Dairy Queen

Monday morning – time to do battle with curd. Just to be clear, I am talking about From Scratch Cheese!

It’s been a long time since I have sat down with some crackers and sunk my teeth into some delectably creamy offering. I would akin my love for cheese close to that of Wallace, and if I had a Gromit there would be Wensleydale oozing out after every meal.

But because of my From Scratch lifestyle, so far this year there has been no cheese. Something I couldn’t stand for any longer.

Bright eyed and bushy tailed I set off to the shops to get my first real scientific kitchen equipment: a thermometer and some muslin sheets – high-tech, I know! Together with Unhomogenised milk, which surprisingly took a while to find, and some rennet I was set for my morning of cheese making.

If you want to try this at home you will need:

A thermometer (more on this in a second)

Either a Jelly Bag or some muslin sheets

2 litres of unhomogenised or Raw milk

a pinch of salt

2 tsps of rennet

(This is based on the River Cottage king Hugh Fernley Whittingstall’s recipe for a curd cheese.)

So there I was apron on and ingredients out. I poured the milk into a clean non reactive pan, added a pinch of salt and started to heat.

I prepped my thermometer ready to test for 36 degree heat and then I realised my thermometer starts at 80degrees! 80 degrees! I bought a jam-making thermometer – yes I did. Clever huh?

As you know I am not one to be that easily dispirited so I thought I’d use my judgement and carried on. I heated my milk, realised it was perhaps a bit hot so took it off added the rennet and waited for the 15mins the recipe suggested for the curds to rise and the whey to fall. And guess what, nothing happened. I still have a pan of milk, no curds at the top, whey at the bottom. So I gave it a stir.

Don’t trust your instincts, an internet research told me don’t stir, just wait. And I stirred. Well done Lucy! So far, a very unpromising start to my cheese making career. And that is where I am now, I am sitting waiting for it to curd, hoping if I leave it for a while then I will get cheese. With a bit of luck this will actually happen. If not I might cry. Well at least it wont be the chocolate diaster. Maybe I just shouldn’t attempt dairy 🙁

1 hour into curd watch – this is my face

          2.30 hours into curd watch – Now I look like this  4 hours into curd watch – still hoping for a miracle

Hour 24 of curd watch – Jack Bauer has died – the dream is over…

I’m kidding – I didn’t make it to hour 24 I gave up around hour 8.  This is what my dashed dairy dreams looked like as they poured their way down the sink.

Just like my soul.  

I have been defeated yet again by dairy. What did I do to upset the dairy gods?Maybe it’s because I didn’t drink milk a lot when I was a kid. But still I eat cheese and chocolate like they are the only foods from which you can sustain life. Oh well. Next time. Maybe. I don’t know if I have the emotional strength to summarize but here we go. Making cheese taught me 3 things

  1. Buy the right thermometer
  2. Don’t over heat your milk
  3. Know when to quit

I am a failed dairy queen ready to be tossed back on the pile of over used metaphors. Here’s hoping my yogurt fairs better.

P.s. if yours does work here is the rest of the method: Place your curds into your muslin square and then tie up the muslin square and hand over a bowl in the fridge ( use a spoon to hang it on) and leave it for about 3 hours. Then unwrap and place your cheese a tub with a lid and store in the fridge. It will keep for 2-3 days staying fresh and turn more cheesy… make sure you use it up within a week though.

Dairy: the Final Frontier. We will meet again my friend, in this life or the next.

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