I'm getting kind of worried that I am starting threads where people are going to think I am some kind of expert. I am not. Mind you, I am not a complete dill - I do know some things about, well, some things! While I am sharing my alcohol recipes (and causing havoc), my greater love is my cheese making. But, I am no expert here folks! I hope this becomes an unfolding thread where people feel free to add their own knowledge. (I hope that for both threads actually.)
Post number 1:
My beginners advice on how best to start: buy a kit. It will get you the basic equipment to start - crazy little measuring spoons, a couple of molds, a few cheese starters etc. What I like about the kits is that you get some instructions that are pretty simple. I started on a Fresh Cheese Kit that cost me around $90. Really simple, and I was producing feta in a day or two. Yes, you can use shop bought whole milk. Most of the equipment can be found in every kitchen, but you still need to start with a kit.
Where can I get a starter kit? Most home brew places have them. Brewers Choice are a certainty but you can get them on line, green living at Underwood do kits and are also on line - a kit is as far away as a google search.
I confess to a degree of impatience. So, I didn't start with really soft cheeses. I went straight to feta. I confess that I am also not a genius. From cheese number one, it worked out fine. Um... it's follow the recipe guys. Best of all, almost no ageing time. You make, you eat. And it is damn fine cheese.
Next post, I'll talk about huge improvements to the base recipe, especially for feta. Umm.. I will if anyone is interested. I don't know this community very well as yet, but I figure if nobody comments, this thread is a loser (that's how most forums work). I'm no expert, and you don't have to be either.
Actually - after a quick re-consider, the next post will be an explanation of the basic process to make something like feta. It's a good mid-ground complexity that will help you decide if you want to bother.
I just PM Scarlett if I have a problem.
A couple of us went along to a cheese making demo at one of the brew shops (?) at Nundah the other week and the demonstrator made mozzarella. She was really swift with the ball forming, made it look easy, but she said she had only just learned to do it itself.
Nothing like watching a demo Craig. Youtube seem to have lots of videos.
I got the impression that the important thing was to do the stretch and shape business in order to develop the right texture. I'm not sure the "fair dinkum" version worries too much about whether the balls are perfect. I suspect the perfection is just the accidental result of getting really quick at it.
You'll be pleased to know that you cracked what is called an "intermediate" cheese on your very first attempt. Well done mate!
Here is the latest cheesy add to get my attention - it's from Brewers' Choice.
Mad Millie Madness - Italian Cheese Kits for only $28.90
This kit is perfect for those first venturing into cheese making. The simple steps and delicious results this kit can help you produce will astound you! The kit has everything you need to make around 15 batches of cheese (approx 7.5kg). And it only takes around one hour per recipe! A great Christmas idea for someone that doesn't just want stuff!
Makes: Fresh Italian Mozzarella (approx 650g/batch), Ricotta (approx 400g/batch), Ricotta Salata (approx 100g/batch), Mascarpone (approx 700g/batch).
All for just $28.90! SAVE $11