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Yes you really can make your own cheese.

Soft Cheese
I took 2 litres of raw cow's milk from the dairy farm and had a go at some soft cheeses.  Well there were many problems with this batch which can be summarised as follows:

1. For making a soft, non-pressed French-style cheese (Brie, Chaource or Coulommiers) you put whole curd into the moulds and let the whey drain out in its own good time.  The moulds I had were not very tall so the cheeses came out rather flat.
2. My P.candidum spores didn't arrive in time for me to include them in the milk, so I made a suspension of the spores in boiled water and dipped the cheeses in them afterwards.  This worked ok but the white bloom on the rind was a bit patchy.
3. I hadn't worked out the best possible storage solution so the cheeses were left open to the air in my kitchen, and a few patches of (harmless but unaesthetic) grey mould developed on the surface.

The solutions are:

1. I have bought new moulds. (Coulommiers means "columns" which is a reference to the mould shape)
2. I will add the spores to the milk next time!
3. I now have an elaborate tupperware-and-wire-rack storage solution ready for the beer fridge.

And here are the photos of the best one, which are also not up to scratch, being somewhat soft-focus, but I can't take them again because we ate the cheese.

Making Stilton
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A Hard Rind's Gonna Form.
Cross posted to my own journal, where if you select the "cheese" tag, you will see the adventures I have had in home-made cheese making and cheese tasting over the last few months.  You are very welcome to come over and read.

We opened two of my home-made cheeses today:

1. The Cheddar, made on 7th April and tasted prematurely in mid-May was a complete FAIL.  Look at the state of this:

It was dry, it had blued in the middle in an untended way.  It looked promising back in mid-May but today was fit only for the compost.  One of the problems was very definitely the lack of humidity in the beer fridge which allowed it to dry out horribly.  Cutting a chunk of it out a couple of months ago probably did not help at all.  Bah.

But - hooray!  The Cleveland that I made on May 28th was an unqualified success. See my journal for an introduction to Cleveland, which is a "lost" cheese of the north of England. The rind was hard due to the low humidity of storage, but the inside of the cheese was fine.  Better than everything except the Cheshire I made a few months ago.  Deli counter quality.  I was so happy. 

Ricki Carrol's Mozzarella
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Yesterday these two young ladies enjoyed making cheese when they weren't outside decorating my back yard!

Mozzarella Directions Yield: App. 3/4 lb.
1 gal milk (not 'ULTRA"- pasteurized) or 1 gal milk made from Dry Milk powder & 12-16 oz Heavy Cream.
1/2 to 1 Cup cool non chlorinated Water
1-1/2 to 2-1/2 tsp. Citric Acid (depending on the milk type)
1/4 Rennet Tablet (1/4tsp. if using liquid rennet)
1-2 tsp Cheese salt (use to your preferred taste)

See Ricki making Mozzarella online at www.cheesemaking.com in the Recipe Section for visual direction.

There is a part of me that wanted to buy 2 gallons of milk at Costco yesterday evening and just make MORE cheese. This speaks to my addictive personality side.

Fresh Whole-Milk Ricotta
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Makes about 10-12 oz
8 cups whle milk.
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cheese salt or other very fine salt that does NOT contain iodine
2 Cups buttermilk, preferably whole milk
Add 1/4 to 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream for a creay product(optional)

Special equipment. A fine sieve or colander lined with three layers of cheese cloth 12-14 inches square, set over a large bowl.

1. Place milk in a large heavy saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring almost constantly, until the milk comes to a frothing boil. Turn off the heat and as the bubbling subsides, stir in the salt and buttermilk. Continue gently stirring in one direction until the curds and whey separate(the mixture at this point will resemble thickened buttermilk- the whey will still look milky and the curds will be very small). Remove from the stove and let sit undisturbed for about 5 minutes.

2. Carefully pour the curds and whey through the cheesecloth. (The whey will drain into the bowl- save for another use or discard.) Leave the curds in the strainer to drain for about 15-30 minutes depending on the desired consistency. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator or up to 5 days.

Note: For a richer creamier cheese, replace part of the milk with 1/2 to 1 cup cream or half-and-half.

Mascarpone Cheese Recipe
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Makes about 2 cups

1 quart light cream
1/4 teaspoon tartaric acid plus 1-2 pinches if necessary
1/2 teaspoon Xanthium gum

1. Place a medium sized strainer or colander in the sink an dline it with 3 layers of cheesecloth. (I prefer to make my own out of a 22"x18" muslin).

2. Place the cream in the top half of a double boiler and set it over high heat. Stir frequently with a clean spoon or silicone spatula. When the temperature begins to near 175 degrees F., turn the heat down to low. When the temperature reaches 185 degrees F., turn the heat down to as low as possible and sprinkle the tartaric acid over the hot cream. Thoroughly stir the tartaric acid into the hot cream. Turn off the heat, leaving the double boiler in place, but off the heat for 5 minutes. Within a minute, the cream should begin to thicken and set. You should also begin to see a thin line of greenish whey forming around the edges. At this point blend the cheese with a stick emersion blender while sprinkling the xanthium gum into the mixture. It should thicken slightly more then it has with the tartaric reaction. This step is optional.. Pour the contents of the pan into the lined strainer in the sink.

3. Lift up the cloth by its four ends, forming a loose bundle. Place the cheese bundle and sieve over a bowl, and place in the refrigerator. When it stops dripping, abot 2-4 hours, remove the cheese from the cloth and store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator. For a very firm cheese allow the curds to drain in the refrigerator for 18-24 hours. For a smooth, cream cheese texture, whip the cheese with a whisk.

Paneer Cheese
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14 C fresh milk
2 C heavy cream
Over medium heat bring to 200 degrees F. Stirring gently to prevent scorching.
Drop to low heat and softly stir in:
10 T vinegar
1 T kosher salt
Remove from heat.
Cover and let sit for 10 minutes for curds to form.
Place cheese cloth over colander and carefully pour contents into the colander to drain curd.
Tie four corners of cheese cloth and slip wooden spoon through in order to hang over pan and allow to drain up to 12 hours. Depending on desired consistency.
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