Getting Serious about Cheese!

Hello everyone,it’s another day of lockdown in Scotland. On a positive note, this is probably a good thing for aspiring bloggers (and their readers) as more time at home leads to more time for blogging! As for the farm, things go on pretty much as usual in the day to day running. Meanwhile, exciting developments afoot on our cheesemaking project!

Our cheesemaking projects so far have really only involved soft, fresh cheeses. These are probably the best cheeses for beginning cheesemakers. They are pretty straightforward to make, and the best part is that they are ready for taste-testing pretty soon after making.

I began my cheesemaking experiments with cheese making kits. These are great, as they include all of the basic ingredients and equipment for getting started with home cheese making. I have kits from Mad Millie and Moorlands Cheesemaking LTD.

The Mad Millie Fresh Cheese Kit was a gift from a friend after I had said I was interested in cheesemaking. I made delicious halloumi cheese and whey ricotta my first time using the kit. The instructions were clear and detailed, and the cheese came out exactly as I expected it to (this is something that I have subsequently learned on my cheesemaking journey is not guaranteed!).

Pleasing fried cheese from Mad Millie’s halloumi recipe

The whey ricotta was made with the leftover whey from the halloumi, and made just enough sweet ricotta to make a small baked “cheesecake” pudding for me and the big farmer.

After initial successes with the Mad Millie Kit, I decided to branch out a bit in my cheese making adventures. I did quite a bit of online research about various recipes and cheese making in general. If you are at all interested in the process of making cheese and trying it out for yourself, I would highly recommend The Courtyard Dairy’s excellent blog, which has a wealth of information, as well as The New England Cheesemaking Supply Co, which has tons of recipes for cheeses from all over the world. There are actually hundreds of brilliant resources for making cheese at home, both in digital and print format, and at some point I will add a list of my favourites to point you in the right direction.

I used the Moorlands Kit to help me make my first ‘aged’ cheese, an English Coulommiers-style cheese which I ripened in the fridge. I made two blocks to compare. One was aged for 2 days, and the other for a week. It’s amazing the difference 5 days made to the overall taste and texture of the cheese. To make this cheese, I used the recipe from the Moorlands Kit, but I also followed the tips and tricks from Gavin Webber’s blog: Little Green Cheese, which were very helpful.

My English-style Coulommiers cheese with homemade oatcakes

So this brings me on to my exciting news. I have been wanting to make hard, aged cheeses for some time, but have had a lack of the right ageing environment which is essential for the process. I’ve finally decided to invest in moving forward and after much research and deliberation have purchased a small wine fridge to get things underway. It arrives tomorrow, so more posts to follow. Speak to you all soon!

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