Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cheese making

Well Wellington winters are cold, wet and windy - doesn't really inspire outdoor activity and weekends also seem to coincide with the southerly storms. So you come up with a few different ways to keep entertained. A few weeks ago I did a cheese making course with my friend Barbara. I have always thought that cheese making would be really tricky and that is why no one really does it other than commercial enterprises. Anyway it turns out it is not so tricky and only requires a couple of ingredients - milk, citric acid/culture, rennet, salt (to taste at the end), and a few pieces of equipment - big pots, cheese cloth and most critically a thermometer. However it does require patience and confidence - something we would not have had if we hadn't seen it done in the course.

So finally Barbara and I had a free weekend when the weather was foul - so we got together to make some cheese - three different types of cheese - feta, mozzarella and ricotta. For our first attempt at making cheese it was very successful. We made all three cheeses in about 3 hours. Other than the feta the other two cheeses are ready straight away. So we made dinner of spinach and ricotta canneloni and we tried some mozzarella for an entree. I am not sure that it costs any less than buying the cheese - it cost us about $30 for 14 litres of milk and we made 4 slabs of fetta and 4 balls of mozzarella and 250g of ricotta. However, it was really fun and a huge sense of satisfaction and the cheese even tastes like it should. I think this might have to become a regular event over the winter months. I have several friends ask if they can join in the fun next time.....

Will take some photos of the cheesiness next time.

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