I have been lurking and reading plenty in the forum all week, so I thought that an introduction was in order.
Hello, my name is Cynthia, and I have a new
hobby making cheese.
I started down this road by joining a Facebook group, that lead to a free online lesson by a local cheesemaking teacher, that then has led to obsessive reading and researching. This is all really quite fun, and now every time that I am on the computer/iPad, my husband is asking if I am reading about cheese again. He does love cheese, so he is very hopeful about my new hobby.
Cheeses that I have managed so far:
30 minute mozzarella
quark (baked commercial buttermilk)
ricotta - 2 successes out of three, first success I added milk to whey to boost yield.
a tiny Parmesan- 1 gal make (dried too far, but vac sealed and aging)
farmhouse cheddar- 2 gal make ( homemade mould cracked, and cheese bulging out one side)
Caerphilly - 3 gal make (tried to press in pasta draining pot, flimsy "follower" pressed poorly, poor curd join)
I bought a homemade lever type press from the local cheesemaking teacher, and it seems to do the job much more simply than the stacking of all of my cast iron pans on that wee Parmesan. I have a real hard cheese mould on its way from Artisan Geek, and a big order of proper supplies and cultures from Glengarry cheese works coming next week. We replaced our fridge, and I have sanitized and saved the older one in the garage to be my cheese fridge. I am having the normal difficulties keeping humidity up in a fridge, and am working on keeping the temperature in range. The best that I can do without turning it off completely is 45-50F, but I am sure that it will vary a bit with the ambient temperatures as well.
Anyway, the more that I learn, the more I realize that there is to learn, so I am trying to stay simple. I have quite a few books queued at the library, and will review them to see which I wish to invest in buying. There is also so much information here in this board, it is awesome! Real life experience, and so importantly, follow ups with the cheese attempts, be it successes or failures. The searchability has been great.
As a handspinner and knitter, I already am used to taking raw materials (fleece) from sheep to finished product, so I am not scared of the process nor time invested, should the end result be worth it. I am a little hesitant to invest in the more expensive non-homogenized milk before I have some skills under my belt -literally- but I would imagine that the better starting product yields an awesome cheese. But then, that is a whole other discussion, and this is just my intro!
Thanks to you all, you have already been incredibly helpful to this newbie. I hope to be able to post some of my successes!