It is time for another episode of "Ask Sarah." Today we look at cheesemaking from another angle.
I received the following email recently:
I am interested in learning how to make cheese, but the “kits” I have seen in my limited research all have additives I don’t want to use. Any advice on where to get recipes of how to make it like they did way back when, before additives? We have lots of farms around and I get my milk from a small
You're lucky to be able to buy milk directly from a farm. And Jersey milk, too. Try making clotted cream. Jersey and Guernsey milk works best for clotted cream. Try the recipe on Dr. Fankhauser's website (see below) or try this one: http://drinc.ucdavis.edu/hman2.htm
A great place to get cheesemaking info is from www.cheesemaking.com , http://biology.clc.uc.edu/Fankhauser/Cheese/Cheese.html, and www.smalldairy.com . They all have good resource pages as well as recipes.
One of my favorite books is by Ricki Carroll, "Home Cheese Making." She runs The New England Cheesemaking Supply Company as well as the website cheesemaking.com. She's been doing it for years and is a great teacher. She even tells you how to make your own rennet.
Most cheese is made by taking milk, heating it, culturing it, adding rennet, cutting the curds (if called for), draining the whey, pressing the curds if needed, and then aging the cheese in a humid environment.
That being said, if you want to make certain style of cheese, like a brie, you've got to innoculate your milk with P. candidum in order to get the fluffy, white mold to grow. The mold gives it the flavor of brie and helps the enzymes break down the curds and make it soft. Many European cheesemaker make their own cultures such as traditional cheddar makers in England. They've been using the same culture for generations. It is like sourdough bread starter. It is a critical part of the flavor of cheese and they take great care to keep their starter strain alive. Don't be afraid to give cheesemaking a try. It is a slow process, but the results are so tasty and gratifying.