This is a sad tale with a happy ending, proof that quickish thinking (aka utter panic!) can sometimes save you from disaster.
As I live in southern Malaysia, I only have supermarket milk to depend on. (The really good quality, non-homogenised stuff is only available in a small geographic area around the capital, Kuala Lumpur. Sigh.) Flush with success from my Fourme d’Ambert, I decided to go for a Cambozola. I got 2L of supermarket milk, a brand I hadn't tried before for cheesemaking. (Yes, I know. I won't do it again.) Cambozola normally asks for a 1:1 milk:cream ratio, but the only cream we can get here is UHT, so I went with 750mL of cream and 1.25L of “super-charged” milk liquid (200g milk powder + 1L water).
I began my recipe, added all the cultures, rennet and whatnot. And waited. And waited. And waited. No curds. The milk had barely thickened after more than 4 hours of ripening! The milk had obviously been over-pasteurised. Aaaargh!!! What to do? I had some citric acid in the pantry and decided to use the failed curd mixture thing to make that most detested of cheeses: Ricotta. Bland, grainy. Bleech! Better than throwing the lot away. Barely. I could always put it in lasagne, I thought.
Friends, ah friends, the Ricotta I got from my Cambozola debacle was unlike any ricotta I had ever tasted in my life. It actually had flavour! It wasn't the Ricotta of which I was familiar, drywall/gyprock filler, but a real cheese! So I made an Italian cheesecake out of it, with a topping of berry jam.
I’m so glad the recipe went wrong. If it hadn’t, I would never have discovered the joy of Real Ricotta. I’m now a convert. This is going to be the start of a beautiful, and tummy-satisfying, relationship!