A new year, new projects. This one is dedicated to my first attempt at making cheese. A long time ago I bought some vegetarian rennet with the vague idea of making cheese, but it never happened. As luck would have it for Christmas I received a cheese making kit from Claire’s parents. Here is the result.
Firstly I just want to say I love the instructions that came with this set, especially the statement “If it doesn’t look like ricotta, then call it something else and eat it anyway”.
I am not going to lie, it didn’t look like ricotta, and we did eat it anyway. Honestly it did go wrong though.
For ricotta the ingredients and instructions are very simple, 8 pints of whole milk, with some citric acid and salt. Boil whilst stirring, leave to cool then drain through a muslin cloth.
So what went wrong?
Well for starters our pan was 5 litres big so almost exactly 8 pints (4.5 l), which caused some spillage – note the smell of burning milk / cheese is not great. I can only guess the pan is somewhat less than 5 l.
The real problem was that we went a bit off piste. Our yield didn’t look nearly high enough – and there wasn’t the characteristic separation. So we added some more citric acid and put it back on the heat. This resulted in the opposite problem, too much separation – with a much higher yield (~900g rather than ~600g).
The resulting cheese was a bit hard and lumpy, rather than the smoother ricotta we were expecting. Still it went well with pasta and it gives me a perfect excuse to try it again. The kit also facilitates the making of mozzarella, but I think new rubber gloves are in order before we attempt that one.
Either way, we made cheese – on new year’s day, and apart from the traditional new year’s day run I can’t think of a better way of spending it.
Sorry it took almost 3 weeks to get post done, I was on holiday in Lanzarote on a cycling / triathlon training camp.