Hi, CC! I've made paneer, cottage cheese, ricotta, mozzarella, fromage blanc, and right now I'm working on the Farmhouse Cheddar from the Carroll book. I've made it three times and am about to make it again today, will make it again on Saturday for a demo for our club.
I just discovered a couple of days ago that I've been pressing it at the wrong weight! I hadn't really been thinking about the issue of pounds/sq inch, and I had been using a 6" mold when I believe the recipe (without actually coming right out and saying it) assumed I'd use a 4" mold. So I pressed my first three Farmhouse Cheddars at something under half of what was specified. Since I'm doing this demo Saturday, I decided I better make one more before then so I can try it with the correct mold before the demo. Hope it turns out I like it, as I've now committed about $80 in raw milk!
I'd like to work on the cottage cheese again. I've made it three times. The first time, I heated it too quickly and the curds were pretty tough, although it was still very good. The second time it turned out really well, maybe slightly undercooked. I figured the third time was the charm, but the third batch I messed up badly -- don't know if it was the milk (which was a week old) or that I cut the curds too small or overstirred them or simply didn't have a clean break when I cut them, but it was very mushy. Tasted fine, but the texture was off enough that I really wasn't interested. The dog was very happy with the turnout, though.
I'd also like to work on the mozzarella. I made the 30-minute mozzarella from the Carroll book and the first time it turned out great -- maybe slightly tender, but really very good. The second batch was dismal -- tough and yellow, as if I'd cooked it. Again a happy dog. I'd like to try a traditional recipe for it rather than the microwave version, so I've been looking for a good recipe and think I'll use Fankhauser's next.
And then of course I'd like to try some hard cheeses other than the FC, which btw I think is a great first pressed cheese for a beginner. You get through almost the entire process (up to the final pressing) in about 3 1/2 hours, and it's a really good one for figuring out how to control temperature. I'd eventually like to try a swiss and a brie, as those are the big favorites here at Chez Val, but I think a little more practice with less demanding recipes is called for first.