneven curd size during stirring. Again, misreading instructions, I pressed this for too long. You can tell the difference in the culture complexity with this one, and it tastes of Cheshire. It's a firmish paste but a pleasant cheese. It has the pleasant crumbliness, creaminess and acidity you expect from a good Cheshire. I've tried both of these before, and now that they've aged for three months, I can't really tell any further complexity in them compared to how they tasted at 1 month.
Cheshire #3 was made to the same recipe as Cheshire #2....although, if I can believe my notes, I made it using the L. lactis single-strain starter, precultured in milk the night before. This cheese was pressed overnight at 20 kg, given a 70C water bath the next day then pressed at 10kg increasing to 20 kg, then cloth bandaged with coconut oil. My then-'cave', a cooler, encouraged mould so I removed the coconut oil at one week and waxed the cheese. It's now 3 months and one week old, and it's a lot moister than the other cheeses. What's more, it's right on the money. THIS is the result I'm after. Nutty, slightly crumbly but holding its paste, lemony but not overpoweringly acid, and moist but a good firm paste. I'm really pleased, and the Cheshireman heaped high praise indeed.
Then, being on a cheese binge, we tried the stilton, a goat's-milk Valencay, and a 3-week-old chilli and smoked paprika cheshire, which I coated in smoked paprika and olive oil. That was so good I'll be making another of those this weekend. Still young and creamy, with a real chilli hit. I'll probably vacuum-seal half of this to age out a bit further.