Tuesday, February 22, 2005

whey and whey (where are the curds?)

I love cheese. I love the diversity and possibilities inherant in cheese. I love the taste (if not always the smell). I want to make cheese. I want to make it for a living. In my current profession, I do nothing that even comes close to cooking or venting my creativity So, in my spare time, I thought I'd try the cheese thing out.

I went to the local overpriced healthfood store and bought fresh milk, buttermilk, and rennet. With these three ingredients, a large pot, and some patience I thought I was going to make Neufchatel. This cheese is supposedly VERY easy. It's like cream cheese and needs no aging. Perfect for beginners.

In all the excitement, I screwed up the temperature and almost boiled my milk. Apparently, I had forgotten how to read a thermometer. I think this must have killed some important enzyme with all the heat because my cheese did not curd after setting overnight. That's right all that effort and all those dreams of a firm white curd surrounded by a clear bright whey were stomped upon.

After adding some other various 'starting' agents and waiting another 24 hours, my cheese finally developed a pseudo-curd. In an overzealous attempt to martha stewart-ize my life I had previously purchased some cheesecloth just knowing it would come in handy one of these days. I promptly whipped out the cloth and ladled my concoction through the holes of the cheese cloth straight down the drain. Why don't they tell you to double up on the cloth? Why was I an idjust to keep ladling, watching my fragile curd wash down into the sink?

Looking back on this experience, I think it's probably best that my curd washed away. I doubt that it was fit for eating after all that phanegaling. After the wounds heal, I will try again. I would really love to find a cheese guru. Maybe I need to go to France or meet a goat farmer.

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