I have recently taken up the hobby of cheese making. My daughter purchased me a Mozzarella and Ricotta kit from New England Cheese Makers and after making the first batch of successful fresh mozzarella I was hooked.
The kit contained all the ingredients and equipment you would need to make 30 pounds of Mozzarella and ricotta cheese.
The directions are simple and easy to follow with illustrated instructions on the web site.
After mastering these two cheeses I expanded into other soft cheese such as cream cheese and cottage cheese. Both of these cheeses take very little effort just time and patience.
The most important thing I have found is heating your milk to the proper temperature for the specific recipe you are using, Measure your ingredients carefully and time each process precisely.
After enjoying the fresh cheeses I decided to try aged cheese such as cheddar Monterey Jack and Colby. I even have a couple of small wheels of Parmesan aging in the refrigerator.
I’m not saying this hobby will save you big bucks at the supermarket but at least you know what the exact ingredients are in each cheese you make, and to me making my own cheese is relaxing. I enjoy the chemistry set feeling I get with each batch From careful measuring to time and temperature this hobby takes concentration and lets me forget my worries for a while.
Don’t get me wrong sometimes things go a little askew as when the cloth I was using to drain 2 gallons worth of warm curd had a minor blowout and I was covered in warm curd.
But for the most part it is a fun relaxing hobby with endless possibilities; from cheddar to provolone, to blue cheese, these can all be made at home. There are many different recipes to be found online and tips for making all varieties of cheese.
You will be able to develop your own favorite tastes by changing the following:
The taste of cheese can be changed by the type of milk you use from pasteurized whole, skim, or dry milk and heavy cream from your local supermarket, to fresh goat and cow milk bought at a local dairy or from your own animals.
The amount of pressure used to press the cheese curd into wheels will change the texture and the time each cheese is aged will all make each batch one of your own making.
Start with a simple cottage or cream cheese and very little expense try this hobby for yourself. A little buttermilk, vinegar, white muslin and liquid rennet will set you up on the way to tasty and fun way to pass the time.