Author Topic: Newie to Cheesemaking  (Read 1320 times)

Offline saycheese

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Newie to Cheesemaking
« on: December 29, 2008, 01:00:50 PM »
Hi -- I have just started cheesemaking -- basically using Ricki Carroll's book for recipes.  I've had success with ricotta, 30 minute mozzarella, queso fresco and ricotta salata.  However, my forays into hard cheeses have not been so great -- tried a manchego, a parmesan and a monterey jack -- all of them were VERY sour.  My guess is I need to be more careful with sanitation prior to making the hard cheeses.

I live in Northern California and am also a quilter.  I've enjoyed the posts on this forum and hope to learn something more about cheese and how to be more successful.  Any and all suggestions gladly accepted.


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Offline Tea

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Re: Newie to Cheesemaking
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2008, 01:45:49 PM »
Good morning and welcome to the forum.  I noted that you said you were a quilter.  I take it that you are a women??  I hope so, as we need more of the female variety here.
I too, among other things quilt.
Ok back to cheese, yes cleaning is probably one of the most important things that you can do to ensure good cheese.  Everything must be sterilised and scrubed.  Stainless steel pots and spoons, and aging areas cleaned regularly.
Milk that is too old, or has been left to ripen too long can also produce the bitter/sour flavour.  Also when aging, the cave needs to be kept between certain temps for correct aging conditions, so if you live in a hot and humid climate like me, these are all things that need to be taken into account.
However with a little fore-thought it is do-able.
If you are starting out, I would stick with the softer cheeses for a little while before stepping out into the hard cheese world.  Learn to understand the curd and how it reacts to different temps etc, first. 
So what cheese are you hoping to make next?

Offline saycheese

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Re: Newie to Cheesemaking
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2008, 04:52:46 PM »
Hi Tea,
Yes, I am of the female persuasion (lol).  After ditching the wooden spoons (I guess they carry germs better than I thought) and boiling all my stainless steel utensils for 25 minutes in the 3 gallon cheese pot and allowing them to cool, I tried a monterey jack cheese yesterday. Also, made a wee bit of ricotta from the whey (it was just a 1 lb. (1 gallon) round of jack -- so not alot of whey.) After pressing for 12 hours I unmolded it early today and it looks good.  Smells nice too.  It is sitting on a cheese mat and plate on my kitchen counter with cheese cloth over it, drying for the next 1-3 days -- I've been turning it every few hours in hopes of it drying evenly.  Then, I think I will bandage this cheese after it is dry and pop it into my cheese cave (aka used small fridge with temp gauge set at 55F. ) I'm wondering if I should place the cheese in a tupperware container (or something like that) as well, before placing in my cheese cave.  I am having some problems with blue/green mold on cheeses in the cheese cave, too.  I tried washing it out with the weak bleach solution, it smells better now but still kind'a funky.  Any tips on what to use to clean out the cheese cave?

As for quilting, right now I am working on an Amish wall hanging for our quilt guild's show and challenge in March, 2009.

Offline John (CH)

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Re: Newie to Cheesemaking
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2008, 07:36:55 PM »
Hi saycheese and welcome to the forum!

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Newie to Cheesemaking
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2008, 01:45:43 AM »
Welcome, to clean your frig DO NOT USE LYSOL...I had a huge problem with it. I think the best thing would be to use a spray bottle with 10% bleach solution or what I think is good is hot water in a spray bottle with dish soap in it. Spray it all around and wipe it down, then spray with just water until all the soap is gone. It is a good idea to keep your cheese in a tupperware anyway as it's way easier to control humidity in a smaller container. If you try to humidify the frig it will just condense out of the air on the cold coils. When the cold hits the tupperware it really doesn't do the same and the humidity should stay the same.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.


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Offline saycheese

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Re: Newie to Cheesemaking
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2008, 10:33:22 AM »
Thanks, Cartierusm, I will use a tupperware container for the new monterey jack cheese and hopefully it will be better. Still waiting for it to dry enough to wax or bandage.  As for the cheese cave -- I read with interest your posting regarding cleaning the cave.  I'm going to give it another sniff test this morning and if needed wash with hot water and dish soap.  Can't go too far wrong with that.

Offline Cartierusm

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Re: Newie to Cheesemaking
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2008, 12:04:30 PM »
No you can't, just don't use lemon scented or smelly dish sopa, regular ole' palmovlie or dawn or something like that.

If you read my other post you'll know but I'll mention it again all refrigerators new or used when they're not plugged in an not cold they all have a smell, it's kind of a musky smell, so don't be concerned with that, just make sure it's not a moldy smell, but the musky smell can be confused with mold. Just clean it and make sure you spray into all the crevices. If it smell relatively clean, close the door wait an hour and smell again (with the unit off of course), if it's close turn it on and check again when it's cold.
Life is like a box of chocolates sometimes too much rennet makes you kill people.

Offline Tea

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Re: Newie to Cheesemaking
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2008, 01:39:49 PM »
Good morning saycheese.  Did you get the fridge problem sorted out?

I have one last commission piece (a smocked christening gown) that I just have to get finished, and then I will be able to start on the quilts that I want to get finished this year.  Still have an anniversry quilt for us that needs finishing but as usual that always gets put on the back burner, and three quilts for the kids.  Hopefully I will do it.

Offline saycheese

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Re: Newie to Cheesemaking
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2008, 09:07:13 AM »
Hi Tea,

Thanks, I think I have got it squared away now.  I'll be getting the jack cheese ready for the fridge today.  I will try out a manchego recipe tomorrow( a good way to start off the new year).  Today I'm making another ricotta salata -- we go thru if pretty quickly, thinly sliced on green salad.

Quilts -- there never seems to be enough time to get all the ones you want to get done, done.  I finally made quilts for the my last two grandsons and their very new sister, sent them off in early November after her birth.  Now everyone in the family has a quilt.  I have a small quilt business and am meeting with a new client today regarding a quilt she has from her grandmother that needs batting, backing and quilting.  Can't wait to see what the quilt is like - pattern, colors, fabric.

Offline Tea

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Re: Newie to Cheesemaking
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2009, 01:57:16 PM »
Well it's quilts for the family that I am still working my way through.  So if I complete these three, that will be three less that I have to do.
My youngest daughter has a cronic disease, and had some hospital time this year, so I did make her a bright girly quilt for her bed, which of course brightened up the room.
Would love to see some of your completed quilts if you have some photo's please?
How is the manchego going?  I am hoping to get a provolone done today, so fingers crossed.


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Offline saycheese

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Re: Newie to Cheesemaking
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2009, 02:15:10 PM »
The manchego cheese is looking good.  I just put it into the cheese press for it's final 6 hours of pressing.  The whey coming out of the cheese during pressing was nice and clear.  I made a bit of ricotta too.

I have a website with my quilts -- http://www.quiltvisions.com 
I'll post pics of newer quilts on the Lounge bulletin board.