Many, many thanks to everyone on the forum for all the great posts that led up to this big day for me! I was lurking on the forum for months before I gathered all my ingredients and tools, and found the time to make a cheese. I thought it should go very well from all the reading I've done, but there's that tricky bit with temperature control....here's how it went(from my cryptic notes, as this was last week):
8 litres organic, pasturized, non-homogenized 3.25% milk (avalon dairy)
1/4 tsp Meso II
1/4 tsp calcium chloride(dry, white pellets) in 1/4 cup of water
3/8 tsp rennet (chymosin from glengarry) label said 3/4 tsp for 13-15 litres, so with some funky math, I got 3 to 3.7 /8ths of a tsp (my smallest measuring spoon) for 8 litres
1.5 tsp of non-iodized sea salt
heated milk to 90F in 20min (actually took 30min, being careful) using sort-of double boiler (see photo)
sprinkle culture on surface, wait 5min, maintain 90F 12:51 (went to 91F)
stir 12:56 maintain 90F 30min (here's where it started to go downhill...got up to 94F very suddenly, I cooled it down to 89F in cold water),
back to 90F
add CaCl2 mix for 1 min
add rennet 1:30pm, mix flocc at 1:40
recipe said wait 45 min, but using 3x flocc time, I cut after 30min, at 2:00pm, seemed like clean break to a first timer
cut to 1/4 pieces, let set 10 min - not so successful at this, curd seemed a bit fragile to cut so small, and my "8litre" pot must be at least 12, so getting the angle to cut with the knife didn't work so great. I tried to cut up the bigger pieces as I stirred very gently 10 min after cutting.
increase to 95F over 20min - this did not go well. After 15 min I still had no temp change, even though I was bit by bit raising the temp on the element(electric stove). So I turned it up some more, thinking I was just dealing with the delay of the double boiler water having to heat. I took my thermometer out to give a gentle stir, and when I returned it, it shot up to 104F!!! Now I wonder if it was "stuck" somehow, even though it's digital. I now don't trust the readings from earlier, I guess I have to get a new one.
took it off the heat to settle 5 min
this is where I went even farther away from the recipe.....
poured in into colander lined with thin plain cotton napkin, seemed very wet still, curd size uneven 2:55pm
hung it up to drip- at 3:30 it was still very wet and I squeezed out more whey by twisting the cloth
broke up the curds and salted
put in my mold(an ikea cutlery(silverware) drying cup - 4.5 inches across) with another cotton napkin and stainless lid as follower
pressed with my way over-built(!!) off the wall(off the cupboard) press that I estimate was pressing approximately 20lbs with no weight added
my recipe, from Artisan cheese making I think said 8 pounds, but rikki carrol's book said 35pounds....so....
whey coming out was milky looking
flipped once after 15min - the mold is less than ideal because there is a bit of a lip, making it tricky to get the cheese out, also the cloth was a bit thick for the job
then left it another 8 hours (went to work!)
sliced off the top to taste: squeaky! and could use some more salt, but not to bad...
next day, my 3 year old son ate a bunch, and my wife said: "well, it's definitely cheese...." I'll consider that a success
tasted nicer with no more squeaking for the next few days, getting tastier, then getting more and more tangy, still ok, but not as nice.
But we ate it all, and I'm inspired to make more and have better temp control next time
Thanks to the whole forum