Author Topic: My First Two Weeks of Cheesemaking  (Read 2349 times)

Offline DaggerDoggie

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My First Two Weeks of Cheesemaking
« on: June 05, 2008, 04:16:14 PM »
First of all, thanks for hosting a site for cheese.  I have thought about making cheese for a while and, like most of my hobbies, I have become obsessed.

I made my first cheese two weeks ago and I have made six so far.

The Cheese presses I've made:




My cheeses:

The one on the right is an English Cheddar, my best looking success so far, on the left is a Gruyere


With limited success are a waxed cheddar, my first cheese,  Parma (kind of dry), and a Tomme au Marc sitting in a crock.


How will they taste, I have no idea.  They are aging in my basement which is not ideal, 58 degrees, 85% humidity, but it's what I have for now.


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Offline John (CH)

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My First Two Weeks of Cheesemaking
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2008, 08:05:08 PM »
Hello DaggerDoggie and welcome to this forum, no problem on hosting has been fun albeit learning experience.

But I thought I was setting up a website and forum and I ended up learning and spending more time making cheese! I'm on my 10th but after 2 months and my wife thinks I'm obsessed ;D. You are on 6th after two weeks, my wife would say you are really obsessed :o, esecially since it sounds like you haven't been eating yours yet! You have great patience.

Well congrats, your cheeses look great, plus you started in at the deep end on cheddar. I have found maturing has been a big PITB for me so I'm going to set up an old fridge whereas sounds like your basement conditions are perfect, I'm jealous.

Never heard of a Tomme au Marc, would be great if you posted recipe directions for that and gruyere in the recipe board.

Also would be great if you posted more pictures and some details on your presses in the equipment board and we could have a discussion on it and your pros and cons.

Again welcome, love the snaps and congrats on your successes!
« Last Edit: June 05, 2008, 08:07:16 PM by Cheese Head »

Offline reg

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Re: My First Two Weeks of Cheesemaking
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2008, 06:23:06 AM »
morning DaggerDoggie and welcome. you have some nice looking wheels of cheese there. your conditions for aging sound right on, what part of the country are you in ?

would like to hear more about your Tomme au Marc.

your wheels look like they came from bigger batches of milk, how large are your cooking vessels ?

reg
reg

Offline DaggerDoggie

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Re: My First Two Weeks of Cheesemaking
« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2008, 06:00:54 PM »
Thanks for the welcome and compliments on my cheeses, we'll see how they turn out :D

I am from Upstate NY where the temperature varies greatly: from several days of 20 below in the winter, to hot and humid summers.  The last two days have been hot and humid so my basement temperatures are rising.  If it stay like this, I may have to come up with another option for my aging process.

I have a huge, 50 quart, stainless stock pot that I use for the larger cheeses which works great.  It is very heavy and has a thick bottom that holds temps nicely and I don't seem to have a problem with scorching.  For smaller batches I used a 12-quart stockpot in another pot as a double boiler.  Someday, if I get adventurous, and find something large enough to press it in, I may try a large wheel of cheese.  I have had two big failures in my cheese where I wasted five gallons of milk in cheese that never would set up.  Not sure what went wrong, but all I got was yogurt-like curd.  I attempted to press one, but ended up with a mess.

I got the idea for the Tomme au Marc from New England Cheese Making Supply.  http://www.cheesemaking.com/store/pg/27.html

Since he doesn't give the cheese recipe, I used a stirred curd cheddar recipe for two gallons of milk.  We'll see how it turns out, but it seems to be fermenting nicely with a nice aroma and no off smells for the time being.  I put it in a large Folger's Coffee container.  Again, time will tell.  The cheddar is also from New England Cheese Making Supply http://www.cheesemaking.com/store/pg/23.html  It was getting late (1 am) as I was turning, wrapping and pressing the curd.  My patience and stamina were waining (as I wanted to go to bed) but I followed the steps as closely as possible.  I did the final press in a shop press (hydraulic for pressing out bearings, etc.) guessing on the pressure I was applying.

Yeah, you could say I have become really obsessed with this.

I will post up some details on how I made my presses when I get them out to try another cheese this weekend.  I basically looked what others had made on line and put them together.  My building skills are good, but I think my cheese making skills have a long way to go.

Offline John (CH)

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Re: My First Two Weeks of Cheesemaking
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2008, 07:26:38 AM »
Wow, 50 US quarts, that's 190 liter for reg in Canada! Between that and an industrial press you could go into business . . . you must be buying lots of milk and will soon be eating lots of cheese ;D.

I've also had a couple problems getting milk to set. One was my Cumin Gouda which also didn't press very well but luckily, matured and tastes great. Are you using raw or store bought pasteurized milk and adding Calcium Chloride?

The Tomme du Marc looks very fun, how did you get grape skins and seeds, the hard way? Are the skins with splash of wine fermenting around the outside of the cheese or is that the point and thus are you worried about mould? Used to have a Dutch/Italian couple neighbor who used to make Grappa, was nice.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2008, 07:28:23 AM by Cheese Head »


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Offline DaggerDoggie

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Re: My First Two Weeks of Cheesemaking
« Reply #5 on: June 07, 2008, 09:31:36 AM »
Right now I have been using store-bought milk and adding calcium chloride.  Although I live in farm country and grew up on a farm, I have yet to befriend a farmer to buy some raw milk, but I am looking. I'm looking for some nice, rich Jersey milk.  Most of the people I knew have sold their cows and/or their farm.  None of my relatives in my generation stuck to it.
 
I bought the grapes, crushed them and then removed most of the juice.  I put some in the bottom of the container, placed the cheese in the center and then covered them with the rest of the grapes and then added about two cups of wine.  I covered the container and it sits in my basement.  I have not dared disturb the cheese, but it does look like fermenting wine on the top with little bubbles at the surface.  No mold at the surface yet, but it's only been a week or so.


Offline John (CH)

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Re: My First Two Weeks of Cheesemaking
« Reply #6 on: June 07, 2008, 10:31:06 AM »
Thanks for info, I have no clue on this style rind but Cheesemaking.com's directions say a splash of wine and I think their picture looks like cheese isn't submerged, good luck and let us know how it turns out.

Offline DaggerDoggie

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Re: My First Two Weeks of Cheesemaking
« Reply #7 on: June 07, 2008, 03:03:58 PM »
I couldn't really tell.  In this one I think it's submerged:


...but the next looks less covered and dryer than mine.


Well I added a little more than a splash since I thought I needed it submerged.

Here's what mine looks like now.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2008, 04:32:54 PM by DaggerDoggie »

Offline Tea

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Re: My First Two Weeks of Cheesemaking
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2008, 07:23:54 PM »
If you are buying store bought milk, you will probably fine the quality varies greatly.
I have been buying milk ever since the farmer I was getting milk from moved away, and the quality it just not there.  Also here in Aussie they have also recently changed the regulations for what goes into milk, and my last two batches of feta have had almost no curd formation what so ever.

So maybe check what brands of milk you are having success with and what breands your not.
Just my experiences.
Tracey

Offline DaggerDoggie

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Re: My First Two Weeks of Cheesemaking
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2008, 08:05:11 PM »
Thanks for the tip on brands of milk.  I have certainly learned to avoid ultra-pasteurized milk, but have not kept up with the brands.  As I live in a milk-producing area, there are no local dairies left anymore.  Our milk is shipped to NYC or Boston for processing and then shipped back here.  I'll have to keep track of what I buy.

The only local dairy is owned by a huge, international, Dutch-owned, conglomerate, DMV.  http://www.dmv-international.com/default.asp?selected=dmv-int.homepage&l=en 
http://www.oag.state.ny.us/press/2001/nov/nov05a_01.html
It's funny, the plant is in the middle of nowhere.

With my very limited experience, I have found that milk in cartons seems to be better in the plastic jugs.  Unfortunately, we go though a gallon a day, without making cheese.

Still searching for a source for raw milk.


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Offline Tea

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Re: My First Two Weeks of Cheesemaking
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2008, 05:08:07 PM »
Just an update on the milks that I buy here.  The regular store bought milk, now won't even hold a curd formation, as I was saying.  To get any sort of cheese, I need to drain in first through cheese cloth, then scoop that into the baskets, as the curds just flows straight through the baskets otherwise.
While shopping at a corner store a few days ago, I spied a brand of milk that is whole milk.  I purchased enough to make some cheese, and was really impressed with it.  It still even had the ring of cream at the top of the bottle.  Needless to say, the difference in the curds was unbelievable.  So for the time being, even though the milk is more expensive, I think I will be buying this until I can find another source of milk.

I too am in a dairy belt, and we have gone from having over 200 dairy's in the district, and being able to count them on one hand.  The deregulation of the milk industry here and the take over by the "big boys" has all but ruined the industry.  Very sad.
Tracey