Since our cow Wander started to produce milk in October, in fact since we decided to buy a milk cow back in the spring, my mind has been consumed with the possibilities of a home dairy. For the last 2 months our fridge has been stuffed with milk as I learn how to use this magical liquid, adding products to my repertoire, and fridge, as we go along.
Since the first weeks of milking I’ve been making butter, which then yields buttermilk, as well as lots of yoghurt for my yoghurt loving boys; and it has been the most wondrous butter and utterly delicious yoghurt any of us have ever eaten. But looming on the horizon like and white and curdy spectre, was the true and certain knowledge that cheese making was an inevitable part of my future.
Please don’t misunderstand me, misunderstand me not, I want to make cheese. I have been contemplating and reading and watching videos for the last 6 months about making cheese, but it is a bit of a nerve wracking business. You’ve got to get the recipes and buy the equipment and really what are curds supposed to look like anyway? Luckily for me Wardee at Gnowfglins has all the information in one place, a Cultured Dairy e-course that takes you step by step through it all, including videos so that you know that you are on the right track.
So this week, following my recipes and videos to the letter, I’ve made soft cream cheese (insanely delicious) and a feta cheese, which is currently seasoning in my fridge ready to go into brine and begin aging in a few days time. I spent most of Sunday tending my curds, checking temperatures, cutting, cooking and checking again. It’s a consuming process but in exactly the right kind of way and at the end of it you have cheese, what could be a better outcome?
So with a kitchen full of whey (Do you need some whey? I’ve got some. I’ve got lots.) a fridge full of milk and a brain full of recipes I can definitely say that more cheese making is in my future. Mozzarella, quark, hard cheeses, cottage cheese….it’s all dairy all the time round here. And since I broke my cheese making duck I feel that I have crossed over into another world somehow, a world of real self sufficiency where actual skills are required. A world, let’s face it, made of cheese.