Cheese – the taste test

I bought myself a cheese kit last year for my birthday gift from my mother and mother-in-law. It’s been sitting there since October, untouched aside from being unpacked from the bag in which it arrived and packed into a tub for safe keeping. Not good enough. 😦 This year is all about doing things and following through on plans. πŸ™‚

IMG_7964

Last day of January and we have fog.

Just after the New Years break I opened it up and had a go at making my first cheese, a Caerphilly which I chose to make as it matures in a mere 3 weeks. I followedΒ the recipe of my friend GavΒ through whom I also purchased myΒ cheese supplies. Well, maturity date was yesterday so I finally cracked it open today. πŸ™‚

Mould can be wiped off with vinegar and a cloth but it took a bit to scrub the stains off. I didn't quite succeed but it didnt affect the cheese in any way I can tell aside from aesthetics. Not pretty but it did taste good.

Mould can be wiped off with vinegar and a cloth but it took a bit to scrub the stains off. I didn’t quite succeed but it didn’t affect the cheese in any way I can tell aside from aesthetics. Not pretty but it did taste good.

Firstly, I had trouble maintaining the temperatures as stated in the recipe, going over by a substantial amount. Aside from that the timing was fine and everything else went as per the recipe. Except for the drying time. I chose to dry it in a cupboard which kept it away from human and animal reach (kids and cats do as kids and cats do) but it did mean the circulation wasn’t great in there and it took a few days more to form the necessary rind. I also picked up a bit of mould on the surface of the cheese so I need to make sure I scrub the containers out a little more thoroughly, but in saying that I know mould spores can be anywhere so I am not too bothered about that. I just wiped the mould off with a washer dampened in apple cider vinegar. πŸ™‚

These don't seem to be holes in the cheese but just the softness sticking to the knife.

These don’t seem to be holes in the cheese but just the softness sticking to the knife.

Ok, the cheese was easy to cut, smoother than a commercial cheese which is more rubbery than not. The rind was thin and tough compared to the rest of the cheese but not tough at all in reality. The inside was a creamy yellow, soft texture and almost creamy but not quite. Tasting it there is a very light hint of bitterness and a creamy texture on the tongue but not to coat the tongue and with a hint of vintage bite which impressed me too since it’s matured for a mere 22 days. I mean it’s not a vintage cheese and I am not a cheese connoisseur but this is my impression. πŸ™‚ I took a few bites then tried the cheese on the real critics in our house.

My slice to try

My slice to try

Martin will try it once he gets home but I would call this a successful cheese making attempt and I can’t wait until the temperature cools down and I can make some more. πŸ˜€

Critic #1. The munch is good. It can be eaten without diverting eyes from watching Bob the Builder. No crumbs remained.

Critic #1. The munch is good. It can be eaten without diverting eyes from watching Bob the Builder. No crumbs remained.

Critic #2. Wouldn't stop eating to allow a photograph. Munched his slice down in about 15 seconds. Declared "Yum".

Critic #2. Wouldn’t stop eating to allow a photograph. Munched his slice down in about 15 seconds. Declared “Yum”.

And last but not least, the true cheese lover…

Critic #3. Couldn't eat it fast enough. Was the last to receive her slice of cheese and the first to ask for more. Has tasted Gav's cheeses (lucky girl) and so actually has something against which to compare it and still called mine yum.

Critic #3. Couldn’t eat it fast enough. Was the last to receive her slice of cheese and the first to ask for more. Has tasted Gav’s cheeses (lucky girl) and so actually has something against which to compare it and still called mine yum.

Despite the imperfections I consider my first foray into the cheese making world a complete success. πŸ˜€

I have a second Caerphilly maturing although it’s about 10 or so days off maturity and I really stuffed it up when making it (serves me right for gas-bagging on the phone), and a Farmhouse Cheddar maturing until mid February. It took quite a while to dry and in the middle of the heat wave so I think that might be rather interesting. In the meantime I have Martin’ s beer fridge that I’ve commandeered to use as my cheese cave until we get a root cellar or cool room built. In the meantime the beer fridge will do the trick. πŸ™‚

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29 thoughts on “Cheese – the taste test

  1. Sharon says:

    Oh yum, Im jealous as cheese is on my list of things to make but I have not even purchased a kit yet. Im a big cheese lover to. Looks just delicious, glad it turned out well x

    • It was a big thing to get my head around but having made 3 cheeses now it’s really not that big a deal to make. I have to say it’s well easy following Gav’s recipes as they are easy to follow and the photos are great. πŸ™‚

  2. ihtreuer says:

    Well done, Caerphilly is one of my favourite cheeses to make. I don’t worry to much about how the rind looks, but if you are concerned you can vacuum seal it to protect it. Again well done!

  3. Belinda B says:

    Cheese making sound like so much fun. I’d love to do it but i’ve never really done any research into how to do it. I’m guessing by your post that it needs a cool place to mature which could prove difficult in the tropics in summer.

    • Cheese making might be an autumn, winter and spring job then. I don’t know how many more cheeses I will make over the summer. I’m itching to give it a go now but with 40C forecast tomorrow it simply doesn’t make sense. As soon as the forecast is set for moderate temperatures for a week I’ll be on to Martin to bring home the 8L of milk I need though. πŸ™‚

  4. Lynda says:

    Oh my, im envious of the kids. Mum handing out slices of home made cheese. Not fair. I think that since ive also tasted Gavin’s that i need a serve to really make a comparison. I mean, can you rely on Allegra. I think not. Well Done, as usual.

  5. Gavin Webber says:

    I am impressed Jessie! Looks like it worked out just fine.

    May I make a recommendation? Instead of wiping the rind with apple cider vinegar, which will raise the acidity to unacceptable levels (causes bitterness), use a cloth dipped in a brine, which will also inhibit the mould.

    That will work much better!

    Gav x

    • Brine you say. I shall try that next time. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the tip. How salty do you make the brine?
      The cheese impressed the master cheese man – Martin – and for that I count my cheese as a complete success. πŸ˜€

  6. Jo says:

    Good show old bean! Blessed be be the cheesemaker! I will completely join you in a cheesemaking venture this year. My 13yo is a cheese lover, and I need to get my act together..

    • Do it! Truly. It was sooo exciting to cut into my very first ever cheese and taste the results. And there is no reason Miss 13 couldn’t make it either. It’s not really rocket science, well at least I don’t think so. πŸ˜‰ Just think, homemade cheese that you didn’t need to lift a finger to make! πŸ˜›

  7. foodnstuff says:

    Wow! Good. On. You. I have downloaded Gavin’s cheese book but so far have only made the cottage. Will have to get a proper cheese kit and try some of the others. Didn’t know you could buy them through Gavin, but then I suppose you were able to pick it up from him, being close by, and I’m right over on the other side of town.

    • Yeah I was able to pick it up from him but even so, unless you have a cheese shop close by you would still need to get the kit shipped in. Worth looking at his page none the less I reckon. πŸ™‚

  8. Your cheese looks great πŸ™‚ I recently made a cheddar which turned out to be abysmal but I am undeterred and will have another go at something soon – so much fun.

    • Thank you. πŸ™‚ I don’t anticipate too much from my farmhouse cheddar either as the milk temp was unstable and I know my next caerphilly will be awful as I was too busy yakking on the phone and put the rennet in instead of the culture. I added the culture then but I don’t think it will taste like much. 😦 At least I managed to figure out keeping the milk temperature stable though so not a total loss. it’s been too hot here to make any more at the moment but as soon as I see a week where the temperatures stay under 35 I’ll be back into making some more. πŸ™‚

  9. Everyone is making cheese! And every time I read about someone making cheese, I want to make cheese.

    Cheese!

    Glad it turned out so well. It looks delicious. And, most importantly, you got it past the tasting panel. πŸ˜‰ How much milk would you use in a wheel like that?

    • It took 8L to make the cheese which I guess is around a kilo or maybe 1.5kg. I didn’t weigh it (oops :(). It’s not the most efficient use of milk as there is the waste whey but it is a good way of keeping it for times of the year when the milk supply is low. When our goat(s) start producing milk I hope we can no have to buy in milk, but that’s a big dream I know. πŸ™‚ Cheese is a good way to use up the glut of milk if we should have one too. πŸ™‚

  10. narf77 says:

    I am going to hide this post from Steve. If he even gets a TINY idea that I could be making him enormous wodges of cheese like that I am in trouble…you know what they say about women being chained to the kitchen? Well it will be literal in my case! Easy you say? How much milk did you need to produce that wheel? We have a dairy around the corner from us and it might be possible to get hold of some raw milk through the back door (nudge nudge wink wink…) so narf7 might just come to the cheese party and once again get drummed out of the vegan confraturnity…sigh…the things we do for our men! πŸ˜‰

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