Well this started at the end of July when I noticed a tweet from Valerie @ACanadianFoodie on cheesepalooza. I was intrigued read about it and immediately signed up. Why may you ask? Well a few reasons, but before I get into those my partner in this is my 6.5 year old son who is very passionate about food. So we both love food (my wife does too!), and of course cheese in particular so this seemed natural. I should note that two of my sons favourite stores are The Italian Centre Shop and Everything Cheese where he gets to taste all of our purchases. Our cheese making journey actually started a while ago, when my son and I watched a show on making bocconcini, and he said “Dad that looks like fun can we do that?” and of course I said “Sure, it can’t be that hard. ” So on a trip to the Italian Centre Shop I noticed boxes of rennet sitting on the deli counter, knowing we would need this we added this to our cart. Well that was many months ago, and with a very busy work and travel we never got around to it. However, with cheeseaplooza we had something to keep us on task and others to share our experience so here we go!
We were off on some vacation when the first challenge on Whole Milk Ricotta came out so that gave me a chance to start reading Artisan Cheese Making at Home. When we got back we gathered our ingredients and for the milk we used Avalon whole milk we picked up from Sunterra.
My trusty assistant poured the milk into the pot with just a little spilling. It was at this point it dawned on me that I forgot the cream! Oh well, it will be a lower fat version. We also decided to use lemon juice since I had not picked up any citric acid, plus we thought we probably would like the flavor of lemon (random thought while writing this, I wonder what adding lemon zest would do during the heating process, must try next time).
So we started the heating process which was suppose to take about 20 minutes, but ended up taking over 1 hour! Well this part was not overly exciting for my partner so he went off to do something else more fun than watching milk heat! Although he did come back to give it a stir once and awhile and make sure I was not doing something without his involvement.
I was not absolutely clear when to add the lemon juice, so I added at about the 140 degree mark. Nothing happened when the milk got up to the 185 degree mark, so we let it warm to 195, still nothing. I knew we could not let it get warmer so we added more lemon juice and voila!
We let it drain for about 30 minutes. As we started this after dinner my helper had gone up to get ready for bed, so I emptied the cheese into a bowl and gave it a first try but also took some to my partner who was being read to by my very understanding wife.
Appearance: It looks like cream cheese, with fine curds but fairly dry. Next time we may drain it less to leave it wetter. Partners comment “it looks like mushy cheese”.
Nose: No strong aroma, but faint lemon scent, partners comment was “it smells delicious!”
Overall taste: Not a lot of strong flavour, hint of lemon and creamy. Partners comment “can I have it for breakfast, it is really good!”
Sweet to salty: sweet
Mild to robust: mild
Mouth feel: thick but creamy
The next day we decided to spice it up a bit with some fresh basil, parsley and crushed garlic. Very tasty. I think this will be a great go to recipe for making various spreads and dips.
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